Despite being in paradise, we managed to keep ourselves busy. We went scuba diving twice and saw some of the most amazing corals either of us have ever laid eyes on and more fish than I have seen on any other dive in my life.
At one point we encountered a school of large fish that were just slowly swimming by and seemed unfazed by my presence. I headed over to them and joined into their school, swimming in the same pattern as a few hundred of my new aquatic friends for nearly a minute before they changed directions away from the rest of the dive group.
During another dive I encountered a massive group of little fish just hanging out. While they did move out of my way as not to touch me when I approached, they didn’t go far and I just floated there surrounded by thousands of fish. All in all, two of the coolest scuba diving experiences of my life.
When not diving, Carrie and I explored a lot of the rest of the island. One day, along with some new friends, we rented terrible bicycles and rode around 10 kilometers to an elephant sanctuary (of course there were none there by the late hour we arrived). The seats were solid plastic and mine was high enough for a child to ride comfortably. Carrie’s front tire was barely attached and her bike wobbled with every pedal.
Still, it was a beautiful day and after finding no elephants we all relaxed on a nearby beach surrounded by the giant roots of trees torn up by the 2004 tsunami. I also entertained myself by watching and playing with some of the thousands of hermit crabs that covered a large percentage of the sand. When I squatted down and looked it seemed like the entire beach was moving.
Another day we hiked through a jungle and a mangrove field to reach a secluded beach for some snorkeling. I didn’t see much, as too many gulps of sea water through my snorkel got me frustrated enough to head in early, but Carrie said the coral was beautiful. I did, however, have a great time staring out into the horizon and daydreaming.
In between all these activities, we did find some time to kick back and relax. A lot of time was spent eating or planning when to eat next, as meals tend to take at least an hour to prepare. We made some good new friends with other people at our guest house, took local buses or walked everywhere, enjoyed a sunset at Beach 7 (original name, I know), attended the most low-key St. Patrick’s Day party of all time and, most importantly, recharged the batteries for the next leg of our trip.
Your moment of zen: the waves crashing over a sunset on Beach Number 7