Thailand: Khao Sok National Park Caves

After cruising through the stunningly beautiful karst formations that surround the dam, we were ready for the next part of the day’s adventure… a visit to some caves.

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We were to get to the caves by riding on, or really gliding, across the still waters of the dam on a bamboo, ‘raft-like’, boat. Safety vests were to be worn on these craft!

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These strange craft had there own small bay on the dam complete with floating chalets that can be hired for the night…. though that wasn’t our plan.

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We waited at the landing stage for our turn… but there were not too many other tourists there that day which made it a pleasant place to be.

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Ready, set,go! One of the other groups we shared the dam with.

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It was all a bit of fun!

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When we arrived at the caves and disembarked our bamboo rafts, we had to make a steep climb up to the mouth of the cave.  In this photo, I’m looking back to that entrance and the rickety bamboo handrail that gave a little confidence although not much support!

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Most caves are rather wet places to explore with water dripping through the ceiling of the cave. Wonderful stalactites like this one are produced by the precipitation of minerals as the drips of water dissolve the limestone. Most stalactites are icicle shaped formations that hang from the ceiling and have have pointed tips. This one is a group of such forms.

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Mineral formations in caves are, in the main, either stalactites and stalagmites. This is an example of a stalagmite, an upward-growing mound of mineral deposits that have precipitated from water dripping onto the floor of a cave. Although many stalagmites have rounded or flattened tips, this one has formed as a pillar on the cave floor.

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Weird shapes and patterns were everywhere.

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More stalactites hanging free from the ceiling as well as attached to the wall of the cave.

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Iron oxides, dissolved with the limestone, left these stains as the moisture evaporated.

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Filigree edges to some of the stalactites attached to the side walls of the cave. Further iside this cave, a column from above has joined up with the stalagmite that formed below it.

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A fairy-land of crystals.

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After exploring in the dimness of the caves, we came out into the bright light of day again to make our way down the steep slope back towards the water of the dam.

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By the time we boarded our long tail boats for the ride back across the dam, it was 17.15 and we were looking forward to a cool drink and dinner after a good day out.

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We’d obviously been very lucky with the weather. By 17.45 when we returned to our vehicle, dark clouds were forming and the water took on an ominous look.

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The girls opted for some pretty amazing looking cocktails while we waited for dinner at a restaurant near to Morning Mist Resort.  We guys settled for a cold beer.

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The stir-fried noodles were good too.

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We capped the night off at another small bar where a fire-dancer performed.

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And the girls made the most of some more fantastical cocktails!

It was nearly 23.00 by the time we got back to our rooms.  I un-stuffed the doona and used the covering as a sheet.  This time, I slept like a log.  More adventures anon.

Video on Vimeo: Khao Sok National Park, Lake Cheow Larn and Cave

https://vimeo.com/165252351

David

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The Faroe Islands, 18th August, 2012

 

The day began with an opportunity to explore by boat some of  the impressive bird cliffs and caves that we had seen from the plane. We would begin this trip from Vestmanna, the largest village on Streymoy Island.

Village of Vestmanna from boat dock. ( P1010445 © DY of jtdytravels)

Vestmanna was the port of call for the ferry from Vágar and the airport to the main island of Streymoy and the Capital. In those days, all the traffic to and from the airport passed through Vestmanna. But now a submerged tunnel connects the two islands, replacing the old ferry, and Vestmanna is bypassed by most traffic.  The main employment here is the fishing-industry with a fillet-factory in the village taking fish from the modern fishing-fleet. Theres also some fish farming in the inlet.

In a place where it rains a lot, hydroelectricity makes a lot of sense and, since 1953, Vestmanna has provided electric power to the islands from its its three power stations. Water is provided from dams in the hills high above the village.

Massive cliffs  (P1010499 © DY of jtdytravels

Taking people like us on boat trips to explore the coast, when the weather is favourable, gives another form of income to this small community.

And we went right inside those caves!   (P1010510 © DY of jtdytravels)

This boat ride was really most impressive as we cruised right under some of those massive cliffs which I had seen from the plane.   So impressive were the cliffs that we had to don safety helmets to guard against falling rocks… or were they to protect us from bird poo from the many dozens of sea birds flying about?  I rather think the later as the helmets would have done little to stop any damage caused. Any rock falling from these cliffs would have caused more than a dint in the head – more likely it would sink the boat!

Inside a cave with a view! ( P1010501 © DY of jtdytravels )

At times, looking up was neck aching stuff ! (P1010525 © DY of jtdytravels )

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Leaving the cliffs in our wake  (P1010528 © DY of jtdytravels )

It was not the best of weather but at least the seas were calm. It may not be so comfortable out here in rougher weather!

Back to Vestmanna  (P1010543 © DY of jtdytravels)

On the way back to Vestmanna, we heard some of the stories of this place. One was about pirates who frequented these waters in days of old. In the beginning of the 17th century the village was continually pestered by pirates. Then, in 1615 some Danish warships, in  Vestmanna at the time,surprised three Irish pirate-ships. Twenty seven Irish pirates were killed in the fight. Fifty five were drowned after the fight and eight pirate-officers were executed by hanging. That was quite a few pirates dealt with – I don’t know if others followed after that.

Another story was about the whaling industry. In the middle of the 19th century a steal-net was stretched across the mouth of the inlet during whaling.  This was done after the pilot whales had been driven into the inlet to prevent them from escaping.

Safely back at Vestmanna, we left our boat to begin a bit of land exploration.

Narrow roads, green fields.  (P1010556  © DY of jtdytravels )

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A common sight – a sod roofed building  (P1010560 © DY of jtdytravels)

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A typical village street  (P1010570 © DY of jtdytravels )

We drove through some picturesque villages. I wondered how often these chairs and the BBQ would be used in this incelement climate!

Village strung out along a stream  (P1010558 © DY of jtdytravels )

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A bubbling stream courses through this village  (P1010569 © DY of jtdytravels )

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Very mall village harbour  (P1010565 © DY of jtdytravels )

The tiny high walled harbour was a reminder that the seas here can become ferocious during storms. We had been very lucky to have a mild day with low seas and little wind.  In the afternoon, we would visit a very special family and their very old house – but that’s for my next next musings.   D

ALL PHOTOGRAPHY COPYRIGHT   ©  DY of jtdytravels