Bioluminescent Plankton

I need to again just send some praise and gold stars in the direction of the handsome Cole Humeny. This trip has been so excellently planned. Among the things that he planned and booked months ago was the snorkel trip that we took this afternoon. We headed out with Malin, our wonderful dive master from the Adventure Club dive shop in Kho Phi Phi. She took us to three snorkel spots around Kho Phi Phi Ley. The first stop we headed towards a wall and a shallow reef where we stayed for almost an hour. The visibility wasn’t incredible, but it was pretty good, and we saw black tip reef sharks, my first purple moray eel, huge schools of Sergeant Majors who if you wiggle your fingers like you’re going to feed them come right up to take a look, giant sea cucumbers, and some of the prettiest coral I’ve ever seen.

The next stop was a really beautiful wall spot. Would probably be an excellent dive, Cole was diving down about 20’ a lot to get a better look.

Headed to the next spot, where we were to stop and watch the sunset as we wait for it to be dark enough to play with the plankton, the boat drove by a cave. Apparently there is a family that lives in the cave with a flock of swallows. The family collects the glue like saliva that the birds build their nests with to sell to China for a soup that apparently costs $250 a bowl. Fun facts from Thailand!

This next spot was quick, just a cute little swim through between a wall and a little jutty rock. There was really beautiful pink and orange plant life on the sides, and the plan was to see nudies…. Sea snails without their shells… Nude snails. Malin and one of the other girls on the tour saw one, we didn’t, but the plant life was really beautiful.

We also took a little boat tour past Maya Bay… For anyone else my age who had posters of Leo DiCaprio on their walls… That is where they filmed The Beach. Swoon. It wasn’t a part of the tour to go to the beach, and it costs 400 baht to get out on the sand…

The weather was starting to cloud over and Malin wasn’t sure that we would see the sunset, but it actually turned out to be a very pretty pink show of clouds. So we sat and watched it for a second… And I guess we got distracted looking one way, because to our port side there was a pretty impressive light show a brewin. This what the sky looked like just as the sun was going down, the impending storm chasing away the pretty sunset.

But the storm still seemed pretty far away so we headed to the spot where we would get in to play with plankton once it was dark enough. And sure enough it started raining just before we got to the spot. But… We were just going to get wetter so… We discussed going in or not while the rain got harder and harder and finally the captain said no. And within the second that we officially decided not to get in, the sky lit up and rain got so hard it felt like hail. It had us all scrambling for our snorkel masks because it hurt your eyes to keep them open… And the whole time we are laughing hysterically at this instant weather madness.

I don’t know if it translates in the video, and I didn’t catch it when Cole did it, but think of Lieutenant Dan on the bubba grump shrimp boat screaming at the storm that it would never take him alive. It was that intense. I am still not sure how our captain, who didn’t have a mask on, saw anything or managed to steer the little long tail boat to shore. But we made it and in a terrified, shocked, laughing mob… Malin, Lawrence, Beth, Laura, Cole and I sloshed through the now flooded streets of Kho Phi Phi towards the dive shop. And we were ready for a drink for our soggy, shaky nerves.

Cole and I had just talked about it that morning… How we hadn’t really met anyone to go out for a drink with yet on this trip. Well… We will be bonded with these fine folks for life now. Malin from Sweden, Lawrence from Holland and the twins from Maryland. Some of the most interesting people I have had the pleasure of sharing a beer and a drinking game with. Lawrence is an IT guy… For one of the largest clubs in Ibiza, Spain. Malin is a dive master who started diving at 2 years old, she has two dive master parents, she also worked as a flight attendant and worked on cruise ships. Laura and Beth are twins from Maryland and are going to save the USA from itself. Laura is a reporter who currently writes for Dedspin and as a sports reporter had a lot to say about our little stadium and the politics around it. Beth is a consultant in healthcare in the states and starts a new job when she gets home from Thailand with a company that is working on writing procedures for hospitals and doctors to comply with the new incentives in health care. Which for the first time in history are based on healthy outcomes not on how many treatments you give someone. So… A little faith restored in the young people of America. And we played drinking games and pool and then ended the night at 2am at the infamous Banana night club in Koh Phi Phi.

And to think… This trip was booked two months ago… We were always going to meet these folks. What a great day in Thailand… And we didn’t even see the bioluminescent plankton.

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