Saturday, March 12, 2011

Face-first in the sea

When I mentioned that I was thinking of taking a snorkelling trip in yesterday's blog, I bet none of you expected me to follow through on that. Mainly because no one actually reads this, but also because I often fail to live up to these vague promises.

Well in your face, nay-saying non-existents! I did it just to spite you. And to make things worse, it was ace.

Let me flow into the ocean

I've never been snorkelling before, but the complete lack of preparation or instructions given as we were handed snorkels and shown the way overboard revealed that it isn't too hard. As long as you can swim, you just need to shove your face in the water and have a look at all the pretty tropical fish.

Koh Tao is the place to do it, apparently, and diving's even bigger here. But as I didn't really feel like going through with the couple of hours' training and paying the higher fees of a diving trip, snorkelling around the coast of Turtle Island was a good enough substitute to make me feel like I wasn't wasting this clear-water opportunity. Even if it's essentially pussy diving. (Which I believe is also available in Thailand, if you ask the right people).

Let me get back to the sea

When I was a kid, I loved pretending to be underwater. In fact, it was one of the all-time top pretend-the-living-room-is-something-else games, along with the one where you hang upside-down off the settee and imagine what it would be like to walk on the ceiling for long enough that you convince yourself it's real. The underwater game was best though.

I wasn't exactly under the sea today, but seeing past the cryptic surface was still very exciting, especially as I've been swimming in the sea a lot recently and didn't think much about what might be lurking beneath it. Well, now I can tell you - loads of really attractive fish flocking together (I wouldn't say no - hey, it's Thailand!), loads of look-but-don't-touch coral (the tease) and occasional debris that's probably fish poo or something. Some idiot also left jagged rocks underwater near the shore, which hurt lest thou dash thy foot against them.

The fish seemed less impressed by my presence, meaning that they've either become desensitised to snorkelling tourists or are just really stupid. I stalked a few of the prettier ones back to their caves (hey, it's Thailand!) and occasionally found myself completely surrounded, but impressively I don't think a single one made contact. Hey, it may be Thailand, but there are still rules!

Koh Tao above sea level

Shark Bay. Stay tuned for more vaguely phallic rocks next week!
(That'll reel 'em in)

Shark Bay was out of action, so we went to Sairee for some family-friendly snorkel fun instead. It was quite good

Mango Bay. This was completely great

Koh Tao below sea level

I didn't buy an underwater camera just for this, but here are some of the things I saw, stolen from elsewhere.

Orange-tipped rainbow fish hogs the colour spectrum.

Six-banded angelfish hangs around in coral.

Sexy butterflyfish.

Blue ringed angelfish.

Yellowtail barracuda. Thousands of 'em.
Stolen from

I just realised I didn't see any turtles after all. The fact that I'm not angry or disappointed proves that I had a good time. Join me tomorrow when I promise to get a tattoo that I think says 'stud,' but is really Thai for 'inadequate specimen.'

Next stop: Koh Nang Yuan

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