In the middle of the night on Monday I jerked awake, panicking that we had slept in, having only managed to fall asleep three hours before. It was 10 minutes to 3 am, 10 minutes before the alarms started going off.
A quick shower and a 45 minute taxi ride saw us at the airport. Crazily early to most people, just early enough for me to avoid my travel anxiety kicking in to high gear. For some reason two ATMs were unable to read our bank card, which was odd and scary seeing as paradise island does not yet have a functioning ATM. Hmm.
Our flight was an hour and a half. We rushed through the airport, managed to find an ATM that cooperated with our card and then we got into a mini van for 2 and a half hours. We were still pretty excited and awake at this point but began to get sleepy waiting at the pier for our boat.
Normally the boats I have taken for island crossing are big, slow, lumbering ferries and I was a little nervous when I realized we were taking a speed boat, especially since my back was still messing me around.
I was right to be nervous. Just a few minutes in to the journey we started bouncing around on the white caps. Four local men who had situated themselves in the bow of the boat quickly retreated to the inside. The speedboat didn’t slow down as we climbed up the big waves and hit down hard on the other side. People were being lifted out of their seats by the force and everyone was screaming, crying or vomiting. I had a brief moment of tired hysterics when I looked at WW and saw she was catching the worst of every wave that splashed over the side, while I remained almost dry. I wasn’t able to maintain the laughter/crying though as this continued for an hour and a half and the sea sickness started to get to me. I remember someone telling me to keep an eye on the horizon but we were lurching around so much it was impossible to keep my head stable, let alone focus on anything.
A few times the boat listed scarily to one side as it climbed a wave and I worried we would capsize. I had no faith in the driver, who looked about seventeen but could have been thirty-five. I tried to reassure myself that these crossings must be pretty safe as I had never read about any deaths in the news. But would they bother reporting an instance of so few deaths? Would I see it? I don’t really keep up with the news…
I was also very glad that we hadn’t gone ahead with the embryo transfer a few weeks earlier as originally scheduled as if I had started that trip pregnant I think the baby would have been shoogled out of me.
Thankfully we made it to the island in one, slightly jarred and green piece. I had forgotten how Thai islands make me feel but by the time we had settled in to our little beach hut, had a walk, some lunch and a nap, I felt myself sink into the relaxed and easy going vibe. We sat sipping a beer, stomachs growling with the smell of BBQ kebabs and I asked myself why we didn’t do it more often. I didn’t realize how wound up I had gotten until I physically began to feel myself unwind.
We met friends and hung out for the next three days, splitting our time between snorkeling and swimming in the crystal clear blue water, eating, snoozing and reading books in the shade and listening to good music in bars. WW had time to get close again and I went almost the whole time without obsessing about babies and pregnancy. The beaches were beautiful. For 1 GBP you could rent a snorkel, wade into the sea 200 yards from our beach hut and bob around above the coral. We saw a variety of fish, of which we were particularly excited by our sightings of ‘Nemo’ fish and angel fish. I got brave after the first hour and was able to control my fear enough to swim over the coral and the squillions of evil, black, spiky sea anemones. Wow, I spelled that word right the first time :-D. Definite highlight was snorkeling side-by-side with WW, holding hands and squeezing each others’ fingers to point out things we had seen.
All too soon our time was up and the dreaded return journey was upon us. We set off on the speedboat at a much more reasonable 9am and to our delight the crossing was perfect. Similar bumpiness to riding in a bus on the motorway. We skimmed smoothly over a sea as still as glass and the teenage driver even stopped for a while so we could ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ over a pod of wild dolphins who swam over to our boat and jumped around in our wake when we eventually left. A very lovely end to a very lovely holiday!