So Azure and I spent a week or so on Ko Lanta and just loved it – the best thing we did was rent a motorscooter ($5 a day) and scoot all over the island. Most of the people who visit Ko Lanta stay on the west coast of the island, so Az and I made our way over to the east coast and biked through the little towns that aren’t as touristy – old chinese fishing villages, a community that lives in the mangroves (swamp-like forests that protected the community from the tsunami – currently under threat from resource harvesting), groups of monkeys, etc.
Whenever we’re scouting our next trip, I always search the internet for pictures of where we’re going and I’m always frusterated. I mean, what does Thailand LOOK LIKE? I find pictures of couples posing in front of a sunset or on the back of an elephant and that simply doesnt help, and I just end up hating those people. So I like the pictures that Az took because they look like what Ko Lanta looked like to me.
On Tuesday we left Lanta and came to the east coast of Thailand to meet up with an Israeli couple who are planning to sail from here (Ko Samui) down to Sinapore later this month. We were pretty convinced we’d join them until we found out they wouldn’t be stopping at all for 6 days, so we wouldn’t be able to swim or go to land to eat curry or anything – just throwing up from sea sickness and not sleeping is how I picture the voyage. But we are living on their boat right now and we’ll stay with them for another 4 or 5 days as we hop to another island for snorkeling and SPEAR FISHING.
Life on the boat is all about efficiency. This couple dropped everything about 10 years ago, sold all their belongings and decided to take off. They talk about Micronesia and Panama and The Phillippines like they’re stores down the street. They have so much knowledge about fixing electronics and using coconut trees to build houses and all sorts of stuff you can only learn through a decade of this kind of living.
Every system they have on the boat has a backup, so they have sails and a motor (and enough gas to go 1200 miles). They have a rain catcher and a water maker (converts seawater to potable). However, it hasn’t rained for 12 days and the pump from their water maker cracked so they’ve been hauling water from shore in these huge black jugs to fill their tanks.
Last night, after everyone went to bed for the night, Azure and I decided to take a shower on the back of the boat. So we got a bucket of fresh water from the jugs, got a cup and stood on the back deck dipping the cup in the bucket and pouring water in our hair, then shampooing, pouring more water and rinsing. Dipping the cup again and doing conditionner, soap, pouring more water and rinsing… It was so warm last night, we just stood there dripping wet and looking at where we were: in the middle of a quiet bay on an island in the tropics, the water was so calm I swear we could have stepped off the boat and walked to shore. The dinghy was tied 15 feet from the boat, but it looked like it was just hovering, held in the air between us and the dark mountain that makes up the northwest corner of the island. And of course the stars and half-moon and the clouds that actually brighten the sky. Just an amazing night.
The moon is different closer to the equator – it goes through its phases horizontally rather than vertically, so when it’s half-full it looks like a bowl. The stars are also different. I don’t know a thing about astronomy but when I was in India I immediately recognized that the sky looked different, and it’s the same here. You don’t know that you know your sky until you’re at a different lattitude.
Anyway, we’re healthy and safe and going spearfishing tomorrow. Thanks to everyone who’s emailed!
Mike & Azure