Kratie, dolphins and remembering I’m a horrible kayaker


A little hungover and covered in City dust I left Pnomh Penh to head to Kratie, in a search for the endangered and odd Irrawaddy dolphin. I arrived late at night and got settled into the clean, friendly but with incredibly uncomfortable dorm beds, Star guesthouse. ($2 a night)
The next day with Canadian Natalie I headed off on a kayaking trip along the Mekong river to try and see these dolphins which Kratie has become famous for. They’re really cute little snub nosed dolphins, my pictures of the kayaking are pretty useless so I’ve stolen one from Google so you can see these weird creature.


The kayaking was good, but I’d forgotten how hideous I am at kayaking or indeed anything involving sports or co ordination. The trip across the river against the current had me cursing my laziness and excesses of food and drink. My arms were on fire. I’m really not cut out for this whole adventure fitness thing.
Finally though we got to the sandbank where we could sit and watch the dolphins playing in the river. There are supposedly less than seventy Irrawaddy dolphins left in this stretch of the Mekong but apparently they are confident little things that haven’t yet accepted the perils of coming near humans, one of the reasons that there numbers are so low. We sat and watched them for a while and then wandered up into the village just behind the river.
We were followed by a gang of kids from the village who loved to shout hello and hear us answer back. After a while it seemed less adorable, making me feel less like a visitor who they were trying to chat to and more like a funny parrot that can answer back.
They were incredibly cute though and funny, climbing up on our kayaks and turning somersaults in the river to get us to watch.

We headed back to town, drunk in the sight of the Mekong sunset and a selection of cocktails.

I was incredibly disappointed this morning to see that all that hard kayaking work hadn’t paid off in giving me arms like Kate Moss.


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