Hongs, submariner Elephants and Home again

We headed north from Ko Lipe and I took the crew to one of the “must see” locations, we were followed by old friends; Paika Mist and Serenity. We arrived at Ko Muk late afternoon and anchored with or friends in a small inlet next to the cave. This is one of the best Hongs in Thailand, as the lagoon has white sandy beaches rather than the mud found in others. A Hong is a lagoon in the center of an island only accessible through some sort of cave. Some caves are only passable at certain tides, some always underwater and some larger. One of my other favorites is full of bats, hence the name “Bat Cave”.

This one can be accessed by kayak or simply swimming in, as we only have two kayaks we swam. I secured the dinghy at the mouth of the cave and dive light in hand we swam inside. Soon we were in total darkness, hence the dive light. As the cave turned it opened into a large area with an high ceiling, I shined the light around to show the girls the cave. As we passed further we could see “the light the end of the tunnel” and all were delighted as we swam into the warm lagoon. We were doing just before dusk and all the tour boats had left this magnificent place all to us.

The sides of the lagoon shoot straight up a few hundred feet of vine covered cliffs. Images of Tarzan come to mind. The white sandy bottom shows through the crystal clear water. Palm trees and jungle vines line the beah. This is certainly an epic piece of paradise.

The next stop is just south of Phuket, Ko Raja. This island has a small albeit luxury resort and is a popular place for day excursions from Phuket. Again we arrive just after most of the crowds have left and we join our two cruising buddy boats at anchor. We go ashore and enjoy a drink at the Reggae Bar listening to Bob Marley while sitting on grass mats on the bamboo stilted floor.

The next morning I take my crew and Paika Mist crew to the ajoining bay for a unique dive experience. After the tsunami a large memorial was placed under water in this bay. An assortment of life sized stone elephants, temples and structures were set in 50 ft of water over a white sandy bottom.

We secured the dinghies to the mooring buoy and descended into the slightly murky water. The lack of visibility adds to the experience of coming up to a life sized elephant under the sea. This is of course a unique photo op and we all do our best to ham it up.

Back on Furthur we take the short hop to Chalong Bay and drop the anchor in about the same place as last year. No sooner did the anchor hit the bottom than the VHF radio rang out, Furthur Furthur Furthur from an old cruising friend. We launched the dink and headed for shore. Enroute I spotted Patomba (new version) and we swung by to see my good friends. As you may recall Steve and I share a birthday and it is coming up soon. I knew I left the party in good hands and they informed me of the details of the event.

We went ashore and a warm feeling of being home came over me. I saw so many friends from last year who welcomed me back with open arms. So good to be back!