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SELF PADDLE TRIPS

TARUTAO CIRCUMNAVIGATION (6D/5N)

Book Now5+ guets B45,000
4 guests B49,500
3 guests B60,000
2 guests B75,000
Private charter (1 guests) B150,000

Highly Seasonal: December - April is calm
May - November
is for experienced open-ocean water people only.

From our start on North Shore Moloka'i in 1983, "Turtle trip" kayaking is our true love. Pack everything into your kayak, motivate yourself down an exotic coast with paddle power only, and access island interiors from beaches accessible only by kayak (or boat). Our 1980's Moloka'i and Na Pali Hawai'i trips became legends with this format - Tarutao doesn't have 1,000-meter cliffs, but the island features far more wildlife and dramatic caves than anything in Hawai'i. .

This Tarutao circumnavigation is for general adventures and sea kayakers in reasonable fitness. You can paddle around the island faster, but our "Natural History by Sea Kayaking format includes paddles and treks into Tarutao's interior you won't get any other way. A longtail boat is included for logistical support and safety back-up but is never seen or heard while you paddle.

We first explored Tarutao in 1989 and started operations in 1991. Tarutao's best locations are all tidal, so each trip is custom planned according to the tides and the seasons. We won't know your actual program until you book, but on a six-day schedule we can always access Pante Malacca mangrove estuary. Honeycomb Hong may not be accessible May-November.

When the hongs are accessible, we use Sotar Elites in these complicated tidal sea caves. Our "Secret Cave" in extremely dangerous on all but the most carefully selected tides. Even then, we access it only with reliably maintained new Sotar Elite caving kayaks. Only John's Gray's SeaCanoe has the original exploration knowledge and experience to access with responsible safety. Safe entries are possible only a few days each month, so be sure to check with us when you book.

With a total of 40 years experience, this is the only team with the experience, tidal sea cave understanding and qualified judgment to perform this traverse with guaranteed safety and responsibility.

Designed to insulate you from the cold, decked kayaks make sense in Arctic climates. However, local conditions rule, so Sit-On-Tops are the traditional tropical paddle craft. Unfortunately, outrigger canoes are difficult, uncomfortable and impossible to squeeze into a sea cave or airplane, so I soon discovered the advantages of paddling Pro-quality inflatable kayaks downwind on a trade wind coastline with surf-exposed rock beaches.

To circumnavigate Tarutao, Ocean Kayak Scupper Pros (singles) or Cabos become an extension of the sea, allowing spontaneous swimming, snorkeling and photography. We design each trip to account for seasonal weather, tides and local conditions, so we don't promise exact itineraries, but you will enjoy most of the following activities in your 6-day/5-night Tarutao circumnavigation.

"Secret Cave"/Mangroves - Depending upon the tides, on one day we paddle from Park HQ or take a longtail deep into the Pante Malacca estuary thick with 10 meter mangroves. We see Bramany kites, kingfishers, water monitors and crab-eating macaques while paddling silently through these forests of the sea. When tides are right - only a few days a month - our 13 years experience and Sotar Elite caving kayaks allow the only safe traverses through the cave. Try to plan your trip for these days.

Honeycomb Hong - Honeycomb Hong can be entered safely only from November-May. Once inside, the tall but narrow catacombs extend through many different tidal dependent rock channels and caves. One cave actually makes a hairpin U-turn with a conveniently located window so you can watch your friends paddling back the other way.

Prison - When we first saw the prison, it was rusty metal rubbish scattered through the jungle. Today there's a footpath with reconstructed buildings so antiseptic they can never convey the horrors of this island hell. It still makes an interesting story - and the drive (or trek) across Tarutao's highlands is spectacular.

From May-November, we land near the Prison.

Klong Son/Survivor Site - Klong Son is a multi-fingered mangrove estuary that's appropriate for paddlecraft only. Motors scare away the wildlife, but from kayaks, we've seen mouse deer, crab-eating macaques, otters and wild pigs that never saw us, as many as a dozen reticulated pythons in one day, fish owls and white belly sea eagles. Fresh water streams behind the mangroves host an entirely different ecosystem including hornbills, dusky Langurs and more wild pigs.

Jungle hikes - We do at least one short jungle exploratory trek each day with starting points accessible from remote beaches. Most are straight up streambeds on the East Coast but some high season treks are on the West Coast. All are packed with wildlife and thick primary growth evergreen forest, often standing 20 meters or more. When we move quietly, we often surprise a wide variety of reptiles, birds and mammals.

5/nts beach camping - For 19 years, we've built our reputation on first-class meal plans and beach camping in an expedition setting. We include waterproof-tested top quality spacious 3-season tents with a heavy-duty 6" double size air mat with built-in pillows and sleeping sheet designed for hot tropical nights. Our "Best Ever" meal plan prepared fresh in camp is famous for two decades, including fresh brewed coffee and gourmet teas. We often buy seafood directly from local fishermen, and you are supported by a longtail boat bringing in fresh food and ice.

TARUTAO (6D/5N) ESCORT BOAT EXPEDITION route map

HIGH SEASON 6-DAY SAMPLE ITINERARY ONLY - each trip is custom designed.

DAY ONE

9000 Meet at Pak Bara pier and depart for Pak Bara in our longtail escort boat.
90 minute run to Pante Malacca Park HQ (Nov - May) or Talo Wow (May - Nov).
1030 Arrive at training beach for basic kayak training
1200 Picnic lunch
1300 Pante Malacca mangrove estuary
1700 Paddle from estuary to beach campsite
1800 Arrive at campsite and make camp. Hot dinner and beach stories.

DAY TWO

0700 Hot breakfast w/ fresh brewed coffee and gourmet teas. Break camp and load kayaks
0900 Morning paddle and Jungle trek
1200 Field lunch
1300 Return to Kayaks and continue paddle
1500 Beach break
1530 Continue paddle
1700 Arrive East Coast campsite and make camp. Hot dinner and beach stories.

DAY THREE

  Hot breakfast w/ fresh brewed coffee and gourmet teas
Break camp and load kayaks
0900 Morning paddle
1000 Prison visit
1200 Field lunch
1300 Return to Kayaks and continue paddle
1500 Beach break
1530 Continue paddle
1700 Arrive South Point campsite and make camp. Hot Dinner and beach stories

DAY FOUR

  Hot breakfast w/ fresh brewed coffee and gourmet teas
Break camp and load kayaks
0800 Morning paddle
1000 Jungle river trek
1200 Field lunch
1300 Return to Kayaks and continue paddle
1500 Beach break
1530 Continue paddle
1700 Arrive campsite and make camp. Hot Dinner and beach stories.

DAY FIVE

  Hot breakfast w/ fresh brewed coffee and gourmet teas
Break camp and load kayaks
0800 Morning paddle into mangrove estuary
1200 Field lunch at fresh waterfall stream in evergreen forest
1400 Return to Kayaks and paddle through mangroves to open sea
1530 Beach break
1600 Continue paddle
1700 Arrive campsite and make camp. Hot Dinner and beach stories.

DAY SIX

  Hot breakfast w/ fresh brewed coffee and gourmet teas
Break camp and load kayaks
0800 Morning paddle to Park HQ
1000 Beach break
1030 Fast longtail boat pick-up for Koh Yai
1200 Field lunch
1300 Koh Yai rock garden paddle inc triple-entry hong
1530 Return to Pak Bara
1600 Arrive Pak Bara pier. End of JGSC service.



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©2005 John Gray Sea Canoe Co., Ltd. All rights reserved.
124 Soi 1 Yaowarat Rd., Taladyai, Muang, Phuket 83000, Thailand
Tel. (66-76) 254505-7 | Fax: (66-76) 226077
E-mail: info@johngrayseacanoevietnam.com