To swim in the Andaman Sea

“Time to jump in yet?’’ I ask the plucky crew of our chartered speedboat as we coast to a stop. The only sound is the gentle lapping of the waters and the ticking of the mighty twin engines as they slowly cool down.

A Special Lunch Correspondent

“Time to jump in yet?’’ I ask the plucky crew of our chartered speedboat as we coast to a stop. The only sound is the gentle lapping of the waters and the ticking of the mighty twin engines as they slowly cool down.

“Wait … OK.’’ Now. Splash. We have been bumped around for around 40 minutes to get here. The heat has been sear, almost oppressive. Now this is what it’s all about. This is where the travel writer meets the tropical ocean.

Bliss...
Bliss... Lho Sa Mah Bay

A million bubbles cool my flanks. The brightly fish which have scattered  momentarily come back to look me over.

Bamboo Island, off Phuket is the perfect place for a picnic.

Our boat’s 10 zillion horsepower engines have made short work of the gap from Phuket.

After a spot of skindiving – the islands around here are famous as the location for The Beach – it’s time for a picnic under some appropriately bendy palm trees, a beer, and, yes a lie down.

If you're staying at a resort on the Andaman Sea, let's face it you may as well check out a few of the islands off the coast.

I did - it's a day tour and one of the best and most memorable I've ever been on.

We caught a mini bus from Angsana Laguna Phuket for our transfer to the pier at Boat Lagoon Marina at around 9.30am.

After the usual fiddle-faddle associated with anything to do with the sea we depart and the twin 500 horsepower engines make short work of the journey to our first stop - Phi Phi Islands (oddly enough, pronounced pee pee, something I've been known to do a lot of).

Getting to know the locals... Andaman Sea
Getting to know the locals... Andaman Sea

First visit, Monkey Beach, we don’t stop here but they slow up to let us take photos of the tree dwelling primates for which this verdant rock is named.

A word of advice: Watch out for those monkeys, goddamn they bite! (Pace Dennis Hopper, Apocalypse Now).

After that the boat carries us to Phi Phi Ley and we take in Maya Bay where The Beach was filmed and yes, it looks just like the it did in the Leo DiCaprio flick.

We don't stop there, although the water looks unbearably tempting, but instead keep motoring on to where our hosts assure us, the snorkeling is even better.

We drop anchor at Lho Sa Mah Bay and finally get in the water to cool off in Pi Leh Cove. Then it's a short hop to the Viking Cave, where locals collect nests for birds nest soup, something of a delicacy in these parts.

Then we depart for Hin Klang for some serious coral reef snorkeling - and some of those fish, if not exactly biting, they do rather nibble.

We snorkel along the luminous green, blue and purple coral reef which has water that is a little deeper and cooler than most hereabouts and roughly a zillion brightly coloured tropical fish that after a few nibbles seem content to just chill out with the strange tourists.

Next stop Bamboo Island - and boy is it time for lunch.

Our hosts unpack our picnic - some sandwiches and salads - and unroll cane mats for us to rest on under the shade of the trees.

Then, after a beer waist deep in the impossibly turquoise ocean and a last dip, it's time to climb aboard and head back to Phuket for a tumble in the surf, a pad across the grass for a dip in the hotel pool and a well deserved cocktail before dinner.

Laguna Tours, Phuket

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