We paddled through Krabi Canyon, “not the Grand Canyon” our guide joked, but it was still indescribably beautiful and not something that a mere photo would be able to convey.
Kayaking in Krabi was one of my favorite paddles (to use kayaking lingo) to date. We were in a small group of 8, passing quietly past wispy mangroves and immense limestone cliffs, each with their own fragility. The mangroves stood on thin legs reaching up and the cliffs, though massive, were pocked with thousands of crevices making you question if they might soon crumble.
We began the tour with a ride in a songthaew, driving at break-neck speed to meet our guide. We were the last in so I sat near the back opening holding on for of being thrown out with a turn, as I tried to capture the cliffs that rose around us. A camaraderie slowly developed with the other travelers from France and Germany. We learned they were not as experienced at kayaking, so unofficially named ourselves their lifeguards and took up the rear boat.
We entered single-file into a hallway of mangroves. Moving slowly so as to not hit their boat, the speed necessitated only one of us to paddle. James took that job and I set out to document every tree and crevice of the limestone cliffs.
The cliffs had so much character. They were dotted with thousands of nooks and larger holes, making it a network of caves. Great arms of stone would hang down, dripping water onto us and obscuring the cave from view. I gazed up at these amazing sculptures of white, grey and brown and willed my camera to capture the amazement I was feeling.
The sky was overcast, ready to rain, and there was a quiet that I am always craving in nature. Occasionally, we’d hear the dull hum of motors in the distance but the piercing cry of the birds and the sound of our paddles in the water had our more immediate attention. It was heaven.
I alternated between pictures and video, wanting to capture this time of beauty and quiet. Now, watching the videos, I am reminded of the loud insects that started as we entered Krabi Canyon. The video sounds as if an unseen group is shaking hundreds of tiny rattles as the scenery slowly changes.
The canyon felt ancient, with few reminders of human’s mark, just tall cliffs giving us a tiny line of road to pass through safely. My eyes would gaze up at the monolithic cliffs, to either side, overgrown with hundreds of trees and plants and think ‘Jurassic Park’.
It made me feel at one with nature and also so insignificant within it. I could imagine the nature with a sentience, tiny eyes watching us. And so it was a little creepy to hear our guide tell us about the bones buried in the rocky caves. He’d given us other interesting tidbits too about the crocodiles that once flourished there, before they were killed by the ‘sea gypsies’ and the pit vipers that hide in the crevices, so perhaps that lead to dinosaur thoughts. For the most part though, we were left to our journey.
We’d gone hoping to spot monkeys and lizards. While unsuccessful, we did capture a sense of timelessness and a bit of quiet, arriving back to the dock as the pouring rains came and blotted out the cliffs from view.