The plan had always been to try my hand at rock climbing in Krabi before leaving the south of Thailand. Those plans changed when I wasn't yet ready to say goodbye to Josi and Catharine. I knew Steve (from London…we last hung out on Koh Phangan) would understand. He'd become a rock-climbing fiend there, and was even on his way to Koh Phi Phi Don on a field trip the same day I was leaving.
Josi, Catharine and I sat on the ferry's roof for the two hour ride to the mainland. It was reminiscent of the first time we met (all of 4 days ago, but it felt longer).
Once we arrived at the Krabi port, it was time for everyone to get their backpacks. Given we were some of the first people on the ferry, our packs were at the bottom, though somehow the girls managed to position theirs in such a way that they were able to get them out quickly. Mine, on the other hand, was as far lost as a backpack could be. A little patience was required, and it was eventually uncovered. We boarded the shuttle to the travel agency where we had a short wait for the minivan that was to drive us to the night ferry.
The drive was longer than I think we all expected. There were two Italians guys, two German guys (Robin and Martin), one unknown guy, and the three of us. The German contingent was picked up first, and they had laid claim to the front row of seats with the most legroom.
Four to six hours later, we arrived at our sad looking night ferry. It was probably a good thing we didn't see it in daylight. I might not have had the confidence to board it. There were mattresses set up inside, and even fans to keep things cool, however I was drawn to the roof.
Ten years ago, on my travels through western Europe, I heard about the overnight ferries from Italy to Greece. I had chosen to visit Ireland instead, and while I had a nauseating experience on my giant car ferry from England to Ireland, it didn't match the romantic image I had developed in my mind of the one to Greece.
We were delayed about an hour from embarking because the electronic lift to pull up the main door on the lower level of the ferry broke. A group of Thais began to analyze the mechanical dilemma before them. The door was too heavy to be pulled up by people alone, so it was determined that the giant yellow crane would be used.
Several of us watched the first attempt from the roof. As the tension built in the steel cable, I held my breath. Something broke, and a heavy metal piece of the rigging flew backwards past some scooters which had not been moved out of the way.
By the second attempt, I was ducking farther out of view so as not to be decapitated by steel. The bent and broken railing on the roof (shown in photo above) illustrates similar situations may have been more destructive to the ferry itself! Amazingly, the second attempt worked, and the gate was slowly cranked upwards to a near vertical position.
Catharine and I ended up sleeping on the roof, under the stars and moon, as we motored (verrrrry slowly) toward Koh Tao. I didn't sleep at all, using only the provided pillow and blanket as my bedding. To sleep would've been to miss the passing squid boats along the horizon…the clouds floating eerily past the bright moon…and our approach to the small island of Koh Tao before sunrise.