The tale of the longtail boat

Well, we had been experiencing some ‘unseasonal’ weather in the last few days – not just tropical downpours but whole days of cloud and rain (we felt so cheated!). Aware that our days in Phuket were running out, we started to assess what we wanted to do before leaving Thailand. We had done lots of things cultural, plenty of beach days, island trips, kayaking but as yet we had not been to any areas for snorkelling. Now, travelling on a budget, we bravely went unconventional and hired a longtail boat to take us out to Coral Island – this involved sailing out into the open sea, taking an hour or more. We optimistically booked it from our local harbour for Monday (weather dependant). We woke up to a little more sunshine but still very windy. I felt sure that we wouldn’t be able to go but we were given the go ahead … Alice, Marc and Steve were excited … my nerves started to kick in! I was talked into giving it a go on the understanding that we would turn back if the sea got too rough.

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Guess what!? The sea got rough!! We were 45 minutes into the journey but as we ploughed through the open sea the waves got higher and higher and the boat rocked from side to side. Longtail boats may be beautiful but they are not the most sturdy means of transport and with completely open sides you tend to feel a little vulnerable (not to mention nauseas!). Alice, bless her, was trying her hardest to stay calm in order to protect me and I was attempting to do the same for her …. but eventually it just got too much and my anxiety got out of hand … the decision was made to turn back. Our lovely boatman, Manrit, offered to take us to an island nearer our starting point, good for swimming but unfortunately no coral, so not great for snorkelling! Perfect in every other way however.

The boat pulled up onto Lon Island, so beautiful, golden sands, clear blue sea, practically deserted – it was like being on our own desert island. We settled ourselves into some deckchairs, enjoying the tranquility, recovering from our high seas adventure, taking a dip in the warm sea. Bliss!! Manrit sat chatting to us for quite some time – he had spent a year in Cambridge and clearly loved to practice his English (a huge cricket came to join him on his shoulder)!  After half an hour we were joined by four boat loads of Chinese tourists (proper tour boats)!!  It was like watching a masterclass in photography – they were everywhere, a whole selection of posing actions and positions – fascinating!

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We explored the island before we left, discovering a small tucked away resort, fishing boats, washed up sea life and swings … and more swings …

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Our journey back from Lon Island was so much calmer … actually loved it … sorry about the snorkelling Marc. 😟

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Our boatman’s sidekick

Had a well deserved beer on our return and then dinner at our favourite Beach Bar (where our Phuket holiday had started) – I think we’ll be back.

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