It took a while for us to get around to writing this one - it's just that we're doing so much at the moment, and Helen won't let me go online for too long at a time because it eats into valuable shopping time...!
So back at Ao Nang it made sense to take one of the many boat trips out to the islands. We decided on the 5 island tour by longtail boat, but the tour operator told us that the five islands were now only four - we didn't pry too much to the reason why - we know the area has had a hell of a year.
The 4 island tour cost us 360 Baht - about 5 quid. This was a full day tour that included water and lunch...
The whole area is amazing, with random stacks of limestone coming out of the ground. We headed out on the longtail into the bay. As grim as it sounds, when I was heading out into the bay on a lovely sunny morning, I couldn't help but think what it must have been like on that Boxing Day morning last year. Truthfully, as much as I looked out onto the horizon, I couldn't place it. Couldn't imagine and didn't want to. The fact is that the area is so beautiful that very quickly your mind wonders as you start to think about the clear water, the limestone and the lush islands that are all around you. That's how I know that this area will recover.
The first island we went to was actually three small islands that were joined together by sandbars. They were just under the water, so you could wade / paddle to each island, but at the same time put your feet down to rest when you were knackered.
After spending some time there we headed over to another island where there wasn't a beach, but great snorkelling. The current wasn't too bad, but the coral wasn't amazing quality - lots of fish though. Every time I go snorkelling I keep thinking that I'm going to run into a bloody shark though!!!!
From there we went to another island that had an amzing beach (although it did seem to have quicksand properties at times!). After a cracking lunch it was over to one more beach (which was on the mainland, although I'm sure it was billed as an 'island'). That beach also had amazing caves, wild dogs and monkeys too - all a bit weird through the eyes of a Faareng (foriegner).
From there - back to the resort... sunburnt as you like! Even with suncream on the sun was very strong that day. Bbrrr.
Lots of love from Gareth and Helen x x x