Sunday, March 01, 2009

Angthong National Marine Park

We had an early start for our trip to Angthong National Marine Park in the Gulf of Thailand. We were picked up and taken to Nathon where our boat left from the town pier. Just over two hours later we were in the azure blue seas surrounding the the 40 odd uninhabited islands that make up the Angthong archipelago.

Our first island stop was Koh Wua Ta Lap, its the largest of the group and is where the park authorities have their headquarters amongst the coconut palms that shade a little valley that runs down to a white sand beach.

Whilst Keith set out to rock climb his way to a viewing point high up on the cliff face I got a snorkel and mask and set off for my first bash at snorkeling. It was fantastic, another world, what an introduction, perfect conditions, lots of fish amongst coral and towering pillars of kelp. My favourites were the elegant silver fish with black tails and fins that swam alongside me keeping me company as I ooooed and aaaaaed my way around underwater. I tried to touch them but they always kept just beyond my fingertips. We played games, I turned to follow them, we would complete a slow stately circle, first one way then the other. There were striped fish darting around, yellow fish, fish with dots on, all so beautiful, will I ever be able to eat a fish again I wonder. I did manage to emerge from the water briefly to put an old tee-shirt on before the sun devoured my back. Our two hour stop there flew past.

We clambered back onto our long tailed boat - clambered being the operative word. It is not an easy thing to do particularly when you are hot and wet. Lots of helping hands were needed to hoist and manhandle us all aboard the tender that took us back to our bigger boat for a very fine lunch - luckily not fish!

Then onto our second island Koh Mae Ko, another bay of silver sand lapped by the clear blue sea, shade was from overhanging rocks whose base had been eroded by the tides over ages. Keith climbed up to Talae Nai, the blue lagoon in the centre of the island and after a quick swim I succumbed to sleeping off my lunch.


No comments: