Boots n Boats

After my early night I rose surprisingly late to find Dan packing as quietly as he could. There is no mistaking the sound of quickdraws in the morning. In that long moment between sleeping and waking I was transported back to my university climbing days. The warm balsam of nostalgia evaporated like the morning dew as I became aware of my surroundings. Dan was leaving today, off on a boat trip around the islands before his ferry back to the mainland, so we didn’t get to do any more climbing.

I also had to check out before 11 today so luxuriated in bed a while. Lazily, I got up and had the expansive breakfast included with the expensive room. We hadn’t had this yesterday because we were out too early on the dive boat. A short dip in the pool set me up nicely for the day I had planned. I knew that this was likely the only time today I would be comfortably cool so enjoyed it.

I planned to walk across the island to find a viewpoint, the only intention was getting a good photo for this blog. I walked to the end of the beach and then followed the low tide path along the rocks and sand past some locals houses till I found the track I looking for. It was tucked away and didn’t look very well used but showed signs of going somewhere so I followed it off into the jungle. It was really hot and I had been sweating heavily before the climb so now I was in the jungle, without any breeze I was running rivers of sweat… Sexy!

I reached what I thought was the top but it was overgrown, no photo. So I carried onto the town on the other side of the hill. This turned out to be a tsunami damaged beach resort, half finished / half destroyed depending on your viewpoint. The tsunami had done a good job of leveling a lot of this area. In response the government had paved a decent road through the jungle and marked it up with signs to the nearest high point away from danger. Once off the main road, following these signs,  it was quickly back to overgrown jungle track. Unsurprisingly, few people walk up a hill for fun in these parts, just me. It was nice to escape the drunken hubbub of the tourist town. Again, this was a steep climb. I’m sure the water I was putting in my mouth was coming directly out my pores, I was a human shaped colander.

Finally I reached the top and after a short boulder problem, in hiking boots, got my photo. It was a great view of the blue bay beneath me. Im sure very few people visiting this island get the view I had, which is a shame because it’s beautiful, if hard work to get to.

I scrambled back down to the beach. I had to have a swim in the water, even tho I hadn’t brought my trunks. Just to chill out for a while. Then it was time to negotiate a longtail boat back to the main town to meet Ted and Kari, and their friends from America.

They had also rented a longtail. So we grabbed a few bottles of beer, our scuba goggles and jumped aboard. We headed out for a circumnavigation of the whole island. We stopped twice for some Snorkeling and had a great time free diving to get close to the fishes. I had to remind myself not to breath in underwater. After 28 years of training my body not to breath underwater, this was now something I was remarkably comfortable with.

In my haste to join the group, I had forgotten to take any sea sickness medication. Instead, I topped up with a few beers in the hope the alcoholic wobbling counteracted the boats wobbling. Luckily, it worked and the boat remained a puke-free zone for the duration! I’m not going to try that again tho…

That evening we all went out to dinner, at a more expensive than necessary restaurant. The food was very good. I had a cheese burger and fries with an extra greek salad, feeling that I’d earned it today. In what we had come to expect of Thai restaurant service, the food came out when ready, rather than all together. This was fine as my small mountain of food came first. However when Kari’s came, out was a huge plate with a tiny bowl section at the center containing a tiny portion of pasta. After her expectations had been raised by the sight of my monsterous meal, she was justifiably disappointed. As tasty as she said it was, more of it was required so she skulked away to find some street food that she smuggled back to the table. This breaks all social convention but then they should have provided a decent size meal in the first place, especially at the price they were asking!