Summary: I bought a long tail motorboat in Thailand and spent 2 months going from island to island on my own, most of which were uninhabited. I started in Krabi, made it all the way to Malaysia and back. Oh, and I almost sank 6 times, since it was a small boat and it was the monsoon period 😛
Oh my, what a crazy time I’ve been having, hopping from island to island in my new ride… I’m just having the time of my life, loving every single moment of it. I’ve been seeing the most incredible sea sights of my life, and I just can’t get enough of chilling in amazing beaches by myself and snorkeling around.
In the night, I either sleep in my boat or sleep, at local people’s houses, on others’ boats, in my hammock hanging from trees or whatever comes around… Thai people are just incredibly friendly and welcoming! And when you combine all that with very tasty food you get paradise. Well, almost, since it’s the monsoon period, which basically means that it rains a lot. And intensely too! 😛 The rain doesn’t really matter cause it’s quite warm here… But the wind and storms are not ideal for island hopping on a small motor boat!!! Rest assured, I’ll be fine. Even better… I’ll be feeling 100% accomplished as an individual, because I am living my dreams.
Random Day Diary:
Day 8: The day before a huge storm had filled up my boat with water in less than 4hours! Luckily, a local woman warned me that my boat was dangerously close of tipping over by the pier where I had attached it, and I got there on time to bucket the water out before it sank. Anyway, that morning seemed like the perfect time to leave that unique bay by Hat Yao where very rare dugongs live. And off I was again, with a mangrove forest to my left and some island to my right… And suddenly, I saw a black cloud wall in the sky thrusting itself at full speed towards me… And there wasn’t anywhere sheltered to park my boat in since I was in the middle of a long beach, completely exposed to what was coming… I steered the boat onto the sand to take out the motor and my backpack, but as the waves were smashing it a bit too hard, I had to put it back in the sea, and anchored it, before swimming back to the beach. Then, as it always happens, a few people gathered around wondering as to what the hell on earth was a foreigner doing there… When I explained with sign language, they told me that I really should take the boat out of the water, and now that there were a few people around, it would be possible. So I went in and jumped on my boat, and at this point the wind was blowing like crazy and it was starting to rain. I took out the anchors, and I almost got a heart attack: The wind was blowing me into the ocean, and I had taken my life jacket to the beach! With that massive adrenaline shot, I paddled my way back to the shore, and landed it like a pro, before the locals helped me pull it onto the dry sand. With all that adrenaline flowing, I still managed to realize that the storm had just hit us full strength… The wind was insane and the abundant rain almost hurt when it hit you, and suddenly it was cold. Fast forwarding, I put on my life jacket to get warmed, went to eat some noodles, and a few hours later when the storm had passed I set off again, once more with the pushing help of some bystanders! After a while I reached a large river mouth, and had 3 choices, judging by the few hours of sunlight left: I could stay at a village just there, I could go to Ko Sukorn, an island about 20 minutes away, or I could cross the bay and get to the other side. I chose the latter one, and after a few minutes cruising, I stopped to have a pee. LOL I know that it does not matter, but what came next does! While admiring the views, I saw a fin, and almost shit myself because I thought it was a shark! But then I saw it again and again, getting closer to me, and I realized it was dolphins!! Anyway, I was off again when suddenly I felt that the boat was almost not moving… LOL I took a quick look around and realized that it was about 10cm deep, in the middle of the bay! And due to the strength of the current, I could not turn around. So I hopped off the boat and started pushing it into the open sea… At first I thought that it take just a few meters push, but after about 10 minutes of walking in the mud, I seemed to have changed my mind. The funny thing is that I’d seen some white things on the sea and had not realized until then that it was just birds standing on the water because it was so shallow. At this point, I started getting a big nervous, because I knew that the tide was slowly going down at the same speed as I was pushing my boat deeper, and because I saw some more dark clouds in the horizon… And I did not want to get stuck there in the storm! Fast forward, I walked for about 15-20 minutes in total, and then used the motor to slide the boat over the mud for about 10 more minutes, until I arrived to a deep and narrow water flowing canal nearby the island… Just in time to get to the island’s harbour on time to attach my boat at the tip of the pier before the wind started blowing again. Because the tide was so low, this was the only place where I could park my boat! Upon stepping onto the concrete, a guy in a motorcycle taxi asked me where I wanted to go… And told me about some family owned bungalows nearby. Logically, it did not make sense to go there, as it wasn’t even on the beach, and I was leaving my boat just there, and it was just a random guy telling me about this place, but I KNEW, and had a good feeling, that it was the right thing to do. And boy I was right, as you will read… First of all, the bungalow was the best one I’ve had in my life… Every detail had been taken care of, and I loved it, just like I loved the food there… And living there next to the family made me feel much better after the stressful day! They also lent me some bike for free so I went around to see the sunset by the beach. But the biggest proof for me came later on in the night… I was going around the Muslim fishing village when the Dang, the father from where I was staying, came looking for me on a motorcycle. There was so much wind and we could start seeing thunders in the distance… He drove me to the pier where I had left my boat, where we met another young man. The tide had gone up considerably, the waves were starting to get bigger, and the way the currents and wind had become, it was clear that either I moved the boat, either it would not be there in the morning. A second later, before I could do anything, the guy climbed down the rope onto my boat, and started taking it into a sheltered mini-bay just around the corner that had just become accessible due to the water rising… I was left there with Dang, and 2 motorcycles, in the dark windy night… And then I remembered something that had happened about month and a half earlier… I had asked this French guy where he’d learn to ride motorcycles with gears and he’d told me that it had happened totally unexpectedly when a guy had offered him to try them out. And then, I had the funny feeling that the same thing would happen to me. And standing there in the pier, I jumped on the motorcycle with gears, pushed my foot downwards to start the motor as Dang was doing on his bike, watched him put the 1st gear while imitating him, and then followed him around to the secluded bay where my boat lay. It was a short but amazing ride, and I felt like the king of the road and the dumb-ass of the sea. But when someone helps you out like that, it means something… So I stayed a few more nights there.
Day 13: I woke up just before sunrise under a roof by a small village’s pier. I had arrived to that sheltered bay the previous afternoon, when the waves had become too big to safely continue. I had stayed reading on my parked with my torch light, but as I saw some lightnings in the distance, I had decided to find a roof under which I could see the whole storm show. And this had proven to be an excellent choice since it had been a beautiful sparkling spectacle during which there were lightnings about every 2 seconds or so. But the coolest thing was that the actual storm never got to where I was, making the lonely sitting scene sitting by the dark pier even more enjoyable. Anyway, before going away I bought some traditional sweets to eat as breakfast on the boat while watching the sunrise. The only problem was that I had come about 10 minutes late and I needed to ask some locals for some help pushing the boat into the water… After the beautiful on-board breakfast I piloted the boat onto a beautiful secluded beach in a small, uninhabited island and anchored it,moments before diving in to snorkel around. I then went for some reading on a tree’s branch above the beach, but returned to the sand to have a snooze 🙂 Hahaha such a hard life as you can see! Anyway, to feel useful I also cleaned up and organized my boat. After those 5 minutes of usefulness, I started feeling that it was too much work, and I just sailed to another empty island nearby, to do more or less the same thing, but this time in the shadow, as the sun was getting high… And there, lying in the sand, I realized that I had a huge smile on my face… Because I was really close to the border with Malaysia. Once more, like it always seems to happen in my adventure trips, some people had told me that it was “impossible” to reach Malaysia with my boat. Maybe for them it was… But apparently not for me. And with that thought I jumped back on my longtail boat and left. I passed some shallow waters, were fishermen were placing and removing prawn traps/net boxes, and made my way to Tammalang pier where I had to stamp my passport out of Thailand. There was no adequate mooring place by inmigration, and therefore I left it a few hundred meters upstream with some other local boats and a few local restaurants 30 meters away (gotta do some strategic planning if you like food like I do!) After asking a policeman how I could go to inmigration by foot, he stopped a passing by scooter onto which I jumped, that then drove me to the door for free. Hahahah This was the 2nd time in my life that a policeman stopped a vehicle to let me hop in it! (The first one happened when I was 17, going around Sardinia hitchhiking for 2 weeks with less than 1 Euro/day). I remember the officer;s face when I told him I had a boat and was going to Malaysia with it… hahahh. After a massive rice and fish meal for like 1.5 Euros, and buying some more “benzin”, I was off… Not for long though, as the wind had really picked up and the waves were too big. This is one characteristic of the monsoon period! I didn’t want to go back to where I had just left from, but I didn’t want to go out again in the open sea, because it would be suicide… But then I spotted a small openning in the land, and saw a boat going into it. And I followed it, having no clue where it led. Luckily for me, there was a neat and flashy village just around the corner, completelly sheltered from all the wind and waves, and after exploring a bit further on the river, I moored my boat between a house and the pier, and went to a nearby place to have a few icecold drinks and icecream. And out of nowhere this guy appeared and offered to help me with anything since he worked for the administration of the region. I asked him where I could find internet, and he said that I could use the computers in the administration, which was just behind me, and I hadn’t even realized. That was lucky, I thought while checking my emails and the map. But the luckiest came after: As I was just going for a walk, the people working there invited me to some wedding celebration that would take place in 1 hour. I did not really feel like going, so I replied that despite being a very nice offer, I felt like exploring a bit. And then, they said something that I did not quite understand about going on a speedboat. But I accepted anyway, and found my way following then to a rather large and amazing beautiful speedboat. But the craziest part was when I stood at the front of it just above the fore hull, andthe driver just accelerated to full speed, flying over those big waves which had forced me to seek refuge. But no, he did not care. And actually, neither did I, as speeding at 90km/h surfing on the waves was quite fun. I thought that they were going to a meeting or something, as the boat belonged to the district’s administration, but instead, it went upriver zigzagging its way through the mangrove forest, this time at 60knots = 110km/h!!!! So there I was, going at full speed through a uninhabited valley without a clue of what was going on,but loving every single moment of it. After a while we got to a wall above the river. There was a small hole through which a small boat like mine could go through, but with this one it wasn’t posible. Apparently we had come here to go through the jungle, to look at this wall, and to stare at the thai orchids growing on it… Lol “My life is not real… it’s like a dream” I remember telling myself, because these kind of stuff always happens to me! On the way back the people pointed out some caves in the rocks at the sides of the river, and told me about a trekking path nearby that could take me to Malaysia. Funnilly enough, the speedboat then went to Tammalang pier to drop off the people from the administration (the deputy etc.. man I always seem to meet all the important people too… I’ve already met like 4 top deputies here!). I remained on the boat, however, which drove me back to the pier where we’d left from about an hour or two beforehand. I did not understand what was going on at all, but I just went with it. Back at the pier, I met 3 guys of my age and had a small chat, until they asked me where my boat was. Normally I don’t go around pointing it out for obvious reasons… But then, I had a good feeling about it, so I told them to follow me and went to show them the boat. They had a few laughs thinking about the craziness of sailing from Krabi up to where I was now… I was already used to, since all the locals tell me that it’s crazy. And then, the guy from the house next to my boat came out and started talking with us. Upon asking me where I was going to sleep, i just shrugged and said: “no clue, maybe on the boat” with a big smile XD. (Actually I’ve slept in my boat a few nights and it’s not too bad! Well, when it rains like crazy I have to put the roof, and then wrap myself up with my luggage in another carp… I look like a pancake). Without hesitation, he invited me to sleep in his house, which I promptly accepter. You see, somehow it does not make sense, how everything falls into perfection. We sat down in his terrace looking over the river with some other fishermen, and cranking some laughs, when the guy who had offered me to use the internet in the administration popped by. Somehow, he’d come to pick me up on his motorbike and give me a tour of the island on it, in which we met some more local people and told them about my life upon request. Later he drove me back and Muhammed and I ended up cooking together some local food, before going on a night walk around with his kid. And to finish this day I’d like to add that Muslim people are usually the kindest people I meet… They are always so welcoming, fair and generous… Quite honestly, much more hospidable and better hosts than most people I know back in Europe.