Sunday, April 29, 2018

Thailand Travel Series: Deep Sea Fishing - Andaman Sea

This is Part 6 of the Thailand and Cambodia Travel Series. Read Part 1 Here.

Our deep sea fishing excursion was a success—for the fish. We booked Deep Sea Fishing as our second tour through a local tour agency near our hotel on Kamala Beach in Phuket. The tour included pick up at our hotel and passage down to Rassada Pier on the southern tip of Phuket, the main pier of the island. From there we hopped aboard our fishing vessel with two elderly Thai crew members who spoke minimal English. The other party was a family from Russia. Since we spoke no Russian, our sole hope in communicating was the family’s young son who had impressively good English.

We only had to wear life jackets until we breached the outer islands. Then the Thai crew members motioned that we were ok to remove them. We started trolling after we left the outer islands. Within a couple minutes, we had a large hit from a swordfish.
The struggle was valiant, 30 minutes in the chair. We took turns, the younger son was quite good at holding his own against the giant 300 pounder. However, right when the swordfish broke the surface, it did an impressive spin and freed itself from the hook, before disappearing into the deep.

Needless to say, we were all exhilarated but disappointed. We did have another hit as well, but that fish, too, escaped from being reeled in. For the next hour, we trolled peacefully out to Racha Islands.
The Islands looked pretty neat themselves. There looked to be a small village and hotel there, and tons of fishing, motor, and sail boats clogged the bay. The crew motioned that we should jump in the water for a swim while they prepared a lunch of soup, rice, and fruit. The snorkeling was quite excellent, the water transparent, and there were plenty of butterfly fish darting around.

After lunch, we tried out handline fishing. A crew member demonstrated for us and caught a small fish within seconds. He dangled the line over the rail and unwound it into the water. After waiting a couple minutes and a well-placed jerk, he’d hooked the fish. We all took to it with great enthusiasm after he caught a second fish in minutes. However, our poor crew member soon had his hands full helping us untangle our lines. If he hadn’t had to babysit us, he probably could have reeled in ten more fish easily. But as it was, his focus was on us and making sure we enjoyed our time (and learned) how to properly handline fish. “This is hard!” the younger son exclaimed next to us, and we agreed.

We did get a hit around sunset as we were sailing back. The Thai crew member took charge but that fish as well proved tricky. He did however let one of our party drive the boat for a little bit, which was neat. So overall, our catch proved to come mainly from the handline fishing (and mainly from the crew members) but we had a wonderful time. The deep sea fishing trips are very private, allow you to absorb the beauty of the ocean and outer islands, and give you a chance to take a dip. There aren’t swarms of tourists or vendors asking you to buy items, so it is more of a personalized trip. We tipped the crew at the end. Despite 3 different languages being spoken on the fishing boat, there were no problems and we’d learned that during this time of year in November, it was bitter negative temperatures in Moscow. Overall, an enjoyable tour from Phuket.

 We couldn’t stay out late, however. The next morning we had plans to rise early to catch the ferry across the Gulf of Thailand to Railay Beach.
Upcoming Blog Post: Railay Beach, Thailand
*Disclaimer: the above is depicted as fiction and not fact.

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