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June 17 – Diving on Koh Tao

We spent a second morning and afternoon diving on Koh Tao. This time we did Aow Tao and Laem Thien. We had another lunch at the beachside restaurant on the boardwalk, then set about finding some good beaches for snorkeling. The beaches were beautiful, but finding snorkeling was harder than we expected. The island really is pretty undeveloped, and the best beaches were difficult, if not impossible, to get to from land. The water taxis weren’t running because of the high winds, and many of the beaches you could walk to were on the windward side of the island, so the water was too rough for snorkeling. We finally rented an ATV so that we could penetrate a little more deeply and found a nice spot for snorkeling that afternoon.

As a point of clarification, we didn’t have to come and go from our hotel via the terrible driveway we came in on; there was a boardwalk across the ocean (or the beach, if the tide was out) from the hotel into the town. It was a little bit of a hike with all of our gear though, and again, it wasn’t exactly what you normally think of as resort accommodations. It started off beautifully, with a hike down through the grounds around the villa to beach.

Exactly 85 steps later (including a pass through the extremely primitive staff quarters), we crossed a bridge made of widely spaced 4x4s over a creek, then cut behind the kitchen of the restaurant, and on to a concrete dock. From there, it was about a five minute walk along a wooden boardwalk (no side railings, just posts strung with fluourescent light bulbs at night) past some local houses and through some bungalow communities until you reached the restaurant where we at our lunch each day. The walkway then passed right through the dining room of the restaurant, which meant removing your shoes–shoes come off inside businesses on Koh Tao–then on to another concrete boardwalk for another five minutes or so into town.

At night, we ate at the restaurant at our villa…a little nicer than our lunch spot, but still pretty casual, beachside fare–curries, fried noodles, and copious amounts of Chang.