Thursday, August 11, 2016

On, Near, and In the Water – Erich

Sometimes the only way to really see some of the best views, terrains, and landscapes is traveling by water. And sometimes, you are the engine. Or at least we were.

The other day we traveled to Ao Thalane, another beach area in Krabi not too far from where we were staying. Here, we got the chance to kayak. There was a quick training, though there wasn't a lot that had to be learned before one could head out on the water. Then, with a pair of two man kayaks, we departed.

Krabi is a beautiful area with its nearly vertical limestone peaks jutting out of the water. And we got to paddle our way among these and at times between them.
Family in the cove
We visited a small cove totally enclosed by high cliffs. This little sandy area went back to where long vines hung down and some of the others on our trip climbed halfway up these. In a back corner there was a rise over which one could see a pass. We imagined that if one were to climb up and over this, it was the secret entrance to a lost area where dinosaurs still lived. At least, it looked like such a place, if movies and cartoons are to be believed.
It's a lost world beyond that point. A lost world, I tell you!
Another destination was a mangrove forest. Here we could only go so far, because the water in places would be too shallow. But you could see the mangrove roots all around, sticking up out of the water.

To reach the mangroves and to return from them, we had to pass through a beautiful lagoon. It was like being in a canyon. We did not see a great deal of wildlife. Our guides explained that in certain seasons there are many monkeys about, especially at low tide. But we did not hit that season apparently.

On the return trip, the wind picked up. Sadly it was blowing into our faces rather than at our backs. As we passed out of the lagoon, we had to travel between two pillars of limestone. The guides made us go one at a time so that the wind wouldn't blow any kayaks into each other. Carver and I were nearly blown into one of the sides of the pass, but with strong paddling we made it through.
Paddle hard!
The rest of the way back was quite tiring. Kayaking had seemed so easy, so it was impressive how much impact the wind could have. Whereas in calm water, the kayak seemed to respond readily to my every touch of the paddle to the water, in the wind, it was as though my paddling were of little effect. The kayak said, “Nah, I'm unconvinced Erich. Paddle a few more times and maybe I'll get the hint.”

Don't fret, dear readers. The fact that I am writing this means we must have successfully made it back.

After our adventures on the water, we had adventures near the water and in the water. We went to lunch at the Ao Thalane Resort. It was a delicious meal of three dishes served with white rice. The first was a curry of some sort, not spicy, almost sweet. It had chicken legs, onions, and potatoes in it. The second dish was sort of a sweet and sour fried tofu with pineapple and carrot. And the last was a salad, but not really a salad. It had cabbage, carrot, and other salad greens, but they had all been lightly cooked and sauced. Everything was excellent.

The Ao Thalane Resort has a beautiful beach on the Andaman Sea with views of several limestone islands in the distance. There were long wide benches one could lay upon and just enjoy the sun and the shade.
The view from Ao Thalane
The final part of our adventure that day was swimming. We headed to another resort where a fresh water river passes through. Here there was a swimming hole, complete with wooden decks and a rope from which one could swing out into the water.

The river was all natural though. Much of it was too deep for us to stand, but throughout there were large rock outcroppings on which you could stand, but more likely bang your foot as you didn't know it was there. Some were so high that if I stood on them I was only in water up to my knees. Others were deep enough that I could barely keep my head above water on them.

It was a fascinating adventure with many great sights and activities. Thank you water!

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