Koh Tao, Thailand

Both of us were born and raised in San Diego, California. We have perfect weather the whole year long, easy access to all sorts of thrilling water activities, and more beaches than we could hope for. And yet, it took flying across the world for us to look into scuba diving. 

Both of us were born and raised in San Diego, California. We have perfect weather the whole year long, easy access to all sorts of thrilling water activities, and more beaches than we could hope for. And yet, it took flying across the world for us to look into scuba diving. 

Testing out our equipment

Upon a personal recommendation from a coworker at my beloved mussel factory, we signed up for Open Water Scuba with Simple Life Divers. There are over 50 dive shops on this tiny 13-square-mile island, but Simple Life is small and keeps you in intimate groups - Dennis and I had two instructors all to ourselves. There are two mornings worth of class work with videos and worksheets to cover the important material, but then you get to spend two afternoons + one morning diving in the 82º+ Gulf of Thailand. YUM.

Upon our first trip under the surface, I began to comprehend the hype behind all those glass bottomed boats and underwater hotels. There are oh so many more kinds of fish than the ones you see swimming around at Petsmart. (A disappointing lack of goldfish and beta out here though.)

Weibel's Butterfly Fish + Giant Grouper

Before we even completed our three-day Open Water course, we decided to continue on to Advanced Open Water, which luckily contains zero book work for our atrophied college graduate minds, and even more diving trips than Open Water. Of these, we got to go on a night dive, swim down to 30 meters (100 feet), and through the wreck of HMTS Sattakut. The HMTS Sattakut first belonged to the US Navy during WWII and then the Thai Royal Navy from 1947 until it was sunk in 2007 to form an artificial reef and give divers an opportunity to explore a wreck. It was tremendously ghostly, but gives me grand dreams of becoming a treasure hunter and finding Rose's Heart of the Ocean necklace.

Dennis diving around the HMTS Sattakut

With our sightings of everything from puffer fish and giant groupers to eels and stingrays, we have called our diving adventures a success and are counting down the days until we can strap on our diving gear again.

Stingray and Moray Eel

The rest of our time in Thailand we spent lounging on the beaches of Koh Tao and filling ourselves with as much pad thai as we could stomach. We had another all night ferry/bus trip (through the most turbulent seas I’ve encountered) to Bangkok. Bangkok is overflowing with young American, Aussie, British, and European backpackers, and can all be easily found on Khao San Road bartering for the lowest prices on everything from Chang beer to knock-off watches to fried insect snacks. By the time we boarded our next plane, I hypocritically had had my fill of fellow backpackers and was ready for the next exotic leg of our trip – TANZANIA, AFRICA.

Visiting with Bangkok's native Ronnie McD