Thailand Trip – Sailing the Southern Islands

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We woke up early at Monohora Cozy Village, got ready and went for a run on the beach just as the sun was coming up over the bay. We knew he wouldn’t be on land for awhile and wanted to get in one last run – for now on it would be swimming.

We were picked up by mini-bus at 10AM to take us to Chalong Pier at the southern tip of Phuket were we were let off here and picked up on the beach in a dingy to take us out to the Catamaran..

Boat_ChalongPierStartOfTrip

The catamaran is called the Cataleya (name of a flower or orchid) and here is what she looked like from the water…

Boat_BoatPicture

Boat_Cataleya

You enter and exit the boat from the stern and also in the stern was the outside, covered eating area…

Boat_SternEatingArea

Inside was the galley where our meals were prepared by our awesome Thai crew….

Boat_InsideGalley

Our cabin was spacious and amazingly comfortable for the two of us…

Boat_RoomBed

 

Here is a video tour of our boat the Cataleya:

After getting settled and under way we had an awesome lunch..and met the captain Roland, the crew and our fellow passengers from Holland Oscar and Gre….

Boat_EatingLunchWithCaptain

 

After lunch Roland showed us the map of where we would be sailing for the next week…Sara is helping out….

Boat_ChartingOurCourse

 

here is a map of the  course we took in the southern Thailand islands….

Boat_MapOfTripCourse

 

Our first stop was Maya bay which is part of Koh (island) Phi Phi (pronounced Pee Pee) Leh (small) or Small Pee Pee. We approached  the bay in the late afternoon…

Boat_PhiPhiLeh_MayaBeachApproaching

When the sun was getting lower in the sky…and En the Thai crewman would go to the bow to catch the mooring buoy and secure the boat in the bay…

Boat_EnBow_MayaBay

 

This is a very popular beach for people staying at big Phi Phi to charter a boat to come and see so we took and swim and left the beach until the morning.

In the morning we got up early and swam to the beach and had it to ourselves.. which was amazing. The water was clear, the beach white sand….

 

Boat_MayaBay_Kari&Sara

After breakfast it was off to Koh Lanta…which brought some definite firsts for us…

First we jumped aboard the kayak and when to the shore. The water really was this flat and it made it a dream to kayak on. The water was this great with an awesome sandy bottom and beach stretching out into the distance…

Boat_KohLanta_SaraJumpingBeach

After enjoying the beach we kayaked back to the boat and we tried another new fun thing… kayak surfin.

Check this video of Sara and I tying to Kayak surf...

We were walking down the street and these Monkeys came out of the brush to get some food…

Boat_KohLanta_MoneyEating

Check out this video of these monkey’s hanging out…

 

We then went for a run the other way out of town and these monkeys literally surrounded Sara and were grabbing at her legs. Luckily she is a fast runner because more and more monkeys came across the street out of the forest after her. We did not stop but ran back toward town…..

 

Boat_KohLanta_MonkeysAttack

 

We met the captain, Oscar and Gre at the only local bar on this side of the island – Its called the Why Not Bar.

Boat_KohLanta_WhyNotBarSign

It has a pretty impressive list of bands that have played in this tiny hut of a bar…we had a drink and soaked up the surroundings for awhile before heading back to the boat for dinner…

Boat_KohLanta_SaraWhyNotBar

It was beautiful at night walking along this beach as well back to the dock

Boat_KohLanta_KariBeach

 

Many of the islands, because of the storms are going to these floating docks, which Sara is standing on below. They are quite a ride to walk on when the waves get going, but are more eco friendly.

Boat_KohLanta_SaraFloatingBridge

Next we sailed on to Koh Muk. This island has been carved out in the middle with rain over time making an area accessible only by a swim through cave…

Boat_KohRok_MorakotCaveSignOutside

 

We jumped into the water and swam to the opening of the cave.  The water was beautiful and we were up for the adventure….

Boat_KohRok_MorakotCaveEntry

 

Our fearless leader Roland (captain) was heading in with us with a light and his cigarettes….

Boat_KohRok_CaptainFloating

The cave opened up into a small beautiful beach and a lush green center of the island….

Boat_KohRok_MorakotCaveInside

 

It is called Morakot Cave and it is a National Park in Thailand…I have just never swam through a cave to get to
a national park before…

 

Boat_KohRok_MorakotCaveSign

We hung out enjoying the water and the beauty of the island and then headed out again for the boat…

Boat_KohRok_MorakotCave_Kari&Sara

 

Leaving Koh Muk behind us we were off to our furthest destination Koh Rok…

Koh Rok is a small island with beautiful snorkeling. beaches and a couple of surprises

 

After snorkeling and swimming we cleaned up and went to shore to check out the main beach and to have a cookout….

Boat_KohRok_RangerStationSign

We walked around the island and ran into these guys coming out of the forest looking for some food…

Boat_KohRok_CloudedMonitor&Sara

These guys are monitor lizards and we watched them but from a good distance, they don’t look very fast but I can tell you they can move when they see food….

Boat_KohRok_CloudedMonitor

The lizards weren’t the only animals on the island..there were so many hermit crabs crawling  the ground seemed to move. So our captain had us all choose the fastest hermit crab we could find and bring it to these two circles on the beach.

The contest was put your hermit crab in the center circle and the crab to make it fastest to the outer circle wins. Neither of us won, but it was fun to see that there was no certain size or shape you could pick out that would definitely be the winner…

Boat_KohRok_HermitCrabCircle

 

Dinner was cooked on a grill outside… and server to us on picnic tables..what an amazing setting right on the beach…

Boat_KohRok_BeachBarbeque1

Boat_KohRok_BeachBarbeque2

 

For desert the crew had a frozen ice cream cake that the brought out for Sara and I to celebrate our 15th Anniversary. Our anniversary is actually in 2014 but we were so close and the setting was so awesome we decided it was the perfect time to celebrate….

Boat_KohRok_BeachAnniversaryCake

We had a great time on this remote beautiful island but we are now on our way back stopping just for lunch at Koh Ha and then on to Koh Phi Phi Leh & Don (Large Pee Pee)

Boat_KohRok_Kari&SaraBeach

The next morning we sailed for Koh Phi Phi Don (Big Pee Pee) because we wanted to see where all the crowds were hanging out :)… We heard there was this great lookout point where we could see both sides of the island..so we went for it…

It was a long way with lots of steps and trail but it was really worth it..below you can see a green and coral bay on the right side of the island and a more dark blue bay on the left side… really beautiful island no wonder it was so busy…

A side note..when Thailand had that terrible tsunami about 8 years ago this island was really wiped out and they have bounced back amazing….

Boat_PhiPhiLookoutKari&Sara

 

That afternoon we moored at Koh Phi Phi Leh  which gave Sara and I some time  to go kayak exploring around the area. We wanted to check out a small beach on the other side of the island that we had missed on the way out…

Boat_KayakSara

We kayaked around Koh Phi Phi with the beautiful water and relatively calm conditions…

Boat_KayakKari

 

 

 

Along the way En was always fishing..check out this video of the fish that we caught…

 

After breakfast we sailed to one of the best snorkeling spots on our trip, in this small area below outside the Coconut Bay on Koh Racha…we moored the boat and jumped into the water…

Boat_KohRacha_SnorkelSpot

 

What we saw as an amazing number of fish and an incredible amount of feeding activity..check of some of these fish that we saw…

From colorful Wrasses…

Boat_KohRok_Fish_Wrasse

Large puffer fishes…I have video below of this guy feeding very shallow in the rocks and fighting with a wrasse over food…

Boat_KohRachaPuffer

 

Wrasse and puffer fish…

Boat_KohRacha_Puffer

Parrot Fish…

Boat_KohRacha_Parrot

 

 

Trumpet fish..these guys are really hard to see at times because they often blend in so well, often they are on the bottom or blending into the waves at the top of the water…

Boat_KohRacha_TrumphetFish2

 

This was an great find by Sara…it is a zebra striped moray eel..and when she first saw him he was out of his den, she came and got me to get this shot but he had retreated again to his den. Such a pretty and interesting eel…

Boat_KohRacha_ZebraStripedEel

These clams were so colorful blending right into this coral bed.. so cool to see them opening and closing as we floated above them…

Boat_KohRachaClams

These are two moorish idols (you saw one in nemo), you often see them in pairs…

Boat_KohRacha_MoorishIdol

This is a beautiful jellyfish Sara pointed just 2 feet below the surface of the water near out boat..not too interested in getting a sting by this guy…

Boat_KohRacha_Jellyfish

 

Boat_KohRacha_Fish3

 

Boat_KohRacha_Fish2

 

Boat_KohRacha_Fish1

 

We hated the snorkeling to end at this stop but was time to move over to Coconut bay for our last night at sea…Sara and I went for a swim in this beautiful bay and then went for a drink with our captain and fellow travelers on the beach…

Boat_KohRacha_Group

 

It was an awesome trip and we were ready for our long trip home….and are very exited for Christmas 2013

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