Today we had booked a day on one of the small islands in the Gulf but Brett had picked up some food poisoning and didn’t want to risk being away from the hotel plumbing for too long. (He jokingly suggested that this was the revenge of the King Prawn he ate last night, whose royalty he had mocked as he beheaded it…) As a result though, I did the island trip by myself as he rested and recovered.

On the boat to Koh Ru

On the boat to Koh Ru

After breakfast those of us who were taking the trip headed out to the jetty by tuk-tuk and boarded a boat considerably smaller than the one we all seemed to have imagined. I think most of us had expected a two-decked pleasure cruiser. Instead it was a slightly larger version of the long boat we’d toured Bangkok’s canals in; wooden benches and a canopy. It didn’t look capable of reaching as far as the islands on the horizon!

The ride was fairly bouncy but being so open and close to the water gave the trip a certain exhilaration. We made our first stop after maybe forty minutes, just off Koh Preus to do some snorkelling over the coral reef there. I am not much of a swimmer so, although I had a go with the snorkel, the mask didn’t get a good seal because of my beard and I decided to give it a miss and just floated around in the shade by the boat, which was pleasant enough.

Ed with his snorkel

Ed with his snorkel

After maybe an hour here, we took another thirty-minute ride over to the small island of Koh Ru where there was a lovely long stretch of beach with a beach bar, toilets and plenty of deckchairs. We were one of several parties doing a similar trip, but there was enough space for it not to feel crowded and, away from the facilities, it was an idyllic desert-island beach of the kind you typically only see in the holiday brochures.

We had an hour to kill while the crew cooked us a barbeque lunch. Some of the group took up spots on the deck chairs in the shade. I went for a walk to explore both ends of the beach and take some photographs. The lunch was good; grilled chicken, salad and vegetable rice. All very tasty!

Ed and Claire on Koh Ru

Ed and Claire on Koh Ru

After lunch we walked across the narrow neck of the island to an even more picturesque beach on the south side. This beach was almost entirely deserted and for most of the afternoon we had it to ourselves. We all went swimming for a while in the warm water. I persuaded Tim (who has a great physique and smouldering eyes) to do some modelling for me and we got some really good shots in the surf; a bit of an homage to the scene from Casino Royale where Bond emerges from the surf and walks up the beach. I imagine they will be a big hit if he chooses to publish any of them on Facebook!

Amelia and

Amelia and “Sandkor Wat”

Amelia spent a while building a large sand castle near the tide line which she named Sandkor Wat, but sadly she couldn’t manage to get the surf to flow into the moat. There was some volleyball in the surf and later on the beach too. I gave up after a while as it became exhausting running through the waves to retrieve lost balls and went over to a beach shack where there were a number of hammocks.

That was a real idyllic moment; lying in the hammock, swaying gently, with a breeze gently wafting over me and just the sound of the surf as I looked out over the waves. It was a very special part of the day.

Eventually we had to head back to the northern beach though and the boat back to the mainland.

The beach idyll on Koh Ru

The beach idyll on Koh Ru

The journey was somewhat more choppy than the trip out; there were a couple of moments as we cleared the island’s coast that the waves threatened to swamp or possibly capsize us! We donned life-jackets as a precaution and I got my camera memory card into the waterproof Ziploc in my pocket with my phone just in case, but the rest of the ride was less dramatic. We got thoroughly wet with the spray and I got rather sunburned down my left side. There was also some difficulty disembarking the boat when we reached the pier because of the swell, but we did make it home intact!

It felt really great though to peel off my soggy, salt-infused clothes and get into a shower. The after-sun lotion helped quite a bit afterwards too!

We had a few hours before dinner and I was feeling so good that I worked through the photographs I’d taken so I could take them along on my phone to show everyone. We ate with the couples and stopped off at a Blue Pumpkin for ice cream before a drink on the beach. I was still feeling fairly tired and Brett wasn’t entirely recovered from his dodgy digestion so, after maybe half an hour of drinking a smoothie and watching the ocean, we headed home to bed.

Tourist boat off the island of Koh Preus

Tourist boat off the island of Koh Preus