Friday 12 June 2015 – Ao Nang, Krabi
A quiet morning before this evening’s sunset cruise. Breakfast at Je Coffee next to KL House, then strolled to the beach front where I succumbed to a massage at the open pavilion. Thankfully my masseuse was more proficient than the lad the other evening, and with the gentle sea breeze it was relaxing.
Back to KL House to change and get my snorkeling gear (I use my own mask which has prescription lenses). As I walked down to the meeting point the skies darkened and wind picked up worryingly and I wondered about the wisdom of embarking on a twilight cruise of the islands off Krabi in this weather. A van took our group (six Malaysians, 2 other Asians, two Russians and four US plus me) to a pier on the Krabi Town side of the isthmus where a longtail took us around to East Railay and we climbed aboard the Pla Luang. It was skippered by Michael from Sydney, with his dreadlocked Aussie offsider and a local crew.
There was a range of twilight cruises to choose from, most of them cheaper and operated on modern vessels and taking in a larger number of islands. I chose this as Pla Luang is a renovated traditional Chinese junk and limited to smaller groups than most of the other operators. The fare (1800 baht) includes an evening meal, non-alcoholic drinks (alcohol is available onboard from the cash bar) and snorkeling gear.
Headed to our first island on the ‘Five Island Sunset Tour’ for some snorkeling. A good reef, but lots of dead coral, particularly stag horns, and lots & lots of sea urchins. Second stop was similar, although it had a great sea wall gallery and huge spongiform corals. I saw a sea snake (banded krait) at the first stop. Michael said they were very venomous, but also very shy and with impossible fangs, so it posed no real danger.
The third spot was not so great, but the weather was fine although overcast and the wind died down so it was and sunburn was not a worry. Dinner was pretty basic – a curry, rice, noodles and vegetables, served at room temperature – as we watched the sun set, too cloudy for much colour.
The last stop was back at East Railay for swimming with phosphorescent plankton. It was pretty but not a patch on what we have been seeing recently in the beaches around Southern Tasmania.