Koh Tao is one of the best places to go in Thailand. I’ve been there several times, and although the trip from Bangkok is long and arduous, after I arrive I normally make the effort of crossing the island’s treacherous network of roads and tracks to the East coast, which has some isolated and beautiful beaches. This time, however, I was with my brother, and he hadn’t slept a wink on the overnight sleeper train, and so we crashed as soon as the catamaran had pulled up to the main beach. And that is where we stayed for five days.
I love this island. Even the most developed place still has a laid-back feel.
My brother and I have both transformed ourselves from pitifully weak swimmers into being able to swim a mile or two without any problem at all. I have to thank the TI technique for getting me to where I am now. The greatest thing about being here was being able to try-out this amazing skill away from the pool. (If you’ve never known the frustration of wanting to swim but being unable to, you may not understand how awesome it feels for me to finally do it well.)
On the second day we slapped on sunscreen, did a few stretches, and then donned our goggles. After admiring each other’s new strokes (he learned in England, I in Thailand, and we had not yet seen each other in action), then set out in earnest. Our destination: as far we needed to go to find some good fish.
I’ve never known freedom like this! We swam on and on, cutting through the water, not tiring. We saw a diving boat ahead and agreed to head for it. When we rolled-up, and then dove down, we saw why they had anchored-up here: we had found our tropical fish. Joy washed through me as I bobbed up and down with the small waves, soaking in the intensely blue water and pale sky.
Come evening, we feasted—as one likes to do in Thailand—and then found a cool beach bar. As we ordered our drinks, we got chatting to a couple of Australians. Settling down on comfy cushions spread on the sand, we enjoyed the fire show.
Of course, I couldn’t sit still for long. As the others continue the conversation, I tried out a new lighting technique. With the camera on a tripod, I triggered the shutter with a cheap infra-red remote control. The on-camera flash triggered a manual slave flash, gelled with +1 CTO orange, held by yours truly. I aimed this hard light directly onto the poi artist’s head.
You can see the difference between throwing some light onto the poi artist (the standout shot shown above) and no light (these silhouettes).