Freebird Stand Up Paddleboarding, Railay Beach - The Amators Adventure Club

Freebird Stand Up Paddleboarding, Railay Beach

Me, with increasing concern closing in on hysteria, “It’s in my pants…. It’s in my pants… IT is IN my pants…. IT’S IN MY PANTS!!!!”  Jack turned to look at me, wide-eyed.  

In what is surely TMI, I have on occasion, been known to go commando… sans underoos.  Never again.  Tonight, I became a true underwear believer.  Skivvies (an often under-appreciated aspect of our modern lives) saved me.

With all due respect to Koh Lanta, it just hadn’t hit the adventure spot for us.  The beaches weren’t quite what we were expecting.  The total lack of activity wasn’t what we were expecting.  The flies… man, the flies… and the @#$%@#$ monkeys.

We shortened our Koh Lanta time by a day and added a long weekend at Railay Beach on our return leg to Bangkok. Railay is well-known in this part of the world. If Phuket is South Beach, Railay is more like the Keys.  It’s toned down. Less hard partying, more relaxing and exploring the gifts of nature (with some beer or weird mushrooms on the side if that’s your thing).  That doesn’t mean a good time can’t be found, it’s just not the entire point of being there.  Plus, you can only get there by boat.  No cars.  Exotic.  That lights my brain on fire…. had to go.

I upgraded our hotel for a couple of nights to the second best one on the peninsula.  We were high rollers spending about $100/night.  Ahhh… hello old lifestyle…. you really were great.

Our last night I decided to splurge on a sunset stand up paddleboarding (SUP) excursion.  (This is why we stay in the cheap cheap cheap hotel rooms and travel around by bus all those other times.)

One of the best parts of being outside the Land of Rules is that there are few hard rules.  When I asked if we could throw the kids on the front of boards, sure.  No problem.  Zero issues.  “Life vests for them?”  Their question, not mine.  Me, “Yes.  Yes please.”  Great, it’s all arranged then.

Since I got Jack for the elephants, I made sure I got Evie for the paddle board.  It’s not that I was trying to be fair.  It’s that Evie is older and easier and if anyone was going to have a hard time, it was Scott’s turn.

That’s the company’s video.  They actually show it to people.

It was monsoon season and there had been storms out at sea that day.  The surf was fairly big.  The poor intrepid soul who joined the tour as a singleton was so overwhelmed she gave up.  She got the ultimate pity party… a tow line with a guide.  Oh, the embarrassment!!

Evie and I did great.  I had fun teaching her to point the nose into the waves.  We tried a couple of different positions so she could get comfortable.  Then we essentially paddled circles around almost everyone else.  Sometimes it’s really awesome being strong (even when it comes at the expense of being ‘delicate’ or ‘graceful’).  Scott and Jack did equally well.  The A-Team was large and in charge.

Around sunset, we crossed the bay and started off around the peninsula.

At first, it was a lot of fun – the big waves, leaving the beach behind, exploring the part of the land you can’t see from shore.

We saw bats with 2-3 ft wingspans coming out to feed at dusk and a squid jump out of the water.  We rounded one cliff and entered a protected alcove where we paddled through some weird jumping fish. 

It was charming …. at first.  Exciting even. 

However, after maybe 1-2 minutes of fish jumping on your board and flopping around all over your feet, it gets old.  Trust me.  OLD.

Dusk faded to twilight which faded to black night.  We stopped in a little cave and were told to turn off our lights.   We were in a bioluminescent bay… little creatures in the water light up like lightning bugs when the water is disturbed.  I was giddy. 

Lam, our guide, told us we could get off our boards and swim if we wanted.  I snorted and it turned into a giant guffaw.  As if anything or anyone could get me off my board into the black abyss of the ocean on purpose.  Please.  No amount of money in the world….  Who the hell would be dumb enough to…

**** Splash ****

Since I have night blindness, I didn’t know it was Scott until I heard him come up for air.  Oh. My. God.  Seriously?!

Giggles… **** mini splash ****

What in the hell…. oh goodness, no.  Seriously?  Et tu, Brute?!  Evelyn?!?!

We picked SUP to see the bioluminescence, so I figured I’d be better off focusing on that more than where my kid was in the giant black ocean.  She was with Scott.  Hopefully, they were with Jack (who was still on Scott’s board).  If not, I wasn’t going to be the one to save them all since I couldn’t see my toes and my hearing isn’t where it should be.  {Yes…. I am falling apart a little bit… but it’s all good.}

Tentatively, I dipped my hand in the water.  Somewhere near me, Scott was delighted.  Then Evie, “Ohhhh ahhh.  Wow!”  Then the other people in the group started in.  All while I sat there, spinning around in circles on the board, “What?  Is it happening?  How come I can’t see it?  Do you see it?  Where is it?  What does it look like?  Are you sure you see it?  I don’t see it.”

I don’t know if it’s my night blindness or if every other person in the group was just an asshole.  I saw maybe 2 little flashes of green.  That is it.  Talk to Scott.  He was “amazed”.  It was “awesome”.

Twenty minutes later we were all back on the boards, lights on.  Evie was with the guide and Jack had moved over to mine.  I was just telling Evie how proud I was of her when… I spotted a sea snake.  Oh…. hello there giant scary creature from the deep.  Nothing to be worried about in the big black ocean, eh?  Sea monsters only live in nightmares, right?!  That’s the flip side of not being in the Land of Rules…. you never really know if it’s safe or just local “safe”.

After that my attitude changed a little.  I maxed out on adventure fun and was desperately seeking beer. 

I was sitting as we paddled through another school of jumping fish and this time… I wasn’t charmed at all.  I was mad.  Irritated.  That is, of course, when it happened.  One of them flopped onto the board, did a double backflip and dove straight into my shorts.  All the way in.  On purpose, I know it.

Hell hath no fury like an exhausted mom with a flopping fish deep in her shorts.  Truth.

I hate fish.  I hate anything in my pants that I haven’t put there.  It was a perfect storm.  On top of all that, obviously ditching into the water was a non-starter on account of that very creepy snake. 

I did the only other thing I could do.  I levitated off the board – no broomstick required.  Then I realized the error of my ways… I couldn’t sit back down lest I squish the little bastard.  The only thing worse than a live fish in my pants is a dead fish in my pants.  One more time… long live grannie panties.  I get it now.  You don’t know how important they are until they are very very important.

I’m sorry, Nemo… I really am.

Scott heard that special sound in my voice.  He knew.  He got there as fast as he could.

Somehow Jack and I managed to stay on the paddle board.  The fish fell out/dropped out/wiggled away?  No idea.

As we rounded the final bend my legs felt like jello.  I hate fish more now than ever before.  Railay is awesome.  Go if you can.  Take the paddleboarding tour at sunset.  You’ll never forget it.

https://www.gofreebird.com/

Long boat out to Railay:

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I sent this picture to Kim and Alan with the quip, “How does Alan feel about this {the status of those pretty wires}?”  Kim’s response, “He says it’s never ok to touch a line, eva.  I say it’s never ok to not wear shoes in Thailand, eva?”  Touche!

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Scott’s fancy 46th birthday dinner:

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Because of course:

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Check out the meals in these next 2 photos… that’s right… french fries and lasagna.  We’re in foodie Hall of Fame Thailand and they’re ordering American/Italian.  Shame…  shame….

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This happened while Scott was at work.  I have to note that the stay-at-home mom gig is kind of awesome.

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There is a new trend in fancy bathing suits.  It starts out like a normal bottom when suddenly it looks like the buttocks snatches the material off the rear and eats it.  Not for me, but it’s fun to see:

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While exploring, I found a mythical hippie lair.  Scott didn’t believe me, but I have a sense for these things.  Suddenly, this guy appeared coming out of the rocks, playing music.  Then some young people showed up looking like they were searching for an unmarked path.  He pointed them in the right direction as he danced himself down the beach.  Had I been alone or just with Scott, I would have been all over that…  Love and light, Sir.

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The adventure begins.  Freebird.

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This is our talented photography during the SUP trip:

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As luck would have it, Liam, a professional photographer for the company joined our group.  He was willing to give me his shots as long as I was willing to give him rights to use them.  I hope people get a royal belly laugh out of them and then go find Freebird on Railay and do the trip.

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