It is a beautiful morning and I am eager to get going, yet still we are late for the morning assembly at nine, the fact that I didn't catch much sleep last night probably had a lot to do with that. Our group has already transfered to the diving ship and departed, but one of the guys at the beach sticks us in his long boat and we give chase. As we catch up with the ship outside Ko bangu, or number nine, we join in on an improvised breakfast of some kind of fish porridge and toast with strawberry jam. We spend the morning making a few stops around number nine and the northern side of number eight. The amazing colour of the water is even more stark here. We return to the camp to pick up our gear after having had a lunch on the ship, preparing for the return to Khao Lak. Amusingly, at this point we learn that the camp staff were placing out mattresses in the camp tents yesterday while we were out with the ship, and since we'd padlocked the tent we didn't get any. Gee, you'd think they might have put up a note
As we board the ship that's coming in to take us back we're happy to see it is the same crew as yesterday. This time it is a group of farangs coming ashore. The ferry makes a final snorkling stop on the way home but before long we are on open water passing fishermen returning home from the day's work and once again watching the graceful flying fish shoot of like arrows from the hull of the ship. It is late in the afternoon when we arrive at the pier in Khao Lak. We're kind of stranded here but get a ride up to the main road where we wait for a bus that passes through Phuket. A guy comes up to offer a ride to Phuket but he wants too much money. Eventually we catch a bus and ride it down to a big stop downtown Phuket. This time we seem to have ended up on the vibrant side of town, unlike when we first got here. We dodge the touts and taxi drivers at the bus stop and walk towards the nearest hotels. The first ones we try are fully booked but we find a
Majestic tall ship appears
Amazing how she appears to be floating above the water
small place called Crystal Inn which has a nice room. We head out for dinner and we're smack in the middle of restaurants, bars and a vibrant market. Eventually we find a smaller Thai restaurant a bit away from the crowds and have dinner there. The food is so so, the chicken noodles are very oily with big chunks of squid thrown into the mix, and there is a very stark odor coming from the kitchen, a cloud of smoke smelling something like ammonium. Several of the regular patrons frown at the smell. We start coughing and sneezing, and are joined in by other dinner guests as well as the staffers!
It's been a long day, I'm still a bit dizzy from last night's lack of sleep and Kay still feels like the ground is shaking a bit from the boat trip, so we walk back to the hotel, buy some fruit and collapse on our nice clean beds. But Ko Similan still has one more surprise in store for me...
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