. The guides had already set-up our tents when we arrived, so we picked out our tents, grabbed sleeping bag and pads, and stored our stuff inside. It was awesome and peaceful, yet adventurous at the same time. I was excited to be sleeping with the sound of the ocean and the fresh sea air. The island itself was pretty small, although it had a large hill in the middle that we were going to watch the sunset from. We could walk from one end of the beach to the other in about 20 minutes and we spent most of the afternoon snorkeling in the reefs just off the beach. I saw a lot of cool fish, but my favorite thing I saw was a little sand stingray that quickly buried itself under the sand when it saw me starting at it. Ahh….to be in paradise!
About an hour before sunset, we hiked slowly up the path to the top of the hill (with 100% humidity, it's hard to hike up when you start dripping in sweat so quickly!) and waited for the sun to set. It was a beautiful view, but quite and intimidating cliff to watch it from! We lucked out and had a beautiful sunset, and ventured down to a wonderful dinner of fresh fish soup (Thai style with spice and coconut milk) and massaman curry. Quite gourmet for camping on a remote island! After dinner we retired to some straw mats, while the guide, captain and two cooks, along with Kitti and Some sang traditional Thai songs for us. We passed around the bottle of Sang Som (Thai Rum), and enjoyed the music in the candlelight.
We had an early start today, as we had a two hour boat ride to our next island, Koh Ruk. Not long after packing up and leaving Koh Mok for the next 2 nights, we stopped outside a sea cave called Emerald Cave. To reach the Emerald Cave we had to swim 80 meters through a dark (and sometimes pitch black) cave to reach the opening on the far side. It was fun, but also weird to be swimming with only the headlamp light from the guide. Once we reached the other side, it was a beautiful emerald pool of water with tall, jungle-like cliffs of vines and other tropical plants. The Emerald Cave can only be passed through during low tides, and used to be a place where pirates could stash their treasures. When we finally arrived at Koh Ruk, after a bumpy and wet ride, we could see why the Thai government had made this island into a nature preserve. We were going to be the only ones staying on the island, besides our guides, which included the boat captain and his assistant and the cook and his young assistant. There were other people snorkeling off the island when we arrived, but these people had to sleep on their boats or elsewhere