My guide, Tam, sitting behind me in the kayak, has already pointed out the aptly named Ko Kai, Chicken Island, so named because its skinny, skewed peak resembles a scrawny hen’s neck. Later we’ll see Ko Hong which Tam assures me is “an island with a room inside it” – an intriguing possibility. Other curiosities crowd in, like tropical fish ducking below our hulls and, impossibly high on the vertical cliff, ropes left over by the local dare-devils who gathering precious swifts’ nests for a Chinese epicurean soup. [2002]


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