© 2012 monica Blue

Snorkeling off the Coast of An Thoi

Before we are to say goodbye to this tropical paradise known as Phu Quoc we wanted to spend a day in the water marveling at the colorful coral we had heard about.  So we picked up some pamphlets and started asking around for prices, which ranged from $15-$26.  On one of the pamphlets Oscar noticed that we could make out the cell number of the company the owns the boat.  So we cut out the middle man and directly called the boat company.  They offered us the same package tour for $11/person.  So we jumped on our motorbike the next morning and started to make our way to the southern tip of the island.  We decided to take a new way (according to googlemaps -a faster way) and boy were we surprised at what googlemaps considered a road!  It was small mud trail with gigantic puddles, making it into the most difficult obstacle course yet!  I wish I would have taken a video or picture of the “road” but I was too busy holding on and lifting my feet up to avoid the inevitable muddy water splashes.  All of this and we were pressed for time since we weren’t expecting our journey to include mud valley.  We no had 20 minutes before the boat was to leave the harbor.  I had given up and accepted that we just weren’t going to make it but Oscar was determined.  I’m not sure how but we managed to find the harbor,park our moto, and find our contact person in under than 5 minutes.  Literally running onto the boat, But we made it!

On the way out of the harbor we stopped to pick up fresh sea urchins for our lunch on the boat.

We were excited to see this since we had never been brave enough to order the dish at the seafood night market.

There seemed to be a small floating fishing village on the outer edge of the harbor, each with their own fish nets under their floating houses.  We even saw dogs on the floating fishing houses and they seemed as happy as can be.

The views were stunning and the water so clear.

I was surprised at how nervous I was when finally in the water with our snorkel gear and fins.  Oscar was my rock and let me calm down and get my breathing under control.  I didn’t realize how “scared” I would feel in the water.  It’s as if my breathing got away from me even though I am a strong swimmer.  I think knowing that I couldn’t rest anywhere due to the high growing coral was the main factor and maybe the all the fish around us.  After I was breathing normal again and holding Oscar’s hand we happily swam around the colorful coral and carefully made around the sea urchins.  It was just beautiful.  One of the Russian couples had an underwater camera but I don’t think that could capture the incredible colors.

We were in the water for a good 30 minutes before we were called back to the boat.  We continued on to two more snorkeling spots.

 This one we sat out because we were just exhausted! Oscar also began to remember what sea-sickness feels like…poor thing.  Soon after it was lunch time and we were served an interesting menu.  We had fried noodles and shrimp, rice with an assortment of seafood and fried tofu.  The one dish that did catch our interest was the fresh sea urchins we had picked up earlier.  They were served raw with wasabi or cooked with a mix of herbs and lemon juice.  We went for the cooked option and enjoyed our first sea urchin.  I would describe it as creamy with a the majority of the flavor coming from the herbs that are added to it, but enjoyable.  I will definitely eat more if they ever cross my path again.

These are raw and have only been “trimmed” by the cook onboard.

Pretty excited to try this new strange seafood!

They look pretty good, huh?  The peanuts gave a nice salty flavor to the mix.

It had been a while since we had used chopsticks.  Here is Oscar getting the hang of it again.

We had a great day together acting like total tourists!

After lunch we time for one more dip.

Then it was my turn

After this we said goodbye to the spiky sea urchins and colorful coral

After arriving back on land we were marveled by the seafood being prepared to be shipped out.  Incredibly fresh and just so exotic.

The blue water was stunning.  Vietnam has such untouched beauty.  I am so glad we took one day to experience it.