Last night, we were very worried about how today would turn out. We planned to do a lot today: kayak to the famous emerald caves on Ko Mook, then take a ferry over to Ko Lanta and try to find a place to stay (since it’s peak season and we had no idea where we’d sleep). In the end though, today turned out better than we ever would have thought.
We got up very early and walked down to the beach to rent a kayak. Actually it ws a little too early for the place we rented from–only the kitchen workers were there, and they didn’t speak English–but we managed to get onto the water by 8 o’clock. It was a beautiful, sunny, calm day on the seas, and after a little bickering we got the hang of our tandem kayak. Getting to the emerald cave took us twenty minutes of leisurely kayaking around the huge cliff and to the mouth of the cave. We got our headlamp out and journeyed into the cave. After one wrong turn and a few tight squeezes, we finally found the opening to the hong, a beach completely surrounded by cliffs. Best yet, we were the only ones in this area, and it was amazing! (That’s why we went in the morning: in the afternoon the area is inundated with tour groups.) Pirates once hid treasure on this beach.
After fifteen minutes alone, a huge group of swimmers came streaming through to the beach, and we took that as a cue to leave. We enjoyed the bright emerald-colored water near the entrance on our way out, and paddled back to the beach delighted. We got ready and headed back down to the beach for our ferry.
We ended up waiting over two hours for the ferry to arrive (apparently it’s always late), and we weren’t happy because we took the slowest, cheapest ferry we could–three hours from Ko Mook. But when we arrived on the ferry we noticed everyone was in swim suits and sunning themselves on the top deck, not normal for a ferry. When the crew handed out snorkels, we understood: this was a??snorkeling??trip and we were going back to Ko Lanta with them!
We got to snorkel two sites. The snorkeling wasn’t great: the coral was almost all dead. But there were some schools of colorful tropical fish, mostly attracted by the crew throwing rice in the water. The sites were extremely over-snorkeled, which could account for all the dead coral. But the snorkeling was an unexpected and free activity to break up the long boat trip.
One worry left: finding a place to sleep in Ko Lanta. We walked down the main road and checked with about ten homestays, but they were either too expensive or fully booked. Right when we decided to go back and spend a night at a pricey place, an Irish guy eating dinner showed us where he was staying. It’s on the second floor above a restaurant, and it has a very old-timey feel, like staying in a Thai grandparent’s spare bedroom, and it’s a great price! So everything turned out just fine.
On another note, we’ll be scuba diving on a four day, four night liveaboard to the Similan and Surin Islands! These sites are on many top-ten lists of best diving sites in the world. We’re very excited to get back in the water.