27.02.2017 - 27.02.2017 30 °C
We had a poor breakfast on our hotel rooftop patio. The view was the saving grace.
Then the three of us jammed into a trike to go to the pier. When we arrived we had to wait awhile for everyone to assemble and then board the boat. Ollie, our leader, and the rest of the staff gave us a warm welcome and brought out fruit and cookies for a snack. They have coffee, ginger tea, and water available to drink at all times. We had to wear life jackets until we were out of the harbour, to keep the Coast Guard happy.
Our first stop was to pick up our mattresses and bedding for the trip. Two of the staff took a couple of kayaks into shore and came back loaded with waterproof bags of bedding. Some people swam into shore to have a look at the base camp there.
Then we went onto another snorkel site and had a fantastic lunch - tuna steaks, squid and shrimp, lots of vegetable dishes, and more fruit - yummy! We are not going to go hungry on this trip!
Just before lunch, one of the tourists (Andy, a doctor from Austria) lost his sunglasses overboard. He searched for them and a couple of staff were diving for them, but we thought there was no chance. There was another boat there with divers, and one of them found the glasses(Raybans) and returned them to our boat. Amazing - usually you lose it in the ocean, it's gone.
After lunch several people swam into the beach for awhile. Somehow in the course of this, Andy ran into one of the kayaks and got a bad cut just above his eyebrow. Ollie patched him up with the help of some steristrips we were carrying. They have a very complete first aid kit on board, just no steristrips. It turns out Andy's girlfriend, Andrea, is a nurse. So she helped patch him up.
So much excitement on our first day.
We moved to another spot for snorkelling and while we were there we saw a monitor lizard walking along the beach.
The scenery of the karst mountains here is wonderful. They seem to be bigger mountains than in Vietnam, with very sheer faces plunging into the ocean.
Then it was time to go to our base camp for the night. Some people swam into the beach and some of us rode on the kayaks. My kayak ride even had a little surfing component. Fun!
At the base camp, we have little thatched roof huts. We made our beds with sheets, pillows and mosquito netting. Then it was time for "jungle juice", a mixture of rum and pineapple juice which is our sundowner.
After a bit of a wait, we had a delicious supper. The food here is first rate, although I have to cope with the nightshade thing on my own. We went to be quite early, but found we slept really well in our little thatched hut with the sound of the ocean in the background.