Day 88, Year 4: Breaking and Entering the Underworld
Date: Sunday, January 18, 2009
Weather: Northeast Monsoon Winds
Latitude: 08 degrees 00.624 minutes N
Longitude: 098 degrees 49.929 minutes E
Location: Railay Beach, Krabi Province, Thailand

I’ll get to the breaking and entering in a bit, but I will just say that it had something to do with a cave. But before that event we all piled in the dinghy and went into Ao Nang to buy tomatoes, bread, salami, eggs, and Huggies diapers. We were successful on all accounts except for the salami (Sam’s favorite snack), but it was a bit of an Easter Egg hunt to find things. The first little mini-mart had bread and Huggies. The second store was closed and would not open until much later in the morning, so we started looking for small stands that might have food for sale. We found one Thai pancake stand that would sell us eight eggs and six tomatoes. Mark and I had left Heather, Jed, and Sam at an open-air Starbucks while we were searching where Jed enjoyed a big cup of coffee. When we returned, Sam saw a purple tour bus that he desperately wanted to get on. He stood forlornly waving goodbye as the bus pulled away from the curb. But then he spotted the bright green mini-trucks with wood-slatted sides and covers over the top that serve as taxis here. They are called Tuk Tuks and we asked the driver to take us on a little tour of town. As we drove along, we saw little markets that had eggs sitting out front, so on the way back into town we stopped and bought a flat of eggs. Heather and Jed did some “window” shopping on the way back to the beach, but not many things were open so early in the morning. We decided that they would return in the evening to do the shopping so we could move on
to Railay Beach for a day of fun in the sun. We moved Windbird the mile closer to Railay. It was only 10:30 by this time, but Sam was ready for a nap. It had been a big day already.

After naps, we went to shore for lunch and beach time. We found a nice shady spot on one end of the beach where Sam played and found a girlfriend–a twenty-something Thai woman named Kune. She played with Sam for over an hour running down to the water with him and then back to dig in the sand. While Heather, Jed, Sam, and Kune played on the beach, Mark and I went snorkeling. We enjoyed the time in the water but there was not much to see below. They real treat with this snorkel was stopping to look up at the towering limestone karst above it. We did find one cave to explore and I saw one porcupine blowfish but that was it. When we picked up our beach things to go for a walk across the island to Diamond Cave there were lots of hugs and kisses as Sam and Kune parted. We left our beach and snorkeling gear in the dinghy and followed the path across the island. Sam looked so adorable in his little dark blue and bright green UV sunsuit and new blue Crocs with those blonde curls blowing in the breeze. We got to the cave but there was no one in the ranger hut to take our money. That also meant the lights in the cave were not on. I found a local woman who came and tried to help but she seemed to be saying that without the ranger there could be lights. We were all so disappointed, so this is when we took things into our own hands. Mark followed the cable from the cave and saw that it went into the ranger’s room, but the door was locked. Then we discovered a grated-window covered with a poster beside the door. Jed’s arm was long enough to reach through and turn the door knob and sure enough the door opened. Mark went in and found the switch and we were ready to enter the cave. Sam loved making sounds that would echo through the cave and making us all a bit nervous by insisting that he hold on to the hand rail and walk on the rough boardwalk on his own. Heather had to insist that he hold her hand but he did make it successfully all the way through. This cave has some very impressive stalactites and some beautiful golden formations that glitter like diamonds in the light. While we were in the cave, other people followed which put a little hitch in our plan to get out of the cave, relock the ranger’s door, and quietly escape the scene of the crime. Luckily, only four other people entered, so we just waited outside until they left and then covered our tracks. We left the required fee on a table on the inside of the grated-window. I’m sure the ranger will wonder how and why the money appeared. But we left no fingerprints, so I don’t think we’ll be spending time in a Thai prison.

It was almost 5 pm when we walked back to East Railay Beach so we stopped for a snack of spring rolls. Mr. Sam can get quite grouchy when hungry, so snacking often avoids the meltdowns. Mark and I took Sam out on the beach while Heather and Jed did a little more shopping. Sam jumped in a kayak sitting on the beach and tried rowing through the sand. Then he stood and watched with great admiration a soccer game on the beach. Our dinghy was sitting right next to the goal net, so we convinced him to stand on the far side of the dinghy and watch to keep from getting hit by the ball. Robert and Tina of Shirena arrived in the Railay anchorage and came to shore. As the sun was setting, Heather, Jed, and Sam played in the water and we talked with Robert and Tina. We were supposed to be heading back to Ao Nang for a nighttime shopping trip, but instead we decided to go back to Windbird and clean up a bit and come back to shore to have dinner with Robert and Tina.

The two beach-side restaurants look pretty much identical, but we chose the one with white table cloths. It was a good choice. They were having a Sunday night buffet that we didn’t choose to afford, but the fruit carvings were real pieces of art. We ordered ala carte and had great service. We didn’t know dinner came with entertainment, so we were pleasantly surprised by beautiful Thai dancers. Sam loved this and actually took Heather by the hand and insisted that she get on stage with him to dance when audience members were invited up. The evening ended with some amazing fire dancing on the beach. What a day!

Plans for tomorrow changed somewhat as we never made it to Ao Phra Nang Beach and Heather and Jed never made it back to Ao Nang for more shopping. So tomorrow we will visit the beach by dinghy in the morning, move Windbird back to Ao Nang for shopping, and then head as far north as we can get before dark. There are not many days left and much to see, so we will have to make some tough choices. But then we have seen so much already. Sailing in this part of Thailand truly is deliciously beautiful.

090118 Day 88 Thailand–Ao Nang to Railay Beach
Day 89, Year 4: Master and Commander
Day 87, Year 4: One Paradise Lost, Another Awaiting Discovery