Hello From Koh Tao

{This was an email I sent out to my contacts on my first trip to Asia in 2002}

hello from the small island of koh tao, thai for turtle island. this island is one of the better scuba diving areas in the gulf of thailand, and the cheapest diving i’ve ever seen… i just finished my padi open water diving certification course, and went on two dives already, and are going on two more tomorrow… its really cool to breathe underwater!

i was able to see some great fish today. i saw this little anemone fish which stays inside of the same anemone its whole life, guarding it from other fish. it was tiny, but when i put my fingers near it it got all defensive! the anemone was really beautiful too, its arms were a reddish purple, and its foot attacher was this crazy iridescent blue/purple, i cant believe some of the bright colors underwater. i also saw a giant clam, which was big enough to fit my head inside!

there are two different types of geckos on this island, a small kind, about 4-5″ long and a large kind, about a foot long. the small kind make a funny sound, like “eeek eeek eeek eeek eeek” and are everywhere. (in the ceiling of the bathroom, on the wall of the restaurant…).

the big ones hid from me until just a few minutes ago. i hear the first one the first night we were here, it makes a really loud noise, starting with a sound like a sheep, baaah baaah..then this crazy loud “eh-kogh eh-kogh, eh-kogh eh-kogh”.

pippin and i had laughed in our hut, trying to envision an animal which could produce such an absurd noise… maybe its a dodo crossed with a goat? my dive teacher told me what it was the next day, but i hadn’t actually seen one until just a few minutes ago, when one ran in the window of the room im in, ran up the wall and out through the roof.

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