This post is going to be pretty light on text, the reason for which I’ll explain in a moment. But first, let us pause to appreciate the insanely beautiful sunsets in this part of the world:
I was having a marvelous time on Koh Tao – a scuba divers paradise in the Gulf of Thailand – rekindling my passion for diving and even giving the art of rock climbing a bit of a go.
Diving in tropical waters means you are almost overwhelmed by the sheer volume of awesome stuff to look at, and you can’t help but be on a natural high after each amazing journey below the waves.
My little point-and-shoot camera is capable of withstanding -12m and I took it along on the two best dives I’ve ever done. I gleefully snapped away and in amongst the hundreds of photos there were a few gems.
Underwater photography is more difficult than I imagined for a few reasons:
1. You are floating in the water and, unless you have mastered buoyancy control, you tend to move around a fair bit
2. The fish move around quickly and rarely pose for pictures, let alone give you time to compose your shot. Combined with number 1, above, this means you get lots of pictures of their tails
3. The water is rarely crystal clear (like you see in National Geographic) so you get lots of poorly focused pics of the bits and pieces floating in the water column when you need to rely on autofocus.
So I feel my success rate of ~2% wasn’t bad.
I knew rock climbing would be well outside my comfort zone, but I wanted to give it a try. I did the intro-level course with the folks at Goodtime Adventures and surprised myself a bit with what I was able to do. Despite violently shaking knees and a jaw clenched to the point of pain, I found myself much farther up seemingly flat rock walls than I ever thought possible.
It was with a sense of real achievement, that we went out for a few cold beverages that evening, and everyone was feeling a touch invincible having looked death and dismemberment in the face and come away unscathed. This is of course, when disaster is most likely to strike, and it hit me in the form of a plank of wood at the entrance to my accommodation. One little stumble, a hand out to break the fall and searing pain.
The next morning, I attempted to find somewhere to get my hand x-rayed and discovered that all the doctors on the island had taken a holiday for the day. I got a splint put on it and waited til the next day to get an x-ray. After the x-ray I was told that I’d cracked one of the bones in my wrist and that would mean up to six weeks off the bike, devastation hit pretty hard.
I headed off to Samui the next day to see the bone doc with my spirits pretty low. The first thing the doc said to me was that he couldn’t see any fractures on the xray… Huh? My hopes started to rise, but I kept it in check until a second xray was taken. I think I scared the doc when I performed a seated dance-of-joy when he gave me the news that he still couldn’t detect any fractures. Woot!!!! It’s still pretty badly sprained and I’m in a partial plaster cast, but I can shower and more importantly, get in the sea for a gentle swim. The thought that I was to be trapped in a tropical island paradise and not be able to swim was threatening to send me nut-bar crazy.
It will be a couple of weeks until I can get back on the bike – I can’t make a fist with my left hand yet and maneuvering a heavy bike is still a ways off – so I’ve been finding other things to keep me occupied. There’s a great little cafe up the hill that has an artists corner (Raw Art Moovement) so I’m preparing to paint one of the pics I took diving. Paint should be hitting the canvas shortly, so fingers crossed it comes out looking something like the picture I took down there.
Some more pictures:
More fun facts from this photo:
- Cleanerfish wrasse family groups consist of a dominant male, a dominant female and additional submissive females. When the male expires, the dominant female changes sex and takes over the role of cleaner.
- That beautiful white sand that you love so much? Well it’s basically parrotfish droppings. They feed in massive schools, consuming bits of coral and algae off the sea floor which they then excrete as sand. Nice.
I hope this post finds you surrounded by extraordinary beauty and without any annoyingly banal injuries to frustrate your plans.