The alarm woke me at just before 4am and I quickly set about packing everything up and waking the others. I didn't really need to hurry, however, as the train was running slightly late. We got off at Champhong at about 4.30am, and after I confirmed our ferry tickets to Koh Tao at a little counter adjacent to the platform we sat down to wait for whatever happened next. We were eventually summoned and directed to a double-decker coach, which drove us a short distance to the ferry terminal, where I reconfirmed our ferry tickets and we settled down to wait again – this time among a seething horde of young backpackers.
Not long after, the horde began to move, funnelling onto the long pier and out to the ferry, where we handed over our backpacks to join the growing pile on the deck and then climbed aboard. A screen at the front of the large cabin was showing funny cat videos as we took our seats, so the girls were happy. About an hour and half later, we disembarked on Koh Toa, grabbed our bags and walked down the equally long pier and into the chaotic scrum of taxi drivers and hostel owners trying desperately to attract the attention (and baht) of the arriving horde. When we made it to the other side, Kate and Sarah went to sort out our room at a scuba shop up the road while Zoe and I watched our stuff. Koh Toa is a real scuba island, and it hosts numerous dive centres that offer tuition and accommodation packages (apparently it's one of the best value places in the world to do your dive course). Our hostel was connected to one of the dive centres – a place for their students to stay, but also a place for other backpackers to stay. It proved to be pretty simple – our two poky rooms had beds, fans, a bathroom and not much else.
As we hadn't really eaten breakfast, we were all feeling a mite peckish, so we stopped in for a surprisingly good (if a tad expensive) pizza at a little place just down the road and then headed to the beach – a journey of about 15 minute along an undulating concrete path that took us past numerous bars and dive centres. When we got there, we stripped off and strolled in – the water was extremely shallow and we had to walk for quite a distance to get to the point where we could easily immerse ourselves. The very calm water was also, consequently, rather too warm, but it was refreshing enough (although it was overcast, it was still pretty hot).
When lunchtime rolled around we climbed onto the deck of one of the restaurants along the beach front and ordered some food. Afterwards, we went for another swim and then went for a stroll along the little road that runs parallel to the beach, went for another swim or two and then climbed back up onto the deck of the restaurant at which we had eaten lunch. Unfortunately, however, the red curry we ordered had pineapple in it, which was a deal breaker, so we won't be eating there again. After dinner we walked back to town, where we got some ice blocks at the 7-Eleven for dessert.