Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Overnight at the Surin Islands

Our original plan had been to leave Koh Phra Thong and stop over for two nights on the Surin Islands. It soon became apparent that with our luggage in tow this wasn't a practical solution. Instead we opted to take an overnight trip mid way through our stay, and in fact extend the visit to Phrathong Nature resort by an extra 2 nights.
Transport again had to be organised, this time we had a 4x4 truck as there were 6 of us going, 4 of whom were not coming back but they had all their possessions in on backpack each, something we need to consider for future touring holidays of this nature.
Another boat to get us off the island to the jetty on the neighbouring Koh Ra, this time of a suitable size and probably like the one we should have arrived in!
Full sized boat transfer
From Koh Ra the large speedboat trip which had left Kuraburi  already packed with passengers picked us up en route to Surin. The other tourists must have wondered what we were doing on this deserted pier on a seemingly deserted island!
It takes an hour or so to get to the Surins from our pick up point despite the speed at which we travelled. However the journey is well worth the not inconsiderable expense, particularly when travelling from and to Koh Phra Thong. The one night trip cost something like £270 and we were staying in a tent !
Surin Islands
Not a luxurious one either, a sleeping bag and hard mattress are provided as well as all meals in our inclusive package.
The discomfort was worth every penny though. The snorkelling was glorious, my first experience of coral reefs and the exotic fish they hold.
Surin Islands
The majority of people only stay for a day then return to the mainland. There are two camp sites, neither offering much privacy, and tents can also be hired on arrival. There are also some wooden bungalows which at £60 per night are 10x the cost and possibly not much better.
The good news was the communal shower blocks had fresh water showers, a delight to behold and compensation for the necessary walk to the loo in the middle of the night too!
Once the day trippers went home it was amazing how quiet the island became.
Surin Islands
Sharing a couple of beers as the sun went down we forgot to make the 6.30 pm time for our meal as arranged with our tour operator.. The cold food was worth the sunset though!
Surin Islands
The following morning and before the mass of day trippers arrived, we took a Longtail boat out in to the bay for some more snorkelling. Our guide had spotted a Turtle on the previous day and knowing it was resting after having laid her eggs he was hopeful to find it again and he did.
One of the great regrets was that I didn't buy an underwater camera before I went to record the sights I was seeing. Seeing the Turtle was one of the highlights of my wildlife watching life. The elegance and beauty of her effortless gliding through the water was a sight to behold and one I thought I would never  be able to see again but thanks to the generosity of a fellow diver, I can share his pictures.
Green Turtle
A Green Turtle
Green Turtle
It must have been very close to his Point and shoot camera.
Piotr Tomczyk from Poland, my thanks , I am indebted to you for letting me have copies.
Our visit was over far too soon, in fact one of the couple we travelled out with decided to stay another night but we returned to Phra Thong as planned. This time, at a cost of £30, we were dropped off the speedboat on to the beach near our resort. The other trippers must have wondered were we were off to as they headed back to the tourist resorts on the mainland. Quite a pose !

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