Newsflash! We did something interesting! I mean aside from swim, nap and wander Ko Lipe's numerous beaches. We went snorkelling.
Now that probably doesn't sound very interesting, but I promise it was. The Thai islands in this far-flung corner of the country are fringed with coral reefs brimming with sea life. Having never really snorkelled or dove (dived? diven? What's the past tense of dive? Ah, who cares) I was astounded at what I encountered only metres off the idyllic Pattaya Beach. I thought maybe my ignorance was rendering me excessively impressed, but Sjane (the pro diver of the two of us) assured me that the biodiversity here really was unreal. I felt like I was in Finding Nemo, an excited child wanting to explore, to touch and feel and see and experience this new world. Naturally, I made a list of what I saw.
- Nemos (a.k.a. clown fish), hiding in lilac and orange sea anenomes. Sjane reported seeing Dory too. Imagine if we got a photo of the two together? Ha!
- Spiky black sea urchins that look like a fascinator Lady Gaga would wear to Melbourne Cup.
- Red and spotty fish.
- Green with pink stripes.
- Big pink love heart shaped ones.
- Long skinny seahorses with trumpet noses and snakelike bodies.
- Parrot fish (I think that's what they called, they look like they have beaks and they bite the coral; makes a scratchynoise).
- The yellow / zebra coloured fish that says "Shark Bait, hoo ha haa!" in Finding Nemo.
- Big fat flat-faced grumpy something hiding under a coral shelf. Groper, maybe?
- A few syringe fish, their long cylindrical bodies and needle-like noses making me wonder if they are going to stab me. Can they do that? Is that what swordfish noses are for?
- Fat, foot-long somethings that reminded me of Thursday night's grilled dinner.
- Schools of fluttering confetti fish, all shiny and synchronised. They are like when you shake out old tinsel and hundreds of shards of silver go swishing to the floor together, only these ones didn't need vaccuuming up afterwards.
- Fluro fish and patterned and striped and splotchy mud-coloured ones that camouflage into the coral shadows.
- Ones that zipped and zagged and slowly meandered.
- Giant mushroom corals and Rafflesia Flower corals. Corals that look like foot scrubs and something elses that look like blue lips that retract when something comes close (like a giant submerged Venus fly trap waiting for brunch).
My ignorance of marine biology is blatantly obvious here (confetti fish, really?), but I think you get the point. We saw so much cool stuff! I remember thinking "this is like the world's most amazing aquarium", but then realised that I was thinking of it backwards: the aquariums of the world are pale, inadequate imitations of this real world.
That's it for now. Some cool fishies and lots of lounging about on one of the world's most perfect little islands. Wait 'til you see the photos!