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Koh Panak

So we arrived at our first island, Koh Panak (I think). Our first cave was to be the "Oyster Cave" because, as I'm sure you can figure out, it was filled with oysters. This was because the cave was generally underwater, but since we were here at low tide we could just barely fit into it by lying down in our canoes. Andy and I were one of the last groups to get in our canoe, and it turns out that Mario picked the best colour for us - PINK. Yep, Andy and I had the only pink canoe on the entire trip! Mario paddled us swiftly to the cave and we were instructed to lay down so we wouldn't be split open, not unlike a tuna can, by the sharp oysters. The trip was short and sweet as there wasn't too much to see and we were soon out of the cave and on our way to none other than "The Bat Cave". I'm sure you can figure out what lay in store for us at this cave: yeah, Batman and his trusty batmobile. Compared to the last cave this one was fairly spacious and not to mention pitch black. We had to bust out our flashlight for this one, and although we didn't see any bats at first about halfway through an unfamiliar smell filled my nostrils - GUANO! I turned on the flashlight and pointed it up and what did I see? None other than 300 bats smiling back at me! "What a sight!" I thus proclaimed. Just then Mario instructed us to lay low 'les we get maimed! Free of injury yet again I now could see a light in the distance. Mario paddled us faithfully through somehow not slicing himself open on all of the oysters. Then we entered into this amazing, awesome, fantastic, and open-aired paradise! The water level was low and trees grew off the sides of rocks. Mario told us that in another 2 hours there would be no water at all in this place. Fascinating! Imagine a swimming pool filled with salt water and surrounded 360 degrees by giant cliffs covered in dense jungle vegetation. That's kind of what this was like, but cooler.

Michael Forceno -- University of Ottawa
Ottawa, ON