Freddie was sick and suffering. But it was still island time for me. So I left him in bed with some Imodium to clog his body, took my bag and wandered to the ferry terminal.
Even before leaving the accomodation I had a mini adventure. Firstly Freddie’s boxer shorts got blown off the porch wall and into some water below. I had to swiftly grab a stick and scoop them out, sinking as they were like the titanic. Fortunately I just saved them and had them hanging out to dry before he even realised.
Then I came across a poor little crab on the walkway. With a startled panic it it travelled with all the haste it could muster into the only safe haven it knew – the water below. With a ‘plop’ it landed and lay just below the surface. Still. Stunned. ‘Phew’, the little crab thought, ‘I am safe’. He moved his legs to swim. And..
One of the biggest fishes I have ever seen appeared out of nowhere and with one sweeping jaw action swallowed the little crab whole. Poor little crab, oh the adventures he might have had. And now he was dead.
But anyway I made it to the ferry on time, having stored my motorbike at the accomodation. The ferry was only 450 baht, and was a speed boat of massive proportions. It smashed it across the sea to Koh Tarutao at tremendous speed, and I loved every second. The engineer standing by the propellers gave me a sip of a mysterious beverage he had. Probably a special engineer’s ether.
As we came into Koh Tarutao I saw a huge stretch of sand before me , with not a soul in sight. The majority of people on my boat were staying on to go to the much busier island of Koh Lipe. Only about 6 people got off with me, and I strolled down the calm sunshine spattered path to the nearest structure. It was an old educational building made from wood with a corrugated iron roof. It had artifacts from the island and explained the amazing history there.
I immediately loved Koh Tarutao. It was like visiting a holiday camp you used to go with scouts or school. The kind of place I could imagine visiting as a kid, and being overwhelmed by the potential for mystery and skullduggery hidden in every corner. Barely a concrete path was in existence, and scattered around were numerous wooden huts and buildings. All hidden throughout the trees and grass, and looking across a lawn to the sea.
The reception held a small peaceful looking man with a permanent smile on his face. It was here I picked up a tent for 150 baht, a sleeping bag and roll mat for 100 baht, and was told I could pitch anywhere I pleased.
Foolishly I decided to carry all my stuff barefoot to the beach. With my heavy backpack on my back and my tent in my arms I entered the grassy lawn. Only to find this was no lawn. This was a minefield.
Halway across the lawn I heavily placed my collective weight onto my right foot, below which was the spikiest seedball known to man. I yelped in pain and stepped back, only to land myself on another treacherous ball of pain. I yelped again but refrained from moving. I looked around. The balls were everywhere, and I was surrounded. My flip flops were back with the nice man in his safe reception. I had to drop my stuff, and inch by inch slowly tiptoe back to the footwear. What seemed like miles of hazardous ground was eventually passed, and I nursed my bleeding feet like John McClane in the bathroom at the Nakatomi Plaza.
Fortunately I soon recovered, placed my tent no more than 4 feet from the beach, and decided to take a walk. There were a maximum of 4 tents on the whole beach, and none within earshot of mine. And the few people that were staying in the huts were little to be seen. I’d been led to believe islands like this no longer exist in Thailand, but it appears I had been deceived.
Within a few minutes of walking in the jungle I spotted numerous butterflies, monkeys, hornbills and even some greater racket-tailed drongos flying amongst the trees. This was my kind of island.
That evening I sat in peace eating my dinner on the veranda of the only restaurant around, watching the wild pigs scavenging and listenening to the noises of the jungle, before sleeping with the sound of waves crashing metres from my ears.