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Ao Nang and Railey, Diving and Climbing

THAILAND | Monday, 21 May 2007 | Views [2807] | Comments [1]

20 odd minutes of sawing and swearing...would I have done this in England?

20 odd minutes of sawing and swearing...would I have done this in England?

I'm a criminal...it's a fact.  The padlock is proof.  I can't even claim it was because i was drunk...although I'd had a pint or 3 (yes real pints!).  I'd spent the evening in an Irish bar with 2 young German guys I'd met while diving and an English couple that they'd met the night before - while drinking in a different Irish bar (well they are German).  It was an enjoyable night, and as such it was after midnight i returned to my guest house.  The guest house was locked and shuttered, but they'd left a side-door open.  The side-door led to my room, but the shutters led to lockers...one of which contained my room key.  After 10 minutes of rattling the shutters, shouting hello (in Thai and English), banging on doors and making as much noise as possible i gave in to a tiny bit of despair.  What was I to do, its 12.30 in the morning and i have no-where to sleep.  It's in my despair that I begin to explore the guesthouse and discover the blade of a junior hacksaw.  Oh yes...you know what's coming.  Yup I then spent the next 20 mins sawing through the padlock that held the shutters...making an incredible amount of noise.  Sweat is pouring off me, a video security camera is pointing at me (I don't know or really care if it's on), and I'm swearing my head off - I just cant believe this is happening and I want to go to bed!  It's only as I'm just about to get through the padlock that 4 of the staff arrive...

oops...

...you can imagine their look of surprise as they round the corner and find me knelt over the padlock with a saw in my hand.  It's a classic sight that I'll always remember :)

Bizarrely they accept my explanation as being perfectly normal, like people try and break into their office every other day...I like this country!

I like the diving here too.  The visibility is generally rubbish at this time of year for the area, and we have some of the strongest currents my instructor has ever known, and he's done 1000's of dives.  We have to end a couple of the dives early, at one stage we have to cling on to a mooring line with 2 hands while the current drags us horizontally - it's great stuff!  When the visibility is good i manage to see turtles, rays, conger eels, cuttlefish etc etc and 3 sharks.  Sharks are my 3rd phobia...it's as they circle us that something unexpected grazes my hand.  I now know what it is like to momentarily freak under water and move around like you are being attacked - which is obviously the best thing to do while being surrounded by sharks.  Luckily it was only momentarily - my instructor didn't even notice.  I do several dives at Ko Phi Phi, Anemeone reef, Kingcruiser Wreck, and Shark point - I've even gained my advanced Padi.  Advanced doesn't mean experienced however - I've only done 11 dives!

Ao Nang is a bit touristy but not bad.  I like the fact that it's off season - everything is cheaper for one thing.  There's also couple of nice beaches, a few good restaurants and a couple of Irish bars :)  It will do for a base, although nearby Railey is more beautiful, but only accessible by boat.

I go to Railey to 'learn' how to climb.  There are amazing limestone cliffs and pinnacles; it's apparently one of the best climbing spots in the world.  Railey west is lovely - a great beach, and scenery straight from a postcard. 

My learning for climbing is very briefly being shown how to tie a knot, how to belay, and then pointed at a grade 5 climb and told "don't fall".  I'd booked a days course, and 10 minutes into the climb i was really regretting it.  I still don't like heights, i have to put my life into the hands of a guy I've just met and it's really hard work! 

I settle in a bit after lunch, the beautiful location and some fellow climbers help.  I attempt a few more grade 5's of various difficulty - these are French ratings, the English ratings put them as severely difficult to difficult severe!?  I prefer the French for once.  All is going well until I'm on what turns out to be my last climb of the day.  It's a grade 5b/c and i will be happy just to get half-way.  It's a good job really, as that's about as far as i get.  I find a place to take a break and some photos and then discover I'm 30 odd meters up in the air...one look down and that was enough.  I didn't even attempt to climb the rest of the way, it took me 5 minutes just to pluck up the courage to abseil down...never again.

A great few days, some truly beautiful scenery, some amazing experiences (except the padlock one) and I'm an advanced diver?!

Tags: climbing, diving

 

Comments

1

Climbing skills will be useful for escaping from jail. . . Shane: I knew i should have kept that climbing course up. I know i attract the ladyboys...so prison would be 'interesting'

  Jan May 31, 2007 12:59 PM

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one ruined t-shirt and one ruined pair of trousers.  cool.

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