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Lots of diving and snorkeling on the island of Koh Tao

This is the most famous vista on the island with tourists waiting hours normally to get this shot; with coronavirus there were so few tourists on the island I practically had the place to myself

This is the most famous vista on the island with tourists waiting hours normally to get this shot; with coronavirus there were so few tourists on the island I practically had the place to myself

After more than a week on the island I finally spotted a turtle!; this hawksbill turtle will struggle to find a nesting place since there are very few undeveloped sandy beaches left on the island

After more than a week on the island I finally spotted a turtle!; this hawksbill turtle will struggle to find a nesting place since there are very few undeveloped sandy beaches left on the island

The small island of Koh Tao has more than 50 dive shops and is one of the world's most popular places to get certified; I took advantage and completed my Advanced Open Water certification

The small island of Koh Tao has more than 50 dive shops and is one of the world's most popular places to get certified; I took advantage and completed my Advanced Open Water certification

Juvenile batfish mimic leafs floating near the ocean's surface to avoid being eaten; some other batfish species mimic flatworms which don't taste good as one of their defense mechanisms

Juvenile batfish mimic leafs floating near the ocean's surface to avoid being eaten; some other batfish species mimic flatworms which don't taste good as one of their defense mechanisms

Definitely the Christmas tree worm capital of the world!; underwater structures are just covered in the worms which will disappear inside their host when you get too close

Definitely the Christmas tree worm capital of the world!; underwater structures are just covered in the worms which will disappear inside their host when you get too close

I saw a small group of 6 juvenile blacktip reef sharks in the shallows near Nang Yuan Island; they don't allow fins or water shoes on the island but I showed the staff my feet and they made an exception for me

I saw a small group of 6 juvenile blacktip reef sharks in the shallows near Nang Yuan Island; they don't allow fins or water shoes on the island but I showed the staff my feet and they made an exception for me

I must have delicious skin since I attracted another sharksucker today; this one would not leave and stayed with me around Shark Island

I must have delicious skin since I attracted another sharksucker today; this one would not leave and stayed with me around Shark Island

I enjoyed a long kayak trip to Shark Island where I spent the afternoon; I snorkeled around the island a few times when I wasn't on the rock reading

I enjoyed a long kayak trip to Shark Island where I spent the afternoon; I snorkeled around the island a few times when I wasn't on the rock reading

The waters around Koh Tao suffered a severe coral bleaching event caused by El Nino about 5 yrs ago so most of the coral is now dead

The waters around Koh Tao suffered a severe coral bleaching event caused by El Nino about 5 yrs ago so most of the coral is now dead

A few tourists walking on the sand bar connecting two of the three islets that make up Nang Yuan Island; the island is just off the NW corner of Koh Tao

A few tourists walking on the sand bar connecting two of the three islets that make up Nang Yuan Island; the island is just off the NW corner of Koh Tao

This barrel sponge is covered in banded white sea cucumbers; these critters were on every sponge and look more like transparent worms than sea cucumbers

This barrel sponge is covered in banded white sea cucumbers; these critters were on every sponge and look more like transparent worms than sea cucumbers

I opted to stay on the quieter, southern end of Koh Tao; this is the view from my hotel looking at the shallow, peaceful waters of Chalok Baan Kao Bay

I opted to stay on the quieter, southern end of Koh Tao; this is the view from my hotel looking at the shallow, peaceful waters of Chalok Baan Kao Bay

Hin Yaai Mae is one of the local spirit rocks that locals believe to be gods who will protect them from natural disasters and bad luck, especially when traveling at sea

Hin Yaai Mae is one of the local spirit rocks that locals believe to be gods who will protect them from natural disasters and bad luck, especially when traveling at sea

I'd see an occasional grouper snorkeling or diving, typically hiding during the day; they can live more than 50 years although excessive fishing is causing their numbers to decrease

I'd see an occasional grouper snorkeling or diving, typically hiding during the day; they can live more than 50 years although excessive fishing is causing their numbers to decrease

On most dives I saw large schools of juvenile barracuda; in general, the visibility on the dives wasn't very good and there wasn't a great deal of note in the species seen

On most dives I saw large schools of juvenile barracuda; in general, the visibility on the dives wasn't very good and there wasn't a great deal of note in the species seen

Aow Leuk Bay had the best snorkeling on the island of the places I visited; it was a strenuous walk from my hotel on streets where cars have to use first gear most of the way

Aow Leuk Bay had the best snorkeling on the island of the places I visited; it was a strenuous walk from my hotel on streets where cars have to use first gear most of the way

This Australian spotted jellyfish was the first jellyfish I've seen in Thailand; supposedly they have only a mild venom but I steered clear and didn't find out myself

This Australian spotted jellyfish was the first jellyfish I've seen in Thailand; supposedly they have only a mild venom but I steered clear and didn't find out myself

The thicklip wrasse takes in mouthfuls of sand to sift out invertebrates before passing the sand out through the gill openings; Koh Tao is pretty remote with its nearest neighbor almost 50 kms away

The thicklip wrasse takes in mouthfuls of sand to sift out invertebrates before passing the sand out through the gill openings; Koh Tao is pretty remote with its nearest neighbor almost 50 kms away

I saw this critically endangered hawksbill turtle at Tanote Bay; like other sea turtles, hawksbills are solitary for most of their lives; they meet only to mate

I saw this critically endangered hawksbill turtle at Tanote Bay; like other sea turtles, hawksbills are solitary for most of their lives; they meet only to mate

Prior to 1943, Koh Tao was uninhabited; it served first as a political prison and then local fisherman moved onto the island; the first tourists arrived in 1977 and the first resort was built in 1984

Prior to 1943, Koh Tao was uninhabited; it served first as a political prison and then local fisherman moved onto the island; the first tourists arrived in 1977 and the first resort was built in 1984

I visited Tanote Bay on my last day; it's on the east side of the island and would have been a brutal walk so I was a whimp and took a taxi

I visited Tanote Bay on my last day; it's on the east side of the island and would have been a brutal walk so I was a whimp and took a taxi

Six-banded angelfish; I saw plenty of angelfish snorkeling but they live at depths that make it difficult to photograph them; they are also super shy and immediately leave when they see the camera

Six-banded angelfish; I saw plenty of angelfish snorkeling but they live at depths that make it difficult to photograph them; they are also super shy and immediately leave when they see the camera

A school of surf parrotfish enjoying their lunch; most parrotfish are solitary creatures, but this particular species likes to stay in a large group

A school of surf parrotfish enjoying their lunch; most parrotfish are solitary creatures, but this particular species likes to stay in a large group

Both sides of Aow Leuk Bay had good snorkeling; that's Shark Island in the distance; the beaches are empty as much of the island has shut down due to lack of tourists

Both sides of Aow Leuk Bay had good snorkeling; that's Shark Island in the distance; the beaches are empty as much of the island has shut down due to lack of tourists

Naun Yang Island was my favorite spot around Koh Tao for its beauty and uniqueness; it helped considerably that there were so few tourists on the island thanks to coronavirus restrictions

Naun Yang Island was my favorite spot around Koh Tao for its beauty and uniqueness; it helped considerably that there were so few tourists on the island thanks to coronavirus restrictions

Koh Tao's economy is based around scuba diving schools with a local population of only 1500; the granite boulders around the island and on the beaches reminded me of the Seychelles

Koh Tao's economy is based around scuba diving schools with a local population of only 1500; the granite boulders around the island and on the beaches reminded me of the Seychelles

Two km long Sairee Beach is the island's most popular and where most of the lodging and dive shops are located; the ferries also use piers on Sairee Beach

Two km long Sairee Beach is the island's most popular and where most of the lodging and dive shops are located; the ferries also use piers on Sairee Beach

This blotched pufferfish was huge!; members of this species are solitary, except during mating periods; it is nocturnal while during the day it normally hides in caves or under ledges

This blotched pufferfish was huge!; members of this species are solitary, except during mating periods; it is nocturnal while during the day it normally hides in caves or under ledges

The island had a couple of small markets but it seemed the most popular places were the 7-11's; during my stay a policy was implemented where you had to wear a face mask in order to enter the stores

The island had a couple of small markets but it seemed the most popular places were the 7-11's; during my stay a policy was implemented where you had to wear a face mask in order to enter the stores

I had never seen banded white sea cucumbers before; this guy was alone but usually they congregate in large colonies on any sponge

I had never seen banded white sea cucumbers before; this guy was alone but usually they congregate in large colonies on any sponge

One of the more common sights in the waters here was the longfin bannerfish; the weather was awesome throughout my visit with a few clouds, nice breeze and warm temperatures

One of the more common sights in the waters here was the longfin bannerfish; the weather was awesome throughout my visit with a few clouds, nice breeze and warm temperatures

The orange spot rabbitfish is one of the most common species around Koh Tao yet just one of them will cost around $50 for your aquarium at home

The orange spot rabbitfish is one of the most common species around Koh Tao yet just one of them will cost around $50 for your aquarium at home

Batfish; a long boat to Nang Yuan Island from Sairee Beach cost about $8 round-trip; admission to the island was a little more than $3; no plastic is allowed on the island but they forgot to check my bag

Batfish; a long boat to Nang Yuan Island from Sairee Beach cost about $8 round-trip; admission to the island was a little more than $3; no plastic is allowed on the island but they forgot to check my bag

Tanote Bay is known for having this huge boulder on the beach; the snorkeling on the east side of the island was far superior to the south end where I stayed

Tanote Bay is known for having this huge boulder on the beach; the snorkeling on the east side of the island was far superior to the south end where I stayed

Posted by VagabondCowboy 22:02

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