Monday, April 26, 2010

WEEK 11: 17 April – 23 April – Kuah, Malaysia to Ao Chalong, Thailand

To all of you who are reading this for the exciting sailing you will be disappointed. We are now into cruising mode and just motoring around, however, we hope we can at least keep you a little entertained!

DAY 71 – Saturday 17 April – Kuah, Malaysia
Walked to town and did boat jobs. Were going to go in for dinner but it bucketed down rain and we couldn’t get off the boats. In Transit started to drag and when he checked his anchor realised he had a huge net wrapped around the anchor chain. He spent quite some time hauling it in and trying to cut it away from his anchor chain and then he reanchored. Braveheart left.

DAY 72 – Sunday 18 April – Kuah Malaysia
Another preparation day. Kristie arrived and we went to dinner with Kristie, Single Malt and In Transit – a very good Chinese meal.

DAY 73 – Monday 19 April – Kuah to Telaga
06°21.765N 099.40.844E
Checked out of Malaysia and said farewells to Single Malt, In Transit and Kristie. In Transit are heading back to Australia so that is a bit sad. We upanchored at 11.30am and headed to Telaga. Tequila came out of Reback and was right behind us when he stopped. Found out later that he got a rope round his propeller – how did we miss it?!!! Got some petrol (54 cents a litre) and had a quiet night.
Miles: 16 Total: 6,160

DAY 74 – Tuesday 20 April – Telaga to Koh Bulan (Bulan Channel)
06°49.084N 099.41.052E
Were going to get away early but there was a storm around so waited for a while. Finally left at 8.30am and came up around Langkawi and it bucketed down rain on us. At least it was cool! It was a bit rough till we got to the east coast of Turatao and then it was dead calm. Spent the day motoring along avoiding fish traps. A long boring hot day and arrived at the Bulan Channel at 3pm. We checked out the channel but when we got down to 2.9m (1.5m under the keel) we turned back and anchored in 4.9m. We would not have been able to get out of there at low tide. The catamaran Soul was anchored much further in. We launched the dinghy and went around the edges of the two islands and then had sundowners on the deck. A very comfortable night.
Miles: 32 Total: 6,192

DAY 75 – Wednesday 21 April – Koh Bulan to Ko Ngai
07°24.185N 099.13.023E
Left at around 6.45am and motored. Did some sewing and made Peter a new sarong. A beautiful day but motoring and as usual the breeze is on the nose. Passed Koh Phetra – quite an impressive sight. Got to Koh Muk around 4.30pm and it looked really rough in the anchorage. Wind Chimes was in there bouncing up and down and though the wind usually drops in the evening we decided to go another hour along to Ko Ngai. We dropped anchor at 5pm in 12m and went back to 11m then we swung around and went to 6 then to 3.9m which didn’t help Dell’s equilibrium but Peter tended to think that a school of fish passed under the boat! Anyway we were soon back in 11m and making plans to go ashore. There were lots of coconut palms on the beach, a resort, a jetty with huge restaurant and what looked like a cosy little bar. Then there was thunder and lightning and the heavens opened so we opened our own bar and dined on board. It was a very comfortable night. A long day
Miles: 49 Total: 6,241

DAY 76 – Thursday 22 April – Ko Ngai to Phi Phi Don
07°43.777N 098.46.223E
We left at 6.50am just as Wind Chimes went past. The current was against us and as always the wind was on the nose! We motored along. Did the washing with the water we caught last night. We got in at 3.15pm and Cilantro came in around 6pm with their new canvas work which looked pretty impressive! It was wonderful to see them again and we met on shore for dinner at our favourite restaurant but it seemed to have changed hands and the service was hopeless and the food very ordinary. We even had to ask for eating utensils! But it was great to catch up and were talking so much on the way back we went right past where we had left the dinghies! And then went oh my goodness where are they so had to trek back along the beach to find them! We headed back to the boats just as the lightning was flashing. Back on board Peter grabbed what he thought was the dinghy line and dropped the other end to wash the sand off. What he had actually grabbed was the line tied to his fishing rod and yes – there was the dinghy drifting away again!! So it was another enforced swim for Peter in the dark to retrieve it. Dell is starting to think that this is his secret exercise regime!!! Storm came to nought and we had a very comfortable night.
Miles: 35 Total: 6,276

DAY 77 – Friday 23 April – Phi Phi Don to Ao Chalong, Thailand
We left at 6.15am and Cilantro headed to Langkawi. We had the headsail out for a little while but then as always the wind went on the nose and we motored along with Wind Chimes who followed us into the anchorage arriving at 12.30pm. Then it was into Immigration, customs and harbour master to check into the country. Went for a walk and introduced Greg and his friend Chris to Nina’s cars and we all booked a hire car. Then we met Wind Chimes at the Tamarind Bar and joined them for a bite to eat. We came back to the boats as a front came in and it bucketed down rain.
Miles: 27 Total: 6,303

You may have noticed that the weather is changing. It is the transition period between the NE and SW monsoon so it is going to become an art form to figure which side of an island we should be anchoring! Debbie and Phil arrive soon and we are really looking forward to seeing them.

Love and Cheers
Fair winds and calm seas
Dell and Peter

Saturday, April 17, 2010

WEEK 10: 10 April – 16 April –Tarutao, Thailand to Kuah, Malaysia

DAY 64 – Saturday 10 April –Tarutao to Kuah
06°18.808N 099.50.905E
It had been a bit rolly through the night but not too bad. We watched the lone monkey on the beach again then left at 7am as the swell was starting to build. So hot. Motored all the way to Telaga and tied up at the fuel dock at 11.15am. We put 300 litres of diesel in ($202). Jackie and Phil from Whitby Lass came over to say hullo. We hadn’t seen them since around Ambon. Left the dock at 1.30 and as we came towards the point off Reback we saw the boat in front of us turn sharply to the right and we wondered what they were doing. It was Whitby Lass and they called us up to tell us there was a floating net in front with all little white buoys along it. We also turned sharply to starboard and went along the edge of the net which went for about a mile! That’s the first net of that kind we have seen in Malaysia. We anchored close in at Kuah at around 5.30 in 3.9m (lowish tide). We were too tired to go ashore
Miles: 36 Total 6,144

DAY 65 – Sunday 11 April - Kuah
Today we had to check into Malaysia. Firstly, we forgot about the hour time difference between Thailand and here so we were already running an hour later than we thought. We went over to say hullo to In Transit and went on board for a chat. They had also been to Ko Rok Nok but unfortunately for them when they realised how shallow it was they got a plastic bag caught on their motor and lost their steering and hit the reef doing some pretty major damage. Everyone we spoke to who had been there had a similar story of close calls! So off we went to Immigration and then to the Harbour Master only to find that he had shut up shop at 12.15 and wouldn’t be back till 2.45. So we walked to the shopping centre and we both had haircuts. Back to the Harbour Master and then we tracked down the customs people and we were officially back in the country. We went to shore for dinner – tables set up around the water front. In Transit joined us and Peter and Maria got their meals straight away but Russel and Dell got forgotten about – apparently that happens to Russel a lot! Got it in the end but they told us the rice was ‘finis”. We ate our meal and then watched as plates of rice were carried to other tables!

DAY 66 – Monday 12 April - Kuah
Peter ran the generator (thanks Andy) to boost the batteries then we walked 5km to the warehouse to check out the wine situation and then we walked back again – 10km all up in the heat. In the evening we joined Two Up, Single Malt, Mandolin Wind, In Transit, Braveheart and Three Ships at the bar frequented by expats. Three of us took our dinghys down there – up a dirty little shallow creek and then we had to lift them up on to the rocks. It was no quicker as by the time we had done this the others had walked there. We then went to the Indian restaurant across the road and they set up tables for us out on the grass on a kind of a traffic verge. Good food.

DAY 67 – Tuesday 13 April - Kuah
It is so extremely hot. We have taken to sleeping on the deck. At 1.30pm we hired a car and went to the warehouse and got our wine. We came back and while we were loading ours Braveheart took the car and did a beer run. Then we went back to the warehouse for the beer (35 cents a can! – so the more we buy the more money we save!!!) It took some time to cart it all out to the boat. At 5.30 we walked to the bar and then headed up to one of the eateries along a creek. Had a lovely meal with Braveheart , Mandolin Wind and Three Ships

DAY 68 – Wednesday 14 April - Kuah
We still had the car till 1.30 so headed off to the supermarket, the chandlery and all the other places we needed to go and had the car back on time. Peter spent the afternoon running the generator and Dell tried to store all the goodies away (an impossible task). Our water line has dropped considerably! Ate on board

DAY 69 – Thursday 15 April – Kuah
We upanchored at 9am and headed to Wavemaster where we are hoping to get Pacific Express painted. It took us an hour to get up there and three staff came to meet us. We have a good feel about the place and have seen the wonderful job they did on a yacht called Aquarius. They have promised us a quote within two days. We came back to Kuah and anchored pretty much where we had been. Peter was doing water runs with the jerries and had just untied the dinghy to get in it when Dell said the batteries in her reading light didn’t work so Peter went to have a look at it. Then we saw the dinghy just floating away! He had let it go so had to dive in and swim out to retrieve it!! We did computer work and ran the genny then went to Braveheart for dinner with Chris and Judy. They cooked us Argentinian steak which was really rather good. A good night.

DAY 70 – Friday 16 April - Kuah
Booked our flights back to Australia for 4th August and then Single Malt called up to see if Dell wanted to go for a massage so at 1pm the ladies met ashore and went for coffee then walked to the beauty salon. We all chose a pamper package. The place was really lovely – the halls had big white pebbles on the floor with stepping stones. We then spent the next hour and a half being pampered and massaged with oil and creams and all sorts. Even dozed off at one point – it was wonderful ($33!) It poured rain just before we left. Met the boys at the bar but it was closed as it is Friday (Friday to Muslims is like our Sunday). Saw two big water monitors dash back to the creek from the back of some shops. We went to another eatery along the creek and had another lovely meal (yes it is all about the food!!!!). A really lovely day.

From Week 10

Preparations are going well and we are really looking forward to seeing Debbie and Phil next week.

Love and Cheers
Fair winds and calm seas

Dell and Peter

WEEK 9: 3 April – 9 April –Koh Pak Bia to Tarutao

DAY 57 – Saturday 3 April –Koh Pak Bia to Ko Hong (on buoy)
08°04.544N 098°40.821E
Headed for Ko Hong at a leisurely time of the morning as it was only three miles away. We circumnavigated the island then picked up a buoy around 12 noon. It was a bit overcast so headed round to the Hong in the dinghy. There was a gap which the longtails were going through so in we went. We have obviously been spoilt as we didn’t find it as spectacular as some we have seen so came back to the beautiful beach and went on a nature walk. There is actually a memorial here to the people who were killed in the tsunami. We really hadn’t comprehended the extent of it and this is the only island so far (that we have seen) that has mentioned it. They have left the remains of the longtails where they landed quite a way inland and this forms part of the walk. We came out to a beautiful beach and Dell thought we had walked to the other side of the island but we had just come out a bit further down the beach! Had a swim – beautiful. It rained. Its amazing how many people got out of the water because it rained! Went back to the beach in the late afternoon and walked around after all the tourists had gone. The outboard stopped (water in the fuel from the rain) so we rowed back to the boat. Fixed the fuel problem with a bit of metho.
Miles: 3 Total: 5,936

DAY 58– Sunday 4 April –Ko Hong
Were going to circumnavigate the island in the dinghy but it was a little rough so had a boat day. Got confirmation Debbie and Phil are coming so made plans!!!

DAY 59 – Monday 5 April – Ko Hong – Ao Chalon
07°49.228N 098°21.291E
Left Ko Hong at 7am and headed for Ao Chalon to check out and go back to Langkawi for duty free resupplies! We motored the entire way and as we were coming in the depth dropped and we were suddenly in very little water. A quick turn to port and we were ok – a near run thing! We arrived about 1.30pm and anchored amid lots of boats and buoys. Some more big boats came in on the buoys in the late afternoon so we were quite close to them but were ok. If we had realised it was a holiday tomorrow we would have checked out be we didn’t. Went to shore around 4pm and walked to Tesco supermarket for supplies for the trip to Langkawi. Found a lovely little restaurant on the beach and had the coldest beer (the weather is soooo hot!) and had dinner. We started walking back along the very long jetty and one of the buses stopped and picked us up and delivered us to our dinghy. There was a big boat tied up near where we had left the dinghy so we put all our supplies on that with the help of one of the crew and got in our dinghy off the back of their boat. Sat on the deck in the evening watching the lights of Ao Chalong and some sort of a big fire up the road.
Miles: 30 Total: 5,966

DAY 60 – Tuesday 6 April – Ao Chalon
Changri Day Holiday
We could have checked out today if we had paid the staff overtime but we chose not to. Went to shore around 4pm. There was a very smelly carcass of a skinned eel (or something) wrapped around the rope of our dinghy! Walked around for a bit then went back to our restaurant – Tamarind – and had dinner with Linger Longer and Cheshire Cat. Nice walk along the jetty to our dinghys and then the clamber down.

DAY 61 – Wednesday 7 April – Ao Chalon – Phi Phi Le
Happy Birthday Pete!
07°40.794N 098°45.86E (on Buoy)
Went to shore at 8.30am as immigration was supposed to open at 9am (that’s what it said on the door!). However, we were informed that it didn’t actually open till 10am. We managed to get through Immigration, customs and the Harbour Master in half an hour so were pulling our anchor up at 11am. We were in 4.4m of water and as we turned to port the alarm went off and said we were in 1m of water. (when our depth sounder says 1.4m we are on the ground!!) So that meant we were on the ground – Dell’s heart almost stopped and then it went back to 4.4m – quite a little heart starter for the morning!!! Followed the buoys out and there was quite a breeze so we thought we might have a good sail but then it went around on the nose – again! Arrived at Phi Phi Le around 4pm and were lucky enough to get a buoy. This is the place where the movie The Beach was made and it is quite spectacular. There are high cliffs all the way around except for the entrance and the whitest beach. Jumped off the back of the boat and there were hundreds of little fish under the boat chewing on the barnacles. Fed them some bread and was entirely surrounded – right in the middle of the school of fish – amazing! All the tour boats left except for one which took all its guests to shore to sleep on the beach. When it got dark we could see lines of fluorescence floating past the boat. What a fantastic place.

DAY 62 – Thursday 8 April – Phi Phi Le to Koh Rok Nok
07°40.794N 098°45.86E (on Buoy)
We left at 6.40am just after Liaison – had a bit of wind for a while and motor sailed and then, as always, what little wind we had went on the nose. We arrived around 2pm. We went round the island and started heading in to the channel between two islands heading for a red buoy. The depth started dropping very quickly from 19m to 2m (.6m under the keel) we did a quick about turn hoping there were no coral heads where we turned! Obviously that buoy was for shallow craft. We went back out and found a passage so went to the second buoy in but that buoy had no rope so back we went to the first one and managed to pick that up. There was a fair swell coming in so Pacific Express was bucking a bit. We saw a huge brown thing on the surface of the water – a stingray perhaps – we didn’t know but it didn’t make us feel much like jumping in the water there. Went into the beach – beautiful white sand and clear water with the most gorgeous green tinge to it. Went down to see the shrine with wooden effigies, most of which are phallic symbols, then had a swim and went for a drift snorkel with the dinghy. There were lots of little fish – when we looked back there were heaps of little fish actually following us and swimming with us! There was not much colour to the coral as apparently the coral was dynamited for fishing in 2002 but it was a good snorkel. The swell settled down and we had a comfortable night.

DAY 63 – Friday 9 April – Koh Rok Nok to Tarutao
06°38.426N 099°36.932E
It rained early in the morning so we upanchored at 6.30am and had breakfast on the way. There was no wind and if there were it would have been on the nose!! We were melting and the sweat was pouring off us!! Got into Taratuo at 4.15pm and there was quite a swell coming in. Watched a lone monkey walk along the high tide line on the beach.
Miles: 48 Total: 6,108

Love and Cheers
Fair winds and calm seas

Dell and Peter

Monday, April 5, 2010

WEEK 8: 27 March - 2 April -Yacht Haven Marina to Koh Pak Bia, Thailand

DAY 50 - Saturday 27 March -Yacht Haven Marina - Koh Chong Lat
08°16.661N 098°37.881E
Began the day with a skype to Debbie and Phil - it was a bit slow and disjointed but lovely to see them. Kristie 1, Cilantro and we all left at 9am heading to Koh Kudu Yai. The weather was still and we motored going over some quite shallow parts so we had to watch our depth. As we got closer to our destination the wind came up and the seas got a bit rough. Our anchorage was between two islands but when we got there, there was a terrible swell running through and it was obvious that it would not be suitable. We headed for Koh Chong Lat and got up into the channel between two islands. It was quite shallow going in but it is extremely sheltered as we are surrounded by high cliffs. There is a little village just around the corner. We got in at 4.40pm after a long and tiring day.
Miles: 31 Total: 5,921

DAY 51 - Sunday 28 March - Koh Chong Lat
A boat day put to good use cleaning up the boat and then sundowners on Kristie 1. Finally got phone and internet coverage in the evening so downloaded some logic puzzles.

DAY 52 - Monday 29 March - Koh Chong Lat
Happy Birthday Lottie
A boat day - Peter reading, Dell doing logic puzzles. A storm came up late in the day so we took the cover down and put up the water catcher and replaced the two jerries of water we used yesterday.

DAY 53 - Tuesday 30 March - Koh Chong Lat
Kristie 1 left to head back to Yacht Haven Marina to get some canvas work done. Another quiet boat day. Were going to have sundowners with Cilantro but a huge wind blew in at 3pm - there were willy willies on the water. We got blown around a bit and it rained so we didn't have the pleasure of Cilantro's company.

DAY 54 - Wednesday 31 March - Koh Chong Lat
Cilantro collected us in their dinghy and we went around the edges of the islands - all rocks and caves. Because it was a very high tide (springs) we were able to motor through the mangroves. We discovered some rock paintings in a couple of places and saw two different sorts of Kingfishers. One was very small and blue and white while the other was a little bigger and orange with an orangy beak - when he flies he has a beautiful blue on the back. They look as though their beaks are too big for their bodies. We found a little inlet which had a little waterfall going over it and on the other side of the channel we found a hong. It looked as though it had been blocked off, perhaps to trap the fish in there when the tide went out, but James discovered a little opening at the side so we went through and had a good look around. Really lovely. As we went past the little huts built on the water - there was one rather large one built on a bamboo platform with a little hut (woven palm) on each corner, a large one on the edge and a gazebo in the middle. Everything built out of cane, chairs included. The chap called us over and introduced himself as Salaam and offered the boys coffee and indicated Sandra and I should sit under the gazebo (away from the men!). Salaam had built the whole place himself. The huts on the corners were bedrooms with mosquito nets and a fully tiled bathroom at the back - a proper squat toilet and a barrel of water for washing. The middle hut was the kitchen - table and chairs all made from cane. They had very little English and we had no Thai though the men seemed to manage. Sandra and I didn't have much success at trying to communicate with the wife. She got us a sealed bottle of water out of their longtail boat. We tried talking and hand movements but it didn't work so she went back to chipping the growth off one of the floats which holds the whole thing up. We said our farewells and went back to our boats hoping to catch up later but once again a huge wind swept through and then the storm. We put all our flaps down and were quite comfy in the cockpit and it rained for a few hours. Once again no company!

DAY 55 - Thursday 1 April - Koh Chong Lat - Koh Pak Bia
08°06.971N 098°40.435E
Where does the time go - it feels like forever we have been away but it is less than a year! Cilantro left at 8ish to head back to Yacht Haven to get some canvas work done. We are heading for Koh Kudu Yai - a little concerned about the winds which roar in but we will see. Koh Kudu Yai had a fierce current running through despite the fact that it was almost a slack tide. We circumnavigated it in the yacht - a fantastic hong or two and definitely worth exploring in the dinghy. Looked at a couple of prospective places and decided to save them for another day. We arrived at Koh Pak Bia at around lunch time. It has a lovely sandspit at one end and some great karsts as a backdrop. The tide was high so the spit was covered with a metre or more of water. We anchored in 13.9m and went ashore for a swim. There were a few tourist boats in but not too crowded. The water was lovely and there was quite a current starting to run as the tide went out. The French in a charter catamaran anchored too close to us so we daren't leave the boat. They left just before the storm came in. Two of the little fishing boats came around and anchored either side of us. Unfortunately, when the winds blew us it straightened out our 55m of chain so we ended up very close to the now exposed rocks. The tide had dropped over 3m and the sandspit we had earlier been swimming over was 3m above the waterline and the beach was now all rocks! We probably would have been ok but probably isn't good enough so we upanchored in the pouring rain, went between the fishermen and moved further out and had a very comfortable night.
Miles: 12 Total: 5,933

DAY 56 - Friday 2 April (Good Friday) - Koh Pak Bia
Had a quiet boat day reading etc. Peter cleaned all the barnacles off the waterline of the boat and Dell did some computer work. We decided to have a shower (with all the water we had caught the night before!!) off the back of the boat before all the tourists showed up. As fate would have it as soon as Dell started her shower she could see a speed boat approaching and Peter could see one from the other direction! Just got her shower in in time! Peter waited till all the boats had gone past and the tourists were on the beach and he had his shower in the cockpit. And our boat slowly but surely started turning until the cockpit was facing all the tourists on the beach!!! Peter made a hasty retreat down below. Watched a huge storm over Yacht Haven Marina - lots of lightning and looked quite scary. We however, only had a couple of drops of rain and the evening was lovely.

The really fantastic news for this week is that Debbie and Phil are coming to stay with us for a couple of weeks on 26th April so we are really excited and will head back to Langkawi, Malaysia to stock up with goodies and be back up here to meet them!!

Hope all is well with all of you.

Love and Cheers
Fair winds and calm seas

Dell and Peter

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