Disclaimer: We are staying at a hotel where we have free internet. This hotel is on an island where there is not much to do before 9pm let alone after. We hope to keep this blog up to date however no promises we will be updating as often.
That said…how about them pictures of this place?! Crazy right??
We got on the boat and set sail…it was a little cloudy but still lovely none the less. The port has a fishy smell to it. This island is famous for its fish sauce…which is made from the boat loads of tiny fish floating around everywhere you looked.
TIME OUT!!! Back the boats in a minute. We must tell you about this pepper we had at dinner last night. It is AMAZING! It tastes like really freshly ground pepper corns but not like any we have tasted before. There must be sea salt mixed in and we know it sounds weird…but we practically lick the place. Apparently somewhere on island is pepper farms…we are going to investigate this. Back to your regularly scheduled program.
It was a little cloudy when we started but the sun came out as we passed boat after boat of fishermen. Some huge barges rafted up. Some tiny outboard motors driven by women in the traditional hats. Other loaded up with tiny silver fish…which provides for a nice aromatic sea breeze. We stopped for a little fishing. The fishing poles were actually plastic circular things with fishing line, a weight, and a bit of bait. We threw ours in and hoped for the best…we are not the best or most patient fisherwomen however we both reeled on me. (Kate with the help of a deck hand who handed her a new line with a fish already on it.)
Next stop was a snorkel stop and it was GORGEOUS. It was in a little cove. The sun has come out by now so the water twinkled a pretty turquoise/emerald color. The most surprising thing is the fact that the tour operators do not give warnings about the fragility of the coral or about breaking the reefs…it’s a jump in and do what you want kind of place. We were shocked, with the rapid development here we worry what the cost will be to the local reefs and environment. The reefs here are nothing like we have seen before. What the coral lacks in color it is made up in the sheer size of some of the coral, the number of fish, and how close you are able to view it. We literally swam with schools of fish. Discovered sea lice. Were less that a foot away from sea anemones…and at times inches away from the coral. The only way to get through some areas was our development of the superman/Spiderman swim move. (You suck in the stomach, put the butt out of the water, arms straight ahead, back arches, tiny kicks and pray not to hit a sea urchins or coral.) We had a few close calls and aborted missions but are proud we never had to touch the delicate ecosystem.
Our second snorkel stop (We were first two in the water!) had less fish than the first but we were amazed by the sheer size of the coral rocks…huge boulders. There were little clammy things in the coral that would open and shut. WE got back on the boats and had a delicious family style lunch. We were serves rice, a soup with carrot and potato, fresh caught tuna, our catches from earlier, a noodle dish, and tofu. SO much food!! WE were sitting by a couple from Boston, a family from Darwin, Australia, and a couple from Barcelona who live in NYC and were supposed to be on our exact same flight out of New York. It was the girl’s birthday and they brought cake aboard for everyone…there was a mini impromptu international birthday party out there in the gulf of Thailand.
Our third snorkel trip the water was much deeper and cloudy at first…but the further you swam in the coral came up so high. We had a very close call that involved a flipper to the head, frantic underwater arm movements, and two Kates almost beached on the coral and laughing through the snorkels. We also discovered at this stop that there are some of those little clam-ey things on coral boulders that have feathery tentacle things that almost resemble a flower. If you flail a little in front of it, it draws in back in real quick. We should have paid closer attention to Finding Nemo or biology class and we would know what they are called. But we do know that they are really cool. (Lizz-what are they called?)
At each stop we had noticed the captain would get into the water and collect sea urchins. He would cut them and throw them right into a pot floating along next to him. On the boat we were served sea urchins two different ways. One was BBQ, with a wasabi, sugar, vinegar, and peanut sauce. And the other was fresh. The sharp points were cut off and we ate them right out of the shell. We were hesitation but they were pretty good! It was a mushy consistency, orangey, and tasted like a fresh fish. It sounds weird but it was good.
Back on the boat we had a nice ride back to the port talking in the English speaking section. We were give a name for a guide in Cambodia we are going to look up, talked Spain with the Barcelona couple, and had a good time.
Our last stop was Sao Beach. The sand was so white and fine, and the water was a perfect turquoise color!! We walked out to a tiny sand bar and took it all in. There was a super cute black puppy that Caitlin chased down the beach trying to get a picture of, jet ski rentals, and two restaurants and beach chairs…we might make an afternoon trip down there later in our stay on the island. To get to it, you go down the dirt road and turn onto an even smaller one and just drive for about ten minutes past tiny houses and huts and then out of nowhere is this beautiful beach bam right in front of you. We mention the lack of development here??
Now we are off to dinner…where we will order everything on the menu that comes with pepper! Love to all!