The route to Phi Phi: gray skies, gray waters...and sharks!
Koh Phi Phi Travel Blog› entry 58 of 251 › view all entries
May 9th, 2008 – by: cmgervais
At 7:45am a small pickup outfitted with two rows of seats in the back covered by a canopy picked us up. We were greeted by three friendly faces, who would be the beginnings of our Phi Phi contingent: Matty from Australia, Matthew from Denmark, and Edgar from France. Quite an international representation!
Along the way we picked up a couple of Swedes (I never got their names), and then several bins of food -- hey, getting a little crowded back here! -- then another American, then some huge bags of ice, then some bags of fruit.
We arrived at the port, everything was quickly thrown on board, and then we were off. The head guy, Owen (Irish, by the way), told us to get our dive gear ready while the seas were calm. He gave us a full orientation on the boat, making sure to show us where to find the Dramamine. Oh oh! (It wasn’t bad in the morning, but got very choppy later in the day).
The group was broken up into smaller groups of three or four divers each, each with its own guide. Steve, Edgar, and I had the most number of dives logged and were matched up with Owen, who would be our guide for two days.
The first stop was Shark Point, which Owen jokingly called “Shark-less Point.
I finally managed to pull myself through the crowd. What chaos! The current was brutal, the visibility was extremely low, and I couldn’t find the members of my group. Just as I thought I’d have to go back up.
[Owen did find Steve, by the way, who at that point was safely back on board. He had not used the line to descend and quickly got swept away from the group in the strong current. With no line and no other divers in sight, the only thing to do is go back up, which is where he decided to stay.
I am sorry Steve missed this dive, which I felt was the best of the trip. Shark Point actually lived up to its name -- we had two leopard shark sightings! The first shark was sleeping on the bottom, blending into the sand very well. Even with Owen pointing directly at the thing, it took me some time to recognize I was actually looking at a shark. It was very exciting (oops, there goes my air again). I also spotted a small blue-spotted stingray, and Owen pointed out a large school of squid, swimming above us. They looked picturesque, silhouetted by the dim light above and I wished once again that I had my underwater camera with me. Everywhere, there were swarms of fish. It was a nice dive. We ascended after 45 minutes because Edgar was low on air, so I hadn't done badly after all.
There were a total of three dives for the day, all pretty hazy, with a strong current. The conditions were less than ideal, but we did see some good stuff: a turtle who appeared to be stuck headfirst in some coral (Owen didn’t touch the wildlife except this turtle. He pulled him out a little to make sure he was OK), a small white seahorse, a very fast and shy black-tipped reef shark, some enormous moray eels, my first cuttlefish (bizarre looking thing), and of course, lots and lots of other fish.
On deck, we were fed very well. For lunch they put out several meat Thai dishes, and they served me a special vegetarian tofu-curry dish that was very good. For dinner, they served spaghetti, and I have never seen a bunch of guys consume so much pasta in one sitting! Steve had two enormous plates, and I noticed the Matty the Australian (who people called “Big Guy”) put away enough for a family of four.
We arrived at Phi Phi island (Koh Phi Phi) at about 4pm and were greeted by…more rain, and lots of it. We then had quite a LONG walk to the Bay View Resort, which I believe was on the other side of the island from the pier. We walked through a town area, then through some resorts, then across the beach. This was a potentially miserable walk, but to me it felt festive somehow. I love walking in the rain, and this was a nice, warm kind of downpour. I was the slow one, stopping to take pictures of the beautiful beach along the way. The Swedes, encumbered by a large bag and his bad knee, were behind me. At least they had rain ponchos.
The resort was nicely situated on the very end of the beach, and from our bungalow we had a great view of the water. Unfortunately we also had a septic system vent next to our deck, so the odor kept us inside with the door closed. I hopped in the shower which was … salt water! I had taken a fresh water shower on the boat, and here I was getting all salty again! Steve absolutely couldn’t believe there was such a thing as a salt water shower, so he just had to see for himself. Ick. We both rinsed off the salt with bottled water.
In the evening, we all met up for happy hour at a bar called Hippie’s. The drink prices were reduced (but still kind of expensive), and free food was served at 8:30. Our Swedes never showed up… turns out they were exploring the island, which they later told us was “covered with garbage… just shit” when they strayed inland from the beach area. I spent the evening talking with Tom the American who had some good stories about the 10 years he spent teaching English in three countries (South Korea, and two other countries I can’t remember now).
Back in the bungalow, it was a rough night. My pillow smelled like dirty head, the bed was hard, and the AC directed a cold 20-knot breeze right at me. I shivered and couldn’t sleep. Hope morning comes soon… I am ready more diving, and hopefully some sunny skies.
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