|The unpromising entrance to the sea cave|
The longtail boat chugged across a gentle seascape that glistened fabulously in hazy tropical sunshine. There were only six pssengers on board and we had already made two snorkelling stops at looming limestone karst islets. Ahead of us lay the larger island of Koh Mook. We could see a couple of other boats anchored near steep limestone cliffs. Perhaps this was The Emerald Cave I had noticed in the itinerary leaflet.
So I would be swimming into a sea cave. It looked rather dangerous to me and I imagined my skull cracking on the sea cave's roof as the swell lifted us up. We donned fluorescent lifejackets and dived in. One of our longtail sailors guided us into the cave with a torch held aloft. We swam into inky shadows where all you could see was the torchlight bobbing and then I realised there was daylight ahead.
We swam round the corner to see the dark frame of the inner cave entrance opening up to reveal a most secret and gorgeous white beach. The sun was directly overhead like a theatrical spotlight and it was as if we had reached the bottom of a crater. There were hundred foot cliffs all around us swathed in tropical greenery. The only way in here was through the sea cave - a hundred metre swim.
So this was what Morakot (Emerald) Cave was all about. Not so much the cave but the little piece of Eden you met on the other side. There was a balance to the vegetation. Each tree, each shrub had earned its niche over thousands of years and they met together in a windless equilibrium, safe from storms, entertained by sweet birdsong. Here, legend says, pirates once holed up. I can believe it. Such a secret and magical place. I just wish I'd had my camera with me to record this masterpiece from Mother Nature.
|The secret beach at Morakot, Koh Mook|