July 12, 2019
Last time we chatted, we were about to leave the beautiful Bungalows of Koh Tao and head to Krabi beach for our next adventure. Knowing we had a full travel day ahead of us, we had one final breakfast at our favorite local spot and grabbed sandwiches and snacks to go that our LODs Rachael and Kathryn kindly carried for us on our journey. We had multiple ferries to hop to and from, but in between, we had a lot of fun playing Mafia as a group. May fooled all of us one round as a secret killer! So stealthy! Ben also exhibited really good EB (expedition behavior) when buying Camilla a surprise coke mid-day. Our group remained positive despite the long travel, and we were rewarded with a delicious dinner at a hip local spot upon arrival. Adventure awaited the next day, so we hit the hay after Moonup where we discussed B+ superpowers.
The next morning, our group set off for Railay Beach in a beautiful long boat to rock climb! The views of the bright blue water were absolutely stunning. Although not many people in the group had much experience climbing, we conquered many different courses very quickly! Kaylee surprised us all with her natural grace and ease on her first attempt at the most challenging climb. She made it to the top like a pro! Soon enough, we were all scaling the rocks. Although it was a test of our physical strength and inner perseverance, our group prevailed with smiles on our faces. Afterwards we broke for lunch by the beach, and Caitlin was kind enough to share some of her delicious chocolate cookies with Thomas and Anna.
In the afternoon, we had the most incredible opportunity to go rappelling in these exquisite caves. We began our trek deep into the mystical caves. Our group was having a blast climbing up ladders and maneuvering through the darkness. When we emerged, we felt like we were on top of the world! With a stunning view of the ocean and beach below, our group began to repel slowly down the face of the cliff. Bess and Emerson got to hold hands for the first part of their repel, and Thomas shot some awesome photos! The star of this repel was May because she put the bravest face on despite her fear of heights! Our group agreed this was one of the most magical moments of our trip thus far. We left the beach feeling accomplished and proud of one another, so we decided to reward the group with a delicious pizza dinner and McFlurry treats for a taste of home. Bradley ordered the Thai McFlurry special: salted caramel pretzel! With full bellies and happy hearts, we rounded out the night with Moonup where LOD Caitlin posed the question “what was a life-changing moment for you?”. Our groups responses and discussion were memorable and impactful for all.
The next morning we set off to climb one last time at a different location. Fincher was the first one to attack the day’s climb sites, and although they were more challenging than those from the day before, our group once again crushed the tasks at hand. Camilla really stole the show with her climbing ability, making it all the way to the top of the hardest site to climb in minutes. We all successfully made it to the top of difficult climbs, instilling a sense of accomplishment and pride within the group.
Our afternoon consisted of meandering through the bustling streets of Krabi beach, popping into various local shops to check out the merchandise. Emerson and May bought matching jerseys, and Bess purchased what she says is her new favorite T-shirt! After shopping, we hit the beach for the rest of the evening. A riveting game of Death Hack commenced on the beach with Ben at the lead, and Anna and Caitlin explored a nearby secret beach together! The icing on the cake was the beautiful sunset array of pinks and purples we saw on the beach as we enjoyed our supper spread together. It was the most spectacular way to end our time in Krabi beach!
Next we head north to Chang Mai to see the elephants and dive into our community service section. We cannot wait to fill you in! We have some shout outs to share with you from our kids below-enjoy!
Until next time,
Thomas and Anna
Camilla: Hello family. I miss y’all a lot and I’m having really good time, MNLMTA
Ben: I love y’all, see you soon! Thailand and SCUBA is so fun! -Ben
Emerson: Hey y’all. I’m having the best time and can’t wait to tell you about it. I love and miss y’all!
May: Hey from Thailand!! Having the best time here and I can’t wait to see you soon. Love you!!
Bradley: Hey fam, I had a great time scuba diving and rock climbing. Can’t wait to start our service soon! Miss y’all lots.
Fincher: What’s up fam, I’m having a great time here in Thailand, and it is so pretty! Scuba diving was super fun and I can’t wait to see y’all soon. Love y’all!
Bess: Hey y’all!! Thailand is the ~coolest~ ever! Miss y’all bunches but don’t really want to come home ever. Lolz. Happy birthday Mama<3
Caitlin: Hey y’all! I miss you guys but I am having a blast! Can’t wait to see you and go to the lake! <3
Rachael: Hey fam I miss u and the girls a bunch, but I’m having the best time here! It’s sooooo pretty and different than any other place we’ve been to. See u soon love u guys so much!
Kaylee: Hi family of mine I love and miss you sooooo much can’t wait to see you later this month!
Kathryn: Hey y’all!! I miss you guys so much and can’t wait to see y’all soon:) having lots of fun exploring Thailand and can’t wait to give y’all a hug:)
July 9, 2019
Sawadee Kah! Greetings from Thailand!
Our group has just finished the SCUBA portion of our trip in Koh Tao, and we are happy to report that we have all officially obtained our Open Water Diver certifications! We are one with the fish in the sea now. Our trip is off to an incredible start, so let us recap it for you all!
Spirits were high in the Atlanta airport on the day we met. We had a long day of travel ahead, but our kids were all smiles the whole time! We passed the time making connections and getting to know one another before finally arriving in Bangkok. Our group settled into the hotel for a well-deserved sleep.
Since we were traveling over July 4th, we decided to surprise our kids on July 5th with a (late) celebration. We woke them up with red, white, and blue socks that we all wore on our trek to Koh Tao, a beautiful island we have called home for the past four days. We were certainly traveling in style! Everyone’s faces lit up at the site of our little cove and our personal Bungalows that overlook the water, an absolutely stunning site. To top off the evening, we took the kids to a local restaurant in Koh Tao to have our first experience with local Thai food, which was absolutely delicious! Pad Thai with chicken was by far the most popular order amongst the group. Before hitting the hay, we brought out our final salute to the 4th of July (red, white, and blue Skittles!) and had our first official Moonup where we posed the question: “why are you here?”. It was obvious from everyone’s responses that we were here to expand our horizons: to experience a culture different than our own and to grow as individuals (Together!). And that is exactly what we started to do the next day with scuba diving.
The next morning, we awoke to a beautiful blue sky and a glistening ocean. We enjoyed a quick breakfast of Nutella and peanut butter toast, fresh pineapple that LOD Caitlin cut up for everyone, and granola bars. We stayed in the dive shop for the first part of the morning to brush up on our scuba skills before heading out into the ocean! Our dive boat was quite spacious with an incredibly kind staff, and our group found our own little nook on the top of the boat. We had hammocks and great music thanks to Kathryn, passing the time of transportation easily with good conversations and laughs. Once we arrived at our dive spot, we had multiple skills to practice in the water, including taking our very first breath underwater! After all of our hard work, Camilla led us in songs atop the boat as we watched the sun set. It was a magical day! After a delicious family style dinner of Thai dishes, Fincher, our other LOD, decided to reward the group with an ice cream stop! It was a sweet way to top off our day.
As the sun rose again, we decide to try out a local breakfast spot before our day of diving. Rachael stole the cake with her order of French toast with bananas and maple syrup. With bellies full of scrumptious goodies, we set off for day two of diving! Ben really stepped up as a leader during scuba on this day, constantly encouraging his buddies to stay positive and keep the energy high. May also made huge strides with her ability to clear her ears and was going underwater like a champ by the end of the day. We all felt much more comfortable with diving after day two, almost as comfortable as the fish themselves! After we exited the boat, we decided to have a group hangout on our beach as a way to unwind. A huge game of “Big Booty” commenced, and Bradley and Bess decided to spice it up by making each round a different theme or accent. Laughter was certainly abundant! Afterwards, we enjoyed a delicious pasta dinner and shared embarrassing stories with one another, which further bonded our group.
Day three of scuba was extremely exciting for all because we all obtained our Open Water Diver Certification! All of our hard work had finally paid off, and because we moved so quickly through the course, we got to do a night dive and two deep dives the following day! The group was ecstatic, but particularly Emerson because she grew so much during this section. Although timid at first, Emerson successfully completed all of the skills like a champ and was diving like a pro with her new certification. While we were waiting to go on our night dive, we enjoyed a delicious dinner of green curry on the boat while Kaylee took a lot of photos of everyone at golden hour. During the night dive, we got to see different kinds of things than we had seen during our day dives such as bioluminescence! Ben also saw an octopus and Camilla saw a blue spotted stingray! It was an experience we will never forget. Once we were done with our dive, we headed in for Moonup where we discussed our biggest fears about our futures, which led to a very fruitful discussion among the group.
Finally, on our last day of diving, we got to dive all the way down to a shipwreck! We were so proud of the whole group for accomplishing this task. We all got to see a shipwreck from World War II under the water, and many groups saw lots of big fish! Because we ventured out in the morning, we arrived back at our beach by lunchtime, and after a lunch of delicious make your own sandwiches and all the fresh fruit we could ever ask for, we headed to a nearby bay to relax for the afternoon. We had a dance party on the beach to celebrate our accomplishment (while looking around for the supposed black tip reef sharks, barracudas, and sea turtles said to be in this spot)! Our night ended with a celebratory dinner: a Korean barbecue on the beach! It was such a special evening, capping off our time in Ko Tao beautifully.
Next we head to Krabi Beach where rock climbing awaits! Our group is ready for the next adventure ahead, and we cannot wait to tell you all about it!
Anna & Thomas
July 4, 2019
Hi Thailand Families,
The group has arrived safely in Thailand and is ready to go! We can’t wait to share more about their many adventures.
– Moondance HQ