My days in Chatong Beach were fun and enlightening. I picked up two new crew members; Jessi, whom I met in Singapore as a volunteer for the environmental group we helped with the deck refit had decided to leave Singapore and try Thailand. I was delighted when she asked if she could join the crew. She has just finished her Open Water Dive class and was eager to dive. Also new and from FAC is Wendi, a true California blonde—ahh a taste of home. Wendi had met Simone who encouraged her to join the Furthur crew. Sadly she is only here for a short time. To my great joy, Nok, my Thai friend, has joined us for this trip too. Having a Thai speaking crew aboard is a huge help. Last night she was able to get us 50 liters of petrol for the dinghy from a charter boat guy—I could never have done this on my own. With new crew aboard, we headed back to Kata Bay for the end of the King’s Cup and reunite with Chris and Maggie. The girls all “tarted up” as the Aussies say and we did the complicated dinghy landing on the beach. I let the crew off and took the dink to a mooring and swam in to shore where I then got dressed.
As with the other nights, this was a gala affair, scrumptious food, copious liquor and exquisite décor all made for an over the top party. The first band was a real treat, rock and roll with an R and B twist, Blues Brothers style. It was so good to hear good old American rock. At the end of a long set they packed up as the techno beat blasted from a DJ, I figured the show was ending but to my amazement the best was to come. A troupe of space cadet costumed dancers performed on stage and on table tops throughout the area. Several times fireworks lit up the sky above the dancers.
Again when they stopped I thought it would all be over, again wrong. Out comes another full blues band with a rotund black lead singer who bellowed out the tunes of Aretha, Tina and all the rest. She rocked!! We all danced the night away.
A very tired but happy crew arose early and we started the trip to the famed Samilan Islands. This is a national park and heavily protected area which boasts the best diving in Thailand. We made Khao the first night and found it to be more of the real Thailand. Like so many villages in Asia it was small and had very limited provisioning but –Oh thank heaven for 7/11 which had bread and other things we needed. Go back to that Can of Coke Index, which is the best indicator of the cost of living, here a can of coke is 14 bat, about fourty cents.
We arose at dawn and headed west to the best diving in Thailand!