Friday, 15 December 2017

John Grey Sea Kayaking

 I am the proud owner of a superb History book. Written by Scotsman Colin Mackay and entitled 'A History of Phuket and the Surrounding Region', it is a book I 'dip into' on a daily basis. For someone like me staying here in Phuket for several months a year it is an essential companion and packed full of very useful insights into the little known history of this fascinating Island.

John Grey's 'Hong by Starlight' tour has to be the most memorable experience to take home from Phuket and, by reading Mackay's book, I am able to understand that these formations are remnants of the world's biggest coral reef stretching some 3,000 miles north-eastwards through Vietnam and into China before sea levels dropped and the reef became exposed and the corals changed to limestone. Erosion of the limestone by weathering and sea action gives the green colouring to the sea in the Phang Gna and Chalong Bay area.

 The John Grey trip is all about exploring this fascinating area by Kayak and entering, with Thai guides, the caves that have been cut into the base of these 'sea mountains'. Some of the caves lead right into the centre of the hollow centre of the Hong where the explorer is treated to a pristine vision  of nature.

Here's Faith in her Kayak. For those not so confident in a Kayak, a Thai guide will be with you at all times.
 The Kayaks are launched from a large 'mother ship' and are able to get right up close to the rock formations with their intricate and delicate stalactites a main feature.
 Entering the sea caves for the first time is always an exciting experience.
 Once inside the hollow centre of a Hong, the kayaker looks up the sheer sides to the sky. It's like looking skywards through an enormous telescope.
 Once inside, the tunnels and caves often give way to very large caverns.
 These cool Hong interiors are favourite resting places for bats during the heat of the day.
 Having Mike and Faith from Alderney here as our guests has been an absolute pleasure. They are up for everything and their enthusiasm is infectious. Having completed 8 continuous days of diving along with loads of theory in the evenings and early mornings, I thought they's be too exhausted to do this trip....but no....up and buzzing and raring to go! They are here to make the most of what should be an amazing experience....and, as ever, it is what you are prepared to put into your visit to Phuket that will give you unforgettable memories.
 It's worth putting John Grey Sea Kayak into your computer search engine and read the endless Trip Advisor reviews about the John Grey Company and what they do. You will see glowing report after report and it is well deserved.

Apart from the actual Kayaking the food aboard the 'Mother Ship' is superb but, as always, it is the way the crew treat the customers that makes this such a special treat. The Thai crew are very aware of this special world into which they are taking you; they are proud of it and keen to preserve it. Guests will be encouraged to respect the environment into which they are exploring and the 'pre-launch' talks are very informative and well presented. To me, it seems nuts to come to such a special part of the world and not experience this trip. It is NOT cheap at about £90 due the collapse in the value of our British Pound over the past 3 years....but THIS is the one excursion not to miss out on.
The cave scenery is spectacular and intricate...a testimony to the creative originality of Nature.
 Sunsets....always spectacular no matter how many times you see them. And always different from country to country. Personally, I find the sunsets down Chesil Beach the most stunning to watch...or seeing the mid-Summer sun go down over the Alderney breakwater when we are on the boat.
Night photography in the caves is not encouraged and, to be fair, unless you have good cameras, lights and the time to set them all up to the best effect, night-time cave shots are not very revealing....

And now the best part of the trip begins...the Hong by Starlight ....and this is when the experience becomes locked into an Individual's memory....personalised and special.

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