Remarkably the bus got me to the Chumphon that I wanted an hour ahead of schedule as it had a massively powerful engine and the driver didn’t mind using it. The only downside to the journey was having to sit through some extremely bad Thai soap operas and then a load of Thai karaoke videos for the entire journey.
Chumphon itself is not such a bad town, much more pleasant than Hat Yai, but just spent the evening on the beer, basically. Got the catamaran the next day to Ko Tao, having now joined up with Maxine for a week, and hit the first stumbling block on arrival, i.e. finding any accomodation! We eventually found a place in one of the more exclusive bungalow resorts, a very nice room on a hillside setting with lovely sea views, then set about hiring a motorbike which is hilarious fun to drive around on the dirt roads, especially as I have no idea how to control one of these things safely. But it’s the only way to get about really. We found a super cheap place to stay for last night, a hut right on the beach in a spectacular setting which we’re thoroughly enjoying.
Took a dive boat out yesterday, which was a usual Matt-style cock up. I somehow managed to go on the first dive without enough weights on me, which makes it extremely hard to stay submerged. Halfway through I’m exhausted and can’t keep under so end up bobbing up to the surface with the dive master, who was only 2 days into his course and lost, as it turns out. Our diveboat was nowhere to be seen, in fact the only craft of any kind in the vicinity was a fishing boat. I made for this as he went back down to regroup with the 3 other divers in our party. The fishermen looked at me rather oddly and don’t speak English of course. They help me on board and give me water whilst I wait to be rescued, which didn’t take long as Carlos (dive master) surfaced with the others after about 10 minutes and also came to the boat. No we’re stuck as the fishing boat didn’t have a radio, they had a phone but we had no numbers to call. We were about to call the police emergency number to get help, but instead the fishing boat weighs it’s anchors and cruises round the headland to meet our boat, much to the amazement of all the other diveboats in the area to say nothing of the team on ours. So yes, it’s an all time first for the dive company – they send out some divers on a routine dive site and they come back an hour and a half later on a fishing boat!
We are technically in a mini monsoon out here so are having about 2 bursts of heavy rain a day for about 20 minutes at a time, but it really isn’t making any difference to anything. Today so far is glorious sunshine, we’ll probably stay here another day or so before heading for Ko Phangan or Samui.
Right, back to the beach!