After anchoring in the open roadstead, we launched the dinghy, and picking a spot along the wide beach where the surf was minimal, we made a dry landing. Pulling the dinghy up on shore, we made just a few steps to a beachside cafe for our favourite dish - Pad Thai - washed down with a cold one. We were surprised to find a good-sized town on this approximately 6 km wide and over 30 km long island that is only accessible by 1 or 2 short ferry rides (although that is about to change as a new bridge is just about finished).
A tuk tuk ride took us to the end of town, the epicenter of offloaded visitors where small waterfront bars, cafes, and rooms lined the shore.
We soon made our escape in the dinghy, following the red setting sun back to our floating home.
April 1st, again getting lucky with a nice east wind, we sailed 4.5 hours north finding a really nice anchorage setting between the 2 craggy islands of Koh Dam Khwan and Koh Dam Hok. Approaching Dam Khwan, we could see the striking feature of what the cruising guide suggested looked like a chicken figure in the rocks...
Chicken? Or maybe a turkey!
We anchored close to the coral reef (N07°57.555' E098°48.482') by Dam Khwan, but just far enough from the midday hoards of longtails and their interlopers wading in the sandy shallows.
Longtails and tourists in front of nearby no-name rock island, sand bar stretching out to the right...
We wiled away the afternoon snorkelling with an abundance of colourful life such as a sea snake, puffers, coral, and numerous unknown bright fish. And even a group of 5 razor fish that swim vertically - but darn it anyway, by this time, our underwater camera battery had gone dead.
To close the daylight hours off, we packed some munchies and headed over to the now vacant sand bar (with the exception of some semi-permanent park workers who stay on the island). After the daily migration of tourists back to the mainland (returning the islands to their natural tranquility) we witnessed another, more impressive daily migration. The island's caves and cavities exhaled thousands of fruit bats. Like whiffs of dark clouds drifting to the mainland, they made their routine nocturnal flight.
Sand bar stretching out to the left from Koh Dam Khwan, cabin on right where we had picnic lunch after longtails were gone...
On April 2nd, we hung out at Dam Khwan until 14:15 and then pulled the anchor for a 1-hour motor to another new island, Tham Phra Nang (N08°00.187' E098°50.293'), a coastal tourist hot spot close to Krabi where we dropped our hook amongst the impressive towering limestone karsts and in the midst of the ubiquitous longtails and tourists.
We read about several caves in the area but found nothing significant. One cave we visited onshore was just a wide opening in the cliffs at beach level with a "goddess" (a dressed-up mannequin) and many, many wooden phallic carvings. These penises along with the goddess were believed to be good luck for fertility - family planning Thai style!
Fertility goddess behind Jordan
We took the dinghy over to the next overrun beach area called Rai Le Beach. We searched around for more caves but couldn't find any that we wished to explore. So after a cursory beach stroll before sunset, we called it a night.