I’m writing a lot for this travel blog as the days go by which I didn’t expect. I was expecting to have a lot of sitting around doing nothing and relaxing, which we did, but there’s so much going on around us as well that I don’t want to forget as I’m having such a great time. Today was no exception and while it was a thoroughly exhausting day it was very special.
It was an early start this morning for two reasons. Firstly as I needed to get ready for the trek I was taking part in today and secondly as I wanted to see if it was my swim shorts I saw hoisted up the mast last night, and to take them down if it was. It seems my senses didn’t fail me last night as when I rose from my room this was what I saw. Sorry everybody but you’ll have to try harder next time.
There wasn’t time for a full breakfast as we were soon taken ashore by dinghy to start the trek to the top of the hill overlooking the bay. There were only a few of us taking part as we were warned in advance that the trek was more of a climb up rocks with the aid of ropes and was quite difficult but I wanted to take part so I didn’t end up just staying on the boat all week.
If you want to do this walk when on the trip make sure you take some proper shoes as you will need them. The terrain to start with wasn’t so bad, as we walked along a path that had been cut beside the worker accommodation, but it soon got steeper and more overgrown. I went through a lot of water as the gradient got steeper but I was advised to save some for the last half as it was even harder. This was true as the last few ascents were literally a case of pulling yourself up rocks and gravel with the aid of ropes. Some of the group found this easy but I’ve always found downhill to be easier than uphill even though most people say the opposite.
There were several times when I wanted to give up but I’m glad I didn’t as the views from the top were spectacular. You could see a large amount of the island all the way down to the bay containing the resort and our boat. There was another view point a bit further along the trail which allows you to see the other side of the island but this would add an extra hour to the trek and we didn’t have time for that so we just chilled at the first summit for a while enjoying the views, catching our breath, taking photos and watching the eagles that were soaring around the peak.
Unfortunately we didn’t have time to waste as we needed to head off, and I was eager to enjoy the toasties which we had been promised for lunch, so I headed off at the head of the group and made my way down to the bottom of the steeper sections pretty quickly along with Ashu. I decided to wait for the others in case they were worried about us but Ashu headed straight down to the resort so he could make use of the wi-fi for the last time before we lost contact with the outside world again. I’m glad I waited as I was treated to a view of a pair of hornbills that were up in the trees.
Overall I really enjoyed the trek. It was almost at my physical limit, and was very hard, but was definitely worth it for the views. The rush down the hill was pretty exciting too although the others didn’t agree with me and they were happy when we arrived back at the beach meaning that the descent was over. We had to wait on the beach for a while for the others on the boat to see us and dispatch the dinghy but it was only a short ride back to the boat where we got our hands on our much deserved toasties. I was so hungry at this point!
Myauk Ni Island was our next destination today and it was a long sail so we set off as soon as everybody was on board. The journey today was a mixture of sailing and engines but we all just sat back and enjoyed the view of the islands going past. We didn’t see much wildlife, and we didn’t have anything exciting happen like yesterday, but this was our last full day on board so we were happy to just relax,
Finally we arrived at Myauk Ni which is a small deserted island in the middle of a big channel and we were all amazed how beautiful it looked. Even though it was small there was a really nice beach and the water looked clearer so we were all hopeful that we would see some marine life. We did, but I didn’t expect to see quite as much as I did after some disappointing days earlier in the trip.
When we entered the water we could see the anchor on the sea bed for the first time all trip so we knew our prediction about the water clarity was correct. However we were a little disappointed upon reaching the shore as we didn’t see much except a few small fish and urchins. We all snorkelled for a little while before taking a walk on the beach to see if we could find some better snorkelling sights further along the beach. During our walk we saw some fish traps, found Wilson, and got some great photos but were advised not to venture into the trees as Myauk Ni has quite a lot of snakes living on it.
As the island is small it didn’t take long to walk to the other end and both Ashu and myself were eager to get back in the water again so popped our snorkelling gear on and entered the water. The others decided not to join us which was a shame as we saw so much marine life – far more than the rest of the trip put together. The water was a bit murkier but, along with the usual urchins, we saw Parrotfish, Dory, Nemo and his dad swimming in and out of an anemone, angelfish and whole shoals of both large and small fish that I didn’t recognise. The highlight, however, was a stingray that we shadowed for a while before it disappeared into the murk.
Ashu started to get cramp in his legs so decided to walk back to the start of the beach but I decided to continue snorkelling while staying within reach of him to maintain the buddy system. I’m glad I did as the number of fish I saw increased even more. I saw a whole range of fish I didn’t recognise but while passing alongside the edge of a steep drop I could see shoals of large fish swimming below in the darkness. Unfortunately I couldn’t see what they were but they didn’t look like sharks so that was good enough for me.
We were ushered back to the boat by Mike as he wanted to make way for our anchorage in time to arrive before sunset. Tonight we spent the night at the same location as our first night and were once again greeted by a fleet of fishing boats although it was nice to be slowly eased back into the real world after a week of being away from everybody and everything.
Jill had issues with her credit card before the sailing started which was worrying for Marie as Jill had paid for her replacement passport on her card while they were both in Bangkok. They decided to use the satellite phone on board to try to call Jill’s credit card company but didn’t have luck and asked me for help. I had never used a satellite phone before so it was cool to get my hands on one although I didn’t have any luck either. I managed to get through but the reception was so bad and the line kept cutting out even though there was nothing but clear sky between us and the satellite. We decided to try mobile phones and it turns out we were just in range of the Thai phone masts (foreign mobile don’t work in Myanmar) so I loaned Jill my mobile and we were able to get the whole thing sorted out.
After dinner we gave thanks to the crew for an amazing week and gave them the proceeds from a collection I had organised to show our appreciation. They were all amazing people and great at helping us to have a good time whether we had been on a sailing trip before or not. I didn’t want to cut the night short as I was having a great time and knew this was my last night on board but we needed to leave at 6am to get back to Kawthaung so I decided to have an early night. I’m back in my cabin again and Ashu has decided to sleep out on deck so I should get a great nights sleep again. I’m not adverse to sharing rooms while travelling but this arrangement seems to work for us so we may as well stick with it.