Death by Drowning in Thailand: R.I.P GoPro

Here it is; the second episode of my Thailand misadventures (and probably the saddest one yet). Seriously, this is some emotional stuff right here.

My girlfriend and I had been in Thailand for about five days. We started off in Bangkok, were almost murdered in a taxi, then flew down to Krabi for a few days before sailing off to Koh Lanta. We were staying in a super cute little homestay, run by the most lovely family. They also ran an excursions company, so we booked a kayaking trip to Ao Thalane; a series of small islands in a bay that was supposed to be absolutely beautiful. We were really excited!

We were collected in the early afternoon, in an open-backed van no less! It didn’t feel entirely safe but it was pretty cool speeding along the roads with perfect views and warm air whooshing around us.

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Van views!

After quite a long drive we arrived at the bay and geared up for our kayaking adventure. They gave us waterproof bags to keep our phones, cameras and the like in while we were on the water. However, as you’ll come to learn, I wasn’t smart enough to use this for anything other than keeping my cigarettes dry (priorities? What priorities?).

Our journey to the first island was across the open bay, surrounded by incredible scenery. We parked our kayaks (read: crashed uncontrollably into the sand) and hopped onto the small patch of land that was our first stop. The guide told us that it was called crab island because of all the tiny crabs that lived on it. At first, I didn’t see any, but as I looked closer, the sand was covered in them! You had to walk really slowly across the sand if you wanted to see them properly because when you got too near they would retreat into tiny holes in the ground. There were thousands of them! The view from the island was beautiful, and I took so many photos of Amy and I, as well as the scenery, on my GoPro.

Back in our kayaks, we paddled to an inlet in the limestone cliffs. This waterway, we were told, would lead us into the mangrove forests for some animal spotting. I was having a great time, taking photos and videos of our surroundings with joy. But unbeknownst to me, disaster was right around the corner. Unlike many of my other misadventures, I take full responsibility for this one. I am a complete liability and I have no one to blame but myself.

We were gently paddling along, enjoying ourselves and admiring the Indiana Jones-like setting around us when I popped my GoPro underneath the leg band of my shorts. I had been putting it back in the bag at the beginning – or at least tucking it in my lifejacket – but I kept having to get it back out again, much to my annoyance, so I just tucked it under there without really considering the consequences. Several minutes later I shifted in my seat and surprise surprise, my GoPro gently slid off my leg and plopped into the water next to me. I know it’s cliché, but it really did feel like it happened in slow motion. Not slow enough for me to do anything about it though.

All the joy suddenly drained out of me, and I shouted to Amy to help turn the kayak around. By the time we did though, I couldn’t really pinpoint exactly where it had fallen. The most annoying part of the whole thing (aside from me putting it on my leg in the first place and the fact that I’d literally only had it two weeks) was that just a few minutes earlier we’d been in a very shallow area where the water was almost crystal clear. This water, however, was murky and extremely deep. Our guide, bless him, dived in and tried to retrieve it, but at that point, we’d been moving around and disturbing the water. It was gone.

I was devastated. I may have even had a little cry. I was just so frustrated with myself. Why in the world would I have just put it on my leg?! Or not attached it to me in some way?! Complete and utter liability? That’s me. Amy was trying to turn around and comfort me, but she couldn’t even really look at me because if she did we probably would have capsized. And to be honest I didn’t feel like I deserved comfort. It was my own stupid fault.

It took me a little while, but eventually, I got a bit less upset and just settled into pure anger with myself. There wasn’t anything I could do, so I had to get over it. Obviously, I continued to take pictures on my phone, but I was really really really careful (promise). God, can you imagine if I’d lost both? I probably would have just jumped in the river with them. Though a little tainted, we still had a great time on the rest of our little adventure. The mangroves were beautiful, and we even saw some mudskippers.

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Amy in the Mangroves
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Not really sure how I look so happy here? I was not.

Regardless of the turmoil, I did get some pictures to remember our day by, thank god. I sometimes wonder where my GoPro is now. Is it buried in the silt at the bottom of that river in Thailand? Will it wash up on a beach somewhere one day? Who knows. There’s a serious moral to take from this story though. You might think it won’t happen to you…I did. But it did happen to me, and I’m still salty about it. So please, for the love of GoPros everywhere, keep your babies safe!

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