A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: BrianMader

Koh Tao - Whale Sharks!!

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James and I went diving today with a boat captain who said he would go where the whale sharks were... And luckily as we were on our way to another dive site, the captain pulled a 180 and took us to Shark Island, where a whale shark had been sighted.

We got in and got to see the whale shark that everyone else had seen. As we were starting our ascent, we saw another one assuming into the reef!

To give this some context: our dive master we were with he dove for a year before he saw one.

A link to two videos of the whale sharks:

In other news I finally bought a knockoff GoPro. It looks just like a GoPro but has 0 company logos... And was about 1/5 the price. So far it works!

Tomorrow we are diving again!

Photos of our snorkeling:

Posted by BrianMader 05:36 Comments (0)

Koh Tao - Sharks! And some turtles

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Today James and I went hiking to a small peak on southern Koh Tao. After we went snorkeling in Shark Bay.

Unfortunately, in what is becoming an increasingly bad decision, I do not have an underwater camera and have no photos.

We saw at least 4 black tipped reef sharks. I say at least, because the sharks were kinda circling the reef we were exploring. So we saw a bunch of shark's, but it was probably the same group. The reef was at deepest 8 feet. So we were literally swimming right next to and above the sharks.

Not a picture I took, but what we saw:

Also in this reef was an enormous sea turtle. It was easily 6 feet long and 4 ft across. Enormous and was just chilling eating corral. Again we got to swim right next to him.

We also saw a little baby sea turtle, but it was fast and we only saw it for a little bit.

Tomorrow we are doing a fun dive. but 4 whale sharks arrived at the island yesterday and we're patrolling the reefs. So we are going with a captain and a dive master who promised to chase the whale sharks! So hopefully we will get to dive with whale sharks, the holy Grail of diving in the area.

For photos:

Posted by BrianMader 05:19 Archived in Thailand Tagged diving koh tao Comments (0)

Koh Tao - Diving certified 2

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James and I are officially advanced open water certified. We survived 5 more dives. The wreck dive was pretty amazing, it was 100 ft down, but was a US cruiser from WW2. The night dive was also pretty amazing as it was pitch black without the lights and when the flashlights were turned off, we could see bioluminescent plankton that would light up around hands and flippers when moved.

We have another 5 days on the islands and plan to start doing some fun dives that our training is done.

For pictures:

Posted by BrianMader 22:27 Comments (0)

Koh Tao - Diving certified!

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James and I are officially open water dive certificated!
We have done 4 hours of classroom time, 2 hours of pool time and 4 dives, maxing out at 60 ft deep.

Tomorrow we start on the advanced diving course. Which will involve a shipwreck from WW2 dive, a night dive, a deep (90 ft) dive and then 2 more.

For pictures from the enter trip in higher quality than the blog will allow:


Posted by BrianMader 21:48 Comments (0)

Cambodia- Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Angkor Wat

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James and I are currently on Thailand! After a grueling travel day we are in Koh Tao and have started our diving course. Tomorrow we do our first dive!

Getting here involved a very very choppy ferry ride that left about half the boat sea sick.

We arrived in Phnom Penh on the 8th and spent 1 day there. It was actually a surprisingly pretty city center. But the rest of the city was not so great. We went to the "killing fields" museum which was a pretty eye opening exhibit in Pol Pot. A dictator I knew very little about.


Next we went to Siem Reap. A small city just outside of Angkor Wat where we met up with two of my friends from college who are also doing SE Asia. We did 3 days in Angkor Wat which is one of the 7 wonders of the world and was pretty amazing. I'm just going to upload a bunch of photos. Angkor Wat is a series of about 30 temples from the Khmer empire. A civilization that is not taught in western classes but managed to create these temples.


A fair number of these temples were lost in the jungle for some time. Resulting in trees growing out of the temples. Which was some of the coolest be parts. When the French Colonized Cambodia they also did a fair amount of "restoration" and UNESCO has spent the last 20 years trying to fix all the damage they did. Finally the Khmer Rouge also inhabited these temples and also did a lot of damage. Luckily UNESCO is now running the show and there is a lot of work currently going on to continue to restore these temples.

The temples themselves were great. We were free to walk around and explore. Lots of tourists in the main temples. But some of the smaller ones were basically empty.

We got around the temples using tuk tuks. Which cost $20 total for the 4 us to get a driver for about 8 hours.




A quick view of the tourists scene.

This temple was not particularly interesting, but the path went through some cool swamps.

Finally we went to the main temple at sunrise. It was packed but very cool.

Here is the crowd:

Posted by BrianMader 02:48 Archived in Cambodia Tagged angkorwat phnom penh Comments (0)

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