Tuesday, 28 September 2010

IN THE SWIM AND UP THE JUNGLE September 2010

So the big day arrives and Jason, Ferne, Lilly and Savannah stagger out of the arrivals hall at Phuket International Airport after a marathon 18 hours of traveling. Tears and sore ears. The cabin pressure on the air Asia flight from KL gave everyone problems and pain with their ears. First time overseas for all the culture shock was starting to tell by 9.15pm. Six hours at KL low cost terminal not everyone's idea of a good time.
Without further ado everyone crams into the trusty Suzuki jeep and we make hast to the condo on the hill overlooking Yacht Haven Marina to deposit the tired crew.
Sunday a much refreshed family wanders down to Taipan. Planning and strategies abound before we decide to do a Phuket town day on Monday for provisions so we can leave for the Bay on Tuesday for a trip to the stilt village and James Bond Island. 
Phuket Town is full of new sights and Uptown turns on lunch. Anchor winch is retrieved from the repair shop for installation Tuesday morning before departure.
 
Shopping at Central Festival for more clothes. The Beveridge family are very light travelers. They arrived in Thailand with 3 small back packs and a hand bag. Two adults and two children for 3 weeks. That has to be some sort of record!. Anyway they are loading up for the return journey.
Tuesday big delays and setbacks with anchor winch installation. Plans to leave abandoned to Wednesday. Still some finishing off to do Wednesday but departure by lunch time is achieved. 

Lovely weather, a little overcast but warm and light breeze. Not enough to sail but good start. Heading down to a small island for a swim and ice creams. Jason finds himself a jet ski and rode it to a standstill, declaring that the last 15min was going to be telling on his muscles next day. Still...he had a fat time and we all had a good swim and ice-creams. Back to Taipan by paddle power as the outboard decides to take a holiday. Funny that! Small motors...lawnmowers outboards etc. All the same.! UNRELIABLE. Never mind,  another adventure, and we are happily gliding in the late afternoon light to Ko Hong to anchor for the night.

Thursday morning its a late start and some paddling on the two man kayak we've borrowed then off to Ko Pan Yai. A long boat meets us and we negotiate a price to go to James Bond Island and back. That's a much better place than I imagined it would be but it is slack season so not so many people as usual. Vendors very keen to sell goodies so we all get nice new "pretties" Savannah has the girls mesmerized and they just want to GIVE her "pretties"!. Photos, pretties and a lovely sunset to go back to the stilt village with. Gibbon babies on the shoulder for a photo or two, a number of edibles, things David cant resist and we call it a day and head back out to Taipan for dinner aboard.
Friday its still lovely weather even though it rained quite a lot over night. Up anchor and head back towards Yacht Haven for water and washing and regroup and new adventures ashore. On the way we stop at Phanak for a look at the hong and a swim behind the boat in the strong current for a bit of fun. Arrive back at Marina late afternoon.
Saturday is a lay-day. The kids lay in the pool  and they all go for an explore in the trusty truck.

Sunday we are off the the Khao Sok National Park to stay at The Cliff and River Resort  http://www.thecliffandriver.com/index.html 
and to avail ourselves of the various activities available from there. 

Journey up to Khao Sok via Kho Lak and Tekuapa in the Suzuki is a pleasant enough trip. Taken slowly with plenty of ice cream and lots of stops. Arrival at 12.30 in time for a refreshing swim in the delightful pool before a splendid Thai lunch in the restaurant, shadowed by the towering limestone karst formation on the bank of a burbling splashing fresh water stream. In the afternoon we go canoeing with a couple of guides down the river under the jungle canopy to see monkeys and water monitors and do some tarzan stunts off a big rock on a knotted rope into the really refreshing river. Much fun!
Did I mention the food? It was fantastic. Every meal was good.

Monday it was Elephant Trekking. We are chauffeured to the Elephant Camp and the six of us are seated, two per elephant, onto the three elephants on our trek. We are fairly early so we are the first ones out. Elephants don't seem to be frisky like horses!. A good thing really. Anyway we start with a little trepidation as we seem to be in a very boggy, slippery, clay track with lots of water and mud, all of us are somewhat unnerved by the treacherous nature of the footing and much relieved when we soon get into a rocky stream and proceed to climb up what would be an almost impossible track for any other form or transport I can think of. Wet, rocky and quite steep. These animals are amazing. About half an hour into the trip Lilly is astride on the animals neck, just behind his head and pinned in position by his big flappy ears, she is in heaven. After about 45 minutes we stop and get off. Here we take a jungle walk of our own while the transport takes a rest stop.
Lilly and I both get to ride astride on the way down. Not without me having quite a debate with the Mahout about the advisability of my doing so! It  was a fantastic experience. Not at all like horse riding. More difficult as there is less to put your leg "on". Its more like sitting on a very active small drum. I think I will have a few sore muscles after that but it will definitely have been worth it. Return to the resort for a swim and to pack to leave after a super time at a very reasonable price. 


























That was a trip I think we will all remember for a long time.