Friday, 14 February 2014

Snorkelling and scootering

Ko Phayam was a pleasant stop, a pretty bay with a good selection of beach restaurants, but without the crowds of tourists of Phuket. The beach practically seemed empty in comparison. There are no cars, only scooters and small paved roads, so we rented a scooter and spent a day exploring the island. It's actually so small that we finished up already at 3pm after having explored all the drivable roads.
Totally irresponsible with no safety gear! In our defense the guy renting us the scooter had no helmets and it is a very quiet island
There are lots of rubber plantations on Ko Phayam, see the black collection bowls hanging on the trunks.
The only big downside of Phayam was there's no snorkelling. And that's our favourite thing to do, so we left and sailed back to Surin Islands. From there it's about two hours sail to Richelieu Rock, a rock/reef brommie in the middle of the sea, and one of Thailand's best dive site. And it really was fantastic. Unfortunately I think I have taken our underwater camera a bit too deep one too many times and it now only takes black pictures, so I don't have a single picture to show how beautiful it was. However, Totem did, and I have borrowed the below photo of Behan. To see a more stunning photos (although of course photos never do full justice to the reality, which in the case was just absolutely amazing) check out Totem's two posts here and here. Finally coral that wasn't dead and grey as most reefs we have snorkelled on here in Asia.
Photo kindly borrowed from Totem. See more stunning photos here and here.
It's too deep to anchor and the one or two moorings were occupied by dive boats, so we took turns drifting in Sophia, while the other snorkelled. Thanks to Totem for snorkelling here first and recommending it, I'm not sure I would have persuaded Phil to make the detour otherwise. We sailed back to Surin to spend another night there before proceeding to Similan, as that's a long day's sail. On our way the next day we did however, just, have enough time for a snorkel stop on Ko Tachai. It wasn't as spectacular as Richelieu Rock, but it was pretty cool nonetheless, and a gorgeous beach also. For some reason we had imagined we'd have it all to ourselves, as it's just an island in the middle of nowhere, but of course the tourist speed boats also makes tours all the way our there!

Similan islands (and Surin, Richelieu and Ko Tachai) are national parks and protected (relatively), and fish life is therefore abundant. We're no experts, but according to Totem it's unfortunately not very versatile (and healthy), but we still enjoyed the turquoise waters, impressive boulders both above and below the water and some view points on land. We did see turtles and just huge schools of fish of various sizes (mostly small), some of them were just like in Finding Nemo when the school of fish is showing Nemo's dad what Sydney looks like! Almost anyway.

We're now on our way back to Phuket (Chalong). We are out of almost everything, especially the important cheese, milk, egg and fruit and hopefully a new part for our toilet is also awaiting us! It's been six weeks since it broke and although the bucket still does the job, we look forward to having it functioning again!
this photo doesn't even remotely show howh amazingly clear the water was at the particular spot in Surin. We were cleaning Sophia's hull and the mostly sandy bottom at 15 meter was so clear, we could see every little rock and fish
beautiful Ko Tachai
cool boulders (and tourists, not cool, but entertaining to watch pose for photos!) at Similan Islands
and of course we had to do our own pose on that rock, this is at sunset
and the next morning in sunlight, the day tour boats are just starting to arrive
the closest we get to an underwater photo of the fish life in Similan Islands, except this is taken from the deck of Sophia
yet another view point at another island in Similan
the Danish boat Naveren (same one we met in Ao Chalong) was so lucky to be in this spot (to be able to get this photo), I was jealous
I did get this cool photo of Sophia with funky sun light reflections

1 comment:

  1. We met Naveren in Tonga! Love that it's from Aarhus. I saw them in Chalong and meant to get over and say hi but the boat was gone before we had a chance. Glad you like the photos and thanks for the blog link!! I hope we can get back to check out Ko Tachai sometime.