Monday, 6 January 2014

Day 130, 17km. THE END! By Amy:

We got up at dawn and cycled/pushed over the ridiculously steep hill to the ferry port. Here we wheeled our bikes on board where they were tied precariously with bungees to the railings of the deck packed with travellers. After a 3 hour crossing in choppy waters (for which I was glad we had anti sickness pills) we arrived at Koh Samui where my friend Sally lives. She had given us a grid reference for her house so we set off round the island which thankfully is flatter than Koh Tao (at least on the edges).
Sally's directions proved spot on and we arrived on her doorstep to be greeted with a hug, a shower and a beer (in that order). 4months and 4500miles after promising to visit we finally made it!

Celebrating Christmas properly with Sally. Thanks to our family and friends for sending
our festive packages to make it possible.

Days 124-129, Rest Days on Koh Tao. By Chris:

From our little cove of sanctuary, away from the rabble of gap year drinkers and excited divers on the other side of the steep hill we filled our days with fun activities. We snorkelled over reefs and sharks, boulders along the palm lined coast, challenged our cycling friends to a game of crazy-golf, rambled through thick pathless jungle and canoed to nearby tropical islands, but most of all we rested and did nothing more than read and enjoy our sea view. The prospect of facing the hell-slide like roads to get to the more 'active' side of the island certainly made the latter all the more easier.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Day 123, 5km. By Chris:

As we chugged out if the mouth of the river and into the open sea at approximately midnight the boat started rocking quite considerably. From this point on I slept very little because all our bicycles had been propped up beneath a thinly stacked 7 foot high pile of bricks. I was convinced these were going to topple over and come crashing down onto our faithful steeds while we were all rolling around in the giant dorm room at the back of the boat. Miraculously this did not happen and we arrived on Ko-Tao island with everything intact.
The boat arrives and is swiftly unloaded
 Amy and I waited until 9 for the shops to open so we could buy some snorkels then we cycled to the quiet side of the island to rent a small bungalow. Those 5km were far and away the steepest, hardest climbs we have encountered in 7000km and once we got to our hut we felt like we'd cycled a 90km day.

Amy struggling to slow down on the ridiculously steep roads (the picture is an injustice to the gradient)

 Here we rested lazily and I shaved off the irritating beard that I have accumulated over the last few months as an alternative to expensive suncream.

The transformation from rugged adventurer to gormless British tourist is complete.
 We only left the comforts of our room for a brief foray into the water to snorkel over a small nearby reef in the late afternoon.

Day 122, 110km. By Amy:

All 5 of us cycle tourers set off together but me and chris were quickly left behind ( I blame our enormous amount of luggage!).
Today was much more undulating than the rest of the coast and because we had to cover a decent amount of ground we were mainly on a bigger road. Still, it was designated a 'scenic route' and followed the coast. Chris even managed to find us a private patch of beach for lunch where I had a swim. The ferry port for the night cargo ferry turned out to be up river, 10km closer than we expected which was a welcome surprise. They even had showers and free coffee at the port which was amazing! 
The car ferry had one truck on it and was otherwise packed with all manner of produce and goods needed on the island. 
We were worried because Jess Danny and Jamie (who had definitely been ahead of us and were aiming for the same ferry) had not arrived. but with no way of contacting them there was nothing we could do. 
They finally turned up at 8pm having ridden 25km too far and had to come all the way back. As the captain aptly put; 'shit happens'. At least there was still space on the boat!

Day 121, 73km. By Chris:

Getting out of the national park was easier than getting in but we had to splash our way along a muddy track non-the-less. The rest of the morning was spent navigating a hoch-poch of small roads and tracks while looking for a roadside 'reverse osmosis' drinking water dispenser, because our water pump broke a few days ago. These machine tend to be hidden away from tourists down local roads, probably because far more profit can be made by selling them bottled water. We came upon one though, and restocked all our bottles for just 4bhat (8p).
We bumped into our cycle-touring friends Jess and Jamie in the afternoon and had lunch with them by the beach. Danny had D&V so had taken the short fast route on the main road. He got to our destination first and had scouted out some cheap beachfront bungalows so we followed the other two and stayed there too. We swam in the sea and after dinner we admired the glowing waves, full of bioluminescence.

Day 120, 90km. By Amy:

Today we had a tailwind which was fantastic because I felt like I was super strong! Chris and I stopped on the way out of the park at a mangrove nature trail which was cool and we saw a few macaques. We cycled down to Pretchup-Kiri-Khan a nice town where we could actually cycle along on the firm sand of the wet beach.

 On the way out of town we had to register at a security checkpoint which we though was odd but the road went straight through an air base and actually over the runway! 
Chris tried to take us into the back entrance of the next national park we hoped to camp in but it only really existed in google maps. In reality we had to duck under fences, paddle through rivers and haul our bikes up steep overgrown banks. 
Our reward was another beautiful white sand beach as far as the eye could see pretty much to ourselves.

Day 119, Rest day in Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park:by Chris

Although getting up early on my designated rest day put me in a bad mood, we visited some amazing caves. The first was a gigantic underground amphitheatre, the roof of which had collapsed letting light stream in and plants to take root 100m below. The second was an awe-inspiring collection of stalectites and stalecmites. Alone with our headtorches in the silent cave, we delved as deep as was possible, admiring the glistening, sparkling towers and pools. Bats hung from the ceiling and cave crickets scurried across the floor, eating the corpses of others that had been stepped on by previous tourists
This photo does not do the cave justice, until you spot where Amy is!
. The evening give rise to a glorious orange sunset that me and Amy appreciated on an evening stroll down the white sandy beach.