Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Diving in Phi Phi

Well we went ahead and did our PADI course in Phi Phi. Basically it gives us a license to dive up to 30m deep in open water. We loved it. It took us 3 days to get our certs. The first day we spent the morning watching videos for the first 3 course modules and did those 3 tests. Luckily it was a lazy morning because we'd decided to sample some of the buckets (of cocktails) the night before and I think I might have drowned if I went anywhere near the water in the morning. Anyway a big greasy burger and chips for lunch did us the world of good and then it was into our wetsuits and scuba gear and down to beach we went. We spent about and hour and a half in a roped off section of the beach and did lots of skills and exercises. We were only about 5m underwater but sure we thought we were great.
The next morning we were up bright and early and headed to Bida Nok and Malong for our first open water dives. It was soooo amazing. We got to see so many brightly coloured fish and beautiful coral. You'd nearly think some of it was fake, like something you'd buy to put in the bottom of a fish tank,  it was just incredible. We saw loads of huge star fish. We even got to see some of Nemo's cousins. Seeing a turtle was probably the highlight of the first dive but everything was really impressive. Second dive we got to see another turtle, and while we were looking at it a Leopard Shark swam by. We had lunch in Maya Bay, where the film The Beach was set. It was a beautiful location but spoiled by all the boats and tourists (yes, like us I know) who were out there.
Anyway it was just the 2 dives to 12m that day and we were fairly wrecked after them.
We had 2 dives to 18m the next day and apparently the conditions were perfect. There was a slack tide where the tide changes really slowly so there was no current and it meant we could do Bida Nai and Bida Nok on the same day, usually it's one or the other. We had another great day diving. Saw loads again. We saw one Leopard Shark lying on the sand and we were able to stay and watch it for a good few minutes. It was brilliant.
We loved the diving so much that when we passed the dive shop that evening it didn't take much to persuade us to go diving again the next day. We went out to dive the wreck of the King Cruiser ferry ship. That was a 30m dive so we had to do it as a certified dive.Now we're licensed to dive to 30m which we hope will come in handy when we go to see the Great Barrier Reef. We did 3 dives that day and they were all fab. We even got to see an octopus on the deck of the wreck.  We totally loved the diving and our dive school, Princess Divers in PhiPhi were brilliant! Unfortunately no photo's but I'll try to find a site with some pictures of the type of things we saw.
Okay so I found the website for the charts that we were using to identify the fish we saw
Saw almost all of these

Quite a few of these but none of the stingrays and the Leopard Shark was the only shark we saw

Other than that the beaches in Phi Phi weren't actually all that great. They looked spectacular from the viewpoint

But in reality they were a bit dirty, the water was murky so you couldn't see the rocks so we both got loads of cuts on our feet and you had to walk ages out to see to even get waist deep. A bit of a let down but I suppose at least they looked beautiful.
We're in Ko Lanta now. It's quieter than Phi Phi but the place we're staying in is lively enough. We did a tour of the island today. Some beautiful scenery. On the east side of the island there's a viewpoint where you could see right across to the mainland and lots of little islands between here and there.

There's 2 caves on the island too and we went caving in one of them. Really enjoyed that though it was quite a trek to get to it and hard work climbing down into it and through some narrow crawl spaces.

Tomorrow we leave Thailand for Malaysia. We've rejigged our plans for there a bit and hope to get in some of the East Coast Islands there since we only did the West Coast/ Andaman Islands in Thailand. Anyway we've a long day of travelling ahead of us I'd say, not that I'm complaining at all that we're getting to see and do!
Can't believe we've done so much already and in 2 weeks we'll be in Oz. South-East Asia flew!
Anyway looking forwards to loads of comments!!!!
Jan and Paul

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy New Year

Well not that anyone seems that concerned, but we're out of all the turmoil in Bangkok. Left there a day or two before it started. (Foss is very disappointed nobody called or emailed to check that we were ok!) We're in Phuket at the moment. There were plenty of guns and armed patrols here yesterday though - water guns and patrols armed with buckets of water and hoses that is. It's the Lunar New Year (Songkran) and they celebrate by soaking everybody. It's good fun and nobody seemed to get the least bit upset about being absolutely drenched. You literally couldn't go out the door without getting soaked. The people here just line the streets armed with buckets of water, hoses and water guns and they show no mercy to anybody, whether you're walking past, driving or on a mo-ped. Then there's groups who were driving around in pick-up trucks and drowning all the people on the streets. The fire-brigade even got involved going around hosing people. Foss joined one group of locals in the festivities for a while.

Other than that the beach here is great. We're staying near Karon beach, and the waves here are brilliant. Foss loves them but I get bashed around a bit more than him.

Before we arrived here we spent 3 days on Koh Chang. It's a really nice but quite island. We had the beach to ourselves almost all the time. It was really relaxing but 3 days was probably enough of doing nothing.

Then we headed to Khao Sok National Prak. Stayed in a lovely bungalow there with a fab view of the mountains and their garden. With did a half day 'trek' in the park. I used the word trek very lightly. Our guide was only 21 and we just strolled around the place. He was able to point out a lot to us though and after all his warning about leeches we were fine and he got two stuck to him!
There was some really lovely scenery and greenery there.

We did a cookery course in Khao Sok too. We learned how to make Tom Yam, Chicken Fried Rice, Sweet and Sour Fish, Pad Thai, Thai Omelette, and Thai Green Curry. Had great fun and the food turned out delicious.

So we reckon we'll probably go to Koh Phi Phi tomorrow and maybe do a PADI diving course there. We'll have to see.

Jan and Paul