We made it to Ko Tao on the night ‘ferry’. Sort of like a Chinatown bus the cargo boats to the gulf islands load cargo and people onto the triple decks. Thankfully it was only French, German and Danish farang backpackers like us that we slept next to and not chickens or goats on the very narrow cots.
Ko Tao is the diving certification HQ of Thailand and in fact certifies more divers than all but one other spot in the world (it apparently has a lot of easy dive sites for learning, plus is very cheap). As a result (and perhaps also as a result of having a harbour deep enough to dock bigger ships) it’s far more developed than Hat Ton Sai. Our resort at Freedom Beach looked mostly new, and there’s lots of construction visible from the main road.
Our big adventure was a circumnavigation of the island of which Captain Cook would have been proud. Our first day on the island we scoped out the sail by trekking through nearly every resort on something of a jungle trail. In the afternoon we stumbled upon first the sailing shop and then the climbing shop. Our feeling was that we’d done enough climbing and a little 14ft Hobie Cat and some snorkeling would be a healthy diversion.
The winds were good, approximately 10-15 knots and we headed south around the island. By the time we made it to the windward side four foot waves with some chop were readily apparent. Zoe seemed fine with it. Mark stated, “So this is what it feels like to be in a teacup in the ocean.” It was something a bit like Mr Toad’s wild ride and Mark got pretty seasick. Nevertheless, we made it around the island to a beautiful snorkeling site back on the leeward side. The water was so clear, you could see over 20 feet down to the coral reefs below and thousands of tropical fish. All in all, a special day.
The next day we took a high speed ferry and bus combo package up to Bangkok…