We decided to go to Koh Tao becuase it is reputed to be the best place for diving. From Bangkok, we booked a 4 day open water course with a company called Easy Divers. The package included accommodation and dinner, so we knew there would be a catch somewhere. But there wasn't. Easy Divers turned out to be one of the most well known, and one of the only 5 star diving schools on the island.
I have to admit, after the discover dive in Vietnam, I wasn't entirely convinced I'd be able to go through with it. But I didn't really have a choice as we paid for it already and L would not let me back down.
So glad I persisted as it turned out to be such a fantastic experience. We had an lovely French instructor called Chloe, who taught us theory in the morning and then took us on the water in the afternoons. We learned all there is to know about diving, had to take a few exams (I think that was my first test since university!) - and by the last day we were pros!
The marine life in Thailand is amazing. Saw loads of fish -- including Nemo and his family! Though, because you can't see reds and oranges that deep, they looked black and white. But still very cool. Purples and blues show up the most. We saw moray eels, schools of batfish and banner fish (like the black and white fish in the fish tank at the dentist office from the movie...), loads of sea cucumbers, gorgeous coral, and so much more. L's favorite bit was playing with the anemone fish that would hide in the coral when you touched it and then swim around it again immediately.
We were so excited to pass the first level and enjoyed diving so much that we decided to stay an extra 3 days to get our advanced certification. This included a 30m deep dive, a night dive, a navigation course and a couple other dives to perfect techniques and to get the most from diving. And guess what? We passed that, too! So now we can dive on our own and have the certificates to prove it! We are both very proud and are thrilled to have a new hobby, which we will take with us around the world. Look out Great Barrier Reef!!!
What did we do for 7 nights then??? We were quite knackered from the days so kept the nights pretty tame -- also having learned from our first experience NEVER to drink and dive... We did get out a couple times and L did manage to stay out til 6am -- you'll have to ask him about the encounter with the pimp... but the first dive the next day wasn't til 12:30, so he claimed he was fine... I did spend one of the nights in bed as I got sick (had to happen eventually), apparently a common occurrence for beginning divers. But managed to get back on the boat the next day. Wasn't about to miss out on the action.