Thursday, January 12, 2012

Our Mini Vacation to Phuket - Day 2

Still somewhat jetlagged from our cross-pacific travels the week before, we awoke early on the second day and headed downstairs to check out the complimentary breakfast. This was a new experience for DBB. It was a huge spread of Asian and "Western" food - including soup noodles, fried rice, pancakes, cereal, juices, bread and our favorite -- the omelette station! To me, this was another typical buffet meal at a  beachside resort in Asia -- it is what you would expect for a buffet breakfast while holidaying in Asia. 

After breakfast, we awaited our only activity of the day - a day long sailing/snorkeling excursion to Coral Island. We had booked a trip with Sweet Dreamers, a tour company we found on TripAdvisor. While there are larger boats/companies out there, we opted for this company as we were looking to go on a sailing boat and we wanted to travel in a smaller group (max size is 6pm). The excursion that we signed up for was the Day Trip to Coral Island


Delphine came by at about 1030am to pick us up for the trip. She was very friendly and professional. After another stop to pick up our food for the day, we departed from the pier at Chalong Bay. During our ride to the pier, Delphine commented that it had rained the night before and that is pretty rare as Phuket usually does not even get a drop of rain in January. Global warming perhaps? We were also told that for 3 weeks in December (the high season in Phuket), the weather was not typical either, with quite a fair bit of rain for what is supposed to be a dry time of the year. 

At the pier, we were introduced to our outgoing captain, Igor. Igor is Russian by descent, but grew up in Germany, so he speaks English with a German accent. When we departed from the pier, the sun was passing through white fluffy clouds, making for a cooler, but nevertheless bright day. I was glad for the cloud cover as I had forgotten to bring my hat to Phuket! Despite the lack of obvious sunlight, we fervently applied and re-applied sunscreen as we are eager to prevent any sunburn issues from affecting our already short vacation!

We laid out the boat as Igor and his mate worked to hoist the sails. Soon, we were on our way, off sailing in the Andaman Sea. We were heading for Lone Island, where we would have our lunch. Before lunch, we spent about 45 mins swimming/snorkeling in the sea right off the Lone Island beach. This was my second adult attempt at snorkeling and with very excellent coaching by DBB, I managed to get it right and was able to actually snorkel for 30 mins or so. Since we stuck close to shore, the coral reef was brown for the most part but we did see some colorful fishes. I was so overjoyed at my ability to snorkel decently and I really didn't care that the reef was brown! 

After all the activity of the morn, we were famished for lunch. Lunch was a simple but very authentic affair. Rice, some curry dishes and bananas! It was a shallow beach, but we had the area all to ourselves and it felt like being on Survivor. Despite all the various types of hermit crabs and sand creatures we were surrounded by, there was not a single fly around (for those who live in a tropical climate, you know what I mean) This fact is a true testament to the remote nature of the island. Not sure I would enjoy living on a deserted island, but I wouldn't mind being able to have lunch on a remote island say once every other week. The cool sea breeze, the beautiful water, the raging hot sun and soothing sands. Now, that's living!


After lunch, we headed to Coral Island where the corals were in abundance and there were tons of fish. Igor gave us some bread to feed to the fish so that the fish would eat from hands while we were in the water. We were excited to see different kinds of very colorful fish and deemed it a successful snorkeling trip. However, this success was cut short when a storm that was already brewing when we docked off Coral island showed signs of unleashing imminently.


After 20 mins of snorkeling in the waters off Coral Island, watchful Igor gave us a warning about the storm and scooped us out of the water. No sooner had he scooped us out of the water, did the rain start pouring and if you've been to Southeast Asia, you'd know that when it rains, it RAINS! Igor had further activities planned for us - to check out yet another beach and to watch the sunset on board. Alas, this storm looked like it would last for a while more and we made the determination to head back to shore at this point. Igor was apologetic about the weather and refunded us THB 500 each for the trip cut short. We were disappointed to miss out on more snorkeling and a great sunset, but safety first and we headed back to shore. Our sailing trip in the rain was pretty exciting as well and the various islands were beautiful in the rain!

By the time we showered and cleaned ourselves, we were so tired from our day trip that we decided to order room service again. Hey, it's our vacation! We kicked back, enjoyed another round of green curry chicken pizza and fries, with more Law & Order! 

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