Swim Or Die

03 Dec 2006

Erawan Falls

Poised on a submerged rock, I consider the lunge that will take me through the falls and up onto a ledge behind them.

I know I can make it. The moment is almost primal - it's just me, the waterfall, and a small fish, which bites me.

I jump backwards with a yelp and bang my foot on the rock. This triggers Lyn's water-rescue training, and she's towing me rapidly towards the bank before either of us realise that I'm not actually injured.

It's the same story at the other falls - seven in all. At each bank lurk dozens of fish from finger-sized to forearm-sized. The moment we step into the water they charge us. If we stop moving, they latch on in greater and greater numbers. The effect isn't particularly painful, but it is creepy. Only constant movement drives them away. I try wearing my shoes, but after a tense minute, one of the smaller fish targets my ankles.

Eventually we give up on swimming and hike back to the entrance for lunch. I order seafood.