Magical Koh Rok… and a turtle rescue!
This picturesque gem, south of Phuket, held us captivated for the duration of our stay. What began as a one night stopover ended up being a five night stay. The crystal clear water, with its myriad of aquatic life, so enticed us that, between lazing in the hammock and barbecuing on the beach, we spent the majority of our time snorkelling through the gorgeous coral gardens.
But first Dwayne had to jump in and check the mooring. There was no need to dive down deep in the crystal clear water as Dwayne was able to see all the way to the bottom… more than 30 feet down.
Koh Rok Nok and Koh Rok Nai are both part of the Koh Rok National Park. There is a ranger station on Koh Rok Nai and during high season (November to May) people can camp at the area (camping gear can be provided). During high season tourists can get out to Koh Rok on tourist boats for snorkelling and diving day trips (see links below) so it may get busy. However, during our time there, in August this year, we pretty much had the place to ourselves. We set ourselves up on Koh Rok Nok, with our hammock and beach chairs, and enjoyed cooking lunch there everyday.
We hadn’t researched the place before we went there, so we had no idea of the good dive spots. We discovered a gorgeous reef full of life which I have since found out is called “clownfish reef”.
Click the following link to see the map of dive spots… http://www.freedom-adventures.net/local-islands/ko-rok/
Our first snorkel at ‘clownfish reef’ was around 5pm and the area was full of life. We saw a large black tip reef shark that was getting ready for his nocturnal hunting. ‘Clownfish reef’ is a beautiful spot of soaring boulder coral. Boulder coral is not the prettiest of coral but it is majestic at times and this was majestic coral. Some of it soared five or six metres high and had many nooks and crannies to explore.
The sea life was extraordinary. Not only did we see a shark, only the second one we have seen since we have been snorkelling in SE Asia, but we saw a black and white banded sea snake, an abundance of moray eels, large titan triggerfish, angelfish, butterflyfish, pufferfish, moorish idols, large parrotfish, colourful wrasse, clownfish and other anemone fish to name but a few.
There were mushroom corals and large slipper corals, christmas tree worms, various sea stars and sea cucumbers, clams, sea urchins and trochus snails.
We also swam and paddled our paddle boards from the beach and went to explore other parts of the island in our dinghy. A couple of days later, two other yachts arrived. One of them was a guy we had met when we were last in Langkawi. Roger from “Sea Fury” was sailing to Phuket in tandem with another boat. It was great to catch up with Roger, and his friends Janetta, Mike and Marie were good fun. The four of them joined us each day on the beach for barbecue lunch.
Dwayne went out to one of the fishing boats, with Marie and Mike, to buy some fish for the barbecue. We got a pile of fish for the equivalent of around AUD$15.
Janetta and Marie cleaned the fish on the beach and then Janetta spent a couple of hours preparing marinade for the fish and several other delicious dishes.
The day before we were leaving we decided to clean the bottom of the boat. Dwayne donned his dive gear to do the deep stuff on the keel and I was snorkelling around the top. All was good until the tide got stronger and rubbish started coming past. I’m not sure where it was coming from, but the tide was bringing a lot of rubbish directly past our boat. I was snorkelling and the rubbish was piling up against me… plastic cups, bottles, bags, and huge logs. I had rope and nets trying to wrap themselves around my head. It was disgusting! I couldn’t stay in the water. Have a look at the following photos. They don’t really show how bad it was but you can get the idea.
The most disturbing thing of all happened later that day. As we were barbecuing our lunch on shore, a large pile of rubbish washed up on the beach. Marie went and had a looked through it and discovered a turtle tangled up in the nets. The poor little thing was so exhausted he appeared dead. I ran for a knife… and the camera. Dwayne managed to cut the turtle loose, and once freed from its ropey grave it swam swiftly away. It was a shocking reminder of what the garbage in our oceans and seas can do to the aquatic life. Only the day before I had been snorkelling and collecting the rubbish from the water; now I will be sure to check the the piles of rubbish on the beach for living animals as well… how sad that this even needs to be done.
Watch our turtle rescue… it’s short and sweet!
Travel Notes (August 2015)
Getting there – If you are not sailing and want to go to Koh Rok, visit during November – May. Tourist boats leave from Koh Lanta Yai.
Accommodation – If you are not sailing (therefore don’t have a boat to sleep on) camp accommodation is available through Ranger Station. It has to be booked ahead of time.
Information links –
Don't miss a thing! Join the crew and we will send you free email updates. But don't worry, we promise not to bombard your inbox with too much awesome stuff!
Something went wrong.