Another Day in Paradise

Trip Start Jan 20, 2005
Trip End Feb 05, 2005

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Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Start with a lazy morning filled with instant coffee, an early swim (with great attention being paid to whether or not anyone had recently used the bathrooms), and yet another one of Joy's fantastic breakfasts complete with all things fresh and tasty...and it only gets better from there!

Around 10am or so, a few of us decided to go for a kayak - Di told us that there were some little coves and beaches that were worth exploring (not that we needed any persuading) so we were off. I paddled with Katie, followed by Jean, Steve, Shauna, and Warren. Before long, we came around the side of the island to discover that, although we thought we had been living in paradise, we were most gravely mistaken. Where WE had been staying was certainly a version of paradise, but really more of a poor-man's paradise - or perhaps paradise viewed through a glass darkly because it just didn't compare to this.

The cove we paddled into was absolutely the most brilliantly fabulous place that (in my humble opinion) we had been to yet... A pristine white beach awaited us surrounded by water that was roughly 3-4 feet deep, crystal clear, and about the temperature of a perfect bath. We explored inland a bit to uncover a huge colony of hermit crabs - hundreds, nay thousands littered the rocky alcove. Always the comedian, Warren picked one up by its shell, waited for it to emerge wiggling its legs before saying to it - in all seriousness, "Take us to your leader." (You must also understand that there are just certain things that sound funnier when said with a British accent as well - Hugh Grant is one of the best examples of this, but Warren ranks right up there especially when saying particular phrases like "Sugar Poppin' Daddies")

After returning to the beach, Katie - ever living up to her Pathfinder nickname, proceeded to scale the vertical cliffside, while Shauna & I climbed around a bit in the designated Amateur Pathfinder Rocks. Eventually we all ended up in the shallow water enjoying one of those moments where you're in such a state of contentment that there's absolutely no place you'd rather be. Katie & Shauna took turns doing handstands in the shallow depths while I chose to just watch, bemused, from a slight distance before finally getting roped into taking a couple of pictures of them both with their respective cameras - proof that the revolution of digital photography has turned us into a bunch of non-discerning picture snappers... We'll take a picture of just about anything without worrying about wasting our film, etc. I still try to hold onto something of a critical eye for my own pictures, but standing in the shallow water capturing images of bodiless legs jetting up out of the water I must admit was rather fun. Perhaps this can serve as an example of what too much sun and not enough coffee can do to a girl. Let that be a lesson to the rest of you.

Before we left the boats we were told that there would be one more dive before setting out for our next anchor point, so every so often someone would say something like, "If we want to get a dive in, we should probably go soon." These statements would be met with a lot of "Yeah" and "You're right"-'s, and yet no one would make any move towards putting words into action.

Once we did return to the boats, there was time to get a quick dive in before heading out to where we were to have our much-anticipated beach BBQ.

There wasn't a whole lot to do unless you were part of the elite squad chosen to go to the beach and set-up for the BBQ, so the rest of us just relaxed around the boats - I was so relaxed myself that I don't even remember what I did... I'm sure it had something to do with nothing in particular, though. (Man, that Boat Brain condition is really hard-hitting...almost as hard-hitting as Wolfgang's pina coladas, but not quite).

Finally it was time for the rest of us to dingy over to join the others. We arrived, sarongs on and Warren with his 300 baht guitar in hand, ready to take on the beach. Another one of those perfect, soft-sanded beaches, however this one came with two additional features that made it unique: a construction site and a man-eating surf.

According to Di, there is a resort of sorts being built on the beach here - we could see some of the buildings of it from the boat - so the workers who were there found us very interesting and wandered over during breaks in their racket-making to investigate what we were up to. Thankfully their construction noise pretty much ceased by the time the sun had completely set and we were left with the place to ourselves.

We quickly discovered however, that if the construction wasn't providing us with deafening background noise, the surf was happy to fill in the gap. Seriously the loudest surf EVER, especially given its small size - but to him who has ears, let him hear - do not try to measure the strength of a surf by its size. A tiny surf can pack a punch hard enough to knock a couple of grown, squatting women off their feet and proceed to beat them into the sand. If you don't believe me, just ask Jean. Now you might be asking yourself why two grown women would be squatting in the surf... Well, let's just say that we were on that beach a LONG time and it was, shall we say, a tad "short" on certain essentials like...lavatories. Need I say more?

In any case, Jean and I eventually dried off thanks to the monster bonfire the boys had built. The food was ab fab (Joy & Dah outdid themselves), Wolfy's pina coladas flowed like wine, laughter abounded (particularly when the word "potato" was thrown around in front of Dah who seemed to find that exceptionally funny), and to top the evening off, Warren gave us a pre-preview of his more-or-less completed music to "Sunset in Ranong."

In the end, we packed everything up and managed to somehow sneak past the man-eating surf, thus avoiding further beatings, and motor ourselves back to the boats.

It was pretty late so many retired, but most of the girls and I decided that it was the perfect time to go for a swim in the night sea with the phosphorescent plankton (this was something we had discussed prior, but had yet to actually do...and we realized we were running out of time!) So off went our clothes, and in we went to the water. I can't even begin to say how cool it was to watch the glittering gold-like flecks of plankton trail every move of an arm or leg... Definitely a highlight (although it was a bit tricky to get OUT of the water - the so-called "cover" of night helped, but my towel pretty much joined me in the water. Others were, shall we say, slightly less concerned...but to each his own!)

Finally made it to bed - hair wet, exhausted, but feeling more than just a little content.

What an awful day, huh? :)
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