Friday, November 20, 2009

bay of dragons

The strings of rocky islands reminded me of swimming dragons and surfacing sea creatures.

The light air in Phuket was not kind to our sailing ambitions. When the forecast calls for gusts of 4 knots, you know it is time to go to plan B.

We decided to feed ourselves to the monster known as the Phuket boat tour trade. Everyday, thousands of people chug out of the ports in the Andaman Sea, each in search of a tropical vacation experience. Phi Phi Island is one of the most famous ports of call but we were reluctant to choose it. We stayed in Phi Phi almost 20 years ago, before the small island became heavily colonized with resorts. At the time, the place was a Gilligan's Island sort of a spot. We had a basic bamboo beach hut which was equipped with a squat toilet, a cold water spout and a generous supply of biting insects. I had never traveled so far from home and everything had the sparkle of adventure. One night we took a long tail boat from our beach to the little cluster of food stalls near the main boat dock. The bright moon illuminated both the corals below us and the limestone cliff face towering above us. We seemed suspended in air as we cut across the flat calm and watched the swirling phosphorescence beneath the boat. We wanted to leave those memories undisturbed so we booked a speed boat trip to the coast of Krabi instead.

The spectacular cliffs of the Phang-Na Bay have been attracting tourists since 1975 when 007 chased villains around the flower pot islands in "The Man with the Golden Gun". Enroute to the islands, my personal geologist gave me a refresher course on the Karst processes which gave the topography such drama. The rock may be water soluble but it does seem to be impervious to the great tourist hoards and is just as spectacular as it was 20 years ago.

The challenging cliff faces attract climbers from all over the globe.

Geologists from Nova Scotia are pretty keen on them too.

The bamboo fence marks the perimeter of the exclusive Rayavadee Hotel. I notice that their website does not show the string of boats and the mob of tourists that crowd their beach. Must have been an oversight.

Susan have no fear. As always there were lovely things to eat. Several floating food stalls were anchored at Railay Beach and they could whip up a plate of pad thai and a banana shake for $3.25.


Susan said...

Wow ! wow! wow !!!!

gorgeous photos loveyalots xo s

Maria said...

Greetings from Pt. I stopped by on my return from 29 Black Street.
I think your blog is fabulous. I really enjoyed reading and seeing the lovely pictures that you have been posting. Thanks for sharing them. Enjoy your stay in Thailand. M