Thailand - Round The World Tour 3 2004 Day 252 (62)

Koh Lanta

Monday 15th November

We did pretty much nothing today. Getting up late for the second day in a row is probably not going to help us much with regards to our body rhythms for the coming days on the live-aboard, where we will probably have to get up very early each morning for the first dive of each day. You could argue that it is ideal here on a relaxing, sunny, beach paradise with absolutely no pressures of any kind whatsoever. Both of us, however, usually get quite bored and restless after just a few hours of not having anything to do and end up constantly asking each other what to do next. It’s quite bizarre really. After a few days of non-stop activities such as diving or sightseeing, our bodies really do need a few days of rest but neither of us is happy to sit still for any length of time with nothing to do. You can’t win either way.

For the most part we either ate, walked along the beach, sat in our room or at one of the Internet terminals, today, slowly whiling away the hours of this our last full day on the island paradise of Koh Lanta. As expected, our funds lasted pretty much to the end. I paid 2,900B (€55,77) for our cabin for six nights. A few extra trips to the Internet café meant that I had to dip ever so slightly into the money I have stashed away to pay for our live-aboard. This means we will have to withdraw a small amount of cash from an ATM when we get to Khao Lak tomorrow. I’ll probably end up withdrawing the maximum again to minimise the effect of any withdrawal fees there might be (there shouldn’t be any at all).

So far, our budget for Thailand is not doing too badly at all. After the first few days in Bangkok, I was getting quite worried that we were spending close to and perhaps even beyond our self-assigned €60 per day budget. It’s always difficult to get the sums exactly right in the first week or so that we enter a new country but after a while, things start to even out and become a little clearer. Currently, based on the money that we have withdrawn from the ATM here in Thailand, we will have averaged around €88 per day by the end of our three-day live-aboard (there will be no opportunity to spend whilst on-board and we’ve essentially already paid for it). However, that also includes the cost of all the diving with done here, including the live-aboard, for which we have a completely separate budget. Remove the cost of the diving and this daily average goes down to just €39 per day - €21 per day less than we have budgeted for. As things currently stand, then, we have spent €441 less than we had planned for these first three weeks here in Thailand. Additionally, we’ve not yet tapped into our €350 per country luxury budget either so we are very well ahead of the game.

There are lots of small sand crabs scurrying along the beach here and the sand is full of narrow holes that they bury themselves into. By gentle digging around the hole, we managed to find some quite large crabs today up and down the beach. They can move extremely fast and it doesn’t take them long to reach the water and bury themselves out of sight again.

As much out of boredom than out of hunger, we had an early dinner and spent some time packing, ready for tomorrow morning’s seven o’clock truck ride into town. Our two-hour ferry crossing to Krabi departs at eight and we have another two-hour or so bus ride to look forward to after that. We should be in Khao Lak by around one in the afternoon. I exchanged a few e-mails this afternoon with the live-aboard boat operator, Green Dragon, about the facilities on the boat, our food likes and dislikes and various other things. One thing that is a bit irritating is that there are no electrical outlets in any of the ten cabins on board, although the brochure does specify that there is electricity on board somewhere. Without electricity, the laptop and camera batteries cannot be re-charged; without the batteries, the photography eventually grinds to a halt; without the photography, what’s the point of diving to begin with? I think I said something pretty much identical to that when we were in Cape Town, South Africa regarding the safaris when my laptop charger stopped working. We found then that the safaris were only as good as our ability to photograph everything. It’s become the same way now with the diving.

We’ve now packed everything away, save for the laptop and charging batteries, and we’re pretty much ready to leave tomorrow morning. I wonder if we will ever find that elusive whale shark before we leave Thailand. This live-aboard might be our last chance to do so … or perhaps not.