After the diarrhea attack I was getting back to normal in a couple of days. All signs of intestinal bleeding have disappeared. I have been stretching and letting my body dance whenever I hear music. This, together with a lot of walking and swimming and watching sunsets have combined to leave me feeling wonderful.
|In Between Paradise. The tree house beach bar where we watch the sunsets and play music.|
The owners of In Between Paradise are really nice and let me play their guitar. There is a wonderful magic playing at the beach with friendly people.
|The love of my life is with me in spirit|
One thing I hope I have learned in my long life is that when I am trying to do something I haven't done in a long time is that I need to lower my expectations and go slowly and carefully. It is hard not to remember yourself at your best, I used to snorkel for miles in Hawaii, but while I'm in pretty good shape for 74 the reality is that when I arrived on Koh Phi Phi I hadn't been swimming much and didn't know the local conditions. I also got a bad attack of diarrhea that wiped me out for a couple of days. I like pushing myself a bit, but it is also good to always quit while you are ahead and leave it to tomorrow to do more armed with the knowledge of how it turned out today. It is one of the paradoxes of growing older that, even though you have less time, you learn to take more time.
Over the last week I have learned that the best, and safest, snorkeling here at Long Beach is done at high tide. At low tide the coral heads are close to the surface, sometimes even above, and it can be a challenge to not get scraped up on them. Especially getting in and out of the water. The tides on Koh Phi Phi are about 8' so at high tide you float safely well above the the corral. The water is also clearer and cooler on the incoming tide. Since we are at the southern tip of Ton Soi Bay when the tide is going out the warmer and more polluted water drains from the Bay and depending on the current will flow right in front of the Viking Nature Resort and Long Beach. The visibility changes from about 30' to less than 2'.
The most dangerous part of the swim is getting from the beach across the traffic lanes used by the longtail boats that act as taxis ferrying people between the beach resorts and town. Swimmers are hard enough to see if they have their heads above water, but snorkeling the only thing that sticks up above the water is the tip of the snorkel. Besides being vigilant it also makes sense to have a diver's float. On my walks to town I've made it a habit to pick up trash. I thing I picked up was a long piece of Day-Glo Orange. Rather than throw it out I viewed it as a gift from the gods telling me to get my shit together and make a diver's float.
My first attempt made with a small plastic water bottle half filled with sand wasn't big enough to keep the stick holding the flag strait up in the air. Just a little wave would knock it over. But it was a pretty good "proof of concept". So I made version 2.0 with a much bigger one litter plastic water bottle. This worked, but over the course of my first snorkeling trip with it the lashing worked a bit loose and the stick would slide slide sideways throwing off the whole balance and the flag would end up in the water. It was temporarily fixable, but obviously not good enough.
Talking with some guys when I swam onto the Viking Beach I good some good advice, "cinch the hell out of it!" and also used a straiter stick and a rubber band for extra holding power and Version 2.1 was launched.
|Version 2.1 of my diver's float|
|This shows my morning adventure. Starting at the Viking Beach I swam around the point against the current then walked down two the end of Long Beach. Then I snorkeled out and then back home with the current.|
An interesting thing I find about not wearing a shirt is that my posture has improved. A relaxed sagging potbelly just seems to feel wrong (as well as looking not so great). But when I open up my chest, throw my shoulders back and suck in my belly I just can't help but feel better. At first when I was walking I would find myself starting to feel stiff and hurting pretty quickly even though I was going slowly. I found that if I stopped and stretched out a bit with both touching my toes and reaching for the sky I could slowly work my body to where I was standing straiter, with my gut tucked in, and most importantly; feeling pain free. One way I have been thinking of it is that being a sculptor I can work on my body and see if I can make it a little better. It seems to be working. I'm sure some people must wonder what's up with the old guy doing some sort of yoga on the side of the path. But what if they think I'm weird? A great thing about being an artist is that you don't have to be normal. Hell, people even expect and hope that you aren't.