A Travellerspoint blog

A Divers Mecca

Koh Tao

sunny 33 °C

the journey to koh tao was probably the most interesting, but also the most worth it. from Krabi town we got on a bus that took us to a shady ghetto in the middle of what can only be the thailand projects. from here we jumped on a bus that was missing a sheet of metal off the side that took us to surrathani pier. from here we took the night ferry, o wonder of wonders. this small beauty packs about 90 ppl onto small foam mattresses (think fred flinstone comfort level) that are pushed all together in a row down each side of the boat. on one side the thai ppl slept and on the other, backpackers. we crammed in like sardines, literally your shoulder either had to be on top of someone elses or below it or you couldnt lay flat. laughing at the situation i decided to tell the german girl beside me "hope your a good cuddler" she did not laugh and i knew it was going to be a long night. she did however decide to cuddle with her boyfriend as i was awoken by the two of them kissing beside me, as we all lay touching. going to the bathroom was a hole in the floor, beside the hole was a bucket of stagnent water with a soup bowl floating with it. you reach into this water and scoop some of it out with the bowl to do a manual flush of the toilet. trying to stay upright on a rocky ship whilst peeing proved to be quite the challenge.

once arriving on the island we were not greeted with a taxi, as we had been promised. figuring it was probably late we just hung out around the pier. an hour later a truck that said "simple life" (our dive company) pulled up. it was actually the owner and he was quite mad we hadnt been picked up. he had come to the peir to check out this new boat his friend had made and personally gave us a ride to the shop. from here we checked into our awesome guesthouse, which was a duplex not 50 meters from the beach where we each had our own bed and a bathroom to share.

we grabbed a quick swim and meal before class started. class was very slack we watched a video for two hours, then went for supper. after this alison and i grabbed a chaing beer to drink while doing our padi homework on our balcony. when we went inside we were horrified to see a colony of ants had set up shop all over our things (mostly mine). we battled these ants for the full duration of our stay, having to hose off my backpack twice.

the next day we did more class work and found out that our diver lee is from england and his DMT (dive master in training) is from kelowna! we quickly became his favorite students im sure. we went out to do a couple dives and seen lots of neat fish!! throughout our dives (we did 4 in total) we seen angel fish, trigger fish, bat fish, banner fish, a blue spotted ray and even a clown fish among others. im fairly certain the clown fish we seen was actually nemo and his dad, as it was a baby one and a older one who hang out near an anenomie in a circle of rocks. really neat to see!

after we became padi scuba certified we went out for supper with cameron and then for drinks with the rest of the simple life crew. everyone here was amazing and it was very sad to leave!

Posted by karen_411 03:46 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Islands of paradise

exploring ko phi phi

sunny 34 °C

a quick ferry ride found us on a beautiful island called ko phi phi. actually just off this island is where the movie the beach was filmed to give everbody an idea of what it loks like. once in the island we searched for cheep accomidation climbing upwards in the scorching heat with heavy packs on our backs. we went to 4 places that were not only not cheep at all but also completely booked. feeling a bit panicked we decided to head down this side road where we stubled across flower bungalows where for $8.86 we were able to grab a bed in a 16 person dorm with some ratty looking mosquito nets....perfect!

by this point i figured my skin had had enough adjustment period to the sun and it was time to quit the sunscreen and become a bronzed godess (with hopes of blending in with the locals). turns out i was wrong and after a day of beaching i was left with not only burns but sunstroke. the water was amazing, we saddled up under an umbrella that peered over the water, watching the long tail boats ferry passengers in and out around the limestone cliffs. we certainly got quite a bit of swimming in here.

we watched the sunset over the boat pier on the other side of the island, did some vendor shopping and had an enjoyable evening on the town.

Posted by karen_411 03:36 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

journey to thailand.

sunny 39 °C

arriving in kuala lumpur was overwhelming to say the least. with ppl screaming "you you go!! you want taxi??" and lewd men making no qualms of sexual advances and gestures i was a bit discouraged. upon arriving in chinatown it began to DOWNPOUR leaving me completely soaked and lost. after wandering for 2 hours i finally broke down and said yes to the pesky cab driver. i bargained down the price and hoped on in. from here i met alison, got ripped off on a room but was excited to find somewhere to call home. the next day we caught the night train to hat yai, Thailand.

the night train; oh boy where to start. $16 got us a seat on a 8 hr ride to thailand by train. we were dissapointed all sleeping berths were sold out and it was completely freezing in the cabin. we also had a mini adventure in the train as a man from pakistan befriended alison. she was confused as to why i was sort of ignoring him and not asnwering his questions. having met many of these men on my previous travells i was wise to his game and had already learned the hard way what was about to happen. the questions started innocent enough, where you from? what di you do? why are you here? and then got slightly more personal, you you married, why arnt you married, he dwelled on this one for a long time. then things get reak awkward when he starts to ask if we are naughty and so on and so forth. he then grabbed the ticket out of alisons hand to see which seat we were on the train. once we borded the rain he came into our berth and made sure we knew he knew where we were sitting. awesome. needless to say we slept pretty light on the night train and tried to wedge in between a group of young male backpackers. however, he didnt bother us again.

when we landed in hat yai, cold, sore from sleeping in chairs and tired from a crappy sleep we were bombarded by tuk tuk drivers trying to take us into town. this was annoying. especially when they wanted to charge 100 bht and we finally got it for 20 bht. 12 of us piled into the tuk tuk, a vehicle no bigger then a gater and whirled through town to the bus station. where we jumped on a "4 hour" bus ride to Krabi. However, four hours quickly turned to 6. we managed to snag a AWESOME guest house in krabi and have really enjoyed our stay here.

Posted by karen_411 23:57 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

The Scenic Route

The Great Ocean Road Australia - Feb 27

semi-overcast 25 °C

i decided on my last day in melbourne to get out of the city and see some of the surroundings, trouble was i had no car nor any skills to drive on the other side of the road. reluctantly i jumped on a tour bus in order to take in the great ocean road. glad i did, it would have been nice to do it myself, but better this way then not at all!

stretching 263 km's the great ocean road served as long term employment for ex servicemen of WWI, taking over 14 years to complete. however, since its construction it has been rebuilt plenty of times due to landslides and flooding.

first stop was bells beach; a rather non-exciting beach that apparently is good for pro surfing which is why the longest surfing competition in the world; the ripcurl classic is held here. more exciting then the beach itself was the herd of wild grey kangaroos that were congregating around the entrance. its not common to see them in the daytime as they have no sweat glands and therefore cant handle the heat. this was about the only upside to it being a really rainy cold day when we left.

the harbour town of Anglesea was next. its a tourist town (along with almost every single town on this strip) but the interesting thing about this is that its paralell to tasmania that lies on the otherside of the strait. this strait is one of the roughest in the world because it is so shallow. in fact over 18000 years ago tasmania was connected to mainland Australia at this spot via a land bridge.

the quaomt "white lady" lighthouse of arie inlet was a quick stop. this lighthouse has the capacity to shine 30m of light over the sea in the night time. dring the day this area is filled with king parrots and decent ocean views.

another town worth mentioning was he town of Lorne, which apart from being a tourist town is a absailonie and crey fish town. it has the longest swimming face in the world where contestants fjump from the peir, swim a few klicks hop back on the beach and the first one to make it into the pub and order a drink wins. im not much for physical fitness but i figure if it has to be done this is the way to do it.

puling into Kennit River Holiday park the smell of eucalyptus trees overtook the bus. perched high in these trees were wild koalas. it was pretty neat to see them in their natural habitat. we also learned here that koala means no water and no drink in the aboriginal language. this is because they dnt need to drink as they eat eucalyptus leaves which are mostly water. these leaves take a long time to digest and as a result the koalas are very tired sleeping 20 out of 24 hrs a day. it was neat to see them awake!

from here we continued onto he mute ranges rainforest. a very young rainforest because of the logging business and constant bushfires. australia is one of five countries to have a cool-temperate rainforest. the other places are chili, BC, Washingon, and new zealand.

veering back towards the ocean we entered shipwreck coastline, called this becayse over 150 documented boat crashes have happened n the 120 km stretch of road this covers. first stop was loche ard gorge (warning this is a sailing story mainly intended for my grandpa little, but its interesting non the less) . in 1878 a boat from scotland crashed here despite dropping anchor and sails it crashed into into a island that seperated the hull and and deck, out of the 54 ppl on this boat only two young 18 yr olds survived, and only 4 bodies were recovered. two of them were the sister and mother of one of the female survivor (they drowned) and the other two recovered were two men who had left the girl in order to swim to shore and died of hypothermia. there is now a cemetary memorial for the people who died here. the bodied that were recovered where buried in the ships cargo. the two men were buried in a grand piano together for an example. it was a really beautiful stop on the tour.

last on the itinerary was the london bridge, a naturally occruing landbridge. on jan 15th of 1990 a 40m section suddently collapsed into the ocean leaving 2 young cousins stranded on the remaining section. when ppl tried to tell the police 'london bridge is falling down' they thought it was a prank and did nothing about it. a news helicopter ended up going out to scope it out and rescued the 2 stranded ppl.

this was the great ocean road. a really interesting part of my trip that i fully intend to drive myself some of these days! another interesting fact i learned on this trip is that australia drifts 2 cm north, the more you know!

Posted by karen_411 23:26 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

A Few Days in Melbourne

first few days in melbourne.

sunny 26 °C

everyone here is super bummed the weather is shitty for their summer, that being said the ginger kid and myself (being a half-breed) still managed a burn.

at the airport we were suprized by katlin and cory who came to pick us up!! love them!! we spend the next few days touring melbourne with them. We met cory's friends jessie and braden (from cutknife, small world) and caught a beer or two in the hostel pub. things got a little out of hand, to say the least. the drink special was free champange for the ladies and $2 vodkas.

we have done a crap-ton of walking and wandering the streets. walking along the peir looking at the boats. we took in a aussie rules football game, which is intense. probably the best sporting event i have ever seen. also one of the few sporting events i have ever seen. there are 18 players on the field from each team and the ref's cant watch all of them so its dirty pool. at one point one guy was literally chocking another player while slamming his head on the ground. think football crossed with wwf wrestling if it were real. the feild is also a complete circle which is pretty neat and makes for great seating everywhere.

We also spent a day in st. kilda, a hip seaside suburb walking the streets and exploring the coast line. we found a main peer which acts as a eco reserve to a colony of wild tiny penguins. we managed to get a few feet away from a couple of them.

the following day we took in the national immigration museum, it gave a very interesting account on how many of the people came to be here. at one point 1 in four people born here were actual australians. crazy. at this point we had sent alison on her way to kuala lumpur, and so there was only 3 left in the wolf pack. katlin cory and i wandered down to fitzroy area to explore brunswick street. later this day katlin and cory left for perth and i changed to a hostel in st. kilda. the sun is starting to shine and i think ill head to the beach for the day, and explore the great ocean road tomorrow.

Posted by karen_411 13:55 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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