Tuesday, March 30, 2010

WEEK 7: 20 March - 27 March -Ko Phanak to Yacht Haven Marina (anchored off)

DAY 43 - Saturday 20 March - Ko Phanak
Trepidation at the thought of going through a 200m pitch black tunnel with bats. We have to wait for the tide to rise to get in - will it be deep enough all the way through or will we rip the bottom out of our soft bottomed dinghy!! We went in about 11am with some tourists in kayaks The tunnel went in about 20m and turned right and it was pitch dark - thank goodness the kayaks all had lights as it is hard to row and shine the torch at the same time. After another 20m the tunnel turned left - still pitch dark. About another 60m further on we could see some lovely green muted light and as we got closer the ceiling started coming down and when we got up there we were very disappointed to find that the gap wasn't high enough for us to fit through. Thought of swimming through (for about 3 seconds!!) but the water was very murky. We went out with the kayakers. Cilantro and Kristie 1 turned up about an hour later so we organised to go in when the tide has dropped a bit. Its really a catch 22 with this place as at low tide there are big rocks all round the entrance and at high tide you cant get through. We tried again after 3pm - we went in our dinghy and the other four went in the other dinghy. We led the way having a vague idea now which way it went. It is sooooo dark. Got up to the hong but we still couldn't get through. We figured if we waited there for 20mins to half an hour we might have managed it but some of the party weren't keen to stay so out we went. Drifted out with the tide so we had time to use the torch and see the stalagmites and bats on the roof. You so need a kayak to get into these places, Jean and David where are you!!! We went in about 6pm to see the cave at really low tide - it had dropped about 3 metres. There were rocks and mudbanks in the tunnel. Had a walk around and went back to the boat.
DAY 44 - Sunday 21 March - Ko Phanak - Ko Hong, Phanang Bay
08°13.601N 098°30.112E
We upanchored on a fairly high tide around noon. Lots of tour boats were coming in so it was a good time to leave. We headed to Ko Hong and went around to an anchorage between three islands. Beautiful. Got in our dinghy and went to look around. It was a beautiful little bay with a cave/hong you could paddle through and come out the other side where Kristie and Cilantro were anchored. Went in again in another entrance then followed the kayaks into a little tunnel which led to a hong but once again we couldn't get through. Went out and paddled around looking at all the stalagmites and overhangs. We went back to the boat and blew up the lilo thinking we may be able to float through the hong on that. We settled in enjoying the view. The park rangers charged us 400 baht (about $14) to stay. Blew the other lilo up and slept on the deck as it was so hot.
Miles: 3 Total: 5,852
DAY 45 - Monday 22 March - Ko Hong to Koh Daeng Yai (near James Bond Island)
Happy Birthday Jean
08°16.597N 098°29.051E
We were going to take the lilo into the tunnel to get through to the hong but couldn't be bothered. Upanchored at 10am on a rising tide and motored round to an island just across from Koh Phing Kan (James Bond Island - the man with the golden gun). The bay is quite shallow but we had good depths and we anchored in 7.5m. At 1pm Kristie and we took the dinghies over to the island and as soon as we landed on the beach the ranger came down to collect our 400 baht! We took the dinghies around to a little beach which was covered in souvenir stalls and heaps and heaps of tourists and the noise of the longtail boats on the other side of the small beach. Another ranger came to check we had our ticket. We motored around the rest of the island and another couple of islands. We had a late swim on a very small beach near our boats and then returned there for sundowners. Because the bay is so shallow the water is quite murky.
Miles: 3 Total: 5,855
DAY 46 - Tuesday 23 March - Koh Daeng Yai to Koh Pan Yi
08°20.438N 098°30.319E
We left at 11am to catch the rising tide to go up to a village built on stilts up the river. The waters are very shallow all around here. We tried to cross in one place but then the water went down to .5m under the keel we prudently turned back and went a bit further down to get across. We followed the channel with enough water and arrived at the village around 1pm. We anchored opposite the village and a huge longtail quickly came out and wanted to take us on a trip up the river. The noise from the longtails was horrific. They are long boats of varying sizes with various sizes of truck engines sitting at the back with a huge shaft going out the back with a propeller on it which is how they manoeuvre. The engine has no coverings of any kind and are very noisy. Cilantro went a bit further up the river so Kristie and we joined them. We went ashore and walked through the village. It is a village built on the water on stilts with walkways all the way through it. It has a school, a mosque and a health centre and hundreds of souvenir shops and heaps of restaurants which service all the tourists on the longtails for lunch. One restaurant was open all day so we had a late lunch. One lady had a baby gibbon with a nappy on and wanted 100 baht for a photo. She shoved the gibbon into Peter's hands so we agreed 50 baht for a photo. Then another lady shoved another gibbon on Peter's shoulder while Dell took the photo. This was annoying as the little gibbon kept looking at the bigger gibbon so it took a while to get its attention for the photo. We paid the lady and then the other lady demanded 50 baht! We refused to pay that as we hadn't done a deal with her. We went back to the boats and the rangers turned up and we had to pay another 400 baht - we weren't expecting that. A couple of long thin colourful boats came past with about 16 crew rowing and counting - they seemed to be training and racing. We went back to the restaurant for dinner and I have to say it was the worst and most expensive meal we have had. So it turned out to be quite an expensive stop. To explain the fees - all this area is a National Park and it is 200 baht per person per day.
Miles: 9 Total: 5,864
DAY 47 - Wednesday 24 March - Koh Pan Yi - Yacht Haven Marina
08°10.387N 098°20.509E
Left at 9am on a low tide. We had intended to head to Krabi and Cilantro and Kristie were going to check out the Yacht Haven marina but we haven't been able to renew our internet so we are heading to Yacht Haven too. It was the hottest day we have had with not a breath of wind and we were just melting. We were very happy to get to Yacht Haven Marine at 3pm where we anchored outside the marina. We all met ashore and met Bill off Liaison who is staying in the marina. We went to the restaurant for happy hour (2 hrs) and then had dinner.
Miles: 26 Total: 5,890
DAY 48 - Thursday 25 March - anchored off Yacht Haven Marina
We met ashore at 9.30am and looked around then walked to the nearby village (Muslim) to try to sort out the internet but no go. The person there had a four month old ocelot (he told us it was a tiger) which had been found in a rubber plantation and he bought it for 3,000 baht ($100). It was pretty wild. They said when it got too big they would give it to the zoo. We walked back and tried to get a taxi but too expensive so went to the car hire place. He had a station wagon but said we wouldn't get 6 people in it and wanted to rent us 2 cars. After some negotiation we got the car for 24 hours. The backseat was about 12 inches deep. The back of it was sealed off from the car. So four of us squeezed into the back - had to get in in the same order or we didn't fit! Brian was in the front with his knees on the dash and Peter was driving and off we went aircon blasting. We went to check out Boat Lagoon marina and had lunch there, then to the shopping centre to sort out the internet. Because we hadn't renewed before the month was up we lost all the hours we had! We did some shopping which filled the back of the station wagon then drove up to the Ao Grand Po marina to check that out and then home at about 7pm - big day!
DAY 49 - Friday 26th March - anchored off Yacht Haven Marina
Today was fuel and water day. When we realised we could get the fuel 600 baht cheaper from the petrol station Cilantro and we put our jerry cans in the back of the station wagon and drove to the petrol station. Manoeuvred it all back to the boat and then went to get our water and return the car and we were all done by 12 so we went to the little cafe for lunch. Kristie took his boat into the dock at low tide and got fuel and water from the fuel boat. We went ashore at 5.30 and had a shower then met the others at the restaurant for happy hour and a meal. We could see lots of lightning around then it got really windy and a palm frond landed just next to us. We paid and Kristie and we hurried back to our boats. The calm water suddenly had huge waves on it and we got soaked getting back - exhilarating. We took down the shade cloth and Peter put out another 20m of chain. We thought we had dragged but were still the same distance from all the other boats but were a lot further back than the marina boats. We concluded that all the boats couldn't have dragged so therefore we mustn't have either!! However a boat had dragged near Kristie so they upanchored and moved out the back. Cilantro came back a little bit later when the seas had calmed and the wind dropped. We are approaching the transition period between NE & SW monsoons so it was a little lesson for us when we leave the boat to prepare it for the worst weather!!
Debbie's birthday tomorrow - so sorry we cant be there with you - miss you. We are currently in a beautiful place but the internet is intermittent and slow so will upload some photos hopefully later in the week.
Love and Cheers
Fair winds and calm seas
Dell and Peter
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

WEEK 6: 13 March - 19 March -Patong Beach to Ko Phanak

DAY 36 - Saturday 13 March - Patong Beach to Nai Harn Bay
We left Patong around 10.30 and sailed to Nai Harn Bay and anchored very close to where we had been previously. There are not as many yachts in this time. Its quite windy. Had a quiet day on the boat.

DAY 37 - Sunday 14 March - Nai Harn Bay - Happy Birthday Brian!!!
Kristie and Cilantro went to shore then called us up to tell us they had tracked down some drinking water. So we went to shore and ordered 8x 20 Litre bottles of water and when it came we lugged it down the beach to the dinghy and put four in - the surf was breaking so it was quite a feat to get the dinghy out. Peter came back to get the other four - was watching the surf and thought the waves were coming in sets of six. Peter came back in and we returned the bottles and recovered our deposit and we sat having a beer on the beach. Chris, James, Dell and Peter were joined by Judy and Mandolin Wind who had been for a massage. Sandra was expecting James back for lunch but he decided the surf was too dangerous and had a couple more beers!!! Chris said the waves were coming in sets of 7 which appeared to be correct so we managed to get back to the boat ok. We all met ashore at 6pm and went out to dinner - the little restaurants are all together just above the beach - each restaurant has different tables and chairs so you can tell where one ends and the other starts - no walls. It was dark when we went to come back so we couldn't see the waves. Kristie copped two big ones over the top and Margaret got soaked. Our dinghy got knocked sideways and took my feet out from under me and I was left sprawling across the top of the dinghy!! Eventually got back - bit battered but ok!
Miles: 11 Total: 5,818

DAY 38 - Monday 15 March - Nai Harn Bay - Debbie flies to Bangkok for a photography job!
Judy and Chris off Braveheart left to head back to Malaysia to get another visa. We went to shore around lunchtime and ran into Geoff and May (the Scottish Embassy) off Wavesweeper - was so lovely to see them again. They are anchored a bit further out than us. We met Bill and Jean off a cataraman called Out of the Box and they were just having a new dinghy delivered. We were very interested in it. It is a RIB but only weights 31kg so it is manageable. When we need a new one we will get one the same. Dell bought another pair of swimmers and bargained quite well this time and then we met Cilantro for lunch. We were watching Kristie come in and they got hit by a wave and Margaret's legs went up in the air and she disappeared into the dinghy! That evening we had sundowners on Kristie with Cilantro, Wavesweeper and Out of the Box. Was a pleasant evening then we ate on board - didn't want to brave the surf again!

DAY 39 - Tuesday 16 March - Nai Harn Bay
Very windy. Put fuel from the jerries into the boat. Had a boat day as we didn't want to brave the waves. Cilantro and Kristie went in but when it came time to come back out they wished they hadn't. That evening we all went with Wavesweeper to a rocky little bay near where they are anchored and went out to dinner with some friends of theirs who are thinking of doing the rally. There wasn't much of a breeze so it was hot but there was no surf and the meals were lovely and cheap - no complaints!

DAY 40 - Wednesday 17 March - Nai Harn Bay - Pan Wa Bali, Ao Chalon Bay
07°48.853N 98°22.885E
We left at 7.30 meaning to stop at two places on the way to Ao Labu but when we came round the point it was really blowing and it was really quite rough so Kristie and Cilantro headed into Ao Chalon Bay but we kept going around Koh Lon Island. It wasn't too bad but we decided to go in and anchor with Kristie and Cilantro at Pan Wa Bali on the eastern side of Ao Chalon Bay. We dropped anchor at 9.30am three times to get it to hold in mud. We went to shore to check out the little restaurant on the beach and the man told us that at 6pm there would be no water and we wouldn't get in till 8.00 or 8.30 - then he pointed out roughly where there was a channel. We went for a walk and had a look around and bought some eggs (turned out to be very old!!). Went back to the boat about 2 and watched the tide drop and amazingly by 4.30pm the entire beach was rock and coral with no way across EXCEPT the channel. There was a channel which had been roughly smoothed out between the rocks so it was fairly sandy and just wide enough to drag a dinghy. We went in at 5pm and got out at the start of the rocks, put the wheels down and dragged the dinghy about 100m to the beach and went to the restaurant and had a beer. James and Sandra decided to have a go too so they came in but their dinghy is much heavier than ours so all evening as the tide was rising James went down to float it a bit higher till it too was on the beach. The food was very cheap and quite good and it was a wonderful atmosphere sitting at tables on the beach. By the time we went back the tide was high enough for us to float the dinghies and motor back. A great night.
Miles: 9 Total: 5,827

DAY 41 - Thursday 18 March - Pan Wa Bali - Ao Labu Bay, Koh Yao Yai
08°01.633N 098°33.782E
We left at 9am and came around the point and it was still windy and quite rough so we headed across towards the island of Ko Yao Yai. The water settled a bit the further we got away from Phuket Island till finally it was beautiful and we were able to get the headsail out and motor sail. Went past a huge rock island with a few huts precariously perched on it. You can go quite close to them as the water round them is deep. Passed quite a few places we would like to do day stops at but it was a little windy for that today. Plenty of places to go back to. Kristie headed to the south of the bay as did Cilantro but we elected to anchor in the north of the bay. It was a bit boisterous at first but settled through the night. We went ashore about 5pm. The tide was almost right out and the water was about 200m from the beach. Left the dinghy there and walked along the beach and then came back to the boat.
Miles: 19 Total: 5,846

DAY 42 - Friday 19 March - Ao Labu Bay - Ko Phanak
08°11.348N 098°29.191E
The wind was just coming in spurts but the sea was very flat. We left at 11am without Kristie and Cilanto - sad. Motor sailed to the really exciting looking island we saw yesterday. We can see all the karsts and rock islands coming out of the sea and it looks magnificent - this is what we imagined Thailand to be like. We arrived at 2pm and motored along the edge of the huge limestone cliffs and came back and anchored in the middle of the western side of the island near the entrance to the hong cave. Apparently hong means room - there is generally a cave entering into the middle of the island with walls all the way around and no roof. We watched a couple of kayaks go in the cave and then jumped in our dinghy and went up the side of the island under huge stalagmites and the little monkeys were on the beach and a monitor lizard went up the cliff beside us and the cliffs are amazing - red in the sunlight. We went further up and turned the corner into the most gobsmackingly amazing semi hong - like a lost city - pulled into a little beach - birds, eagles - came back and as it was low tide we were able to row into a little cave which came out into a total hong with monkeys in. There was another cave on the other side - could we go up it too!! Dont want to wait too long as the tide is dropping. Relent and leave. Come back to the boat. Sat and looked at the view - amazing rock islands rising from the ocean in front of us. God is in his heaven and all is well. Birds calling from the island. Small fishing boat in front of us. SY Contessa near us and we are speechless to describe the scene. So beautiful you could cry. This is what it is supposed to be like. Sun setting amazing. It makes you glad to be alive!!
Miles: 3 Total: 5,849

DAY 43 - Saturday 20 - Ko Phanak
Trepidation at the thought of going through a 200m pitch black tunnel with bats. Just thought I would leave you with that to keep your interest for the blog next week!!!

Love and Cheers
Fair winds and calm seas

Dell and Peter

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

WEEK 5: 6 March - 12 March - Koh Miang, Similans to Patong Beach

DAY 29 - Saturday 6 March - Koh Miang, Similans
Met ashore at 10am and headed up the 350m adventure walk to the lookout. It turned out to be quite an adventure trail with ropes in places with which to pull yourself up (like absailing in places) then through a cleft between two boulders, more ropes and a ladder but it was worth it. The view was amazing. Had a swim at the little beach and snorkelled back to our boat. Actually saw some beautiful coral. A lot of the coral has been damaged - possibly anchor chains but it is a National Park now so no anchoring and much to Peter's chagrin - no fishing! At 5pm we went to shore and walked to the Sunset View. This is on the other side of the island past all the little tents and up another trail. Not as bad as this morning. Came out on a rocky ledge with no apparent access to the beach. We were soon joined by lots of other people and watched the sun set. Then it was a fast walk back to the dinghies before it got too dark.

DAY 30 - Sunday 7 March - Koh Miang, Similans
Took the dinghy across to the other side of the bay and had a snorkel but it wasn't that good so came back and snorkelled back to our boat. The fish are amazing - so colourful and every time we go in we see a type of fish we haven't seen before. Also saw a moray eel and Dell was quickly into the dinghy but ventured back in after a while. Dell went to get in the water from the dinghy and got the leg of her swimmers caught on a knob on the dinghy and was hanging upside down from till Peter came round to rescue her!!! We have discovered a shower ashore so had a shower and then had sundowners on the beach with Single Malt, Kristie 1, Cilantro and Jacana II.

DAY 31 - Monday 8 March - Koh Miang, Similans
Had a quiet day reading and Peter made some bread. Dell had a snorkel off the back of the boat around 4pm and saw the biggest fish ever - blue with black spots. Quiet night watching all the lights from the scuba divers make their way along the island. Its quite spooky seeing scuba divers below you when you are snorkelling!

DAY 32 - Tuesday 9 March - Koh Mian, Similans
Snorkelled to the beach then walked across the island to another little beach which wasn't very interesting. Tried to get back across the rocks but couldn't get down so we walked back the way we came and snorkelled back to our boat. At 4.30 we snorkelled to the beach (saw a big eel in the rocks), showered and had sundowners on the beach. Jacana II had left in the morning.

DAY 33 - Wednesday 10 March - Koh Miang, Similans
Having trouble leaving. Dell suffering a bit from too much exercise - very tired so had an easy day.

DAY 34 - Thursday 11 March - Koh Miang to Ao Bang Thao
08°01.650N 098°17.116E
Awoke at around 4.30am with the boat bouncing up and down and a strong wind from the South East - not good! Single Malt left at 4.30am and Cilantro left at 6.10 followed by Kristie at 6.20. One of the moorings close to the beach with a tourist boat on it broke the mooring and headed for the beach - they just managed to get off in time. We got away at 6.30 with the wind on the nose and punching into 2m seas all the way and at times we were only doing 2.5knots. The wind shifted direction to NW (good angle) about 2.30 so we were able to make some time up - got in at 5.20pm - an 11 hour day!! We handsteered the entire way as we didn't want to risk the autopilot. Just after we anchored and Cilantro got in it poured rain so we showered in the rain and Peter put up the rain catcher and we got a couple of jerries of water. A lovely peaceful night.

Miles: 54 Total: 5,797
DAY 35 - Friday 12 March - Ao Bang Thao to Patong Beach
We left at 9am heading for Patong to do some shopping. Nice bit of breeze heading under headsail. Arrived at 11am and headed to shore to the wet market and bought heaps of lovely fruit and vegetables and then to the supermarket. Staggered back fully laden to the boat and sat and watched the mad jetskiers speeding about suffering the roll as they speed past the yachts as close as they can to have a look. There always seems to be one bully who tries to play dodgems with the others. Can't imagine how many people must get hurt doing this. At 6pm Braveheart, Cilantro, Kristie and we converged on the shore and went out to dinner and then to our favourite bar where we all played the hit the nail in the wood with the pick handle. Was an ok night but not as much fun as last week!!
Miles: 10 Total: 5,807

Just a follow up on the leaving the beach last week with the engine roaring in the surf. It seems that James was loath to put the engine into gear until Peter got in the dinghy and Peter didn't want to get in till the dinghy was moving so it was a case of too many skippers!!!

Still trying to organise our year - will let you know when we get it sorted!!

Love and Cheers
Fair winds and calm seas

Dell and Peter

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Saturday, March 6, 2010

WEEK 4: 27 February - 5 March - Kata Beach to Koh Miang, Similan Islands

DAY 22 - Saturday 27 February - Kata Beach - Patong Beach
07°53.678N 98°17.344E
Left at 9am and motored to Patong Beach to do a shop to go to the Similan Islands arriving at 11am. Patong Beach is a long beach, once again covered with lounge chairs and beach umbrellas. There are jet skis roaring around the boat. It is very busy with tourists everywhere. Headed to shore to go shopping when a jet ski headed directly at us and turned sideways about 5ft from our side so we had a wall of water go over us - we were soaked and the dinghy full of water and the guy was laughing. The jet ski operators came out and got him to shore and got him out of there so by the time we got in so Peter could "have a discussion with him" he was gone (which was maybe just as well). We honestly felt as though we had been assaulted and were a bit traumatised. It was a dumb tourist not the Thai people but left a really sour taste in our mouths. We went to the wet market and got heaps of great fruit and vegies but couldn't face the supermarket and didn't need much anyway so went back to the boat. About 5 minutes later the parasail boat came out to us to return my handbag which I had left sitting on one of the dinghies on the beach. I hadn't even missed it and it had my glasses and quite a bit of money in it. This was such a feelgood moment and restored our faith in humanity!! We gave them a small reward but when we went to shore a bit later we gave them a decent reward and they were most concerned that I was alright and the boss of the team gave me a cuddle!! (They all work in teams). We had a couple of drinks in a lovely bar and a small gay mardi gras parade went past. We met Single Malt and Cilantro for dinner and then wandered up and down - the street is closed off at night - looking at the nightlife and all the girls and lady boys. The three men had a ball and stuck their heads into a few of the clubs - couldn't keep the smiles off their faces!!! It was a really fun night and we didn't get back til around midnight.
Miles: 7 Total: 5,660

DAY 23 - Monday 28 February -Patong Beach to Ao Bang Thao
08°01.667N 98°17.094E
We went to shore at 8am as we had organised for our friends on the beach to deliver us some drinking water. True to their word there they were though they could only get their hands on 8 big bottles instead of 12 and the price went up a bit but we appreciated it. We upanchored at 10am and arrived at Ao Bang Thao at around 12.30. We headed for the middle of the bay then made our way to the north of the bay which seemed much quieter and more sheltered. There is a little creek which goes up to a lake. We went in for a swim and the tide was going out so we floated down the creek with the tide. Then we all met on the beach for sundowners and walked to the little restaurants but it seemed that they only open for lunches so it was back to the boat to cook.
Miles: 10 Total: 5,670

DAY 24 - Tuesday 1 March - Ao Bang Thao
It was such a lovely spot we decided to stay another day. I had an easy morning reading - I had fallen into a bit of a hole and Peter finally starting cleaning the stainless. About 11am James and Sandra picked us all up in their dinghy and we went up the creek exploring. We saw lots of concrete poles all over the place which were different heights and close together so it didn't look as though it had been or was going to be a building. We couldn't work it out. Found the lake and went back out the creek and over to the beach and went to the restaurant for lunch which was lovely. When it came time to head back to the boats there were some quite big waves rolling in - mostly in sets of three. So we timed it and all dived in the dinghy and I can see a wave coming and yelling hurry up and the motors roaring and Brian's saying it wont go!! Peter was out the back of the boat holding it. We got hit by about three waves and were all soaked and the boat was filled with water before Brian realised he was in neutral!!! Put it in forward and off we went - bailing. It was hilarious. Called by and said hullo to Single Malt on the way back.

DAY 25 - Tuesday 2 March - Ao Bang Thao - Ban Thap Lamu
08°34.097N 98°13.054E
Upanchored at 7am and motor sailed on calm seas arriving at 4.10pm. It was quite windy when we rounded the point to head up the river and we had wind against tide which made it very rough. We passed the Navy base and anchored on the opposite side of the town. All you can see of the town is fishing boats - heaps and heaps of them all rafted up together.
DAY 26- Wednesday 3 March - Ban Thap Lamu
Today would have been Judy and Phil's wedding anniversary. Thinking of you Judy.
Brian and Margaret picked us all up in their dinghy and we headed into the town across the river. There was a strong current running. We walked around the town (our first mainland town) and found a couple of hardware type stores and Peter bought some oil. We found guitar strings in another shop which seemed to have heaps of different things - very interesting. The town is quite smelly and dirty with lots of rubbish but when you see into people's houses they are really clean. We had a lovely lunch at the Navy cafe. Had sundowners on Cilantro to plan for tomorrow.

DAY 27 - Thursday 4 March - Ban Thap Lamu - Koh Miang (island No. 4), Similan Islands
08°34.097N 98°13.054E
Left at 7am with the river looking like glass. The brand new raymarine auto pilot snapped off at the end - it wasn't even rough weather. So once again Peter had to get the old one out to get a part to fix it. Quite a boring day. Quite a few tourist boats passed us along the way. We managed to sail for part of the way but in the afternoon the wind died and we motored in. Kristie 1 and we picked up a red mooring and Cilantro hopped on to one of the bigger ones. Single Malt has been here for a couple of days. The sand is really white and fine and the colour of the water is amazing - so clear, aqua blue and darker blue in the depths. One of our number was heard to comment that the water is so clear you can't wee in it cause you would see it! When Kristie 1 came in to grab their buoy Margaret missed it and they had to reverse back to get it. It was only later that we found out that Brian had given Margaret a broom to pick it up with instead of a boathook!!!! We went for a walk to the other side of the island where hundreds of tents have been set up. We had a beer there but we forgot the aerogard and there were heaps of flies so we came back to the boats. A big catamaran came and anchored quite a long way from us (you are not allowed to anchor here) and put out heaps and heaps of chain which worried us a little bit.

DAY 28 - Friday 5 March - Koh Miang, Similan Islands (paradise)
We were awoken at 4.30am by the buoy banging on the side of the boat. Peter went up to check and came back saying that cat is only two feet away from the side of our boat. It drifted away about 5 feet and we tried shouting to them and shining the torch on them but to no avail. They drifted out the back of us then around the front - we couldn't alert them so went back to bed thinking they would drift back where they came from. We didn't think they were dragging anchor, we just felt they had way too much chain out, but we may have been wrong. Anyway at 5.30 (still dark) there was a clunk so we shot up and the front of the cat had hit us in the side so we banged on their boat and yelled till a naked man came up and didn't say or do anything - just stood there looking down at us. Then a man with trousers on came up and said sorry and started pulling chain up and reversing back. They went round the back of us and our dinghy was almost under their boat then they moved off and went back where they came from. Cilantro managed to get a red buoy closer to shore. We dived off the back of the boat at 10am and snorkelled for an hour and a half. We didn't think the coral was up to much but the fish were so big and so colourful. Saw a great big powder blue fish - so pretty. We have a fish that visits at the back of the boat and we can feed it by hand - Jack would have loved that! Had a quiet afternoon then we all went to Single Malt and Doug fired up his barbeque. We all took a salad and meat and we had quite a feast. It was a really good night.

Well we seem to have found ourselves in a pretty nice spot so will be spending a few days here. The Similans are 30 odd miles off the coast of Thailand. We will stay here for a while as we have a buoy. There are 9 islands in the group and I think only number 8 has other overnight buoys. We will look around before we leave but meanwhile we seem to be in a little bit of paradise. Thank you to all of you who have emailed us. We really appreciate it and I get really home sick sometimes so its nice to know we are not alone out here. Hugs and kisses to Jessie and Rosie. Take care of yourselves.
Love and Cheers
Fair winds and calm seas

Dell and Peter

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

WEEK 3: 20 February - 26 February -Ko Lanta to Kata Beach, Thailand

DAY 15 - Saturday 20 February - Ko Lanta to Phi Phi Don
07°43.797N 98°46.206E
Went to the beach at 7am and walked/ran around 4km and upanchored at 9am. Sailed for a bit, motor sailed for a bit and arrived at Phi Phi Don at 1.30pm. There are heaps of resorts ashore and boats everywhere coming and going, boats on buoys and anchored and huge tourist boats and myriads of small ones, so it was hard to find a place to anchor and it was rough as boats were roaring past. We went for a snorkel - got in the dinghy to go and a huge speedboat cut across the back of our boat just as we came out from behind it and nearly collected us. I thought the huge wave from the wake was going to knock us out of the dinghy!!! Close call. Visibility was ok - not great, coral almost non existent and some fish along the drop off. Was nice to be back in amongst the fish though! Went to shore and walked down the beach past the hospital then cut across the isthmus to see the other side of the island. Went through the middle and found lots of little laneways full of shops and tour operators - heaps of little laneways. We ate dinner at a little local place and thoroughly enjoyed my spicy red curry chicken and Peter had Thai spicy chicken meat. Phi Phi Don is not a place to spend a lot of time in a boat. The constant boat traffic is very wearing and keeps the water churned up all day. Night is very quiet and a good anchorage in 17metres.
Miles: 17 Total: 5,614

DAY 16 - Sunday 21 February - Phi Phi Don - Nair Harn Bay
07°46.395N 98°18.113E
Departed Phi Phi Don at 8am and had the usual motor, motor sail, sail day arriving at Nai Harn Bay on the western side of Phuket at 3pm. Its a lovely big bay and the beach is covered in beach umbrellas and beach chairs and there are quite a few yachts in the bay. We have chosen to come here rather than go into Ao Chalon as we have been told it is rather shallow and hard to get into. We went to shore and were looking around and next thing were hailed by Braveheart and Cheshire Cat. So we all had a catch up drink together and had dinner together. There are lots of little eateries along the shore and a couple of small shops.
Miles: 32 Total: 5,646

DAY 17 - Monday 22 February - Nai Harn Bay
Caught a tuk tuk truck - bit like a troop carrier and we all headed to immigration, customs and harbour master to check into the country. This took about half an hour and we were in. We then caught a tuk tuk to the shopping centre to sort out phone cards and internet. Had a shopping centre lunch - not good. Got the phone sorted but not the internet. We then caught a tuk tuk to Patong Beach which is huge and is the place where the night life really rocks. We had a look around and a beer in an aussie bar where the tv displayed cartoons from playboy! (presumably!!!). Caught a tuk tuk back over a big range about 18k back to Nai Harn. Saw elephants parked in their garage(!) and a few more elephants a bit further on. Got back and had sundowners on Kristie 1. I bought some swimmers and forgot to bargain!!!

DAY 18 - Tuesday 23 February - Nai Harn Bay
Had a chill out day and went for a swim then walked to Cape PromThep to watch the sun set. There is a temple there dedicated to elephants with statues of elephants and people have put thousands of little elephant statues around the outside of the circle. Watched the sun set - was a bit cloudy on the horizon so didn't actually see it go into the sea. Ate on board.

DAY 19 - Wednesday 24 February - Nai Harn Bay
Hired a motor bike for the day - 300 baht ($10) and headed off to see the Big Buddha which is a huge white Buddha high on a hill made of cement and covered in white marble tiles. It is still under construction. We went to the shop and got the internet sorted, then just rode around. The Thai writing is not English letters and not a lot is written in English so by the time we realised there might be something to look at we would be past it - went back a couple of times but in the end just enjoyed the ride. We stopped at a few clothes markets on the way back but you get assailed by the stall/shop owners at every turn so it gets a bit wearing. Got back after 5 and Kristie 1 were in one bar/restaurant so they joined us because ours was cheaper and then we realised Cilantro were at another place so we eventually all joined up and had dinner. Very tiring day.

DAY 20 - Thursday 25 February - Nai Harn - Rawai
07°45.605N 98°19.165E
Not a good day to do the washing but had soaked the sheets overnight so had to continue. By the time we had everything washed and hung it was raining and it was getting quite rolly. We hung everything in the cockpit and headed to shore so Peter could get a haircut. Waves were breaking on the beach so we had to move quickly to get the dinghy in. After the haircut we both decided to have a Thai massage - 300 baht ($10). For your information "in a Thai massage, the masseuse concentrates on pressure points across the body where an abundance of energy has built up. Releasing this energy and evenly distributing it across the body to create a balance is the basis of Thai massage" (in case you were wondering!!!) It was a good hard massage and they bent us up like pretzels - if you had one every week it would definitely improve your flexibility. It poured rain while we were in there. Then we walked around to another little bay and had a call from Cilantro saying it had got too rough so they and Kristie 1 were heading around the headland to get out of the westerly swell. We launched the dinghy into the waves. When we got to the boat two of my shirts on coathangers had come off and luckily were wrapped around the back of the boat. The boat was bucking and rolling quite badly so we upanchored and went around the headland to join Kristie 1 and Cilantro. A quiet night with dinner on board and sat on the deck and watched a movie "Thankyou for Smoking" - bit weird!
Miles: 2 Total: 5,648

DAY 21 - Friday 26 February - Rawai to Kata Beach
07°49.142N 98°17.684E
Couldnt sleep so got up very early and upanchored at 9.15 and went around to Kata Beach arriving at 10.35am. It is a very busy beach with jetskis and parasails and beach covered with umbrellas and heaps and heaps of people. We went to shore at 1pm and walked around. Brian and Margaret won a free holiday in one of those time share things so went off to see about that. We came back to the boats at 4pm and went in at 6 for dinner. Peter and I shared a Tom Yum soup then I had a massaman curry which was perfect. Peter's meal was too hot for me and he had tears rolling down his cheeks. A lovely night out.
Miles- 5 Total: 5,653

All the beaches have sirens and tsunami warning signs telling you where to go in case of an earthquake and up the hill is another sign saying tsunami safety area. As you know this western side of Phuket was pretty much wiped out in the tsunami but you really couldn't tell now. We are heading slowly up the coast heading for the Simillan islands which you can only do in the NE season. When the SW's come we will tuck around in the bay the other side of Phuket island.

Hope you are all well. We currently have the internet on the boat and Katie, I was wondering how our little Rosie girl was going.

Love and Cheers
Fair winds and calm seas

Dell and Peter

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