07.02.2015 - 07.02.2015 30 °C
Today we went on a terrific marine park adventure in the Gulf of Thailand! About 1.5 hrs by boat north and west of Koh Phangan is the Ang Thong National Marine Park, an amazing archipelago of ancient coral reefs, upthrust and overgrown with tropical vegetation.
We reached a few small islands on the edge of Ang Thong and anchored next to the rocky shore so we could swim, snorkel, water slide and dive in the lovely warm blue/green water. Then back on board for a Thai lunch while we motored to the main Ang Thong group and a steep stair-hike to see Emerald Lagoon, fed from the sea by underwater tunnels on Koh Mae (mother island).
We were shuttled to islands like this by long narrow Thai boats, driven skilfully by means of a prop on the end of a long tiller that included a diesel engine! Then we'd leap from the longboat to floating docks on the island shores that undulated with the ocean waves, and finally teeter on a plank or jump into the surf to get to shore! A bit of an adventure for us all!
Fresh fruit snacks on board as we headed for our last stop: Wua Ta Lap island. Here some swam, others walked or relaxed, and the more adventurous hiked to the summit (Alan) or to beautiful limestone caves complete with stalagmites and stalactites (Catriona)! Both hikes were challenging with ropes to help clamber over the sharp coral boulders!
After cooling down in the ocean/breeze we returned to the dock, longboat, motorboat for a bumpier ride back to Koh Phangan in 2 meter seas. Somehow we managed to down (and keep down!) a nice tuna salad bunwich and more fruit on the way back as the orange orb of the sun sank into the sea behind us - magical!
Another torch-lit dinner on the beach at Milky Bay Resort and our almost last group tour day came to a close. No, wait! Catriona and 2 others headed for the local night market for a little shopping! They didn't find anything of interest as it had mostly already closed for the night, but of course tomorrow is another day!