The tranquility of a muddy bay
On Friday morning we were picked up from our place at 8.30am to go on a kayaking trip to a place named “Muddy Bay” (Ao Tha Lane). The name however does not do the place justice. We had to go in a pickup for 30km north of Ao Nang with our group (seven of us and our excellent guide). We knew little about the place which we were heading except that it was a mangrove. I had no idea what a mangrove is, except that it might be something to so with trees given that it had the word grove in it. According to Mark it is a salt-water swamp, which is probably correct – although the word ‘swamp’ does not sound very inviting.
When we arrived we found a beautiful area where the river meets the sea (a river delta I believe) surrounded by mountains and trees. We got into our kayaks and paddled across the large inlet that connects the sea to the river, heading for the mountains. We went around some large rocks, in between which there were tiny beaches big enough for a couple of kayaks. Soon we were in the cool shade of the mountains and trees, the incoming tide helping us on our way down small waterways inland towards the mangrove.
In the course of about three hours we paddled through the mangrove area. Some sections were all mangrove trees, others were beautiful lagoons surrounded by tall rock faces covered in lushous tropical trees. The highlight was the monkeys jumping on our kayak, swimming in the water, and stealing our water melon!
The most amazing thing about the mangrove and lagoons was the silence. Being in a kayak the only sound you could hear was the splashing of the oars hitting the water. When you paused for a moment there was complete silence, only interupted by the occasional sound of a small animal or insect. It was bliss!