70% chance of rain, winds between 15 and 30 knots, storms expected, we are having a light breakfast before being picked up at 8:10 for a trip out diving and snorkeling at Pi Pi island, we are apparently going in a speed boat.
We piled into the white mini bus, right on 8.30 and headed across to the east of the island to our destination Chalong Bay where we were to leave from, stopping on the way to pick up some fellow learner divers.
On arrival at Chalong Bay wharfs we meet Vincent an ex patriot English man, our tour guy and dive instructor from the “Off Spray” tour company. It’s very gray, mist hanging on the hills around us and the bay busy with fishing and excursion boats. After a quick briefing we piled on an open hippie coloured bus with wooden bench seats across it like a train in a theme park and head down the long wharf.
At the end of the wharf we were immediately ushered on to the 35 meter purpose-built diving speed boat, the sea was in an unhappy mood and quite lumpy even in the port. The dive leader told us with the wind this strength and direction we might not get out to Phi Phi, under these circumstances he would take us to the Racha Island. The roaring twin 200 Horse Power outboards pushed us up the bay towards the entrance and Phi Phi Island, when clear of the main land, our guide decided the sea was too rough to go to Phi Phi. We kind of expect that, the boat turned to head to the South as we headed to one of the islands in the Racha group called Racha Yai. The sea was even more confused and rough as the powerboat bashed a way through the swell by powering into a wave then and backing off as we hit the wave, throwing waterfalls of spay over backward. The sea drenched the four of us in the back of the boat and as we progressed far beyond the land and out to sea. We got wetter and wetter as everybody fell into the silence of their own private nightmare as our vessel climbed out over towering rolling waves smashing into troughs.
Nobody was seasick until we reached the island, as we slowed in the calmer water the boat wallowed in the relative calm sheltered lee of Racha Lai the girls rapidly went from a living death to animated revolt as they headed to the side of the boat to vomit.
As we pulled close to the wharf those with upset stomachs stampeded for the side and terra firma, but alas this was an illusion as we pulled up at a floating wharf gently moving up and down with the sea. Real firm ground was another hundred and fifty yards down a moving wooden runway that was rolling and pitching as you rushed to the allusive sandy beach at the end.
We dumped ourselves on the sand not far from the end of the wharf while we got our stomachs back and stopped the world moving around us. It was then in for the main event we came out here for, snorkeling the clear waters around the island. There was a good variety of fish and we had fun poking around and using an underwater happy snap camera for the first time.
Apart from eating the supplied lunch we spent the rest of the day laying on some beach chairs I had hired or swimming around the various pieces of reef with our heads legs down, legs kicking watching the undersea life float by.
The trip home fortunately was not a repeat of the trip over, the sea had calmed and we were also going with the wind.
Apart from the dodgy ride out to the island the day turned out wonderful and we enjoyed the whole experience, I would certainly do it again but I would love to get to Phi Phi Island one day.