Well, here we are on Libong Island in southern Thailand. It’s Wednesday Jan 7 and we’ve been here for 5 days. It was a tiring flight from Vancouver to Trang, through Hong Kong and Bangkok. Ty had the pleasure of travelling business class from Hong Kong to Bangkok, going from cubeman to podman. He had his own little pod and spent the time consuming prawns and drinking champagne. I, on the other hand, consumed nothing on my Air Emirates flight since I slept through the whole thing. After landing, we stayed for 5 hours or so at the Xen Suites in Bangkok, a hotel that had absolutely nothing going for it other than its cleanliness, which was better than nothing, I guess. I think we were the only guests in the whole place.
On our arrival in Trang we looked for the guy who was supposed to pick us up from the Le Dugong resort but he was nowhere to be found so we took a taxi. It was supposed to take us to Had Yao pier but the guy was a rogue operator, we think, and took us to some other pier instead for the 800 baht we paid. From that pier we had to ask another guy to drive us to Had Yao for 300 bt more.At the pier we shared a long tail boat ride with a German couple to Libong Island. Even though we had to spend an additional 300 to get to Had Yao, because we were able to share a boat, we ended up saving 150 in the end. There are two resorts right next to one another on the west side of the island, the Libong Beach resort, and ours, the Le Dugong, slightly less upscale. Our bungalow is great – made with hardwood and a thatched roof. It is only about 50 feet from the beach and one wall opens right up to receive the ocean breeze. It has power for a couple of hours in the morning and in the evening. Inside the bungalow are two beds pushed together, a sink, a mosquito net, and an attached bathroom with toilet and shower.
We have been eating our meals at the Beach Resort restaurant mostly because the food there is way better and it has a much better selection. The beach here is beautiful, with soft pink sand and warm water. When the tide is out we can see lots of coral beginning to regenerate. Along the beach are quite a few flip-flops and other detritus from people who died during the tsunami – it’s a bit eery. We can hear monkeys in the trees, as well as birds and geckos. Other than that, it is very quiet here during the day. In the early evening the cicadas get going like mad for about half an hour – their noise is amazing. At night, the young guy who helps run our resort operates a small bar near the beach where he plays the Eagles every night from his tiny light-decorated hut. We have heard “Tequila Sunrise” quite a few times now …
Simon and his friends Chris and Michelle came to visit us from Malaysia for 3 days and we had a blast hanging around with them. The first full day they were here we rented a long tail boat to go dugong spotting. The dugong is a relative of the sea cow and manatee, the smallest of that family of creatures. It has a tail sort of like a dolphin and leaps out of the water like a dolphin or orca. We headed south in the boat and spent an hour or so watching several of the beasts leap out of the water. After that, we went bird-watching and travelled to a marine park for lunch and a stroll along a beautiful white sand beach. The boatman took us completely around the island on our return.
The second day was spent on another long tail boat. We travelled out to Koh Muk with Simon et al and Jim and Jane from Saltspring Island who were staying at the Beach resort. The boat took about an hour to get out to the island on which is the Emerald Cave, a famous snorkeling spot. We put on all our gear and jumped from the boat to swim through the cave. Chris alerted us to the jellyfish nearby but I didn’t see them and swam right through what must have been a cloud of jellyfish. All of a sudden my entire body was tingling hard, a very weird sensation which I then realized was me being stung by many jelly fish. It was a bit scary because I did not know whether I might be allergic to them. Anyway, we swam through the darkness of the underwater cave, along with quite a few other people from other boats, and arrived at a beautiful interior space surrounded by tall cliffs and full of large green leafy plants.
After spending some time there, we hopped back on the boat and went to Koh Kradan for lunch. This island has a beautiful marine park with incredible light blue water and a white sand beach where we hung out eating and swimming. Our boatmen anchored off shore (because of the choppy water, not because they were avoiding us …) and after waiting quite a while for them to come back for us we realized that they had fallen asleep out there. Thinking that it could be hours before they roused themselves, Jim swam out to the boat and woke them up. Later that night we all had a great feast for dinner, with whole fried fish, lots of different curries and papaya salad – yummm! Later on, after dinner, we watched Simon make a shell choker and drank tequila shooters on the beach listening to, once again, the Eagles’ greatest. With his little headlamp on his forehead, Simon looked like a surgeon performing a delicate operation. (Ty, Simon and I all have night vision headlamps to that we can get around in the dark – when the power is out, it is mighty dark here).
After Simon, Chris and Michelle left, Ty and I had a quiet day, swimming and floating on our inflatables. Yesterday Ty and I walked out to the small volcanic island offshore; our first trip was aborted because of the plethora of stinging sea anemones. We discovered a better route leading from the sea gypsy village around the corner and arrived on the little island without any stinging incidents. There are several trees out there, all with air roots coming back out of the ground around them. Ty told me this was because the roots could not go down through the sea water so they turned around and came back up again for air. On this island there was also evidence of the tsunami’s passing, with shoes, clothes and other debris. We collected a few fossilized shells and made our way back again.
The nights are quite quiet now that Simon, Chris and Michelle have left – those guys were keeping the bar in business …
Among the guests here are several Swedish families, lots of Germans, a couple of Brits, one or two Americans and us. Last night two Russians arrived. There are also many insects, a gecko resident in our bungalow, monkeys and beautiful large black butterflies.
I have made several shell necklaces and painted one small watercolour which we gave to the resort. I’ve collected quite a few shells and coconut halves – I plan to make masks and paint them.
The internet connection here is super slow – only 1 or 2 computers are available – so this will likely be my only post from here. That’s it for now – ciao.