04/06/2014 – 276 days/24291 miles

At this point, I had now real plans moving forward…All I wanted to do was head south towards Malaysia. It just so happens that there are a few islands that are popular destinations in the south of Thailand…so, Koh Tao it is!

In Thai, Koh (sometimes written Ko, in order to save ink by eliminating the useless H) is island, so if you hear someone talking about a destination in Thailand that starts with Koh (Koh Lanta, Koh Samui, Koh Tao, etc), its bound to be an island. And Tao means turtle, so I’m off to Turtle Island, where Splinter is the mayor, and I’m hoping to not have a run in with Bebop and Rocksteady.

From Bangkok, I headed south towards Chumphon, to catch the ferry to Koh Tao. On the way, I had an incident with a beer cooler…
photo 1   photo 2

A semi in front of me started merging into the left lane…I assumed it was being done to give me some room to pass. Once he was halfway out of the right lane, I saw the actual reason. There was a hug cooler standing on it’s end in the middle of the road. I quickly swerved to the left, and my right pannier glanced off the cooler.
A few kilometers further along the road, I passed a pickup truck that was loaded down with coolers, and there was a very obvious empty spot that this green cooler I hit would’ve fit perfectly. I’m at least glad it didn’t fall off when I was close to the truck, as I’m sure trying to dodge it as it was bouncing down the road would’ve been a bit more terrifying.
It seemed like I barely touched it, but once I stopped and looked at it, I realized it was a bit harder hit than I expected, as can be seen in the picture…
The lip of pannier wasn’t quite sealing against the lid anymore, but a little coercion with a crescent wrench got things pretty well back in order.

In order to get to Koh Tao with my bike, I had to take a night ferry, which is much slower than the passenger ferries during the day.
All packed up, amongst a bunch of pineapples and coconuts.  Hopefully the dental floss they’ve tied it up with holds…
Another of the boat, with various things haphazardly piled up…including a pile of sand?
It departed from Chumphon at 11PM, and thankfully had bunk beds rather than seats, so the 6 or so hour ride was just long enough to get a decent night’s sleep.

The ferry arrived on Koh Tao at about 5AM, so I decided to take advantage of being awake so early and headed to the east side of the island to watch the sunrise. The island is pretty small (only about 2km wide and 4-5km long) so I arrived in Tanote Bay in no time, and was greeted with this view…I think I’ll like it here.
And after a rough day of snorkeling and sitting around on the beach, this was my view of the sunset…

Koh Tao is really popular for scuba diving, and most people that come here seem to be primarily interested in either diving or taking classes for their certification. I opted to just spend a few days snorkeling…it’d been a few years since I’ve been diving, and I figured if I’m only here a few days, I’d still get to see plenty by snorkeling (plus it’s cheaper…and I’m homeless/unemployed).

The snorkeling was really great…I got to see parrot fish, angel fish, urchins, huge schools of tiny fish that seemed to move as a single organism, barracudas, reef sharks, and best of all, a sea turtle.
Here are some blurry, blue photos that don’t do that great of a job of showing what I saw…

Here’s a few more from around the Island

Strange looking ring around the sun
Awesome beach dog that would stand near the shore and stalk fish
Mango View

And after a few days of swimming and lounging on the beach, it was time to get back to the mainland and head south.

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