Day 56, Year 4: Swimming with the Fishes & Then Eating Them
Date: Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Weather: Overcast; Some Wind; Sunny Late Day
Location: Ko Lipe, Butang Island Group, Thailand

Our day started with an early morning with a trip to shore. Our goal was to hike to Toe Boo Cliff Viewpoint which is a short walk up from the beach, but first we had to walk along the beach to do a little shelling as Claire is the quintessential beach comber. She found a few shells that she can add to her collection and then up the hill we went. We walked through the mangrove swamp area and then started up the hill. We didn’t see monkeys or langurs but we did see ants. We saw the most amazing army of ants marching across our path and we just had to stop and video the event. This triggered stories from Claire from Bert Holdobler, a world expert on ants. And this triggered Mark to experiment with the march of the ants. It’s amazing how four adults can spend so much time playing with ants!

We returned to Windbird and headed west to the island of Ko Lipe. We were dedicated to making this a sailing and not a motoring event, but as the arrival time got later and later, we finally turned on the engine. We arrived in the southern anchorage on Ko Lipe in the late afternoon. We immediately launched the dinghy and headed to closer to shore to snorkel. The coral here is not colorful, but there is a nice mix of fish life. For Mark and I, our find of the day was beautiful blue tangs. We saw palate tangs in the Komodos, but this was our first sighting of blue tangs. We must have spent at least an hour in the water, maybe more, because it was such a wonderful sight. We have been in marinas for much of the past two months and Kevin and Claire do not live in prime snorkeling territory in western Virginia. So after having a totally wonderful swimming experience with the fishes, we showered and headed to shore for dinner. We found a neat little place at the far end of the beach and Claire and I ordered barbequed seafood. To do this, you go up and pick out the fish, prawns, or squid that you would like, have it weighed, and then barbequed and delivered to your table. Some of the choices of fish were the same as the fish we had just been snorkeling to observe. So we carefully avoided those choices but realized that there is fine line between observation and dinner.

Tomorrow we will search for fantastic places to snorkel. We know there are places nearby with beautiful soft corals, so that will be our goal. We will probably spend another night in this area and then head north.

081217 Day 56 Butang Islands, Thailand–Ko Tarutao to Ko Lipe