September 24th, 2006 – by: bede17
I didn't have much to write about until today... we've done two passages of about 8 hours each, one by motor and one by sail... so that was fun, but otherwise it's just been a lot of academics and dive training. Except yesterday we arrived to Ko Chang and it was time for the first provisioning expedition. The crew had never provisioned here before so we were sort of winging it, and first decided to go to the mainland to find a Tesco...but that was too far. So then we tried a local grocery store but they didn't have any fresh food, so we went to the ferry and had tickets in our hand at the boarding area when it was decided it really was too far away, so we went back to the grocery store and stocked up on dry stuff and then went to a shack by the side of the road where we got all our fruits and vegetables.
getting fresh food
.. this was a long process! Everyone was really nice and they brought us all sorts of fruit to try while we were waiting for the fruit to be packaged up. We had a pickup full of food that we brought down the dock in big carts and fit in two dinghy rides. But we got mostly everything and one of the bonuses of the long process was that we saw a ton of the island as we rode in taxis back and forth everywhere. We are anchored off a little dock at one end of the island, and from the water it looks like a local fishing village on stilts. Which basically it is, but once you walk down the dock you are suddenly faced with about five modern dive shops, a coffee shop, little guest houses, restaurants, a clinic, and the inevitable 7-11. It's one of the coolest places I've been.
local fruit stand
.. the dock is concrete mostly and is the main walkway, but branching off to the sides are all sorts of little wooden walkways (all on stilts) that lead to various houses, boats, and shops. It's really cool. The whole island is the most touristy we've been to, there are a couple resorts and a bunch of bungalows everywhere, but it still seems pretty low- key to me. Everything is still sort of like a jungle and all the houses and restaurants and stuff all have thatched roofs. I don't know if it's for show, but it's funny to see a modern internet cafe with a thatched roof. I've really enjoyed the crazy drives around hairpin turns on hills the past two days. This morning we all got to go on an elephant trek, which was really cool. They load two people on a seat on the back of an elephant, with the driver sitting on it's head, and you sort of amble through the jungle.
a lot of food
It was a little unnerving at times, being so high up and feeling so out of control should the elephant slip or something, but I guess they are used to it and have so much weight that they are really stable. But Mike the marine bio guy was so funny, he was clinging to his seat belt bar saying how terrified he was, and this is a guy who has been sky diving and bungee jumping! But it was fun and they weren't mean to the elephants and we got to touch them and take photos and stuff. My elephant was called Tukta and was 28 years old I think. I'm going to do some errands and head back to the boat soon, I will have to post some pictures later after I get them on the computer.