Published: July 2nd 2012July 2nd 2012
The ferry ride over to Koh Tao was a bit of a mess - the ferry will hold hundreds of passengers - but no cars. So it's a a huge mass of people trying to get on quickly so you can find a seat - but in the meantime it's a confusion of getting a spot for your bags, too. All the bags went in the front of the ferry, so we had to bypass a seat to drop our bags, but then had to wade through the other people getting on back to our seats. In the end, everyone had a place for both their bags and their bottoms. It was a good two hour ride, and Mr. Bean was playing on the TV. I could not enjoy the views as I had picked a window seat with black plywood for glass - a feature I did not notice until it was too late. I couldn't enjoy Bean, either, as I was feeling a bit ill from the boat motion.
Again, all worth it. I don't remember the name of the village we landed in, but it was only a few minutes ride in the back of
a pickup with our luggage from the ferry dock to our nice little resort. It took maybe three minutes to walk to the beach from the door of our room. It was a beautiful stretch of beach about two miles long with restaurants and guesthouses along the beach. Plenty of sand to sun in, but little shade. I opted for reading in the shade of our closest restaurant for most of the afternoon. The "prevening" was a short walk along the small street before meeting everyone for dinner. The walk was a simple cobble stone/brick path that meandered about 50 yards from the beach with restaurants, resorts, guest houses and shop lining both sides. It was a more active area than in Koh Pha Ngan, but still an early night for me.
The next day dawned with an all day snorkel trip on the agenda. We popped back to the ferry dock and somehow managed to get to our small boat for the trip. We had to climb from the pier through and over three other boats to get out to ours. All in the name of the adventure. Once we all boarded, we had to wait
for our lunch to arrive, but then we were off. The first snorkel spot was too rough so we by passed it and stopped again soon. We snorkeled in each spot for about 40 minutes before being dragged out of the water to go to our next spot. Each spot was good for one or two things. One was great for seeing many anemones with clown fish. It was quite a wonderful day, with four spots to snorkel. It was exhausting, however. We were not given fins because of the danger to the corral, which I respect. But swimming back and forth from the boat with out them was a workout!
After the snorkel spots, we went over to a privately leased island for a bit of sun bathing, with the other thousand or so tourists that were on the other boats. I went for one last snorkel and saw some sea cucumbers really close just before the storm hit. It cleared out the beach and we were able to snag a few beach chair/umbrella sets that had been abandoned. We hung around for about two hours before heading back to our little resort. Again, I chose a quick shower and some reading at the beach - with a tasty little banana shake as an afternoon snack before meeting everyone for dinner.
Last night's dinner was a wonderful barbecue on the beach (steak and shrimp with baked potato). Tonight was a hike down the path for another dinner on the beach - which was rather quickly abandoned for a spot at a table in order to keep the sand from being blown into our food. We could take the wind, but not the sand. Nor could we take the rain that came shortly after our food arrived, so the staff dropped the curtains that seem to be always in the ready for just such a night. The rain tapered as we finished our meal.
The next ferry ride was quite a bit different. Same style boat, but the organization made everything ok. We arrived to the dock quite early, but had seats on the pier to wait. The boat arrived, and we were told exactly where to put luggage, and even had one way routes on the boat. Arrival meant we all exited the same way to find our bags already on the pier waiting for pickup.
So now we are in a small area of Koi Samui - Lamai - off the south east coast. It's a lovely resort, but no real beach with out some walking. The beach lounge chairs, however, are in shade of some wonderful palm trees, and the tide is in, and the pool behind is refreshing. Yesterday's arrival took a lot out of me! I arrived, was starving for lunch, and needed a rest, badly. I took a three hour nap, barely managed to get up for dinner, and came back to the hotel and slept the night through. Which was good, since today was another busy one.
We started with our van pickup at 8:00am. We waited for our speed boat and then crammed about 50 of us into the seats and we took off for Angthong National Park area. Our first stop was for an hour of snorkeling. It was wonderful. My mask fit and didn't fog or leak! First time, maybe ever?? I got to see some amazing trenches (well, for me they were) and the coolest black sea urchins with ultraviolet/neon blue spots down along the spine - I watched one for a while as it spat out bits of sand. There were some other sights that you just can't explain - mental pictures as I forgot my little disposable underwater camera on the boat.
Our next stop was to see the emerald lake. It was a hike up these crazy steep steps about 100 meters to see a beautiful - well, emerald lake. And then back down one step at a time - I didn't want to end up like the flip flop I saw down at the bottom of one of the ravines.
Our last stop was for some lunch and then sea kayaking. Lunch was served buffet style, and then we had just a few minutes before the whistle blew! It was our boat guide's way of shepherding us around. Some of us on the tour and on the boat had never kayaked before, (including Noelle) and I applaud all who jumped in and tried it. It was a lot of work fighting the current, but Noelle was a trooper and has a strong left stroke :-) We kayaked out into the bay and around a large "rock" - island?? It was a good 45 minute ride, including a sketchy spot where we "got" to go through a tunnel in the rock. It was a bit dodgy, but I was proud of us for doing it!
Back to the boat for a pretty quick ride back to the pier and our hotel. Tonight is our farewell dinner. Many of us are heading to different destinations tomorrow and the next day. It will be a different trip with out our great traveling companions.
Oh, and if you're wondering where "50'd up" came from, bully for you for reading to the end! It was the phrase we all seem to have taken up for when we wanted to make sure each other had properly put on not only enough sunscreen, but the proper factor! As in "did you 50 up?"