It’s been mixed emotions since returning to Khao Lak after the dive trip. I’m really missing the life and people on the boat, and am aware of the days rushing by until I’m due back in Europe. I can’t help feeling a little melancholic and sentimental for a return to the adventures of the past few days, and at the same time I’m reading reports of airport chaos in London and am hoping I won’t be stranded on Christmas Eve alone in Kuala Lumpur. Half of me just wants to get home to my family and the other half is yearning to stay… but I definitely do not want to spend Christmas in an airport departure lounge!
There have been some wonderful days here though, spent in great company (divers are always such lovely people) and stocking up on sunshine, beach time, sleep and good Thai eating opportunities before returning to the big European freeze. I hired a cute pink motorcycle and made myself at home for a few days.
I celebrated travel day no. 100 by treating myself to a day’s dive trip to the Boonsung Wreck. I took a longtail boat with Yemi and Jo (a really nice couple who I met on the the liveaboard) and dive guide Semyi out to this old shipwreck to swim with the fishes one last time this trip. My dive tally is now 49… not bad considering my first dive ever wasn’t until late September. I was hoping to make it to 50, but at least this gives me another excuse to return before too long. We did two lovely dives here. Being back in the water really banished the melancholy and returned a big smile to my face! We hung out with the honeycomb moray eels, loads of lionfish (including a cute baby one), scorpion fish, shrimp and other critters, and it was fun to dive a wreck for a change and to chill out in the sunshine on the boat between dives.
The dive photos (taken at the Boonsung wreck) are courtesy of Yemi, who always seems to get the best shots!
This morning I took one final blissful swim in the warm sea, whizzed around on the scooter on my final errands, spoke to the people in the dive office about the possibilities of coming back to do my Dive Master qualification and hung out with some great new dive friends until it was time to catch the bus to Phuket, where I’m flying off out of Thailand to Kuala Lumpur.
Thailand has been amazing! My residing memories will be of diving, romance, sunshine and smiles and I’m going to be dreaming of a return to the incredible oceans here for the months to come. Thailand hasn’t had the same drama as India or the awesome landscapes of Laos, but it has been a delicate, soothing experience that calms the soul and leaves me wanting more.
Best Memories of Thailand
1. Letting off burning lanterns into the night sky at the Loy Krathong festival and watching the sky become a constellation of orange stars
2. Early morning swims in the pool at the fantastic Imm Eco in Chiang Mai and hanging out there with lovely Rahel, my excellent travel buddy
3. Sunset dive in the Similans, joining the dance of the fishy rush-hour in the fading light
4. Diving at Richelieu Rock…. an awesome site, packed full of amazing life and beauty
5. Riding the river taxis in Bangkok at night, watching the temple roofs sparkle
6. Waking up in the middle of the night on the dive boat and remembering I’m at sea, then dozing off next to an open window with the smell of the ocean and the twinkling stars for company.
7. Cooking class with the brilliant Gayray in Chiang Mai – learning to mix delicate Thai flavours in a tasty blend of sweet, spicy, sour and salty.
8. Spotting a seahorse at Richelieu Rock, then within the next few minutes an ornate ghost pipefish AND harlequin shrimp!
9. Early morning sea swims in Khao Lak – loving the warm waters so much I didn’t want to get out of the ocean.
10. And finally, my sweetest memories of Thailand are due to a certain wonderful person, but these are private
I can’t believe I’ll be home in three days time!!! But I’ve just arrived in Kuala Lumpur… and have a couple of days to enjoy the big city first.