13 June 2012

Book Boat
to Pier
Boat Broke
Emerald Cave
Koh Kapang snorkel
Back and town walk
Dinner

Today we decided to give in and book a completely overpriced long tail boat to do some sightseeing. As we are stuck on the island, the locals have figured out you can basically charge anything, and even in low season there isn’t much haggling possible. The lady at the front desk booked us a boat for pick up at the nearest beach for 9.45, to take us to the Emerald Cave and then to the nearby island Ko Kapang for some snorkeling.

We grab the stuff we want to bring, and wait patiently at the beach. The boat is about half an hour late, when a guy from our bungalows shows up with his moto. Apparently the waves are to big, and we need to go to the other side of the island, to take the long boat from the pier. The waves are not that big.. but ok. We load in and scooter across.
Our long boat is a pretty standard one, and we are happy it has a roof, as we were a bit worried about getting burned. We are in and ready to go. we wait.. We look at the crabs climbing the pier.. We wait. What are we waiting for? We ask the young teenager (our driver we presume) why we are not going yet. He does not reply. We ask if there is snorkeling gear in the boat for us to use. He is starting to look confused. Ok.. he does not speak english at all. Suddenly our motorbike guy’s head pops up, and he will be our translator. “Where do you want to go?” Wait a sec, we thought everyone knew the plan, as there had been multiple phone calls between our hostess and the boat, last night and this morning. We talked him though what we were expecting, and he told our driver in Thai. There seemed to be a problem with visiting the cave, due to the “big” waves. And the snorkeling was not a good idea, as the water was not clear. What are we doing here then?? As by now it is mid morning and we don’t just want to go back, we ask if we can just go and try anyway. everybody seems okay with this, but we are still not leaving. After a bit a twenty year old guy enters the boat and it becomes clear that he is our driver. He has brought fuel and the snorkeling gear. Yay! We are off!

Pass the Hammer please.
What? Its still on the beach?

We make it out about 200 metres, when the boat stalled. (Oh, this day is not going well) There seem to be some issues with the fan belt. A few false starts, a bang or two with a hammer, and our crew decides to go on without a fanbelt, as it is the only way.
We cruise along side the island admiring the steep rock formations. Every now and then we got to see the very rare and elusive Thai Walking fish.  This is related to the flying fish, but instead of jumping through the air, it walks along the water.  The first one we saw jumped up and used its tailfin to walk along the wavetop for about 10 metres.  This was brilliant.  The second repeated this trick, then jumped through the air, landing on its fins and continued on again.

When we get close to the Cave we start seeing all the other tour boats. We had not expected this, as our island is mostly deserted. These are people taking tours from the mainland. We jump in the water wearing lifejackets. Have you ever tried swimming with an oversized lifejacket? Floating is good, but it is hard work swimming. It takes a while, but we make it to the cave entrance. The water level is high. During low tide the longboats go though the 80 metre cave, but at the moment there is barely room for your head. Anna decides against going in, as she is worried she will knock her self out hitting her head against the rocks with the next big wave. She stays to bob around. Andrew and our young guide are heading in. Unfortunately our guide did not bring a torch and feels it is too dangerous to go though without light. He really should have thought about this sooner..
So we did not get to see the Emerald bit, but it is supposed to be a beautiful little lake at the end of the tunnel. It gets its name from the colour of the water.

Looking good down there

Our long tail moves onto Koh Kapang. The most beautiful island around. This is the best snorkel spot. There are quite a few big fishing boats around, and the deserted island turns out to have a big resort on it. A bit less idyllic then we thought. But we came to snorkel, and under water should be good.
When we jumped from the boat the water was murky and we couldn’t see anything. We decided to try closer to shore. Suddenly there was a massive school of little yellow fishies! Anna had some issues with the snorkel mask and went back to the boat to try a different set.

FISHIES!

The coral was not very colourful, but there were fish everywhere. We saw clown fish, gropers, cucumbers, yellow fish, green fish, silver fish etc. Giant clams on the bottom and sea-urchens.Some of the fish got a bit fresh and started nibbling at us.

We made it back to the boat, and although the cave had been disappointing, the snorkeling made it all worth it.

Island Life

The boaties dropped us between our beach (hat farang) and the pier, in the mangroves. As we are close to town, we decided on a walk and start looking for lunch. A lot of places look like restaurants, but as it is low season, they are all closed. The town itself is not too bad. Most of the houses are built on pillars and it looks like the big tides come in a long way. Unfortunately under (and around) the house is where the people keep their rubbish. It is kinda reminding us of Mimili. Not sure if they even have a garbage collection service on this island. And looking around, some of these Muslims are very heavy drinkers 🙂

We started asking around for a place to eat, and it turns out that everything is closed for off season.  There is one place open.  The Hilltop.  However we did find another place that was serving pre cooked food.  We took the risk.  A Thai Green Curry which was spicy but good.  Then walked back to our side of the Island.

Here is where we find the sunburn.  Andrew had gotten dressed and put sunscreen on.  However took his shirt off to snorkel.  Big mistake.  His back was as red as a canned beetroot with no cream or anything.  Still it was worth it.

We had stopped in at the Hilltop to see when they closed as we walked back.  Apparently they are open for dinner.  We were just being fed a line to get us to eat at another place (wich was good), so we decided to go back there.

A fantastic feed with a hostess that was really friendly and enjoyable company.  She was complaining that people only come from the town side of the island (paying 50 baht each, each way) and no one walked up from our side.  We explained to her that we were told it was only open for lunch. She was not impressed.  There was also another couple that were staying in the main resort next to town there.  Even the restaurant in this resort was closed.  It was a very pleasant evening.

To top it off, we had picked up a bit of grog before we went out there.  There was a clear spirit that is probably made from rice.  This is a Thai alcohol that we had to try (we have been drinking Hong Thong, a local whiskey).  It was very hard to drink straight so we started mixing it with softdrinks.  There were a few combinations to try from Red to fluorescent green.  You can see the results in the gallery.

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