I found Nemo and I am finally tanned (well burnt)

Koh Phi Phi Travel Blog

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One of the best things about traveling for me is I end up places I would never planned on and see things I did not expect.  I do not think I have ever traveled and not had a couple of good surprises on my trip.  This was one of those days.

This fun day actaully started the day before as Benny and I were walking near our hotel in Karon Beach.  We wandered down this side street looking for a place for lunch and we came across one of the many travel agents that this island province seems to have.  I swear most of Thailand's economy must be based on the thousands of tailors, tuk tuk drivers, travel agents and bars.  How any of them make enough money to survive is beyond me.  For some reason I actually stopped and took a look at all the brochures that were being displayed.
  Maybe it was simply because the lady working simply smiled when I looked into her store and did not call out and be aggressive like many of her competitors.

Benny must had a idea what she wanted to do as she quickly scooped up a few brochures all that were about going out to the smaller islands around Phuket.  Not sure what the reason was, I would like to think it was because of my awesome bargaining skills, but the lady quickly dropped the price of the 2800 baht tour to 1500 baht.  So basically we got two tours for the price of one as long as we took the tour the next day.  I did the quick calculations on a calculator to see how much that was in Canadian and decided it was a good deal.

The next morning we were picked up by a mini van at our hotel and we were off to Chalong Pier near the south end of Phuket Province.  For some reason the whole van was filled up by guests of our hotel so we did not have to make multiple stops and quite quickly we were at the pier.  I was not expecting much from the tour company as my experience in Thailand up to this point was not so good when in involved Thai tour companies.  This company was a huge exception.  I have high standards for tour companies as I work with them every day at my job and I have to say Anda Varee Tours is first class and compares very well with any tour company I have ever used in any country.

We arrived at the pier and we were quickly sorted into different colours as there would be 4 boats leaving the pier at the same time with just this company.
  I wonder is this the way Harry Potter felt when he was sorted into his house.  We then got fitted for our flippers so that we could snorkel later in the day. 

Now a note on my swimming skills which explains why this tour is a bit unusual for me.  Rocks float better then me.  I mean I really think I would sink if I tried to float in the Dead Sea.  That does not mean I can not swim but my swimming skills are quite comical to watch.  I can swim for short distances but there in a constant battle between gravity that is trying push me under water and any forward progress I can keep with my frantic movements of my arms and legs.  I think jet engines must create less turbulence then I do when attempting to swim.  So basically when I swim I had better always in water less then 1.
5 meters deep so if needed I can stop my flailing and stand up. 

So off we went on a jet boat heading out into the Andaman Sea.  We ended up visiting a a bunch of islands that if I ever knew the names I do not remember now.  Each of the islands had great beaches with white sand and awesome green hills.  The water was warm with the only problem for me was the strong currents that made my mad swimming difficult.  At one of the last beaches I had trouble just standing up near the shore as the current was incredibly strong.

The funniest moment was at the first beach.  The captain of our boat stopped a few hundred meters from the shore and let us swim among the hundreds of tropical fish we could see.  The tour company was very careful to tell us to watch the currents and to wear one of their life jackets if we were not strong swimmers.
  I was one of the first to take a life jacket as I could easily see the through the clear Adaman Sea water and it was much more then 1.5 meters deep.  Once I put on the jacket I felt some pain from a sunburn shoulders.  I normally do not burn as I am very lucky.  Even though I am very white the sun just not burn me very often.  After coming back from 6 weeks in Thailand in November by co-workers even asked me if I had been wearing long pants and jackets while I was on vacation as I was a white as when I had left Canada.

I guess I had got some sun on the 30 minute trip across the open sea.  I think some of the problem was there was a pretty strong wind that we rode into and I likely got some wind burn as much as I got sun burned.  So I did not feel like doing up all the straps on the life jacket which was a big mistake.
  Once I jumped (more likely gingerly stepped) into the wonderful water the jacket did what it was suppose to and started to float.  The trouble was it was not even close to being tight to my body and so I sort of wore the jacket around my neck rather the my torso.  My ungraceful swimming was made even harder as the jacket basically handcuffed me.  After 30 minutes of splashing in the sea I was very tired and got back onto the speed boat. 

For the rest of the day I gave up on snorkeling and if I did go into the water it was just to cool off.  The day high that day was close 40 degrees which to me is unbearably hot.  If it had not been for all the water around me to cool off with I would have died.  The day was great as I saw so many tiny fish and even a few wild monkeys.
  All of the islands were beautiful and the only trouble was at the beach we had a buffet lunch at. For a place that that depends on tourists to make money this place could spend some time clean their beach.  there was so much garbage floating in the bay it was disgusting.  Apparently this beach was destroyed by the tsunami so maybe it is just the way the currents in the sea flow and it just sucks in the garbage of the region but really a little effort would make it nicer

Overall this was a  day to remember.  I might even do this same trip again if we ever go back to Phuket.  It was great end to a short visit to a great country.  The next day we headed back to Bangkok and the next day back to Canada.
  Now counting the weeks until I am back.  I know Benny is counting the days for her ATM to come back.  Next time will be even a shorter trip for Thailand though.  As much as I like this country it is time to see other countries in Asia.  I am working on my options now. 
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