I’m starting to like Thailand. Having a great day today helped. In the morning we took the dinghy up a river on Ko Tarutao, to see the Crocodile Cave. (They say there have been no crocs for many years.) You tie the dinghy to a jetty in the jungle and follow a short trail to the cave mouth. There you climb aboard a plastic raft, and pull yourself through the cave via a rope. 100+ meters into the darkness, you climb through knee deep muck onto dry (but very dark) land, and continue on into a large cavern. Interesting limestone formations; bats on the ceilings. I enjoyed it until the cavern, where the air stopped moving (there must have been a distant vent to allow air to move so deep in the tunnel, but the cavern must have been off that path). I began to feel very hot and dizzy, and was happy to turn back at that point.
Back at the entrance to the river we went ashore at the park facility to get a cold drink. We ate at an outdoor restaurant there the night before. Good stir fry and squid and rice and a beer for about $5 each. And we met a German guy who has been traveling around SE Asia alone for five years. Living simply. A Buddhist. Staying in a tent on the beach. Says he has lost faith in America, since George Bush’s reelection. He can’t believe Trump is taken seriously, but on the other hand he says no president can do much on his own (as the thwarting of Obama has shown), so it doesn’t make much difference. We didn’t hang out with him for long, but I felt some connection with him. He seemed to emerge from another world of simple solo traveling, smile, sip his hot water, and quietly retreat back to the night.
Back on the boat we got underway for Ko Bulan Le, about ten miles north. The breeze was directly on our nose, so we motored. But there was a breeze! So nice. And we needed to charge batteries and make fresh water anyway. We anchored and swam ashore to look around at a pretty beach and pleasant resort with a restaurant. Looked it up in Trip Advisor, and almost everybody loves the place, if you’re looking for a quiet remote idyllic island. Only complaint seemed to be some mosquitos. I did see one at the boat — the first I’ve seen since returning to the boat two weeks ago.
There is one other sailboat here, and it is incredibly small — my guess is 26 feet. I saw a long haired weathered graybeard ashore, snoozing in the shade on an inflatable kayak. Had to be the sailor! I chatted with him. He left Belgium 21 years ago, and is slowly working his way around the world! I told him we left the USA 14 months ago, to which he replied, “Zoom!” Another interesting spirit of simplicity, low impact, quiet. I asked if he was returning to Belgium, and he said, “Belgium is good for beer, mostly. No, I’m not going back.”
Tim made a delightful fish and mushroom curry dinner. It was pleasantly cool at sunset. The islands visible in the northern distance have a dramatic appearance, and raise my desire to explore further. And to make the day complete, I am SO happy I’m not aboard the tiny boat next to us, 21 years into a voyage with no end in sight!