Wabi-Sabi Sole

Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Sea Cave

Beautiful Day

Today was beautiful. It warranted a get out and go attitude. I decided to venture over to Enoshima Island. I’ve been a couple times, both with Dave and Dina. It provides a spectacular vantage point for viewing Mt. Fuji (on a clear day). I knew today would be a great day for a trip to Enoshima because I snapped this picture earlier in the morning from Zushi Beach while enjoying a U.S. phone conversation with my girl, Jules. Enoshima Island is the island slightly off center and in front of Mt. Fuji. 

One part of the island I haven’t had the opportunity to explore are the rocks and sea cave. It is some what of a trek out to the island. It requires three trains and a good bit of walking. Here was my route. 

As I walked across the bridge to the island, I was giddy seeing Mt. Fuji with a snow cap. Signs of cooler weather! 

I decided to walk the stairs on the island vice taking the pay escalators. I figured the steps would do my rainy day lazy legs a favor! I was huffing and puffing by the time I reached the top. But, that view! 

Before descending down the other side to the sea cave, I decided to stop for a quick visit at the Sea Candle. I love the gardens and the Sea Candle and I knew the view would be amazing. I purchased my ¥500 ticket from the machine like a boss and entered the garden. I was greeted by thousands of unlit luminaries. 

I saw the flier with relevant information and have already made plans to return next week in the evening to see them illuminated! I think it will be so enchanting. 

As I approached the Sea Candle entrance, an advertisement for the caves caught my attention. I looked it over and then proceeded to the ticket taker at the entrance. He nicely informed me the sea caves were closed. Oh? Hai! Because typhoon caused damage. Oh! Arigatōgozaimas! I was so thankful he told me before I walked down the other side of the mountain! He also told me he wasn’t sure when it would reopen. 

The views of Mt. Fuji from the Sea Candle were as beautiful as I hoped! 

I walked around and enjoyed the 360 degree view of Shonan Beach. The bridge pictured is the one I walked over to access the island. 

As I was returning to the elevator to go back down, I observed a man taking the stairs. I decided to follow and ignore the sign written in Japanese. Again with the great views! 

The spiral staircase took me down to the Terrace level. As I came to the end of the staircase, I realized my error. Don’t tell anyone, but I don’t think I was supposed to use the stairs. 

Oops – a – daisy! Let’s just keep this between us, shall we? But, just so we are clear, I paid for an entry ticket to the garden and Sea Candle! 

One last view from the Terrace. 

And from the bridge as I walked back to the train station. 

On my way back home, I stopped and did a little shopping. Both in the Shonan Beach area and then in Kamakura. It was just such a beautiful day! 

Sea Canoe Excursion

The second excursion of our trip was to visit the sea caves of Phang Nga Bay. For this trip we booked with John Gray’s Sea Canoe. John Gray first discovered the sea caves of Phang Nga Bay in 1989. Phang Nga Bay is located north east of Phuket. Again, a round trip transfer was included in our tour. We were picked up from our hotel around 11:30 and arrived at the marina about an hour later. Once we boarded the boat and got underway, we enjoyed a Thai style lunch. It was delicious. The views from the boat to our first kayak spot were amazing. It was a nice change to be on a larger boat. More of a peaceful transit. 

Shortly after lunch, we were introduced to our professional guide who paddled us through Phang Nga Bay’s “Tidal Nape Sea Caves” in a custom designed sea kayak. The “Tidal Nape Sea Caves or Hongs” are literally inside Phang Nga Bay’s marine limestone karstic islands. (Hong is the Thai word for room) Our guide’s name was Friend. He spoke very good English, was an excellent paddler and shared with us so much information about the area we were exploring. Here are a few pictures from our first kayak excursion. The cave was small with only one way to enter and exit.

After the first cave and hong, we went back to the main boat where we were given a snack and a little free time before preparing to go back onto the kayak for our second trip. The second trip was even more breathtaking. The hong was very large and the tide was low. This gave us the opportunity to get out of the kayak and walk around.

Friend took us out the other side of the hong and we were able to have more beautiful views and up close shots of “bowling pin” island and “elephant rock.”

We returned to the boat and enjoyed dinner and more free time. 


After dinner, Friend helped us make a “Krathong.” A Krathong is loosely translated to mean “to float a basket.” Our Krathong was made of a banana plant stem as the base and folded banana leaves as decorative accents. We also added orchids and a chrysanthemum. While Dave and I folded the banana leaves, Friend made two birds out of unopened orchid flowers. The Krathong is also decorated with candles and incense. The Krathong represents so many meanings, to keep it short, I’m going with prosperity, happiness and luck.

As the sun was setting, we returned to our kayaks and went into the “bat cave.” Appropriately named because there were many bats hanging from the ceiling. The tide was already rising when we entered the cave and we had to duck at the entrance. We made our way into the hong where we had a just a small bit of light left in the sky. We brought with us our Krathong to float in the water.

Friend lit the candles then Dave and I made a wish as we placed it floating on the water. We watched the Krathong float and eventually the candles extinguished. It was beautiful and a very spiritual moment.

On our way out, Friend took us to one of the darkest spots in the cave. Here he instructed us to move our hands through the water. We were able to see dinoflagellates (bio-luminescent plankton). It was beyond cool. To make the experience even better, Friend hopped out of the kayak and filled his shirt with water making it even easier to see the bio-luminescent plankton. It was another science teacher’s dream come true. I have taught about dinoflagellates for years. It was pretty cool to actually be able to see and experience them myself and with Dave.

The tide was coming in while were were inside the cave. Leaving the cave, Dave and I had to lay all the way down to make it through the exit. At this point we were so glad to have Friend paddling for us. He was definitely an expert. The caves were dark and only his headlamp lit the way. We saw two other people in kayaks (not part of our group) who were struggling to paddle against the current. Other members of our group provided a towline and helped the out of the cave. It would be scary to be stuck in the dark bat cave for six hours until the tide receded!

We returned to the boat and then to the marina. This tour was significantly different than the first one. Leaving later in the day meant there were a lot less crowds. Also, using a larger and slower boat to go to the islands was more peaceful. Exploring around on the kayak was definitely more peaceful than the speedboat. Both tours were unforgettable and a highlight to our vacation.


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