‘Wats’ in Cambodia? Day 137: The Happy Kayak

After eating some delicious food at Nice Food Restaurant, possibly my new go to locale (the owner prepared for me a roasted mixed vegetable and chicken dish with a honey mustard cream sauce to glaze the bounty which he liked to call a fusion of the Australian and European flavors his friends had taught him), I joined Tom the Brit and Sam the Ethiopian-American for a kayak day trip to the small uninhabited island seemingly just off shore. We each had our own kayak since I could not be bothered with lugging the weight of another let alone my own. To christen the event and the day, Tom and I shared a happily baked brownie before departing the sandy shore. The waves always seemed to be coming at me in the exact direction I was rowing to further delay my arrival to the island. As the current and poor mechanics drifted Sam off to sea, Tom and I closed in on the island struggling as we were to get this far, each stroke of our oars barely progressing each of us forward. After waiting for Sam to struggle his way to land, I hit the water to snorkel the full circumference of the island. Although these waters and sea life cannot be compared to the Great Barrier Reef or Similan Islands (how many places really can?), the snorkeling here held its own with a fair share of variety and color. In certain instances when I was jivvying in the water with a case of the Jimmy legs, someone might have been apt to point out that I was likely under the influence but as anyone who truly knows me I was simply being me with every oddity that may entail. The waters weren’t overly populated with fish but still had enough rainbow wrasse to keep my interest. Best of all, each hour of my clockwork motion around the island had such a distinct mixture of anemone, coral, and other spots a more marine savvy person could recognize. The largest coral gardens ballooning into hard rocky yet bumpy cloud blooms rested on the sea floor with an artist’s palette of yellows, oranges, greens, and blues. Besides enough kicks with my fins to propel myself through the waves and current to complete this circular revolution, the snorkeling resembled more of a lazy river as I floated along with the occasional bob to dive in deeper and closer to whatever may have caught my eye. The beauty of this natural aquarium can’t be denied especially when I was every bit in the thick of it watching life exist and evolve right before my eyes. Upon completing the lap, I rested on shore to dry off but the water called me in once again and then a couple times more after that. Having kayaked all the way here through the balmy heat and worse yet the unkind rippling of the waves, I was sure as hell going to make the most of it. I love snorkeling thanks to the stunning array of colors. Since I am quite capable of getting and being high off of life, I can continue staring at the same spectrum of anemone watching each loose tentacle ripple with the coming wave and current passing through. A large green tentacled anemone really caught my eye. With short, rubbery, and tentacled stubs protruding from the much more so hardened base, it resembled a forest in some far flung forgotten woods in which no man has stood in ages yet nature continued to show its presence. As each wave altered the design of the tentacles like a field of inflatable mascots in front of a car dealership, this neon green forest billowed as if a strong, torrential storm cut across its path shaking each to its shivery core. Even though I repeated more or less the same path working closer and further away from shore to gain newer perspectives, I became enlivened each time soaking up not just the salt but the freedom that a place like this can bring out in a person. Tom and Sam left earlier so I had the sea to myself with the sun now much lower and far more forgiving. Perhaps I came across bad timing with the tides or maybe I am a bit loco (then again, when is that not the case?) but I truly felt like I was fighting the waves the entire time as they rocked my low grade kayak ready to turn me capsized. Not until I reached the imaginary line designating the halfway point to Koh Rong, the idea of turning back and calling the small island behind me my own for the night sounded quite appealing. Somehow I stayed afloat through the constant up and down motion of the waves and arrived to shore half expecting a trophy or medal for my efforts. My right leg was as dead and numb as can be so when I tried to get out of the kayak I looked like I had been shot. I began crumbling to the ground yet my leg still had enough life to act like a chicken with its head cut off; the nerves had all the motion acting as they chose without any control on my part. Back at the guesthouse, I lounged about until going with Sam for some BBQ and my own personally requested all you can eat salad bar. Unfortunately Sam’s English is quite poor and I had to baby him around since he just didn’t get it despite living in the U.S. for 11 years so I had to get away for my own sanity. In that time, I picked up two cans of beer and went down the beach to find a hammock for some personal time and thoughtless relaxation. The thoroughly taxing kayak adventure rushed me off to sleep much sooner than I had expected. 

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