Day 101 – The Boat Man

When describing some of our activities at the Tip of Borneo, I introduced the concept of “Type 2” fun and made mention of a sea kayaking adventure in Australia in 2012.  This was was my first and only  sea kayaking ‘experience’ that involved an iron-man attempt to paddle 6km across a shipping lane against the wind and tide and did a very good job of putting me off the whole thing.

Reading reviews of John Gray’s Phuket sea kayaking experience on his website and (of course Trip Advisor) however were enough to decide that it was worth another attempt.

The trip is incredibly well organised and put together and we would whole-heartedly recommend to anyone staying on Phuket to look it up (www.johngray-seacanoe.com) and give it a go, you will not be disappointed.

You are collected from your hotel and taken to Port Pa Klok (on the north-west side of the island), transferred by Tuk Truck (a large version of the tuk tuk) to a boat and set sail for an hour out to Hong Island.  During the journey we were fed, watered and briefed about the day by our guide Nate (who uncannily looked and sounded like Morgan Freeman!).

We spend the day being kayaked (there is a guide in each one, which each carry two people) round and inside the amazing and beautiful limestone islands of coastal Thailand.  The scenery is beautiful and almost identical to Scaramanger’s island in the Bond film “The Man with the Golden Gun”, in fact the actual film location is just north of way we are.

With the guides careful judgement of the tides, we enter some spectacular sea caves and get to see the tidal lagoons that appear in the middle of the islands and the wildlife that inhabit it (more monkeys and excitingly some sea eagles).

At the end of the guided part of the tour we get some free time for either swimming or self-kayaking, and having chosen the latter the four of us head over to a small isolated beach – though I am not sure we took the most direct route as the guides made paddling in a straight line look easier than it is.

Back on the boat whilst the cooks prepare an amazing meal our guides help us (and by help I mean do nearly all of the work bar a few small bits) to make some Loi Kratongs.  These are traditional floating lights made from banana tree leaves and trunks plus decorative flowers made by local people as an offering to the god of the sea.

After our evening meal we have one last paddle into a sea cave after dark and release the Loi Kratongs into the water with the candles alight – looking a little like floating birthday cakes.  A visually spectacular end to really enjoyable trip than has managed to banish my sea kayaking demons.  Hopefully forever.

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