We went to a site about 2 hours from Koh Tao called Sail Rock for a truly amazing 2 dives. For the amount of time it took us to get out there I wish we could have gotten 3 dives, but such is life :) The first dive was filled with beautiful coral, massive schools of fish, including a barracuda tornado, and other marine life big and small. I tried to get myself inside of the barracuda vortex but someone scared them off before I could get there. I still got pretty close though. Check out the pictures below.
Of course, after we had just exited the water and were enjoying the first few bites of our lunch we heard someone call "Whale Shark!!!!" We couldn't dive again so soon after surfacing, but that didn't stop us from jumping back in the water with some snorkel gear. What an incredible experience to watch an animal that large swim so gracefully through the water just below you. One guy decided it would be cool to grab the poor things fin and go for a ride, but it was nice to see him get punched not once, but twice. What a jerk!
About an hour later we got back in the water for our second dive and saw a second, slightly smaller whale shark swim by us. It was probably about 15 meters away and diving quickly so we couldn't get a close look, but still, it was incredible. In fact, I almost missed it. I was taking a picture of coral when my dive buddy tugged on my fin and pointed to where the shark was diving.
For anyone who doesn't already know, whale sharks are pretty docile and harmless. They eat krill and other small organisms, like whales. They also apparently like swimming with divers because they like the bubbles on their bellies. I guess I will have to change my wish list from seeing a whale shark to having a close encounter with one. Hopefully I will get another chance, fingers crossed!