WINGS OF THE WHITE BELLY SEA EAGLE (7D/6N) from Phuket or Hat Yai (Jan - April)
I want to let you know that as you suspected, my week with your staff was the highlight of my month in Thailand. I cannot tell you what a marvelous time I had. It was made even better by getting to know the group - I can only hope that they enjoyed their time with me half as much as I did mine with them. The week created some marvelous memories that I will rely on to help me adjustment to the NYC subways and winter weather, and for a long time to come.
All parts of the trip were extraordinary - I am not sure if there is one favorite part or not. Each portion of the 7 days was so marvelous - doing the hongs day and night, waking up in Chao Mai to the call to prayer and watching the sunrise with the Longtails crossing in front as they went to set crab pots, a sea turtle in the water 20 feet ahead (poor Ali missed it), pythons in the trees, Bramany Kites all over the damn place, the Sea Eagles. the Sea Eagles. the Sea Eagles. Bongi leading the way through, over, under, and around the Crocodile Cave challenges, beachside conversations about Ahn San Suu Kyi, her father and the Army of God, there were too many magical moments to even begin to make a representative list. Even the back of the truck was great dusty fun.
After the past few months in NYC, the glorious beauty and even better company went a long way in restoring my faith that all can be well again. Thanks so much for your part in that. I am not sure that even I understood what was happening until I got back here this week, and I know that the guys did not know what they were doing for me last week - it is so hard to describe but I am forever grateful and humbled by what they did for me.
New York City
Liza says it all - you can't find a better seven days in Thailand. Spend three days exploring Phang Nga Bay, overnight near the Peninsula's summit at a waterfall/wildlife sanctuary with a 2k high mountain cave and jungle stream, then finish with three nights and days at Tarutao in the Far South. Follow White Belly sea eagles, Bramany kites, and Brown Fish owls to their secret spots in hongs, mangrove estuaries, and colorful limestone cliffs. Many birds know us by sight and some may be our rehab projects. Explore the summit of the Isthmus of Kra (Malay Peninsula) with an overnight stop at a wildlife sanctuary including a limestone waterfall. Small groups go in cabined longtail - fast, traditional, close to the water. Large groups go in cabined escort boat w/ dining deck, galley, showers, and toilets.
Bramany kites are everywhere. White Belly Sea Eagles are territorial and found in specific locations. Both species frequently approach our boat. Brown Fish Owls are less obvious, with occasional sightings. Play with a school of free jumping sailfish. Water monitors, Dusky Langurs, and Crab-eating macaque are common. Remember that wildlife sightings are never guaranteed.
The Tarutao region includes excellent rock gardens, a triple-entry hong, excellent wildlife and world class snorkeling. Phang Nga's world-class reputation is well established, and the transition day in the highlands is dazzling. Many clients tell us South Thailand is the only spot they know that equals Alaska's sea kayaking. We wouldn't know - Alaska is to cold for us!
We play the Nature Game throughout your trip. First, we explain why we paddle each particular site- it's much more than just looking at the pretty places. Of course, we focus on the the tidal zone, "that magic energy where land, sea and air intertwine", as Caveman says. "It's where our ancestors climbed from sea to land." As we paddle, we look for everything we explained in advance. Dialogue with your guides focuses on the sighting rather than the background, which you already learned. At paddle's end, you fill in your log, play the game and hopefully win your prize. On the Wings trip, Caveman especially enjoys Mark O'Shea's tree toads. Mark found them on Tarutao, Caveman found them at the Peninsula's summit. Wings makes it obvious how they got both places.
We include an Introduction to Tropical Kayaking on each Wings and Mini-Expedition trip. Equivalent to the American Canoe Assn. or British Canoe Union 2-day intro credentials, our program concentrates on warm water. It's much better than the standard two-day course - your classroom is your escort boat in transit, and your in-water training is accomplished during your guided paddles. If you live in those chilly climates Caveman left behind, we provide references to decked kayak paddling schools near your home.
Depending upon the tides, this 7-day trip runs either Phang Nga-Tarutao or Tarutao-Phang Nga. The Southern terminus is Pak Bara, easily accessible by ground from Had Yai International Airport. Our convenient Hat Yai Taxi schedule saves costs, adds an extra day, and allows Phuket arrivals and departures for only B1,500, meals included.
Wing of the White Belly Sea Eagle
PHANG NGA - TARUTAO FORMAT
(Sample only - each trip is tailored to the tides.)
Pick-up Phuket airport or resort. Depart Ao Po about 0900
Day of tidal sea caving in Phang Nga Bay -
Dinner w/Sunset trip boat - Camp Koh Penak w/ Hong by night
Hong Yai and Honeymoon Hong in the morning
Picnic lunch at Pak Bia - afternoon paddle and camp Koh Bele'
Morning Paddle in Pak Bia Area - Motor Pak Bia to Talen – Paddle Talin,
Load Songtail, drive to TOM JED KOP (7-Turn Cave) (If time)
Pak Bara Diamond bungalow and dinner
Thai Traditional Market Shopping and breakfast – Board boat for Tarutao –Paddle triple entry Hong – Motor to Tarutao
Paddle Tarutao North point and Honeycomb Hong – Check-in National Park andbeach camp. Paddle the Mallaca EstuaryDinner on Boat. Camp on National Park beach or sleep on boat.
National Park bungalows at own expense.
Early morning paddle – Estuary or point. Breakfast on board. Deep estuary Paddle andone kilometer cave.Klong Son estuary paddle and motor to Koh Adang Park Hq.
Excellent snorkeling. sand beach camping or bungalow stay.
Paddle & Snorkel Koh Adang and Koh Rawi – Lunch on board.
Dinner on board. Camp on National Park beach or National Park Bungalow.
Breakfast on board on return to Tarutao NP. Paddle east coast mangroves and Honeycomb Hong.
Return to Pak Bara by 1600.
Transfer to Hat Yai airport or return to Krabi or Phuket by Song Theaw bus.
POSSIBLE KHAO SOK EXTENSION.
NOTE: "Wings" may run in reverse to take advantage of favorable tides. Check schedule when you book.
What John Gray's Sea Canoe Costs Cover:
- Hotel or Airport pick-up and drop off
- Escort boat (when applicable)
- John Gray's Sea Canoe gear
- John Gray's Sea Canoe well educated and experienced guides
- Full Board meal plan
- Soft Drinks and Water Camping and Cooking gear
- User fees
- John Gray's Sea Canoe Ground tours. (Trip itineraries lists any exceptions)
John Gray's Sea Canoe Costs do not cover:
- Airfares (unless stated), Hotels (unless stated), Ground transfers (except to and from Sea Canoe)
- Additional sightseeing- Visa/ Airport Fees
- Excess baggage charges
- Medical Immunizations
- Alcoholic Beverages
- Medical or Travel Insurance.
- Medical and Hospitalization costs
- Emergency Evacuation costs
- Items of a Personal Nature
- Trip Delay compensation beyond the control of John Gray's Sea Canoe or our agents
John Gray's Sea Canoe holds public liability insurance with the New Hampshire Insurance Company. We advise all guests to take out travel and medical insurance before making a trip
- John Gray's Sea Canoe reserves the right to make reasonable changes in your itinerary where deemed advisable for the comfort and well being of trip members
- By advancing your deposit to John Gray's Sea Canoe or our agents, you therefore agree to be bound by the above terms and conditions