Archive for the ‘snorkeling’ Category

Jet Ski Safari

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

We were none to thrilled too have to return to getting up early the next day, and due to this we were a little late getting out to the beach for our jet ski adventure. Never the less we made it down to the Adrenaline Water Sports loading dock just in time to be the last ones to be given jet skis. We would be jet skiing out about 45 minutes to a small island where we would then be scuba diving on a reef for roughly an hour and then we would return. We were given life jackets, scuba gear, brief instructions and keys to start the jet skis. Julie and I would be driving but Dad would go with Julie and Mom would ride with me. While jet skis look relatively simple to operate, Julie and I learned that it is a bit harder than it looks. We both had trouble maintaining a constant speed especially when Mom was sitting behind me holding on for dear life and squealing anytime I picked up speed and Dad was sitting behind Julie yelling at her to go faster. Somehow we managed to arrive at the island with all four family members intact even if we were the last ones to arrive by a long shot.

 

Adrenaline Watersports!

Getting ready to head out

 

Once on the island we suited up in scuba gear and headed out onto the reef, or the remains of it anyway. After scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef just about everything else is going to pale in comparison, but the Fijian snorkeling experience was somewhat underwhelming. The “reef” was more like the fossilized remnants of a reef that once was there, and there weren’t that many fish around either. We did see lots of sea urchins and starfish though. And the starfish in Fiji are this incredible electric blue color. We must have seen hundreds of them, they were all over the place. In addition to the blue starfish there were also schools of very tiny electric blue fish that had a shimmer to them. They were very eye catching. Also on the ocean floor were some concrete blocks where certain environmental groups had been trying to rehabilitate the reef, and some PBC piping sticking out of the sand for reasons unknown. After getting out of the water all four of us agreed that the salinity of the water in Fiji was the most intense we had experienced anywhere. Something about Fiji, its just very salty. As we were packing up our scuba gear to get ready to head back Dad said “I have seen the remnants of a former civilization- they used PBC piping. They were ahead of their time.”

at rest

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue?!

 

Before getting back on the jet skis to head back we had a major discussion about who would be riding back with who. Julie had put her foot down that she would not be riding back with Dad since all he had done was tell her how crappy of a driver she was and push her to go faster. I wanted to go with Julie but that would put Mom riding back with the man she married, and she was not down for that. She hadn’t liked how fast I had gone being at the helm and she knew that Dad would want to go much faster than I had. Julie and I figured that while Dad could jerk her and I around, with Mom he had to behave. We quarreled over this on the beach for a while, but ultimately I ended up going back with Julie driving and Mom rode with Dad driving and that arrangement seemed to work out much better as Dad was scared into behaving and Julie and I were much less stressed and actually enjoyed the ride back. On the return journey Julie and I managed to stay with the rest of the group, but Mom and Dad fell behind. We arrived back at the hotel a good ten to fifteen minutes before we saw any signs of them so Julie and I got very concerned that they had gotten lost. Luckily they turned up a few minutes later with one of the guides trailing behind them.

 

After our adrenaline filled morning adventure we were pretty tired, so we spent the rest of the day being lazy in front of the TV and by the pool. While this was the last night we would sleep in Fiji, we had a long day ahead of us with a late evening flight the following day and then a red eye across the pacific ocean, so we went to bed early because it was the last time we would get to sleep on a horizontal surface for a while.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Another Day In Paradise

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Lindsay and I awoke early for our last morning in Krabi, went to breakfast with Danielle and Anneka and then had a few hours to kill before we needed to meet the speed boats on the beach that would take us to Phi Phi. On our way to the beach the previous day we had spotted a rock climb area that led to a lookout point over the peninsula, so we decided we would conquer that before leaving. This was a climb that did not require special shoes or a harness but it was by no means an easy climb. The first part of it wasn’t too bad because it wasn’t incredible steep and there was a rope to hold onto, but it was easily a thirty five minute climb the middle part which was the most rigorous. Eventually it evened out and the last bit of it was actually a dirt path through the trees, but we were all quite literally dripping with sweat once we got to the top. O and rock climbing in flip flops, probably not one of my better wardrobe decisions, but they were the only shoes I had with me on the island and I wasn’t fearless enough to attempt it barefoot.

Climbing up to the lookout

The view from the top- the estuary is on the right and the Andaman Sea is on the left and the resort bridges the space between the two

We came, we climbed, we conquered.

Paradise: the view from above

Sweaty, but still smiling

Estuary side

After we caught our breath we began our climb down and arrived back at the bottom sweaty and mud streaked but feeling accomplished. We spent the rest of the morning lounging by the pool before having to pack up and meet the speed boats on the beach that would be taking us to our next destination: Phi Phi. On our way to our next hotel we were told that we would be stopping to have an hour long snorkel! I have never snorkeled before and I was super excited to get this opportunity.

So excited

The water is so pretty and clear

I was a little nervous to jump into the water because there were fish EVERYWHERE, but once I did and I put my face into the water I was AMAZED at the sights that met my eyes. Had I not been breathing through a tube they would have taken my breath away.  (the following pictures are not from my camera as my camera does not operate underwater, they are from another girl who was on the trip)

Fishies!

So. Many. Fishies!

After many years of watching Finding Nemo and flipping through the pages of National Geographic magazines in medical waiting rooms I was expecting a rainbow of colors in the coral beds, what we came across was quite different. Due to rising ocean temperatures in the last two or three years the coral in this region has been bleached, a condition in which the coral looses all of its color due to a stress-induced expulsion or death of their symbiotic protozoa or due to the loss of pigmentation within the protozoa. The corals that form the structure of reef ecosystems in tropical sea areas depend upon a symbiotic relationship with unicellular flagellate protozoa, called zooxanthellae that are photosynthetic and live within their tissues. Zoonanthellae give coral its coloring and under stress corals may expel their zooxanthellae which leads to a lightening of color or sometimes a complete loss of color leaving the coral gray or white. Once bleaching begins it tends to continue even without continuing stress. If the coral colony can survive the stress period zooxanthellae will often return within weeks to months to a normal density, but this is not always the case as some zooxanthellae and coral species are more resistant to stress than others. Increasing ocean temperature is the most common cause of this, as even a 1-2 degree change annually can trigger this phenomena. Increasing ocean acidification also can exacerbate bleaching effects due to thermal stress. (all information researched from Wikipedia)

The Coral Seekers employee who was our guide on the boat was explaining that in the last two or three years almost all the coral in this area has lost its coloring, but the fish have stuck around.

Sea Urchins- do not touch!

Bleached out coral

After an hour or so of snorkeling we were taken to check into our hotel in Phi Phi (this is pronounced ‘Pee Pee’ which I was not able to hear someone say without snickering, I’m so mature, I know) where we checked into our rooms and then headed to the hotel restaurant for lunch.

The pool at our Phi Phi hotel

I never actually swam in this pool but it was very pretty to look at

I love these flowers, they are everywhere in Australia too

Walkway to the beach

While we were eating lunch they had the Royal Wedding coverage on the big screen TV in the hotel, so even though we were in a country that is in no way affiliated with the British crown, nor do its inhabitants speak English, we could not escape the Royal Wedding. After lunch we loaded back onto the boats to do a tour of some of the other islands in the area.

There are these huge rocky outcroppings everywhere, it looks like we are on an episode of Lost

These caves are home to a rare species of bird that only nests in this one location, so there is a small tribe of people who live here to protect these birds and their nesting grounds from poachers

Island magnificence

Our main attraction for the afternoon was a stop on the island of Koh Phi Phi which is where the 2000 adventure drama film The Beach, starring Leonardio Dicaprio and Tilda Swinton was filmed.

Link for the trailer to the film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EJ1T0cf-Wk

the beach from the movie "The Beach"

View from the shore

Doing more silly things with my arms. At least I'm consistent

Mountains beyond the shoreline

We spent a few hours hanging out in Ma Ya Bay, during which time the Coral Seeker employees who had been driving us around all day on two boats brought out two huge coolers of cranberry and vodka mixed drinks and jello shots, so we got to have a little early evening cocktail on the beach before dinner. A storm was moving in over the island and as it began to rain we loaded back into the boats and headed back to our hotel. Once there we changed out of our bathing suits and went out to check out the night life in Phi Phi. Unlike in Krabi, which is more of a resort town with very few local residents, Phi Phi had a bustling commercial district that was mostly filled with beach wear shops, dive bars, restaurants, massage parlors, internet cafes, souvenir shops, and island tour companies. It was a loud, cramped and crowded district filled with lots of drunk sunburned tourists and local shop owners getting up in your face about taxi rides and snorkeling trips. Lindsay, Anneka, Danielle and I pushed our way through all the madness to find a cute pirate themed restaurant where we had a light diner before heading back to the hotel where we collapsed into bed.