Khaolak Live aboard and another visa run
Apr 1, 2006
|So today is April 1st and I got back yesterday from a 4 night, 3 1/2 day live aboard in the Similan Islands, perhaps some of the best diving there is in Thailand.
So Danielle, Dan, Lital, Perry, Wendy and myself packed our stuff up and left Koh Tao by the overnight boat on the 26th and arrived in Surat Thani about 4 the following morning. Woken by the police saying everybody get your stuff and prepare to leave the boat. Hhhmmm, . . so we got out and were hustled into the back of a covered pickup to be taken to the booking agents place to get our ticket for our Air Con bus to Khaolak, on the west side of the country. At this point everything seemed pretty normal in that we didn't know what was going on and everybody just keep talking Thai to us and either pretended to not understand us or was just choosing not to as they put us on a local bus (not air con, not VIP, and definitely not worth the 200 some Baht that we paid for) and set us on our way. We were first supposed to be getting there at 9:30 in the morning but the bus guys was telling us it would be more like 10 or so and we didn't actually get there to some time after 11 but whatever, the ride was actually pretty fun besides the constant stopping every time someone on the side of the road waved their hands to get on (there are very few designated bus stops, you just stand on the side of the road and wait for a bus going in your direction) but at-least you could open the windows and the door was open most of the time so it was nice to hangout side the bus while we were going. We were also the only Farangs on the bus for almost the entire journey which makes things even more amusing.
The interior of the country has some absolutely beautiful sections to it, valleys tucked between rocky ridges and tall granite towers with the clouds coming in low and hugging them in the early morning before being burned off by the afternoon sun. Small streams and rivers with the occasional town, village, way station popping up with vendors selling their wares on the side of the road.
As we arrived on the west coast and headed down to Khaolak we were reminded that a little over a year ago this whole area was hit by the tsunami, Little things like new construction, cleared out landscapes and the fact that there was a 50 or 60 ft naval boat washed about 1/2 mile from the beach on the other side of the road nestled against the side of a hill. . . I knew the guy was trying to share a story with me because he does this ride everyday but the language barrier was to much and I think we both felt abit aggravated with the lack of our ability to communicate. Wish we had a translator.
So we finally arrived into Khaolak and since I had no expectations I was surprised to find it very built up and Western. Well actually the town is built on the road and is only about 3 blocks long but it all looked very new and I guess it could of been actually. But there was really nothing to do while we waited about for the next 9 hr's or so before we packed up and headed to the boat so some went for a walk, some went for the internet and well I borrowed Aom's scooter from the shop and went for noodle soup and a nap.
About 30 minutes later I was woken by a little girl with a water pistol, so much for my nap. As to how she got my water pistol I will never know but I am sure Aom had something to do with it.
Finally about 9 or 10 that night we finally boarded the Manta Queen amid the rain and I am sure we were all wondering how the rest of the trip was going to be? Blue skies and clear water's or more of this for the next 3 1/2 days?
Blue skies and clear water's baby, awoke the next morning to clear skies and the first of our 5 meals/snacks that were to come thru out the day. Diving four times a day and eating constantly definitely makes one a very sedate person. This is actually how they probably planned it, sedate people rarely complain do they? So besides the usual suspects of fish and coral life we found ourselves surrounded by an array of Triggers and the best part of these triggers is that they were also very sedate just like us and were not trying to attack you. On Koh Tao we only have two types and they are both agitated. You can always expect to be on the wrong side of a 1 meter long (3ft) Trigger attack. Out here in the Andaman Sea and the Similan Islands it's a whole different world. White tip reef sharks, courting leopard sharks (whose mating consists of the male nipping the females tale and she either agrees or swims off and the male try's it all over again. A bit like life isn't it?) and Manta Rays. These suckers, or at-least the ones we saw were from 3-4 meters long, that the size of your average full size SUZ. These weren't even the big ones. Absolutely impressive.
Just like real life things come to an end and after 3 1/2 days with Geraldo AKA Jerry , Khaolak Scuba Adventures and parting with 13'000 Baht (discounted from 18'000) we headed back to the mainland. Perry and Wendy got a great deal of 8'000 baht and decided to stay on instead of heading to Krabi and Kho PiPi , Dangerous Dan decided to head to BKK and myself, Danielle and Latel jumped onto a bus Danielle and Latel trying to get to Chumphon in time to get the overnight boat back to Kho Tao and myself for Ranong to head to Burma and a visa run and then back to Kho Tao somehow.
Here's a funny though, I mentioned to Danielle how the bus was actually pretty comfortable and as long as the cute little kid in front of us doesn't throw up on me this should actually be pretty enjoyable ride. Well he didn't throw up on me. . ;)
Another funny, the girls made it to Chumphon on time to make the overnight boat except somehow they were put on with about 20 Thai's and a boatload of fruits and vegatables. Wrong boat, ship happens eh?