22 May 2012
We really enjoyed this experience. Many thanks to our great guide (see photo) ... I am sure that they were all great, but he was thoughtful and helpful and added to the serenity of the surroundings.
The bus pick up was late (we sat waiting for 45 minutes) and then had a bat-out-of-hell ride across the island. The PA system on the boat was next to useless so the instructions and descriptions were a bit hit-and-miss. So we are not off to a good start.
Organisation and communication was lax and haphazard at times. When the monsoonal rains struck, the crew all disappeared downstairs where they appeared to be having a good time, while we were awash upstairs not knowing what was happening. The site mentions constellation gazing and a nature game for the return trip but instead a mindless DVD was played. Disembarking was dark, slippery and dangerous ... I know from experience and bruises.
The biggest negative of the experience could have been fixed with a couple of simple ground rules :
1 : No alcohol
2 : No mobile phones
Because there was a small group that dominated because they were loudmouthed and drunk and didn't even go out in the kayaks ... a spoiler for everyone else.
BUT ... and this is the important bit ...
The kayaking was a fantastic adventure. The seas were rough but our guide was amazingly skillful and informative. I loved lying down and going through the caves into the hongs ... breathtaking on the way through and breathtaking, in a completely different way, once you were in that magical world. Two of the tunnel entries were extremely close (and Alphie did well with his claustrophobia!!) and the third was through a bigger, bat-filled cave. While it would have possibly been better with more sunshine, the contrast between the open choppy seas and the placid jungle surrounded lagoon was just amazing.
It was also amazing that they are able to provide the quality of food that they do in such a confined space (maybe Centara Grand Beach could get some tips!!!)