There were Stewarts on the elephants' backs...
It has been a wonderful trip on so many levels. The kids have had fun exploring, we have had time to relax and enjoy eachother's company, it has been eye-opening learning about another culture and place. As our time here draws to a close, We look forward to being back home to celebrate Thanksgiving, see all of you, start ski season, care for the animals, and continue our special year (taking shape: a January trip to SoCal and the Southwest, a July trip to the Northwest and BC). I've been having dreams about my return to work at Redwood (nothing approaching nightmares--it will be fine), but adventuring sure is cool!
Here are some selected entries from the kids' journals since I last updated the blog:
November 18, Eli
For the last two days we have been anchored near a beach with huge waves. Today my grampa found two boogie boards. While the rest of the family went ashore on the dingy, I dragged behind on one of the boogie boards. When we got to the surf line, I caught a huge wave to shore. After a couple hours at that part of the beach, me and my dad went down the beach to some bigger waves. Some of the ones I caught were so big that the board buckled and skipped. After lunch I wasn't able to catch many more.
November 16, Sophia
An Unexpected Swim
When the sun finally almost had set and everyone knew it was time to eat, Mana, Bapu, Mama, Eli, Grace and I piled into the dingy and rode halfway to shore. We only went halfway because as I looked back from the beach, a big, salty, blue wave was coming right at us. Then the boat tipped and a second later I found myself (fully dressed in wet cotton clothes) in the surf. Eyeing the others and laughing was Papa [who had gone separately in the kayak]. We looked at our drenched clothing: we were going to go back to the boat and Papa and Eli were going to bring us food [delivered back to the big boat from land via the kayak].
November 15, Eli
Today me and my dad were snorkeling. I was watching some parrot fish eating coral. Then my dad yelled "Eli!" I swam over and saw a green turtle swimming near the surface. We followed it until we were close enough to call my sisters over. By the time they got to us, it had gone to the bottom and was taking little bites of coral. Sometimes it stayed at one feeding spot for a while, sometimes it would move on quickly. One time, I was very close to it and reached out to touch it. Despite its normal, sluggish pace, it darted away. We watched it for about 20 minutes but during the whole time it breathed only 3 times.
November 15, Grace
This morning Eli, Sophia, and I were bickering when Papa's voice surprised me: "We have a surprise for you!" Sophia and I scrambled to meet our gift-bearers/parents. When we got there, we saw a sweet, speckled hermit crab. "Oh, goody!", I exclaimed happily. We made a habitat as quick as a flash. Sophie also named it Johnny.
November 14, Grace
A Pool by the Sea
Last night we sailed to a new island. Last night was stormy, but in the morning when I woke up, the warm sun was shining brightly. We did our school work and set off to the civilized island. When we got there, we (well Mana and Bapu) got Mama and Papa (*only*) a room at the nearby resort. The resort had a pool! I was very excited to swim in the pool! But we had to wait 'til after lunch. Lunch was good! *Finally* we swam in the pool. It was fun!
November 14, Sophia
A couple days ago, the boat was anchored in a pace called Monkey Beach. Monkey Beach was great. It had good food and swings. There was only one problem...monkeys. For example, I was enjoying a cool, yummy coconut when a monkey ran at me, nearly grabbing the coconut out of my hand. For the rest of the day, I ate in the water. Another example was when Mama got a grilled corn and an obese monkey shot up her leg, leaving a sandy red handprint on her upper thigh. That's when Mama and the other corn and coconut eaters joined me at water's edge!
At this point, I encourage you to stop reading and go on with your day. What follows is my record of our trip. You are certainly welcome to read it, but I post it here primarily for my own benefit (this is our journal for the year, after all).
DAY DATE, ANCHORAGE, ACTIVITIES OF NOTE: FIRST ANIMAL SIGHTINGS OF NOTE
Mon Oct 31 Halloween, Departure from San Rafael
Tu Nov 1 Departure from SFO
W 2 Yacht Haven Marina, Ko (Island) Phuket, Arrival, Hat Nai Yang Beach (Sirinat Nat'l Park) [blog post 1]
Th 3 " , Beach again, Ceramic Kitchen for dinner
PHANG NGA BAY
F 4 Ko Phanak, Cave visit
St 5 Ko Hong, Really cool hong ("room") & inlet @ Koh Phanak, Touristy hong @ Koh Hong: Monkeys, Reef heron, Brahming Kite
Sn 6 Ko Phra At Num, Visit to "James Bond" Island (Ko Ping Kan) w/ small pinnacle, circumnavigation of island in kayak: Cuddle fish, Bats, Sea eagles
M 7 Ko Hong #2 National Park, Visit to fishing village @ Ko Pan Yi
Tu 8 " , Hong visit, walk: Coral and reef fishes
KRABI PROVENCE ISLANDS
W 9 Ao (Bay) Nang, Touristy bay and town: Sea snake @ Ko Hong
Th 10 (North) Koh Dan Hok, Thai food boat at small island: More monkeys
F 11 Ko Phi Phi Don @ Monkey Beach, Rude monkeys: Cuttle fish, trunk fish, good coral
St 12 " , Ton Sai town visit [blog post 2]
Sn 13 Ko Phi Phi Don @ Holiday Inn Beach
M 14 " , Room at P.P.E.Palms Resort, Massage, Pool :)
Tu 15 Ko Phi Phi Le @ Maya Bay, Beautiful National Park--site of "The Beach"
PHUKET ISLAND (ANDAMAN COAST)
W 16 Nai Harn Beach, Cruiser boarding @ Maya Bay and Dingy flip
Th 17 " , Surfing, Windsurfing, Lunch in town
F 18 Kata Noi Beach
St 19 Ao Sapam near Royal Phuket Marina, Elephant ride @ Kok Chang (near Kata Noi): Elephants, Gibbons [this blog post 3 typed]
Sn 20 Royal Phuket Marina, Nice Italian lunch
M 21 Bang Tao Beach (Kris Resort), Island drive to Patong and more
Tu 22 Bang Tao Beach (Kris Resort), Frisbee at the beach, Thai pancakes, FantaSea: Tigers
W 23 Gift shopping, Departure
korm kun, krap (thank you [male]) ...ka [female]
sa wat dee, krap (hello [male])
tow rai (how much)