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Friday, February 25, 2011

Kayaking 12.5 miles!!!

Our Thai bhat is almost gone, so the amazing 600 baht snorkeling trip that I went on last time is absolutely out of the question for today!  I was a little disappointed not being able to share the pure paradise of Poda and Chicken Islands with Aaron (where the snorkeling trip goes)... but we had talked about kayaking to nearby Tonsai Beach (1km from Railay), which I had never been to, so I was excited about the new adventure ahead! 

But then, when we got to the beach, Aaron asked, "Do you wanna kayak out to the islands?  I think we can do it!"  Looking far off into the distance and just barely even being able to see them, his idea of kayaking out there sounded like an impossible, and quite frankly a bit crazy, task!  But then I thought: Some of my favorite vacation memories have been when I've done something completely out of my comfort zone!  So, we pushed the kayak towards the sand, loaded our stuff into a water safe bag, jumped in and started paddling!

I knew, about 10 minutes into it, when it seemed as if we were barely making any ground, that this was INDEED a crazy idea!  I've only kayaked three other times in my entire life, and they surely weren't to islands 8 kilometers off shore! 

When we reached what looked like the halfway point, Aaron jumped out and swam a bit while I kept the kayak from drifting too far away!  Plus, I wasn't about to get stung by the jellyfish nearby!  (We originally started at the 3rd sandy beach from the right).

We FINALLY MADE IT!  After about an hour of intense paddling (and yes, it was on BOTH of our parts!) we floated onto the gorgeous white sand beach on Poda Island!  The people on the beach stared at us as if we were the craziest people they'd ever seen, and couldn't believe we had kayaked that far!  (We started at the beach on the far right in this picture.)  I even said to Aaron, "Don't you feel like they should be clapping for us, or something? ...welcoming us after a long and traitorous journey!"  haha  Unfortunately, we didn't get an applause, but we were approached by the sweetest couple (from Israel) who congratulated us and said they had just done the same journey by kayak!  We instantly bonded and become friends (and each other's photographers, which was a nice plus)!    

The water here, on Poda island, is some of the prettiest I've seen in Thailand, and I remember it looking the exact same as the last time I was here!   In fact, I've dreamed, many times, of coming back to this exact spot, so to be able to do that with Aaron was a true blessing!

 There are thousands of these yellow and black striped fish here, and they're so used to humans feeding them, that as soon as you enter the water, the immediately surround you! 

Lucky for me, I only got bit ONCE this time! Apparently my right leg resembled a piece of tasty bread!!

 After leaving Poda (far left of this picture - Railay is in the distant background on the right), we kayaked over to Tup Island (right next to Chicken Island), where we virtually had the entire beach to ourselves!

 We spent a lot of time in the water here, snorkeling, swimming around, and collecting more shells for my students! Aaron even spotted a puffer fish while we were swimming to a nearby island, and tried throwing rocks at it to make it puff up!  While his aim was impeccable, the puffer wasn't fazed by the rocks!  (Disclaimer: he never actually hit the poor guy.)  Still pretty amazing to see one! 

 After leaving Tup Island, we kayaked back over towards Poda to lay in the shade on the sandy beach, before heading back over to Railay!  As we were pulling up to the shore, we noticed that our friends Moron (pronounced more like "moh rahn" and less like "moron") and Elad, from Israel had our same idea!   It was fun to get to spend more time together!   

Believe it or not, we made it back to Railay, and it was actually easier on the way back - maybe because our muscles were warmed up from the earlier trip!  We felt so great about kayaking so far, and were honestly really proud of ourselves for our adventurousness! We even went a little out of our way to check out the tiny islands right off the coast of Railay.  This is the backside of the island that I swam to yesterday, from Pranang Beach in Railay.

We were even able to kayak into this million year old cave, inside the island!

By this point, Aaron was exhausted and ready to take the kayak back, but I was determined to see Tonsai Beach before I left Thailand!  According to Jessica and Carlos (and Elad and Moron), Tonsai is even better than Railay, because the only people there are 20 somethings, from all over the world: rock climbers, Rastafarians, yoga loving people who practice their yoga poses on the beach, and free spirited artists selling their own handmade paintings and jewelry around town!  So, Aaron said, "Okay, if you wanna got to Tonsai, you're gonna have to paddle us the whole way there (which was at least 1.5 kilometers)!   I'm not going to help you!"  He only said this because he figured I would say "never mind" but after I paddled about 1/2 the kilometer, he joined in and helped! :)  He's a good man!  He's also obsessed with The Amazing Race, so when he noticed a couple kayaking ahead of us he said, "Okay, let's pretend we're on The Amazing Race and we have to beat them to the beach"!  I swear, the guy's gonna be on the show one day!  Mark my words!

We walked the beach for a little while and then grabbed a table on the deck of a nearby restaurant!

We were entertained the entire time by the musicians, jewelry sellers, rock climbers, and a couple doing couples yoga poses!  It was fantastic and exactly where we wish we would have spent the last couple days!  It was awesome!

And speaking of awesome, the sunset was stunning over Tonsai Beach! 

We paddled back to Railay, in the dark, and as we passed the cliffs dividing the two beaches, we were taken aback by the gorgeous Thai fire lanterns floating up into the sky - one by one from the wedding taking place on the shore!  The beach was stunning, and romantically lit with restaurant candles, and coffee shop mood lighting!  I paddled slower, and slower, making sure to take in the beauties of my last night in Thailand.  It was the perfect day, and the perfect night for our Thailand finale!

1 comment:

  1. Seriously... this is amazing!!!!! You must be the happiest girl in the world right now :)