Day #133 - Sunset Swims & Beaches Browsed

Our last full day in our beachside paradise resort saw us having a rather full day! 
It started as usual with breakfast and a swim followed by hanging out around the pool, enjoying the view and the occasional cheeky drink. We had booked a speedboat trip around Phi Phi Lay island for the afternoon and a massage for the evening so for now, we could just take it easy (not that you can do anything but in a place such as this!). 
After a light pizza lunch we headed to the rendezvous for the boat trip accompanied by Pål and Elin our Norwegian friends who were coming also. 
It was an international affair on the boat since we had passengers from The Netherlands, Norway, Australia, America, China, Russia and of course the UK. The crew were all Thai and English was limited so single word instructions were enhanced with plenty of hand gestures.
Our first stop was Monkey Bay which as you would be expecting, was touted as a bay with monkeys. Not so when we arrived unless you count the hundreds of other tourists from the other boats, all clambering over rocks and trees as monkeys! I think the number of people had frightened the cute mammals away!
We then headed to a small cove like area where we got our first opportunity to get into the water and do some snorkeling. I have never snorkelled before, but how hard can it be, right? Turns out, I am not a natural snorkeller! The combination of choppy waters, coordinating mouth breathing and trying to look down was too intense for me. Luckily I have James who is a total Water Baby and could experience it for me. He thoroughly enjoyed the experience and was very excited by the range of fish and creatures he was able to observe. 
Next up was the impressive sounding Viking Cave. 
Not so impressive to see as it turns out - am I sounding too cynical? It is a limestone cave with wall paintings and site for harvesting bird nests for traditional Chinese soup. We couldn't see the cave paintings from the boat and we weren't allowed to dock since it is a protected site. Apparently, the paintings represent various types of boats, including what resembles a Scandinavian Drakkar. These paintings were possibly made by sailors taking shelter in the cave during a storm.
We then sped our way the very impressive cove, Pi Let Bay where the majesty of the rock formations and azure colour of the water cannot be underestimated. The blue sky, clear waters and sunshine all made this stop a winner. Naturally there were about 100 other boats also enjoying the view but even the smell of all that diesel couldn't spoil the moment! People once again took to the waters for a swim. 
Once everyone was back on board time to head off again. This time we went to the other side of the island to the famous beach at Maya Bay. It's famous because it was the beach used in the movie, The Beach. 
As you can imagine, it was a popular spot and the caretakers of the island had put in quite a bit of infrastructure to accommodate the thousands of tourists arriving to see it.
It is definitely a beautiful and amazing beach with the whitest and finest sand I have ever seen. Even though there were lots of people, we enjoyed a lovely stroll along the water's edge. 
With a bit of photomagic we managed to get a shot of James enjoying the beach all to himself! 
Our next stop on this tour around the island was to moor up and face the setting sun and watch it descend right into the sea, while enjoying another swim. Although I've seen many sunsets, I don't think I have ever witnessed the sun disappearing below the horizon in quite a clear, clean way. 
Before we got back to Phi Phi, there was one more stop now that it was getting dark. In parts of the ocean, plankton with bioluminescence properties gather. They give off their light when the water is agitated. So, with snorkels fitted, James headed off once again into the water to experience this amazing site. 

People like me, stayed on the boat and one of the crew poured a few buckets of sea water onto the deck which activated the plankton. It was like watching stars trapped in water being poured over the floor - hundred of tiny specks of light briefly flickering across the deck. I couldn't photograph or film it since their light was too faint to register. James had a magical time making the plankton flow around his body as if he were giving off a special aura.  
Images grabbed off the Internet. If I had the right camera & took a long exposure, I might have 
captured something similar!
Then it was time to head home. We had underestimated the length of the trip and so we were too late for our evening massages. However our disappointment was turned around when at dinner, we learnt that beef was back on the menu (it hadn't been all week) and so we all ordered soup and steak which was delicious.
And guess what the evening movie was? The Beach!
Leo swimming in the bioluminescent plankton in The Beach film.