We recently went on an 8 hours snorkelling excursion, which we booked through our hotel Asia Diving Resort. The trip included lunch on the boat and a snorkelling stop in 5 different spots around Koh Tao and cost us a grand total of 850 baht (£18).
At 08:45 we pulled our sorry, tired butts out of bed and chowed down some breakfast before the 09:30 back-of-a-pick-up-truck ride to our boat. After hopping (literally) from boat to boat we climbed the the top deck of the correct vessel and readied ourselves for some prime sunning in-between the snorkelling sessions. To call this decision a bad idea simply doesn’t do it justice. After 8 hours of solid sun my body resembled (in both colour and texture) that of a lobster, despite the factor 30 sun screen I had bathed in before leaving. If you’re thinking of embarking on an all day snorkelling/fishing trip I’d recommend heading straight for the shaded lower deck. Do not underestimate the power of the uninterrupted Thai sun or protest that “I don’t really burn on holiday”.
The first stop was Shark Bay and due to the strong currents they asked everyone to wear life jackets here. Although this was pretty inhibiting (Matt and Quinn’s attempts to dive down with them on were pretty feeble) it did allow us to conserve our energy for the other stops. After the to-be-expected struggles, which included misty masks and hastily gulped sea water we soon got the hang of it and were able to enjoy the colourful and exotic sea life.
By the second bay we’d built up the courage to jump from the top deck of the boat and made what I like to think was a very smooth entrance into the water. Inevitably this resulted in the loss of Doug’s snorkel and mask in some pretty deep water and left him lumped with a 750 baht (£16) fine. Despite this mishap the second bay was definitely my favourite, due to the sheer number of beautiful fish which like to surround you, usually after the staff had thrown fish food at you from the boat. After the initial panic that fish might get caught in my tangled mane (and more swallow sea water) i calmed down and was able to enjoy the swarms of marine life at our fingertips.
On the final stop we visited the diver island, Nangyuan. This truly beautiful island did not allow any plastic bottles, so all drinks had to be bought at the island bar. On Nangyuan we walked up an extremely rickety and questionable wooden platform which, after much sweat, toil and complaining, afforded us an unbelievable view from the top of the island. Once back down we jumped straight into the sea to cool down, however we were put off snorkelling here by the extremely shallow and sharp coral, the disgusting sea cucumbers and the by now, salmon coloured sun burn. Luckily, the little fishes were very happy to swim around us in the shallows whilst we contemplated the pros and cons of life on a remote island like Nangyuan.
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- By far the best decision we made on the trip was purchasing two waterproof pouches. For 200 baht (£4) each these crafty little contraptions allowed us to take some fantastic underwater pictures and videos using our iPhones, without so much as a drop of water reaching them.
- If, like me you’re a vegetarian / fussy bugger, i would definitely recommend bringing some food with you, as the only option your given is between pork and beef.
- A super high factor sun cream and plenty of shade is a must on this trip, unless you want to end up like this.