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WPC: My Saturated Phuket Boat Trip

When I saw that this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is ‘saturated’, I was reminded of a boat trip we did last year when we were on holiday in Phuket. We expected to have the same great weather we enjoyed whilst there in 2006, but unfortunately, Mother Nature decided otherwise. On this most memorable day, we were booked on a cruise, which was to take us across the Phang-Nga Bay in a traditional Junk boat, from where we would transfer to a long tail, to see the Grotto Cave, Sea Gypsy village and James Bond Island, supposedly arriving back at 5-30 in the afternoon.

After an early breakfast during which we  dubiously surveyed the deep grey skies and dripping rain through the dining room windows, we clambered into our minibus. As we approached the marina, the boats all looked very sombre against the grey water and even darker sky. When I saw the photo, I wondered why it was in black and white, but then realised that this was exactly how it had looked.

I hurried towards our boat, hoping to beat the rain which was starting up again.

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By the time we got on board, it was teeming down, and I was already quite saturated. The leaking roof had been patched with  sticky tape which was coming apart, so that water was dripping onto the table in front of our seat, and splashing all around. I wasn’t too happy about that, but as it turned out, this was to be the least of our problems. As you can see, plastic sheeting was rolled down at the sides of the boat. This obscured our view somewhat, but rather that than get drenched. Beach towels were handed out in case we wanted to go swimming later, which wasn’t going to happen, but they came in very useful to wrap around ourselves against the wind and rain. We soon got under way, and it wasn’t long before the islands loomed up in the grey rainy mist. Even on such a gloomy day, they were still spectacular.

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We sailed up to take a closer look at the caves formed by the sea’s erosion of these amazing limestone formations.

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How many images can you see clinging onto the side of this cliff? My imagination can make out  so very many strange and tortured-looking creatures.

Before we reached the Sea Gypsy Village island, we were each given a thin plastic raincoat with a hood, and told to put it on, together with a life jacket. I realised why, when we transferred to our long tail boat which was absolutely open to the elements. As we cut through the waves at quite a speed, we all got a thorough drenching. One young couple had brought along their small child, who was obviously scared witless, and wouldn’t stop screaming. I felt really sorry for them, but more so for myself, as they were sitting right behind me.

As we disembarked, we looked like a band of soaking wet, green plastic apparitions. My clothes were saturated and clinging to my body, but I was past caring. I just wanted to get inside and out of the rain.

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Alas, there was no escaping the wetness, as this medium-sized market was absolutely flooded out.

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We waded ankle-deep through the rivers of water which gushed along the walkways, whilst rain ran in waterfalls from overhanging tarpaulins.

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I couldn’t have been wetter if I’d been swimming the English Channel. The understandably glum-faced stallholders were not in luck that day, as none of us was in a ‘retail therapy’ frame of mind as we paddled doggedly past the displays of T-shirts, swimwear and souvenirs.

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The only sales they made, were half a dozen pink plastic raincoats at less than a dollar each, to replace the green ones, some of which had torn already, and were leaking badly.

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Most of the houses here were mere hovels, but we did see quite a contrast, when we came upon a rich man’s house, alongside his poor next door neighbour’s  leaky cottage.

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It was the most unenjoyable shopping expedition I’d ever embarked upon. We stood in a soddenly saturated group on the jetty, impatiently waiting for our longtail to come pick us up, to take us to view the Grotto Cave. These longtails, or ‘Rua hang Yao’ are so-called because they are long and slim. They have a long rod in the back of the boat, which holds up the motor and the propeller, and are extremely noisy, sounding more like dragster racing cars. No wonder the air was once again saturated with screams from the terrified baby, as we gathered speed.

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We gratefully waved goodbye to the saturated Sea Gypsy Village, and I wondered what it must be like to live there all the year round, especially in the monsoon season.

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We were all hungry, and soaking wet as we journeyed to view James Bond Island, made famous by the 1974 movie, “The man with the golden gun,” starring Roger Moore as Bond, and Christopher Lee as Scaramanga the world’s most expensive assassin, who charged $1m per hit.

We skirted the tall thin island,

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and carried on to the Grotto Cave, Our boat sailed right through it, next to several people out canoeing in the pouring rain. They seemed to be quite enjoying the rain, so I thought I’d better just learn to like it too.

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Finally, we met up with our Junk boat again, and clambered aboard. Oh the luxury in spite of the leaky roof, to be reunited with our towels which we could wrap ourselves up in, as well as dry off our feet. A buffet lunch of fish, chicken, rice and salad was served, together with a couple of bottles of Thai wine, which did warm us up a little.

It felt good to know that we’d soon be back at our resort, and able to have a hot shower before dinner. Unfortunately, we caught up with another boat which had left the harbour at the same time as us. They’d completely run out of diesel, and it was still a long way back to port, so our crew had to set about fixing up a tow line, and we started off once more, amidst much hilarity and joking between the two crews.

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Of course it was now going to take us much longer to get back with the extra load on, but we could hardly leave them stranded, could we?  We’d been towing them for about half an hour, when we noticed something was banging against the side of our boat, and a head popped up over the side. No, it wasn’t pirates, just the other boat’s motor dinghy, with two of its crew carrying a large plastic container. They were hauled aboard, and up came the trap door, so that diesel could be syphoned from our tank into the container, as they needed to be able to maneuver their own way into the harbour. Once they had the required 20 litres, off they went back through the extremely rough waves to their own boat.

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We were all watching this exercise with our fingers crossed, as it was really very tempestuous out there. They made it back on board, but as they were trying to secure the dinghy, the rope slipped out of the one guy’s hands, and off went the little craft, bobbing merrily away through the waves. Once more, our captain came to the rescue, rounding up the dinghy, almost like herding cattle, and pushing it over to the other boat, until a man could jump in and tie it up. It was quite an expert bit of seamanship, and I was most impressed.

The adventure ended well, I suppose. Once back on ‘dry’ land, the rush hour traffic was made even worse by the pouring rain, but we eventually arrived at our resort about an hour late, to be greeted by the staff, who wrapped us up in thick towels and handed us cups of hot chocolate. What a day it had been, and a never to be forgotten trip.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my saturated tale, even though it’s maybe not quite what Michelle had in mind. I did saturate some of the more colourful pics, which makes them look more cheerful. :)

To see more bloggers’ interpretations of the theme, just click here.

WordPress Photo Challenge: Lost in the details.

This week’s challenge had me looking through my photos to see what details I could find that you might find interesting, or not, as the case may be. :)

Looking at this photo, you’re probably more fascinated by the skipper’s tattoos, than the small details of hubby and his dive buddy, bobbing around in the water.

Scuba Diving, Belize.

Scuba Diving, Belize.

This crocodile is almost lost in the detail of the water and the undergrowth on the riverbank,

New River, Belize

New River, Belize

Around Phi Phi Island near Phuket, there are cliffs riddled with caves. Here is the Viking Cave which is right at sea level. Within the cave there are ledges which are inhabited by thousands of swallows. These birds make their nests out of their own saliva. The nests are harvested and sold to make birds nest soup, a Chinese delicacy. The cave was so named, because of  ancient drawings resembling Viking ships, which were found on the inside walls. We could see the nests hanging like stalactites from the roof of the cave, but weren’t allowed inside, so the other details were lost to us. :(

Viking Cave, Phuket.

Viking Cave, Phuket.

In this pic, you’re probably so busy focusing on the details of the magnificent floral arrangement, that you miss my little face peeking out from behind it. :D

Valentines Dinner

Valentines Dinner

Now I really must get lost in the details of what to pack and what to leave behind. :0

To join in the challenge and see more interpretations, just click here.

 

Window seat please.

Marianne’s CBBH Photo Challenge this month, is ‘View from an aircraft‘.  I always try to get a window seat, more for the view than any other reason. For me, the flying experience is enhanced when I can watch the sunrise, sunset, or just see the fluffy white clouds passing by. I guess some people don’t want the constant reminder that they’re sitting in a long metal tube, about 30,000 feet above the ground, or the sea, and would rather pretend they’re on a train or a bus, so sit in the middle, and there are those that have to keep getting up to use the toilet, so prefer to sit on the aisle. Not me though; I revel in the fact that I’m actually high above the earth, flying effortlessly and at great speed, towards my destination. Quite often, I forget to take the camera out of my cabin bag, and by the time we take off, it’s too late to get up and grab it, so some of my pics are taken with my iPhone. I guess if it’s on airplane mode, that’s permissible, but I’m never sure, so try not to do it when the stewards are close by.

Here are a few of my in flight pics:

Coming in the land at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok.

Coming in to land at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok.

Taking off from Phuket International airport.

Taking off from Phuket International airport.

Taken from a helicopter over Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

View from a helicopter over Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

Victoria falls in the distance.

Victoria falls in the distance.

Flying towards Belize.

Flying towards Belize.

Flight from Belize.

Fluffy clouds.

Looking down at the swamps.

Looking down at the swamps.

Smooth landing at Belize City.

Smooth landing at Belize City.

First sighting of Belize City.

First sighting of  San Pedro.

Getting cloer to the ground.

Getting closer to the ground.

This was only a 10 seater plane.

This was only a 10-seater plane.

Miami next stop.

Miami next stop.

Back to Miami.

Coming in to land at Miami International.

Sometimes my attention is distracted from the view out of the window, and I’m more interested in what’s for dinner.

Welcome view on the airplane.

Very welcome view on the airplane.

Stop looking out of the window and eat.

Stop looking out of the window and eat.

Yummy raspberry mousse cake.

Yummy raspberry chocolate mousse cake.

To see more views from airplanes, just click here.

According to the rules of Marianne’s challenge, I have to introduce you to two of the blogs that I’ve commented on in the past month.

First up is my South African blog friend, Adeeyoyo, who writes beautiful poetry which really touches one’s soul.

Then there’s the artistically talented Poppytump, who advertises her blog thus, “PhotographyBooksArtyStuffAndPlentyOfOtherNiffNaffAndTriviaToIgnore.”

Please pop over and visit them both. I promise that you won’t be disappointed.

Bringing in the tourists to a beautiful African country suffering from a failed economy.

Ailsa’s ‘Liquid’ travel theme.


“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”
~ Mother Teresa

For Ailsa’s theme, I have a few photos to share, all involving the uses of that most necessary liquid commodity, water. Click on any image to see slideshow.

You can click here to see other bloggers interpretations of Ailsa’s theme.

CBBH Photo Challenge: Blue

Marianne of ‘East of Malaga’ blog, has challenged us to post photos of something blue.

I think the most common sightings of this beautiful colour, are when we look at the sky and the ocean. Many of my travel photos show beautiful blue water, so that is what I have chosen. If you get a bit of blue sky thrown in, then that’s an added bonus. :)

“Blue color is everlastingly appointed by the deity to be a source of delight.” — John Ruskin

The Great Barrier Reef, off the east coast of Australia is one of the wonders of the natural world.

Snorkelling in the Coral Sea, was an amazing experience.

The deep blue of the Pacific Ocean, viewed from the island of O’ahu in Hawaii.

Flying in to the island of Bora Bora in French Polynesia; so many different shades of blue.

In the Bahamas, the turquoise blue of the Caribbean is matchless.

The sparkling, icy blue of Lake Titicaca, surrounded by the snow-capped Andes mountain range.

The greeny blue waters of San Francisco Bay.

The warm waters of the Andaman Sea in Phuket.

Last but not least, is the Atlantic Ocean. This photo was sent to me by my son, from Bermuda, a place I have yet to visit.

So many blues, so little time.

To view more shades of this beautiful colour, pop over to Marianne’s post.

Here are links to two blogs which I follow. Please go and have a look at them, they’re well worth a visit.

It’s always fun to visit Amy at “The world is a book.”

If it’s African wildlife you want to see, then Bulldog’s blog is the place to be. That rhymes so nicely, doesn’t it? :)

 

 

 

 

 

Looking up whilst checking out our beach.

Marianne at East of Málaga featured me in her photo challenge this month. The theme is ‘Looking up’, and she has posted some awesome photos taken from down below. As some of you may know, I’ve been away from my beach house for almost a whole week. Today was a spectacular day weather-wise, so we just had to take a stroll to get our fill of healthy sea air, and check out the beach. The lighthouse beckoned us  from a distance, as we walked along the promenade.

When we got close, I looked up, and this is what I saw. Do you see that chip out of the plaster right at the top?

There were quite a few people around, and I was wondering which one of them was the owner of this car.

I don’t like to get too close to “nut-cases,” and anyone who would pay good money to secure this car registration plate, must surely qualify as one. :)

This next photo definitely won’t do for the challenge, because it was taken ‘looking down’ from the end of the pier. You can see why this seaside resort is called Umhlanga Rocks. The ships really do need that lighthouse.

A bit further along, I looked up at the quite recently built ultra-expensive apartment blocks which now block out the sun from the beach, for the best part of the day. :(

Here is a shot looking up at the sun through this tree filter.

Now for a totally unrelated couple of ‘looking up’ photos. First one is of hubby doing his trapeze act in Phuket a couple of years ago. I was utterly ‘gob-smacked’ as I looked up at him merrily swinging away upside-down. My very own Tarzan!

Anyway, as some of you may have already seen, I got my own back when we were there this year, by insisting on trying out the parasailing over the bay at Patong. I don’t think he could quite believe that it was his scaredy-cat wife flying around up there. :lol:

Now I have to feature two blogs, which I follow.

I have chosen Gunta whose blog is called “Movin’on.”  She posts the most awesome photos, mostly, but not exclusively, of her beach on the Oregon Coast. I have been following her for a while now, and always look forward to each new post.

Second up is Lisa of the “I write what I like” blog. She is from Durban, South Africa, but is now living in France, where she runs her own chalet.  She skis in winter and hikes the Alps in summer, and posts the most breathtaking photos, together with tales of her adventurous life there.

I do hope that you will take time to visit these two blogs, and enjoy them as much as I do.

 

 

 

 

 

Jake’s Sunday Post: Black and White

I love Jake’s new challenge, because I have just the right photos for it. They don’t need any alterations whatsoever. :)

I know it’s hard to believe that Thailand could look so black and white in the month of June, but these pics were taken when we arrived at the harbour to catch our boat out to a couple of the islands. Some of you who’ve been following me for a while may remember my stormy, rain-soaked post. :)

In spite of the weather, we did have a fabulous trip, and the boat-ride was quite an adventure, and very exciting at times.

This photo isn’t entirely black and white, but I couldn’t resist showing you my sister-in-law’s gorgeous black poodle called Luca. Forgive my cheating, Jake. :)

Tonight we’re going out for a farewell dinner, after eating a very substantial farewell breakfast and a delicious farewell lunch. I have complained that since our son arrived a week ago, I have hardly stopped eating long enough to draw breath. Ah well, I suppose I can always go on a lettuce and seed diet when we get back home next weekend, but I bet that won’t happen either. :)

As some of you will have noticed, I’ve managed to find a bit of internet here and there, and a few odd minutes when nothing much was happening. Hope you all have a great week.

 

Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Signs

Ailsa’s travel theme this week, is ‘Signs’. I’ve seen a few funny and strange signs on my travels:

This first one is not at all funny, and was a stark reminder of the terrible Tsunami which struck this beautiful seaside resort, in 2004.

This is on the wall of my sister-in-law’s patio in England. Her two younger sons are Irish born and bred. :)

This was a chocolate drink offered in a restaurant in England, and if you know anything about our South African president, you will understand why I found the description so apt.

Here is the name of a shop in Bali, selling replica watches, such as Rolex, Breitling, Cartier etc.. I think it should rather read “Bogus watches.”  There was also a sign in the window advertising that they sell, “Genuine fake sunglasses.” :lol:

I couldn’t resist snapping this sign above a Phuket massage parlour.

The name of this supermarket in the USA, really amused me. They sold excellent takeaway Sushi though.

I was really thrilled when I saw this iconic sign for the first time in real life.

On a visit to Coney Island, I wasn’t even remotely tempted to venture inside this establishment. Would you ever? 8O

This tombstone in Tombstone, Arizona, declares the fate of poor Lester Moore in verse. They didn’t call it ‘The Wild West’ for no reason. :)

Closer to home, I saw this outside a beach apartment block when we went for a walk today.

At our local hardware store, I had to smile at these signs for sale.

Well that’s all I can find at short notice. The funniest sign I’ve ever seen, and I don’t have a photo, was emblazoned above a restaurant in China. “Mr Beef – Seafood Restaurant. ” :D

To see more posts on this challenge, click here.

(My son and granddaughter arrived safely in Cape Town last night, where they will be for the weekend with friends, before flying to Durban on Monday morning. Roll on Monday. :))

Daily Post challenge: Create

The Daily Post challenge, ‘Create’, made me remember this lovely young Thai woman, who was serenely sculpting away at these fruits one evening as we walked into the dining room at our Phuket resort. Such skill and patience.

Of course there are many types of creativity, and a very enthusiastic tattoo artist had been scarily creative on this woman’s body.

Whilst walking around the markets, I saw this creation, but wasn’t tempted. Although it has a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’, it just wasn’t me. ;)