Kayaking in the mangroves

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February 4th 2019
Published: February 5th 2019
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Last night I tried the famous roll icecream. The making of it is very theatrical, they put all the ingredients on a frozen plate, chop them up like mad before spreading it all out to freeze (in seconds) and then scrape it off into rolls and put it in a pot. Looks impressive, doesn’t taste particularly wow! 100b, 8/10 for the entertainment factor.

Today our pickup was at 8.30-8.45. My buddies were already in the back of the tuktuk and we picked up others along the way until we were quite squashed in. The others were from Taiwan, China, the Ukraine and France. We had no real idea where we were going but ended up on the coast to the north, about a 30 min drive through rubber and palm oil plantations. On arrival there was crappy tea and coffee with powdered milk and we hung around for a while. The area was beautiful. They gave us wet bags for cameras etc (with sad stories of people who Did Not Fold Enough and then capsized) and we left any other stuff on some shelves, no security, and they said to take flip flops off but wet shoes were OK. Bare feet did fine, though, and we wore shorts and tops and got a bit wet. The guide, Pong, gave us a demo of how to paddle, turn and stop. The was lost in translation for the Ukrainians, one of whom ended up with me, bless him, as the kayaks were best for 2, 3 at a squeeze (and needing good paddle coordination), not for one. One guide at the front and back and about 6 kayaks between. One young Chinese couple struggled and were the last back by a long way. She was the thinnest little person with arms like twigs, no umph for paddling.

We went into the mangroves starting with the narrowest part. Unfortunately the fact that the demo at the beginning was linguistically lost on my partner became very evident and so we kept crashing into things, other people, trees, rocks. It was very convoluted getting round all the roots and submerged rocks. Beautiful and peaceful, with soaring limestone cliffs, murky water and one monkey! We met a few other groups who were coming through the route from the opposite direction, which caused a bit of chaos. The guide, Pong, was so nice and knowledgeable. He gave us demo number 2, as we were quite slow and needed to speed up. The morning only trip route was ‘only’ 7km. Just after half way my arms were asking if we were nearly there yet. We weren’t. The final part was with the outgoing tide, but once out of the cliff it was quite choppy and a long way back across the bay. Even my partner was flagging. We were ever so happy to get back. Eventually, so were the Chinese couple. We had fruit and more dodgy beverages when we got back and the all day people were served lunch, which looked OK. They were swimming somewhere in the afternoon but the morning was enough for us.

Back to Ao Nang along the new highway, quicker than going. Definitely this trip is worth while, especially if you are not intending to use your arms much the next day, or are fit.

I made myself fill in my BA compensation claim and then went down to the beach, starving, for a massoman curry and a beer. Both were delicious.

Tomorrow, depending on if I can move my arms or not, is Poda Island day.

Additional photos below
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My Ukrainian kayak partner!

Gorgeous view from the Last Fisherman Bar

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