We extended our stay for a day. How could we not? I wanted to snorkel on another boat, and they weren’t sailing on Sunday. OK by me, because I had wanted to stay another night anyway. And the weather was better on Monday.
This time, the boat was much smaller, a catamaran with a maximum passenger load of 20 (we were 19) and a crew of 3. Our skipper was Michael, an interesting Belgian who’s been living on Koh Chang 7 or 8 months of the year for 7 years. Unlike the big boat last week, which had at least 50 passengers, we got time to chat with our fellow vacationers: 4 retirement-aged Dutch people from near Holten, 2 retirement-aged Norwegians from near Bergen, 2 young women from London (one French, one of Indian descent), and a solo French man, also retirement age, with very little English. The rest of the passengers were Swedish (3 youngish couples, 2 children) and they took over a large section in the front with one of the two net seats, and didn’t mingle with non-Swedish. The first question one of them asked as he boarded the truck on the way to the harbor was, in Swedish, “so, who’s Swedish?”
When our group, comprising those 2 Swedes, the French, the 2 Londoners, the 2 Norwegians, and us arrived, the Dutch (2 sisters & husbands) were compasctly sitting on one bench, but the 2 other Swedish couples (related) and 2 kids had already spread their towels over the larger of the 2 front nets, their bags over the entire bench facing the Dutch, and their bodies all along the front of the main body of the boat. Needless to say, their bags and bodies were eventually displaced.
The eventual arrangement was all the Swedes in the big front net and ledge, the 2 Norwegians and Matt on the small front net and ledge, and the rest of us (and Matt, frequently) in the shade.
It looks like Matt should expect a burn, but both of us sport colorings to match our fishy friends with whom we swam, day in and day out: on our dorsal sides. We kept trying to sun our front sides, but other than our faces, we’ve stayed pretty pale there.
This was an amazing day. At twice the cost of the other snorkeling trip, it was well worth it. We went to fewer places, but with fewer people in the water, I felt like I was alone with the fish and the coral. And the urchins, which kept making me think of Weeping Angels, not a good thing. The French Londoner stepped on one, but she was pretty ok.
I loved the rock fish. The first one I saw surprised me a lot, because I’d been admiring this patch of coral when suddenly part of it twitched, and it was a fish! After that, I saw them everywhere. I chased a big rainbow fish all over the place, nearly getting myself trapped by urchin-covered boulders at one point. And special event of the day: I found a conch! A living conch! I did something I was told not to do, and touched it, to see if it was alive, and when I dislodged it slightly, I saw its snaily body flutter and reestablish itself. Cool. It was about the size of both of my fists together. When I popped my head up, Matt was standing on the beach, so I called him over & showed him too.
Between stops for snorkeling, we enjoyed the catamaran much more than we had enjoyed the big boat we’d been on last week. It felt like any boating outing, super gezellig. We had a delicious lunch, fresh fruit for snacks, free unlimited water, and could drink beer and soda if we wanted. After our last snorkeling stop, the wind picked up and we hoisted the sail. We sailed back and forth for about an hour.
It was a happy and tired group that returned to our resorts that evening, but we were just in time to walk out over the pontoon bridge at the Blue Lagoon and enjoy sunset.
A man came out with a funny bird. The bird would hop away then return to him. After a while, he walked up to the bar behind us and the bird came and visited us for a while. It made very funny noises. Sometimes it almost sounded like human speech, then there would be a bird-like whistle.
After the sun set, we went a bit further, and had a delicious beach dinner at the Pilot Bar (great service, good food, friendly prices) before heading home.