For some reason I got up before everyone else. I sat on the upper deck and watched the crew come to life and get the boat ready for departure. Even underneath the thick clouds the island's beaches looked so inviting. I was feeling so much better than yesterday - I was really looking forward to the first dive.
The dive was very nice. I'm getting sick of nice dives, I want to see something spectacular. The first dive was at Shark Fin Reef on Koh Payan (Island #3). While I didn't see any shark parts, or for that matter a reef, I did see a lot of eels and a blue spotted sting ray. However, the higlights were definitely the octopus and the turtle. Everyone packed around to get a glimpse of the octopus' eye as he cowered in his hole. I sat back and waited for everyone else to loose interest. Sure enough as soon as everyone else continued on the octopus came out to have a look. I am always so amazed at how quickly the color and even texture of their skin can chance - it's truly amazing! While I was comuning with the octopus the others were chasing a poor green turtle. Good for me as when he made his escape he flew right past me and when he realized he wasn't being chased anymore he even hung out for a few minutes - very nice.
After the dive breakfast was waiting as usual. Today was pineapple pancakes with honey - I am definitely getting used to this lifestyle. After breakfast lounged around reading and watching the rain until it was time for the second dive. The second dive was the Coral Gardens on Koh Huyong (Island #1). Given the name I found the coral very disappointing. In fact it wasn't a very exciting dive at all and was kind of a bummer way to finnish of the trip. The highlight was a giant stonefish, and the usual moray eels. After the dive the boat headed for shore. As we were leaving it looked like a storm was heading in so the captain decided to head for Tuplamu, the nearby port we left for instead of heading all the way back to Patong. After a huge lunch I was so tired I could hardly keep my eyes open, so I didn't. I dozed on the deck for almost two hours. After waking up I finnished up on my dive log, worked on my journal, and wrote email. From Tuplamu we all crammed into and A/C van to Patong - it's suposed to be nicer than the open pickup truck we cam in - but I would have prefered the fresh air.
In Patong we all made plans to meet later at a questionable bar - famous for it's transvestites. I decided I was down to my last few days on the road and I wasn't going to risk anymore nights being eaten so I splurged for a nice place. the hotel was nice even by western standards, and while it may have cost me more than three times more than my last room it was still under $14. I went to the internet cafe and waded through 70 email messages - the vast majority junk mail - then had dinner and returned to my air-conditioned room to take advantage of a hot shower. I met up with the two Swedes - one of them had hired a Thai girlfriend - and walked with them to the bar. It wasn't really a bar it was a large square sourounded by small bars. In the square there was a small stage and many tables. On stage the women were dancing and varried from stunningly beautiful to not - and they all used to be men. Very scary - lots of them were completely undetectable. I was seriously embarassed - much to the amusment of the others - when one of them who was cruising give me a kiss leaving a huge red lip print on my cheek. At least it was one of the pretty ones... Other amusment was they were filming an action movie at the next table over - some big actor from Hong Kong that Pheebe and Ben recognized. The director kept threatening to by us drinks, but he never did. Around three the others headed to a disco and I joined a neighboring table full of Canadian guys to protect myself from the cruisers while finishing my beer.