Saturday, July 9, 2011

Phu Quoc finale

We leave tomorrow to go to Saigon and then on to Beijing. And I will leave the realm of free internet as well, so I may not be able to post to this blog until August. But fear not! I will still try to post with my one. Today it was raining all day long and pretty windy all day too. The waves were nice and high on the beach.
Yesterday we went on a big trip around the island on a scooter and had a great time. We went to a waterfall! One of the things about tropical places that I like the most is the streams and waterfalls. There is a very special place I found in Costa Rica that had a lot of waterfalls, and I have been trying to replicate that ever since. Maybe I will just have to go back. So This waterfall was pretty nice, and would have been great if we had it to ourselves, but we did not. It was a huge tourist trap and we were caught. But it was still nice. Not a lot of islands have rivers with waterfalls, so it was nice to have. After that we saw a big bird flying along and I managed to get a picture. Actually we saw two of them. It isn't the best identifying picture of a bird, but if you can tell me what it is, then you will get a prize!
I have been seeing a lot of really big spiders and the one that made this web was a giant about as big as my hand. I really like the shape of the web, and how the links connect. You can see how the spider went about making the web. I don't know what these ones eat, but I think that some of them around here eat small birds. I wish more of them ate the mosquitoes.
We went to the white sand beach and played around for a little bit and then came back to the west side of the island (where it was big waves, since the wind blows from the west here) and driving along a very long beach we found a spot with huge waves, so we went out and tried to drown ourselves in them. Then we came back to town for the last town trip, and I got this shot of the boats in the harbor. They are going to build a new harbor I guess, and turn this place into a high speed ritzy spot, but I kind of like the sleepy town feel of the little old fishing boats sitting low in the water. The new marina plan includes room for one sailboat, but I haven't seen any sailboats in vietnam. Or in the world, for that matter, for a long time. We sat to watch the sunset for a bit and I saw a guy with a captian's hat on! I felt right at home.
A lot of the places on the beach are very close to the water, and I kept on thinking about what would happen if a Tsunami were to hit the area, or with global warming if the tides come up a bit higher. A lot of people would be pushed out. Even with the wind from yesterday and today the tides were about 6 inches higher than normal and I could really tell. The restaurants on the beach are all getting licked by the waves, and some of the footings for a roof support are exposed because the sand is washed away. Our bungalow is up on a slight hill, but a 10 ft tsunami would still get us. I don't know what the earthquake outlook here is though. I think small. It is the other side of Thailand that is trouble.
Anyways, it was a beautiful sunset and a beautiful trip here on Phu Quoc. Not too expensive either. 10 bucks a night and 5 bucks a day for a scooter and meals are about 3-6 bucks a meal.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Snorkeling in Vietnam

We went snorkeling yesterday. I didn't bring any masks or snorkels or fins with me to the island, so we had to take a boat trip package thing to get into the water with a mask. It was 15 bucks and I can't say I was totally happy about it. I guess it was worth the money, but after sailing around in my own boat, I sort of expect a lot from a boat trip.
The first thing they do is they pick you up in a bus. Now that isn't a boat, as far as I can tell. The bus then took us down a long bumpy road to get us sick, and then stopped at a pearl factory, so we could buy pearls. It was in the morning, the best time to be out on the water, but we were waiting for the people to decide we had seen enough pearls (and maybe some people bought them too) and to get on with the trip. Finally we got to the boat. We all got on quickly enough, and we had dreams of how we would go far away from the land... but we barely got out of the harbor, because boats don't go fast, and we didn't really have that much time before we had to come back, since it is a day trip. So we went out among the islands. The visibility wasn't very good, but still, it was nice to be in the water. I could see maybe 15 ft in places. There weren't a lot of fish, but there was lots of coral, and the coral was beautifully shaped. It was all dying, so it wasn't that great of a color. It was all covered in dirt. Maybe that means already dead. The Vietnamese don't really care for the water and things, so I can't see that tourism will be sustainable here. The coral reefs are all dead or going, and the ocean if full of plastic bags. It is sad.
There were a few fish, but not many. I saw some Seargent Major kind of fishes, and some Parrot fish. Also a really funny one that was about 6 inches tall and maybe 2 inches long, and very thin, I don't know what it was, but it swam funny, because it was so tall.
We went to another place, which reminded me a lot of one of the long skinny islands in the Canadian Gulf Islands (just across from the San Juan Islands in the Northwest) and the water there was pretty good, and I saw a Sea Snake! These are the super deadly poison snakes. I got a video of it here:

Then we went to another place to snorkel, just nearby, and then we came back exhausted and sunburned and ready to rest. So they had a good trick in the end, getting us burned, to keep us sort of satisfied. I am not really that upset about spending the money, or about stopping in the beginning, but it did irritate me a lot at the time.
When we got back there was a nice sunset. I haven't seen many sunsets lately, since the sun never sets in China, and the clouds here often obscure it.
But this one was nice.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


We went out on a motorbike trip today to the north of the island, and found some nice empty beaches. The water on the north is very clear, since there is no wind (and waves) from that direction. I saw a Tucan, but it wasn't close enough to get a good picture, and we drove the motorbike through some fun jungle terrain.
The other day a big storm came through and there was tons of rain. So much rain, in fact, that it made the whole place a big river. Water was pouring down the stairs and it was great fun. Marie and I went out into the water and played in the rain and the wind for a while, but it got a little cold unless you were all the way under the ocean water. The rain isn't nearly as warm as the sea. Then later in the evening, after it had been windy all day long, with a strange, super steady wind of about 25 knots or so, there were nice big waves, so we went out just at dusk to play in them, and had a great time beating ourselves up with the waves when they came out of nowhere and hit us, since it was dark. There isn't much fetch for the waves to build on, maybe 100 miles or so from the coast of Thailand, but these were 3 ft or so, and they were fun to bodysurf.