Miracle of miracles our inverter is fixed. Everything that went wrong since we arrived has now been fixed, even our anchor light that has been out for a very long while. The inverter service guy climbed our mast and changed the bulb so now we have a real anchor light and not the stobe kind. Many boats have gone to non-regulation anchor lighting to save battery power and to be more visible at night. Now we have a choice.
Tomorrow, Friday the 5th, we are planning to take a taxi to Ao Chalong and check out from Thailand. Saturday we will leave Boat Lagoon Marina around mid-day at near high tide and cruise to Phi Phi Island. We’ll be back at Rebak Marina around the 10th or 11th. I’m not sure if I should hope our luck holds or changes. Given what could have happened during the mooring ball episode and how the inverter might have been unfixable, well, maybe our luck has been good. Everyone would say it’s all just part of cruising.
Here is part 1 of our visit to Island Safari Park.
Thailand Island Safari
In 2000 during Randal’s ‘round the world bike trip, he visited Thailand staying in Patong Beach. Just by chance he found a great tour group led by a man known as Charlie. When we first arrived in Phuket Randal and I took a trip to Patong Beach looking for Charlie. Randal took a photo of Charlie with him and we showed it to tour operators but nobody recognized Charlie. So the Charlie tour was not to be. Instead, Suza and I talked to two of the tour operators here at Boat Lagoon. We had a vague idea what we might want to see and do. We settled on Eco-Nature Tours Island Safari Program B. Programs C and D included water travel which no one wanted. Program A didn’t include the cooking show which we all wanted. So Program B it was. It would be a full half-day and that seemed plenty. And I would get a photo op on a water buffalo, finally.
Our transport to the “safari”
We were told to be at the hotel lobby here at Boat Lagoon by 9:30 am. Our driver found us and led us into the parking lot where this elongated jeep was parked next to an air-conditioned van. Randal and Rick hoped for the van. Suza and I, more in the spirit of the adventure, hoped for the jeep. Suza and I thought it was great fun. Randal just said he thought it wasn’t too bad and those were probably Rick’s thoughts too. It took about 30 minutes along the main road past malls and hospitals and car dealerships before we got there. This is more “Disney Safari” than real safari.
Remember this photo when you see us riding the elephant
This never fails to amaze and scare me. A whole family on a motorbike.
The travel guide warns against renting motorbikes. Any accident is considered the fault of the foreigner no matter what. Not that we would have rented on anyway.
A bit off the main road and here we are: Island Safari
My first stop at the Ladies was very civilized rather than safari-like
First we went for a wagon ride that was fun. I wanted to drive
Our view from inside. That’s Suza on the left and Randal on the right.
During the day professional photographers would take photos. They were quite good but way too expensive even in the lovely rice paper frame. Two photos in a frame cost 800 baht which is about $24 US. 33.16 baht =$1US. Considering we were taking our own photos, we took a pass on theirs.
Not exactly a ride, but it had to do. Water buffalo are just so personable, like horses as opposed to cows. Maybe it’s the confidence they get from those giant horns! And its back was smooth and brushed clean. It stood there quite calmly while about 20 of us took turns getting on and off and flashed cameras in its face. Our tour leader kept trying to rush us along but everyone wanted lots of photos and to "pat" the waterbuffalo. Like WC Fields said, “Never act with kids or dogs.” Or water buffalo either.
Then I had to commune with it
Next came the elephant show
The middle elephant is only 5 years old and really seemed to enjoy performing and interacting with all of us. We saw some elephants just relaxing around the complex so hopefully this is a good place for them. Apparently there were many unemployed elephants because they had been being abused in the forestry industry.
They dunked baskets and threw darts at balloons
They played soccer! Suza volunteered to be goalie!! (photo by Rick)
Two goals for the elephant! (Photo by Rick)
When they asked for a volunteer no one would until Suza jumped up, waved her arms and yelled, “I will!” I tried to capture it in a video which didn’t really work but kept me too distracted to really see what was happening. Later Suza said it was quite amazing to stand there while an elephant ran towards her.
Next email Suza and I get an “elephant massage and kiss.” And then we go for a ride.