John Gray’s Sea Canoeing “Hong by Starlight”, Phuket – Part I
I’ve been an avid reader of Toemail and I love the blog! At Toemail, readers from all over the world contribute posts about their daily life or cool places they visited! I’ve always wanted to be featured in their blog but didn’t have a nice picture of my toes or a good story to share! But this time round, I’ve experienced a superb tour in Phuket and am trying my luck here flashing my toes and writing about canoeing in sea caves by day and by night! Yes, you heard me right, by night too! It was a magical experience in a peaceful nature environment, an experience which allowed me to connect myself with the nature in a way no other tour operators are able to offer.
Here is the first post where we canoe in the day exploring sea caves. In the second posts, we had a feast, made our own Kratong, explore sea caves at night and launch our Kratong while wishing for good luck.
Before I begin, I need to declare this day trip the best trip ever throughout our Phuket trip! One not to be missed! I had a mission to canoe among sea caves and while researching for the best tour operators, John Gray’s Sea Canoeing program “Hong by Starlight” repeatedly stood out from the rest. Their reviews were mostly positive with visitors all around the world raving about it. It was an award winning tour, not the cheapest but the one with the best value and experience. I had to go for it.
I also love that they truly care for the environment, whenever we canoe pass a trash, the instructors will surely pick it up. They also choose to start their tour in the afternoon to avoid the noisy tourists from other tours which we experienced in Phi Phi Island. If you are curious about this tour, you can also visit their website here.
Don’t book it online because you can negotiate with tour operators at various booking desks found all over Patong Beach, Phuket. We booked ours at the tour desk in our hotel lobby at a price lower than online price. Generally rule in Thailand, you can bargain for almost everything.
So here is the post proper.
Ok. Perhaps I should not start the post with a picture of myself acting cute. Haha. Totally putting off my dear readers but I’m quite cute right. Haha.
We were blessed with a drizzling day and when I said blessed, I mean it. On hindsight, after experiencing a scorching sunny day on the second last day with burnt skin, we were thankful that it was a cloudy drizzling day on the second! Even though we looked pathetic in most pictures because of the rain, it did not dampened out spirit!
Hopped into a local bus like this to get to our yacht.
Before we set off, we were treated with yummy noodles, spring rolls and tropical fruits to boost our energy!
Thereafter, our chief instructor shared some safety guidelines and the area we are about to explore. Sea caves are like donuts in the sea. Imagine a donut in water and the main objective is to get into the centre circle of the donut. Inside the centre circle, it is filled with trees and mangroves. The only way into the centre circle is through sea caves. Sea caves are like bites of donut and it allow a way into the centre circle. But the sea caves are not always open to explorers like us! If the tide is too low, the caves will be dried up and with sharp rocks, it is too dangerous to get in. When the tide is too high, the entire cave will be filled with water and the canoe will not be able to venture in. If we are able to get in, we also have to make sure we can get out, and that is why the experience and expertise of the instructors are very important.
With that information, we were all set to go! Enjoy the view! Some of them were a little blurry but with an iPhone tucked in a waterproof case, that’s the best we had. Haha.
There were all sorts of caves. Big and small, tall and short, wide and narrow. At some point, we even had to lay flat on the canoes to avoid hitting our head!
Me drenched in a pink poncho like a giant bubblegum. Yikes.
Inside the donut, a mangrove tree!
Canoe instructors from other tour operators taking a break by anchoring their canoe on the caves.
There were barnacles and broken death oysters all above the edge of the caves and upon closer inspection, we spotted crabs! Many many many crabs! There were probably thousands or ten of thousands of mini green crabs, but my lousy camera can’t zoom in for a good picture.
Can you spot the crab which camouflage really well?
After canoeing, we were given some free time to canoe on our own and swim around!
We were also given yummy banana muffins and hot tea / coffee. How thoughtful!
This trip is fantastic and it is only part one! There are more in the next post.