Day 9. Phi Phi Don. Yachting. A tale of sailing.
One of the best days of the voyage.
After a good night’s sleep I am sitting at the breakfast table with a fellow traveler and he has decided to join the ranks of the yachtsmen – I guess my stories have made him believe, that it is going to be fun. I expected the chili with mixed vegetables and shrimp to be a bit spicier, but it was good nevertheless. We had mango shake for dessert – it cost very little here, and is served nicely in a tall glass – a good start for a day on the waves.
JThe yacht is fairly small (9 meters long) and is not that new, but captain Bob is nice and shows us the basics of yachting. It looks like the 8 of us have distributed the best possible way on the white deck of the yacht. The engines start running and we steer ourselves out of the port.
Our first stop is at the Monkey beach. The captain shows it to us with an extended hand and says: “the monkeys are right there – get in the water and swim. I can give you life vests if you can’t swim, or you could just take the kayak.” We have to kayaks tied at the stern of the yacht and they kept behind us faithfully for the whole time. They seem to be the best choice for situations like this, for one cannot anchor the yacht by the shore. I was sure that I would not risk drenching my camera and thus I left it on the deck. I jump overboard and for the first time of my trip I really understand how salty the water really is… Recognizing that I am not a good swimmer, I swim directly to the shore and in just a few strokes am right at the shore. Feeding grapes and bananas that the captain has thoughtfully placed in the kayak with my fellow travelers to the monkeys turns out to be a fun business.We get on our way when the little beasts are satiated we got on our way to the snorkeling places.
And then it is the time for… It starts raining, a really beautiful 15 minute shower. The rain is fantastic. I am standing on the deck and enjoying the raindrops in my face. My eyelids and lips hurt a little from the raindrops, but it is my first tropical rain and I have waited for it for nine days. It’s fantastically excellent! The captain later told me that it is the first time he has seen anyone enjoying the rain with such expression on one’s face.
Snorkeling – tiny colored fish, sea urchins, sea cucumbers and some larger fish I don’t even know etc. I make a few laps around the gulf with paddles that are a few sizes too big and get back to the yacht. Everyone is waiting for me to get on our way to Maya bay. The yacht is still running on engines… I start getting suspicious about our captain not wanting to raise the sails. He just smirks in answer to my question – when are we going to start yacht? He says that there are not that many tourists who don’t like diesel sailing and promises us that we would start sailing for real after our stop at the Maya bay. The famous beach is on the second largest island in the Phi Phi archipelago. We anchor the yacht on the other side of the island. Here we get a chance to enjoy cliff jumping from 7 and 14 meter high cliffs, and get a chance to swim to the cliff once more, climb the rock and cross a small jungle to see the famous Maya bay. The movie the Beach was shot here. The beach is really beautiful. I don’t have my camera with me and thus I don’t have to watch it the whole time.
I take a swim, dig the fine sand and run in front of the cameras of other tourists ;). And once more I regret leaving the camera on the deck – it is really great here.
Captain steers us by the base of the steep cliffs, by caves and the places of the swallow nest thieves, where the nature activists have built their post. Someone is always at the post to protect the birds. After that we start sailing for real.
It’s incredible… the wind… the talks…
The Canadian captain Neil sails opposite to us a few times, he has his own load of tourists aboard. The price of both captains is the same, but our Czech Bob keeps reminding his incredibly lucrative offer and says that, unlike Neil, he has unlimited beer on the deck.