Trip Report : Sunday 6th of November, Long Distance Swim in Mae Ngat Reservoir
This is not really a hike report although I feel this was a trip in the same spirit as the CM hikers – getting out into nature and getting some endorphins flowing through the blood veins in natural surroundings .
Had a very pleasant change of pace today. Rather than the usual hike on a Sunday I thought I would go out to Mae Ngat Reservoir in Mae Taeng and have a swim. I have been doing a lot of swimming while I have been away in Hua Hin partly because I want to build up the strength in the legs of my labrador who has had a lot of breed related joint problems and partly because I love swimming. I have been taking my labrador Buddy who loves the water swimming with me and he happily swims by my side for long distances. We were swimming up and down the coast in Hua Hin for round trip distances of around 3 km.
Today we went a bit further. We swam from the place where the boats leave the dam right out to the Eakachai Boat House Restaurant. Meanwhile Athit and my girlfriend Aunda rode the boat out to meet us out there. We swam a healthy 6 km in around 2 hours 15 minutes. As you can see in the picture I have a wet suit and I was quite glad of it being in the water for so long, I was quite cold by the time I got out. I also had diving fins on and webbed swimming gloves. I took the swim real slow alternating between back stroke, breast stroke and the crawl when I was feeling energetic. I can go on swimming in this way for ages. It was a lovely swim. The water was cool and seems very very clean and on the swim you are surrounded my forest. It is a very peaceful beautiful lake. I was passed by quite a few long tailed boats which passed taking passengers out to the boat houses on the lake. It was fun to wave at people as they went past. There was a big wow factor it seemed for many Thai’s especially who do not tend to be good swimmers, to see someone swimming so far and swimming with his dog too! It was fun. Then the boats would pass and it would be peaceful and quiet again.
I did get cramp in one of my legs during the swim. I think this is inevitable swimming in cold water for so long. But the cramp soon passed after a couple of minutes. I recently saw a Thai horror film where the ghost that was central to the story went swimming and in a pool at his school surrounded by his friends and drowned because he got cramp in his legs. I cannot really understand how you can drown through having cramp. If you relax and let yourself float in the water if necessary it soon passes.
When I eventually got to the house boat, my girlfriend had had a very nice fish lunch. They have rewritten the menu at Eakachai which is the furthest and I think the nicest house boat and now even have a vegetarian section on the menu. The house boats out there have there own private sitting areas and there are basic rooms you can stay in for the night there. It is a very pleasant place to spend a few hours hanging out, reading, swimming, platforms to dive off, they even have kayaks to rent and I believe that it is possible to kayak to shore and go and hike up to a bat cave but I have not done that.
We did not stay too long on the house boats there. After having eaten and relaxed for a while we got the ferry back. I couldn’t have managed swimming back although I think Buddy might have been able to do it. He was still full of beans after his swim.
It took us less than an hour to drive out there and the same to drive back. The ferry is 500 B baht both ways, for a group no matter what the size which is a bit pricey. But food and drinks on the house boat are quite reasonable and there is no further charge for hanging out on the house boat.
I think I will do this regularly, I am thinking every week, it is a great work out. If someone other very strong swimmer is interested in joining me for this challenging swim, let me (Jamie) know either through the web site or when we meet on a hike. Next time I think I will be going during the week when I expect there will be a lot less traffic on the lake. I guess I should just say that I would not recommend doing this for any one but a very strong swimmer. For several kilometers there is no one there at all to help you if you get in trouble, you cannot rely on a boat coming by and helping you out.
GPS Coordinates of Mae Ngat Dam
If you fancy going out to Mae Ngat Reservoir the GPS coordinates of the place you can park your car and get a ferry out to the house boats are :
N19 10.451 E99 01.902 (DD MM.MM ie. degrees and decimal minutes)