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Swimming with Sharks

by becca on January 13, 2010

In the ’90s, the little island of Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand, started attracting backpackers for its beautiful and affordable diving. Today Koh Tao hosts over 40 dive shops and certifies more open-water divers than any where in the world except for Cairns, Australia. This keeps prices competitive and promises a culture revolving around diving, but the dive sites are full of… divers.

After talking with about five different shops, we decided to do our dives with Phoenix Divers. Phoenix stands apart from the rest with really friendly staff, great prices, and a largeĀ open-air hang out area right on the beach that hosts a casual “beer o’clock” gathering every afternoon.

We did three days of diving. The mornings started at the shop at 6:50 as we loaded the equipment onto a long tail and hopped in for a short ride to Phoenix’s bright pink diving boat.

All three days we saw sharks — big bull sharks. These bad boys are known for their aggressive behavior and many have left surfers in other parts of the world missing arms and legs. Since there are so many divers around they seem to be used to humans and realize that we aren’t lunch. An addition to the sharks, there were huge schools of tropical fish that we could swim right through, pinnacles covered with healthy reef, and on one dive we followed a blue-spotted sting ray as it swam around.

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