Day 2 - 7 - Ranong/Thae Yae Island
Around 7am, transfer to Ranong (approximately 4.5 hours), then take a longtail boat (approximately 30 minutes) to Kawthoung, stopping briefly at a little island for Thai and Burmese immigration purposes. Once in Kawthoung, meet your skipper and board your home for the next week – Similie. Newly refurbished, this will be your home away from home for the next week. Similie comes with her own on-board chef who will cook up delicious meals from the galley (kitchen) and the boat also comes equipped with kayaks, paddle boards and snorkelling gear. If relaxing is your thing then you may choose one of the other activities on offer – like simply toasting amazing Andaman Sea sunsets from your hammock or bean bag. We’ll be collecting insurance and next of kin information at the initial meeting, and our Burmese guide will sort out formalities in regards to visas and Marine Park fees. Once processing is complete, set sail! Your first port of call is Tae Yae, approximately 12 NM (nautical miles) away. Cruising along at 10-15 knots it will take around 2 hours, under sail approximately 1.5. The isolated Myeik (Mergui) Archipelago is made up of around 800 islands, many deserted, making this an amazing place to explore. The islands' limestone cliffs and dense rainforest meet with vast mangrove stretches and untouched white sand beaches. Underwater, the scenes are just as spectacular with a diversity of marine life and coral reefs. Drop anchor and explore Thae Yae Island. Maybe try sea kayaking, snorkelling, or simply marvel at the natural beauty of this incredibly remote part of the world. Enjoy dinner around 7pm, then luxuriate in your surroundings.
Perhaps wake early for your first ocean sunrise and morning swim. Around 9am, sail north 20 NM to Palu Bada, a group of remote islands with great snorkelling spots. Here you’ll stop for lunch, a swim and a paddleboard, and have the chance to spot sea otters, turtle hatchlings, stingrays, and maybe even dolphins. The island is also home to a variety of birdlife, and there may be time to snorkel and discover some of the underwater wildlife. After lunch set off again for 115, 30 NM (approximately 5 hours under motor). The island is so called because its peak is 115 metres tall. After arriving, disembark for a jungle walk with the local Burmese guide. The walk is easy going across the island and takes approximately 10-15 minutes. You may get the chance to meet some local fisherman at a camp. Walk along the white sandy beach and wade into the clear turquoise waters. After returning to the other side of the island, the guide can take your cameras and clothing back in the zodiac and you can swim back to the boat – a short 300 metres. Once back at the boat you can get in the kayak or paddleboard, or grab your mask and flippers and go for a snorkel. Dinner is served around 7pm.
Leave 115 this morning and sail a few hours north to Bo Cho island, where you’ll get a taste of village life. Bo Cho is home to a Moken village, Ma Kyone Galet, and is the largest island village in the southern Mergui archipelago. Once a permanent nomadic, seafaring people, the Moken spent almost all their time floating on small wooden boats and diving for shellfish. Like many ethnic minorities in Burma, most Moken were forced to relocate to onshore sites during the 1990s. The local guide will go out to the island to pick up a village elder, who will come to meet you on the boat and explain the ways of the Moken. You might be greeted by some young children as you wait – maybe offer some fruit as a gift. Transfer to the island by zodiac and walk along the beach into the village. Visit the local primary school, and then continue on to the Buddhist temple. On your return, you can sit at a local café for a cold drink and get to meet more of the locals. Say farewell and head off to Lampi Island, a beautiful long white sand beach (approximately 7 NM, or just over an hour). Lampi Island has a small river that you can paddleboard and kayak up in beautiful silence, seeing the mangroves and local bird life, Oriental pied hornbills and Collared kingfishers. Return to the boat for dinner as the sun is setting.
After breakfast, set off from Lampi Island southwest to Bo Yae (approximately 16 NM). Here there is a little stream running out of the rocks that the Moken believe to be sacred, and nearby is a mini shrine where ribbons and offerings are left on a nearby tree. Here you can have a refreshing fresh water shower under the small waterfall, and also refill the water bottles with the fresh water. Swim to the shore with a snorkel, and then swim, paddle or kayak back to the boat for lunch. In the afternoon, sail 3 NM to Nga Manu (Shark Island) (approximately 30 minutes), the final stop for the day. The beach here is wide and strikingly white. Head ashore, snorkel around the rocks, and sit on a beach that few people have touched, backed by a dense jungle humming with wildlife. For dinner tonight your crew might have some freshly spear-caught fish on offer.
Sail from Nga Manu to Nyaung Wee Island (9 NM) for the best beach of the trip (which is really saying something as all these beaches are incredible!). Luxuriate in the beautifully clear waters that are perfect for a leisurely swim, a paddleboard or kayak, or to just relax on the beach. Return to the boat for lunch. Then continue 11 NM from Nyaung Wee to Bo Yar Nyunt. Relax on board, or go for a swim and paddle along the long stretch of beach with oyster-covered coral below, while herons perch on rocky outcrops. Later this evening head out to the beach for a night beach BBQ, grilling up the fish and squid that you might have hopefully caught earlier today. Swing away the night in a hammock beside a fire pit, and watch the sun sink beneath the waves.
Head 18 NM from Bo Yar Nyunt to picturesque Myauk Ni Island, and stop at a quiet cove where you’ll enjoy lunch. This will be your last chance to paddle and swim in the crystal clear Myiek Archipelago waters that fringe the island. Choose your transport method (paddleboard, kayak, swim or snorkel) to the beach, where you can relax or take a walk, perhaps looking out for the large fruit bats and abundant birdlife that call the island’s trees home. Before your last sunset, sail to Thae Yae, the island that was your first port of call, and where the boat drops anchor for the group’s last night on board together.