Trip Start Aug 22, 2005
48Trip End Jul 17, 2006
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The "safari" itinerary was gruelling, cramming 14 dives into four days, but the "dive, eat, sleep" lifestyle was one which I could definitely get used to. The other guests on the boat were mostly divemasters and instructors, which meant that very few things went unspotted. Perhaps the only biggies we didn't see were whale sharks and manta rays, but my chance would come to see one of these phenomenal creatures later. Back in Khao Lak I took a minibus to Rai Leh, a peninsular of beaches close to Krabi with Andy, my dive buddy from the boat, and Zoe, a Cambridge theology finalist and diving instructor. Zoe and I stayed on Ton Sai beach, a hangout popular with climbers, and after sleeping off the nitrous effects of the liveaboard we got in on the climbing action ourselves. Zoe had already confessed to being a regular in the London rave scene (apparently lacking in Cambridge, would you believe?), and was suitably delighted to learn of an all-night rave taking place at one of the beach bars. She managed to persuade me to dance for hours to hard house and "psy-trance", despite not being a massive fan of the genre, and also took the opportunity to show off her skills with flaming poi learned during her time on Ko Tao.
After chatting with her about her diving career, and her hobby as an underwater videographer, I realised that what I wanted most at this point in my trip was to focus my energies on something I really love
I also did a couple of fun dives at Hin Daeng and Hin Muang pinnacles, sites which had been highly recommended by other divers on the liveaboard. Despite the 7 hour return trip from Ko Lanta, the diving rivalled that of the Similans, and at the end of the second dive we were investigated by a curious Manta Ray - the first one of the year - and an awesome sight at about 5m across. The Swedish guys at Kontiki dive shop were lots of fun, and we celebrated the day's sighting over some beers at the Opium Bar, which ended up turning into a Thai teenybopper rave. By the time I was ready to leave Ko Lanta, I realised that I had been there a week!