On “The Beach”

25 Feb

or “Tim, Tigger and Snuff go Phi Phi….” (trust me, it’s funnier when a Thai says it. It’s the silent ‘h’. No? OK, not funny then)

So, having taken a couple of days to chill and relax, it’s time to go on tour again… well, at least, to leap onto a speed boat and to visit some islands. Today, it’s Phi Phi.

So, down to the beach (lowercase, you’ll understand later) and then off to pick up some folk from beaches you can only get to by boat (very cool).

Leaving Ao Nang for PhiPhi (10)Leaving Ao Nang for PhiPhi (6)Leaving Ao Nang for PhiPhi (1)To Phi Phi (15)

First call, Bamboo Island – a stop for snorkelling with some very cool fish…

Bamboo Island (5)

(have you any idea how difficult it is to get the sea to look level when you’re bouncing up and down on a speedboat?)

The usual suspects like yellow tangs, parrotfish, boxfish and so on…more pipefish than I have ever seen in one place…sea urchins (careful not to step!). The biggest parrotfish I have ever seen, though – perhaps because they lack real predators in these waters. All fish photos brazenly stolen from other sources.

sea-urchinTrip to the Adventure Aquarium (formerly the New Jersey State Aquarium) in October 2007. Unfortunately not terribly scientific (more entertainment than educational), but still some nice displays.parrotfishtang

I spotted a cleaning station with a couple of cleaner wrasse doing their thing (couldn’t get them interested in a quick once over for me though, so I’ll have to take a shower later)

cleaner_wrasse_pic3YellowMaskAngelFishAndCleanerWrasse1

Huge shoals of little tiny silver fish…

 

And then off to Maya Bay. Now, Maya Bay is the setting for “The Beach” with Leonardo de Caprio… which, as homework, I had watched the night before. In the movie, of course, it’s a pristine wonderland inhabited by a few backpacker types – the reality is that it’s still a wonderland with the softest, fluffiest sand I have ever seen.. inhabited by a large number of speedboats, long tail boats, tourists and holidaymakers from every nation under the sun. And still, for all that, beautiful.

Maya Bay (36)Maya Bay (16)Maya Bay (8)Maya Bay (15)

We managed to leave my friend on the beach (we did go back for her in the end) after the crew counted 51 back on the boat but failed to notice there were actually 52 people on the boat originally.

Off to Pi Leh Bay for photo opportunities….

Pi Leh Bay (14)Pi Leh Bay (12)Pi Leh Bay (6)Pi Leh Bay (5)

And then on to Phi Phi Don for lunch and a lounge in the sun….

Phi Phi Don (2)

And finishing off going past Viking Cave (home of some of the best bird’s nests. For the soup.

 

Viking Cave (1)Viking Cave (4)

and then some more snorkelling at Monkey Bay.

Monkey Beach (7)Monkey Beach (6)Monkey Beach (1)sim_fish

This time, shoals of yellow and black fish – the scissortail sergeant that will eat out of your hands – they rise from the depths like a swarm of aquatic bees as we approach, waiting to be fed)… yellownosed pipefish…wonderfully multicoloured parrotfish, nibbling on the coral

parrotfish2616_o

redbreasted wrasse

And back to the beach at top speed…chances of getting a stable picture… absolutely zero!

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