After an early start, a bumpy taxi ride and a fairly relaxed ferry trip we finally arrived in Koh Phi Phi on Thursday, which is an island off the East coast of Phuket and it is the most beautiful place. As we arrived we were awestruck with how beautiful the islands are - they are basically sheer cliffs dropping down into clear turqoise seas. And the island is covered in forest which is nice to see.
The island is divided into two parts by a low lying sand bar which is where the hub of the town is located. It was unfortunately badly hit by the Tsunami and so is still showing signs of recovery but has also become very prosperous. The town has two main bays Loh Dahlum bay and Tonsai bay. But everything is beautiful here - the sea, the mountains and the wildlife. We are staying in a bungalow which is raised on the side of a hill and we have a lovely little balcony/verranda which is perfect for bird watching out of as we are the same height as the trees. We have seen lovely little sunbirds outside our bungalow and over the sea we have seen lesser frigatebirds, Brahminy kites and an Eastern reef egret - which are all exciting and special.
As soon as we arrived we were already checking out where we were going to dive next and booked ourselves onto a half day trip for the following day. We then headed for the beach and relaxed on the perfectly white sand and went for a dip in the crystal clear blue water. We went out for a meal that evening with one of Nats course friends from Birmingham who just happened to be lying on the beach just as we arrived. After a very nice pizza and a couple of drinks we were ready for an early night.
Then yesterday we went diving, which was absolutely fantastic. We met at the dive centre at half past seven and then went with the group and all the kit and boarded the boat. It didn't take long to get to our first dive site so we were probably in the water before nine o'clock. The first dive was brilliant - we saw a Kuhl's Stingray which was probably the star guest of the dive. We also saw loads of beautiful fish and sealife - we saw loads of clown fish and giant clams and coral and parrotfish. This time I (Nat) seemed a lot more in control of my buoyancy (previously I couldn't stop sinking, but I took one less weight this time which was better). I think both of us were a lot more in control of our breathing so fifty minutes seemed to fly by. We then took the boat to a lovely bay where we had lunch which was idyllic.
Then after lunch we set of for our second dive site - which is known as a hot spot for black tipped reef sharks. After getting kitted up again we set of on our dive and pretty much instantly encountered our first black tipped reef shark. They were only about a metre and a half long and were quite shy - staying a fair distance away. They are by far the biggest things we have seen but they weren't scary at all. At one point we saw a group of about five of six glide by together. They were beautiful.
Other than the rest of the aquarium like bliss of the surrounding coral reefs, we also came across a Hawksbill Turtle chomping away at a soft bubble coral at around 16 metres. It didn't seem to mind us being there and so we managed to watch it for about 5 or 6 minutes before heading back up to the surface. It was a fantastic dive. We were of course pretty tired after all that so we had a chilled afternoon on the beach and we had a great dinner before another early night - we both tried barracuda!
Then today.......we got up early (again!!!!) to do a viewpoint walk - which involved a beautiful but vertical climb up to a plateau on one of the cliffs where you can see perfectly over the two central bays and the sand bar which is the main town. That was really breathtaking and it was great that we did it before the heat of the day took over! Then after spending midday back at the ranch we headed down to the beach again this afternoon and did an awesome bit of sea kayaking - we took a couple of snorkels with us and when we got to an appropriate spot we would jump out and have a snorkel - and you can still see loads of wonderful marine life!
We saw lots of fish and beautifully coloured clams of all sizes.......and unbelieveably on our own we stumbled across another turtle - which was lovely. Though this was more of a fleeting glimpse as when he caught sight of us (in particular Jimmy) he made a swim for it ha ha!
We kayaked a bit more and we ended up discovering this great bay - called monkey beach which was almost deserted! The jungle came right down to the beach and it was really wild and wonderful. So...........after some fajitas and beer we are ready for bed.
We miss you all......love and hugs to everybody
Love from us xxxxxxxxxx