We stayed at Phi Phi Village for five days and it was not nearly enough time! Everything from the room, pool, beach and secret restaurants was incredible. As I mentioned, we were there during the rainy season. Somehow, we beat the rain at its own game by scheduling around it. We had a beautiful day the first morning and so we decided to stay local and take in the beach and pool while sipping pina coladas out of coconuts all day. Since we didn't have any activities that day we had plenty of energy to make it up to the mountain top for dinner and finish the night off with a walk out onto the wet sand as the tide receded several hundred yards out to sea.
Our most intuitive planning happened when we realized the day was going to be over cast and raining two days after we arrived. How to avoid that while on an island? Go under the waves – ie dive! Not only did this work out perfectly because it didn't matter if it was rainy when we were under the ocean (it can dilute visibility, but we didn't have that effect here), but there was another unexpected benefit...
We were alone. All alone. Just us, the boat captain and guide.
I have been out on dozens of these tour boats all over the Caribbean and Mediterranean. It’s typical to see a double-decker boat pull up and every seat be filled with a tourist and a huge beach bad. Well, the boat was the same, a double-decker was there to pick us up that morning but we were the only ones to board. So we ended up diving one of the most incredible soft coral reefs in the world with our own personal guide and no one else to worry about.
So while we did not get to explore the islands to their full extent due to rain and season we had the most incredible dives of our lives. Essentially, anything you have seen on dives in the Caribbean imagine it 15 times bigger. I was swimming past sea fans the size of tractor tires and over tube corals as tall as me. I was so overwhelmed with the size of different coral that I had seen for years and years, but sadly, at less than half the size I saw them here. The health of the coral reefs here are far from perfect, but when compared to those in the Caribbean they seem to be from another planet.
Unlike the typical Caribbean experience, here you dive along side
walls of coral that seem to go on for ever. One of our dive locations was exactly like this.
Beyond size, the most spectacular part of the coral landscapes was the soft coral. The highlighter green and purple corals popping out of every crevice and flourishing to huge sizes, like the hard corals, was like seeing God’s watercolor masterpiece. Often I had hovered over small outstretched arms of soft coral moving with the currents around Aruba, Granada, and the Turks and Caicos to name a few of my favorites, but here they were hovering over and next to me. Bright yellows, oranges and colors you see nowhere else in the natural world where covering every inch of stone wall and rock. Diving here was truly the most spectacular natural scene I have ever witnessed.
Unfortunately, no under-water camera at the time but here are a
few that looked like what we saw!
Saw lots of these guys! But no whale sharks unfortunately.
That morning I struggled out of bed after a wake-up call, and pulled George along with me. We put on our swim suits and staged out of our hut and down to the beach where breakfast was served. We were confused by the wait staff still working on place settings and the sun still not being up. We quickly realized we had taken the wake-up call’s accuracy too lightly and had actually gotten down to breakfast at six am, instead of seven am. It was worth it for the sunrise, but it goes without saying after a full day of diving we retreated into our little hut and didn't come out until the next morning.