Snorkling is Snorl-KING


distracted by deep fried food.

There is this thai girl who has taken to bringing us food! So we are eating some deep fried fish thing with chilli sauce, hey it has a stick in it… even the stick is delicious! I like this arrangement very much. Not least because we are both completely exhausted having just gotten back from two days of snorkling!

AMAZING snorkling, in fact. From one of the coolest places ever: Mae Haad. Mae Haad is a bay (thats what the Haad signifies) with a big long beach stretching along the interior. It shelters a little island called Koh Ma (koh = island). What is completely awesome is that Koh Ma is linked to the beach at Mae Haad via a sand bar! And there’s a restaurant on Koh Ma! And the sandbar is romantically half-submerged at high tide! And we spent the night on the island on the other side of the sandbar! And set the exclemation points free because this was no end of cool!

Yes I highly recomend Koh Ma resort to everyone I know under 30 and the restaurant to everyone. The price to staying on the island at the far end of a sandbar is not in baht (it cost us like 300 baht a night and they let us keep the room all today as well instead of enforcing some draconian check-out time). The price is in shackness. For those of you who have been to Thailand before you probably know what this place was like but this is the first night I’ve spent outside of our cosy house. Which now seems palacial.

The bungalo didn’t so much have rooms, furniture, doors, elecricity, water, flooring, walling or ceilinging. Let alone stationary or a phone or a closet.

It had the aboluste minimum. Which turns out to be: a bed with no bedding but a 1/2 inch mattress (with prints of scholastic looking bears wishing you ‘congratulations on your recent success!’) and a mosquito net. In a pinch we probably could have done without the bed.

Yes we found the spiders! We spotted about 3 or 4 in and around our room. Various species, all of them about 15 centimeters accross. No tarantulas yet.

Actually there was a small open-to-the-elements bathroom with a real-life eurpoean style toilet that even flushed between the hours of 7am and Noon. Which is when the water was running.

And yes between the hours of 6pm and around 10ish we had electricity. So look at me being overly dramatic in my list of things the bungalo didn’t have. It even sort of had doors.

So it wasn’t that bad. We didn’t suffer for the lack of bedding because this might be the middle of winter here but it’s still thailand. And in the end, of course, we didn’t spend that much time in the room. Pretty much just sleeping and napping between snorkling runs. I have no complaints about our time there. It was cheap and satisfactory.

The bar was really cool. It seemed to be run by 3 or 4 young thai guys who where all very friendly and managed to bolster a kind of summer-vacation eat drink and be merry atmosphere to the place. The food was decent and the view of the afore exclaimed over sand-bar was great. Also, there where people there! Mae Haad in general was fucking packed compared to the rest of the island. We must have seen 100 farangs the whole time. And at least 3 other people snorkling. Well, unless you include the boat-laden tours of snorklers that came through. We did see a few kite-boarders, gah! so eagre to get my kite board on, I found a place with lessons and everything!

We also had lunch in the worst restaurant yet. It was also the fullest we have yet seen. Coincidence? Not in my experience. Someone can tell Ae that his cuisine still reigns supreme. So far no thai food in thailand has been quite as good as his thai food. Although at under 2$ CAD for a panang curry the prices here are a wee bit better.

On the beach near the bad restaurant Sarah made the novel discovery of some honest to god quicksand. I had the idea that quicksand didn’t actually exist… wasn’t there a myth busters on quicksand? Anyway it does. Sarah lost her leg up to the knee in the discovery. It just looked like oridnary sand, just sitting there on the beach in a shallow bowl. The only hint was a little pool of water in the middle of the bowl. I thought it was cool so naturaly I had to lose my leg up to the knee in quicksand. The first leg went in to the knee, the next one went in 1/2 way up my thigh. My heart went into my throat. For a split second I thought I was going to be killed by quicksand. Which would have looked good on the tomb-stone, admitedly. I didn’t die because it seems to have a definite bottom. You free-fall (not sink) however deep and then stand up and crawl out. I didn’t play around alot more with it but I bet if somebody’s kid leapt into the middle of it they’d be a gonner.

I didn’t get a picture of the quicksand… it just looked like beach. I did try to take a bunch of pictures but obviously we didn’t get any of the best part: the snorkling

Oh what the hell, the power just went out. This is new. I wonder how long it’s going to last. Colin is going to investigate so I (Sarah) will take over.

Okay, so snorkling: OMG!! We clambered over the rocks by our bungalo and put our new fins and masks on (we got a couple decent sets that morning in Chaloklum). As soon as we put our faces in the water there were fish! The tide was in so it was a little murky, but there were little striped fish (Sergeants) swimming around in the rocks and sand.

Colin says the neighbors are out too and these outages last 10min – 5hr. Yay for laptops! :) Also the weather continues to be cool (for here) and we got used to being without fan and air con during the bungalo stay on Koh Ma. When we came back a bottle of soy sauce had leaked and the place smelled of fish sauce, so we’ve opened all the windows to the great outdoors and a nice breeze. It’s wonderful. :)

So, back to snorkling! We swam a little farther in; still just rocks and sand but we got a good view of those little gobies that are common at our beach too. Colin confirmed that they are shacking up with a kind of prawn who digs their shared hole while the fish stand watch over it. Symbiotic relationships are cool!

Out in the shallows were gigantic black sea cucumbers too, about the size of my leg below the knee. Like diabolical sand filtering machines; they had a dozen little sticky feel bringing in sand at one end, and used-up sand coming out the other.

We swam on through the murk and the rocks, some more sand and colourful little fish.. then the coral started and the big fish arrived. Out of the foggy water ahead of us was a flash of silver as an entire wall of butterfly fish 6 inches in diameter appeared then disappeared again several times. It was so surreal, I felt like I must have somehow fallen unconscious and was dreaming it. We held hands and swam slowly torward them until we were almost surrounded by another huge mixed school of silver fish with yellow stripes, and several kinds of parrotfish. They were nibbling away at the coral or something on it, filling the water with the electric snap-popping sound of their biting.

We were just blown away by the size and number of fish, not to mention the amazingly diverse corals and the multitude of colourful little fish down below. We spent somewhere between half and hour and two hours out there as neither of us could tell how much time had passed. We must have seen a hundred different kinds of fish and corals. Totally wow! (Colin felt like he had to go in just to give his world view time to realign)

Our night in the little bungalo wasn’t actually that bad at all, though I was very glad for the netting. Notsomuch for the mosquitoes and flies, which there were some, but for the spiders! Yes, finally, actual scary big spiders – I guess we had a bit of a Halloween after all. ^_^ We spotted nasty ones in the bathroom, and the light in there was broken so at night I had to go in the pitch dark with the possibility of menacing creepy-crawlies all around me (not to mention no tp or running water). When we woke the next morning there was a huge spider on the outside of the netting not one foot from my head, trying to figure how to get in no doubt!

I make big about the spiders, but really, I’ve seen ones back home that could have given these guys a run for their money. We’ll let you know when we hit tarantula pay-dirt. Spider count now stands at 10 (tho the last three should probably count for 10 apiece)

So, it was incredible. Today we snorkled some more, and got to see low tide and some sunlight streaming through. Saw some more beautiful fish and giant anemonies, worms and sea cucumbers and a shy spotted ray (colin, who didn’t get to see the ray, is wicked jelouse). We hung out at the restaurant and talked some more with the guys who ran the place. They had slept out on the restaurant porch under the stars as they do every night, with some incense burning to ward off the skeeters and nasty-crawlies. Seemed like a good life to me… if only they had a net connection. And power for more than four hours a day. :p

We got a taxi back and man did that guy drive like hell. And the girl next door was here with a tasty meal for us! And the power came back on, just in time for the 6pm sunset over the water. Ahhhhhhhh – life is good!


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