Visa Strikes Again !

Clear Sea Final

Cover Shot

It’s quite a journey to the destination, having already selected our flippers and mask, we’re away. It’s looks quite a pro set up at base and so it bloody should be, it’s pricey! At 2500 baht per head, it’s costing more than £100 for a day out! Okay it’s a fair distance but having been in Cambodia for a while, it’s a silly price, one that’s comparable to home. Maybe it’s been hiked as it’s the best snorkelling available, it’s possible to spot turtles and even the mighty whale shark! Which would be a fantastic treat if we are lucky enough to encounter one. Due to the distance needed to reach the destination the mode of transport is speedboat. One capable of forty knots, which means it’s flat out. Unfortunately the sea is not flat and it’s a bumpy ride. Usually I’m quite good at sea, but five minutes in to the ninety or so minute journey, I’m as sick as a pig. It’s not possible to heave over the side for fear of following any vomit into the sea. All that’s possible is just sitting it out, killing time wondering what the buckling capacity of the hull is each time it slams into the waves. Some of the passengers upfront get relocated which splits me from the KP. All things combined along with rapid excited German tones filling the air, results in my head spinning by the time we arrive. It’s a huge relief to get in the water and vomit, not pleasant I know but at least it was away from the crowd.

Snorkelling Group

Our German friends

As you can see, the sea is perfectly clear and we’ve got 40mins to explore. There’s quite an area of coral so the 15 or so of us are not too crowded. It’s the first stop of five and this time I’m covered up from the sun, not wanting to repeat the sunburn I experienced here a few months back. The first of the five spots we stop at results in the being the best, unfortunately due to my haste to get in the water. It’s the only time we don’t have the action cam with us!. The coral is lively and colourful, we spot sea horses & the orange and white clown fish hiding out. Throughout the day there’s no turtles, whale sharks or even a large impressive shoal of fish. We do spot the odd large groper and cuttle fish but nothing that’s Wow! For those that are interested into an brief insight underwater, here’s a combined video of the highlights of the day. Don’t expect too much and you might enjoy it.

We are not lucky enough to discover something really interesting, however it’s the best snorkelling we’ve done & a fun day out. It did becomes a bit repetitive getting in and out of the boat then off to the next spot, so when we’re told this is the last location we’re happy to hear it. The journey back is smoother than the way out, but that just means we go faster. At the rear of the boat trying your best to keep out of the sun, it’s not a pleasurable experience bouncing about. The journey goes on and on, in my mind I’m comparing the quality of the underwater fun, to what I’ve experience previously in the Maldives. Here’s a quick movie of my most interesting snorkelling activity to date, it’s worth a quick look. I’m surprised I didn’t shit myself but instead followed the underwater surprise 🙂 !

Following the snorkelling we’ve got just 6 nights left on the Island. A day or so after returning a Dutch couple we’ve chatted with previously have just returned, they spent 3 days there. It sounds fantastic, sleeping on the beach in a tent, snorkelling when ever you want, where you want. Only one place to eat, it’s definitely one for when we return. Stargazing sounded awesome also due to low illuminance emanating from the Island. There’s practically nothing there, the whole place is a national park. Two nights later there’s another Party on the Island, this time at the Hippy Bar. We found this mad place on the first trip here. The story is a group of hippies once lived here and over an extended period of time, they constructed a very interesting bar from driftwood and other flotsam and jetsam delivered by the sea.

Hippy Bar New

Bar with a difference

We arrive at the bar late afternoon to enjoy the sunset, it’s only then we discover the party is tonight! We’ll need to ditch the bike then, but first I’m playing with the K3 trying to get more interesting sunset photos, they can sometimes be a bit repetitive! Regarding the photos and the new toy. I’ve been trying to improve, both shooting and also the post processing that’s required with RAW format files. If you check the net there’s loads of stuff out there. to read and watch, subscribe for also, it can be overwhelming! There’s good stuff out there tho’, you just need to get lucky to find it. I did and the person I found I’d like to recommend is Anthony Morganti, he’s doing brilliant Lightroom tutorials for free, so any of you out there into photography check out his website here. He’s also on YouTube with loads of videos, here’s the first one. I couldn’t recommend him highly enough, he seems a top bloke also! Even if you dont shoot yourself, check the YouTube vid just to see what can be done. You’ll be impressed, so please click his links, coz then he might think I’m alright also :-).

Hippy Sunset-01

Wrecked sunset

Hippy Sunset-02

Just nice

The bar itself is like an adult playground with all sorts of places to climb and sit, in fairness it’s well designed but I’m not sure I’d want to dance flat out in the birds nest. Once we’ve been back at the room to refresh we leave the bike at Weee’s place the Jungle Bar and walk along the beach, it’s already busy when we arrive. A throng of dancing bodies, the music is right up our street so we have a bop and a few drinks. The next DJ up is playing drum and bass and then the fucking dreadful dub step! You never know where you are with the beats, we leave the dance floor retiring to a secluded spot for a few more tipples, before sloping away into the night.

When the place was first found we didn’t know what the fuck it was, just looked awesome with swings here and there, the KP was so happy she was on the drums.

KP Drums

When we collect the bike the next day, Weee is also planning a party, it sounds wicked. Fire show on the slackline, some top band coming from another Island, plus a selection of DJ’s. On top of sounding like it’ll be a great night, it also has the potential for lots of great shots. One problem, it’s two days after our leaving date :-(. That’s ok tho’ as it’s possible to extend our stay at the immigration office in Ranong. We’re in no rush to leave and who doesn’t love a party, especially one with friends. Plus with the extra days we’ll stay, we could go to Koh Surin for a bit of camping, snorkelling and stargazing amongst other activities on the beach :-).

We book the 09:00 speed boat to the main land, grab a moto taxi to immigration located at the port, where it’s possible to travel to Myanmar (Burma). The KP is first in the queue and she gets called in the office, this doesn’t look good, especially when I’m called also. Yes you’ve guessed it, the Kazakh Princess once again falls foul of the restrictions imposed on the bright blue travel document she possesses. WTF mun, we’re told it’s not possible here and need to travel 500Km where it ‘should’ be possible to do it. She need’s another visa on entry! What a load of bollocks! As ever we look on the bright side 🙂 thank fuck we didn’t travel to Myanmar, we could have got stuck in no mans land with our stuff left on the Island! We’re happy to be able to return for the last few times at the beach.

longbeach

Long Beach – The busiest beach, believe it or not!

We have a few hours in Ranong and check out a few of the bars local to the funky hotel we stayed at, then we head back to the Island on the 14:00 departure. There’s just two days left before the KP’s time is once more up. Our fault for fucking up in Laos when we could have got a proper Thai visa if we were more organised with our dates, another lesson learnt this trip!

We enjoy the end of our time, saying our goodbyes to the people we will leave behind, especially those at the Jungle Bar who now have a resident Bamboo tattooist. It’s a cool way to get inked as it only needs a day to heal, without the need for cream etc, unlike with a tattoo gun. We didn’t partake ourselves, but here’s a shot of a new friend of ours getting her back done.

Tattoo

Keep still now.

I know I’ve talked up the Island a lot, but maybe haven’t given it enough credit. It really is a cool place with plenty of wildlife to boot. In addition to the monkeys and many hornbill, there are also impressive sea eagles!  Regularly it’s possible to spot them on the hunt. I’d captured shots of them from afar, but never close enough to be impressive, that was until we were carrying our packs up the pier. I ditched mine real quick, grabbed the K3 and managed to get these cracked off before we leave for Ranong once more.

Seaeagle dive

Seaeagle catch

Seaeagle happy

We are there for night, the bus to Bangkok leaves early in the morning! That’s where the story rolls on……..

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