Being in no fit state last night to continue Day 6, this is how it went down;
Explaining to the bus driver that we were looking for a hostel that we thought was called “Sharkys”, he unceremoniously dumped us at the side of a very nondescript road in pitch black darkness, and pointed to a side track that we could barely see the entrance of, let alone the hostel.
Unrested, shaken to within an inch of our souls and practically blind at this point, we headed down the unmade track. A family or large group of friends were in their yard playing games, and pointed at a dark spot in the trees, we followed their instruction and were met by a nice old lady who confirmed that this was, indeed, Sharkys.
She said there were exactly 3 beds remaining in the dorm room, and presented with very little choice, we accepted.
So we went to sleep, ready for an agreed 5am wake up call to go and swim with the whale sharks nearby (hence Sharkys I’d guess). Therein lies the main reason for us coming here, and – given the levels of tiredness – none of us took much notice of the dorm itself. Until morning.
In what Tripadvisor confirms is not a one-off event, our wake up call (which was not the one we’d arranged with the elderly lady) was…interesting.
What woke me, and I’d hazard everyone else within a 5km radius, was a morning chorus courtesy of a neighbour who enjoys his early morning (3am) music selection at bone rattling volume. I’m talking festival levels of bass. I think I felt it before I heard it.
Such classics as Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody, The Corrs – Runaway, The Cranberries – Zombie and Rock Around the Clock were among the selection on this eclectic twilight playlist.
Safe to say no one required the 5 o’clock call.
Once we’d stopped laughing and coming to terms with what was happening, we noticed the room.
Essentially we were in a converted barn house. I use the term “converted” loosely and I’d say the owners used it vaguely. A concrete wall separated us on each side from something else, above which was a void big enough to easily climb through. A bare tin roof that amplified even the slightest rain, and an uncovered concrete floor which formed the base of 4 bunk beds made of bamboo. The bathroom was yet again a concrete box with a small sink and a toilet. Underneath a shower head was a plastic dustbin filled with water, which raised the question as to what one was supposed to do there. In my case it was ignored entirely. A stand up sink wash would do. The rest of the bathroom was home to the owner’s laundry in numerous stages of completion.
Sharks Hostel, tagline: Not the Ritz
Aside from the state of our digs, the staff were nice, and guided us for the shark swimming. Conveniently this was based around the corner from the hostel.
Boarding a small boat with safety gear and snorkels, we sailed for approximately 30 seconds to the site where the whale sharks were being fed.
These things were huge. One in particular was the size of a bus. We’d been told in a very short safety breifing that they were harmless, but just as a trained elephant won’t go out of its way to cause harm, it could sit on you, and these sharks were bigger. I say I was scared without a hint of shame.
We swam for half an hour, my GoPro died after 30 seconds which sucked but it was very, very cool. I also didn’t manage to snap any stills so the video will be up once I return to rainy England.
Following a lunch, and meeting our dorm mates; 2 lads from Austria, we all headed to some nearby hot springs and falls. We chilled here for a bit. The hottest part of the springs was 42° – too hot to sit in. The falls were also very beautiful.
Later on, since we were already halfway at the springs, we hailed a bus and rode to Moal Boal (where we could visit Kawasan falls). Once at the main intersection we jumped in a trike to our hostel. This was a rather beaten up old machine, and having a broken headlight, an ingenious alternative was employed.
His wife sat on the back of the bike and held a flashlight out front…
Got to the hostel (Le Village Backpackers Moal Boal) and were greeted by quite an outrageous transvestite owner. Had some dinner. Sank a large beer. Hit the sack.