Saturday, January 15, 2011

Thailand - New Year to 15 Jan

New Year
We went to shore at Patong with Cilantro, Bach & Byte and Single Malt and found a restaurant where we had a meal and then went down the happening street in Patong. The place was crowded and everyone was having fun. Bach & Byte went back to the boats to watch the fireworks from there but we all stayed and wandered around the various bars and had a lot of fun. Getting towards midnight we all headed down to the beach amongst the crowd and watched the fireworks go off – overhead. We were pleased we weren’t closer to the beach as the fireworks are not organised – just people letting them off and it went on for ages. There were hundreds of peace lanterns being let go into the sky as well and it was just amazing standing underneath the whole thing. The crowd was huge but very well behaved. When that was over we headed back up the happening street and didn’t get back to the boat till 4.30am!!! It was a new year celebration to remember.

After that we headed south as the wind had really come up and made our way around towards Phang Nha bay. The next day we went to Phanak and introduced Brett to the hongs and the very long scary tunnel into it. We timed the tides right and managed to see them all though the weather wasn’t all that good. Spent a couple of nights here then went to the gypsy village. We had intended to come back to Koh Hong and James Bond island but we never did make it back. Brett had his photo taken with a gibbon and there was a celebration going on at the school. We watched children in the water all hanging on to protruding sticks in the water in a net compound. Then about six ducks were thrown n and the children had to catch them (a bit like catch the greasy pig!!!). The poor ducks almost drowned as children holding them by the necks swam back to the boat!! It was however entertaining to watch (but not so much for the ducks). We took Bob (dinghy) and went and looked at the cave paintings just across from where we anchored. A longtail had previously offered to take us there and around for an hour for 1200 baht ($40!!!!).

Sunday 9 Jan
Left around 10am and stopped at lunch time at a place we hadn’t managed to anchor at and took Bob around to look at the hong and were going to swim until we saw the sea lice and made a hasty retreat. The weather improved and the seas were calm when we anchored at Ko Pak Bia – one of our favourite places. We had a snorkel but the visibility was bad so went back to the boat and watched people set up for a wedding and then watched a lovely beach wedding. They left it a bit late to leave and the boat used all its engines to get off the beach throwing a wall of water into the air back on to the beach. Half the people had to get off the boat so they could get it out and we think they may have burned out an engine! Had a good night playing texas holdem. I went out early but Brett and Peter went on till the early hours of the morning accompanied by Captain Morgan! until Brett managed to beat his father.

Monday 10 Jan
Went over to Koh Hong Krabi and got a buoy. Brett and Peter took Bob to see the hong and to go around the island then we went ashore where we got charged 200bht each for landing on the island (national park). We did the nature walk and had a swim. There were lots of little fish and one bit me on the back of the leg! We stayed the night as Brett wanted to see the beach in the morning without the crowds.

Tuesday 11 Jan
Hearing dreadful news from home about the floods. Went to shore next morning. A big cruise ship turned up and also we could see lots of sound equipment on the beach. The big ship moved to the other side of the island out of view of the beach as it turned out they were doing a bollywood movie!! We weren’t allowed on that part of the beach. The tide was way out so we left and headed to Krabi. There were so many people on the beach you could hardly walk along it. A few longtail boats had set themselves up as floating snackbars which was a good idea. We headed around to the rock climbing beach and went ashore and found a bar with good ambience and settled for an hour or two listening to good music. Changed for dinner and had the best cheapest food at Mamas up the alley. We walked up the road and discovered there were more bars and bungalows along the road. Came back to the beach and spent a couple of hours at the Chill Out reggae bar listening to a live performer.

Wednesday 12 Jan
Dreadful news from home about the floods – feeling we should be there but there’s nothing we could really do. Headed off towards Phi Phi Don and were going past the Bamboo Island when we saw a buoy so grabbed it and went ashore to a beautiful white beach and an area was cordoned off for snorkelling. There were plenty of fish and I saw my first snake!! Black and white bands. I lost sight of it and next thing Brett dives down to look at something and looks up to see the snake coming towards him on one side and a moray eel on the other!! He back pedalled very quickly!! We then headed for Klang reef but there were no buoys though we nudged our noses in and I let us go in a bit too far but a quick port turn and we got out ok!! Headed to Phi Phi Don and went in to dinner and for a look around.

Thursday 13 Jan
We headed back round to Klang reef and anchored in 17.5m and took Bob in and snorkelled the reef for an hour. Then we headed around Phi Phi Don and stopped at a nice bay and went ashore but there was nothing of interest so headed to Phi Phi Le getting there at 4.30 but there was no chance of getting a buoy so headed back to Phi Phi Don where we could see a storm approaching. Stayed onboard as it was raining and quite windy.

Friday 14 Jan
Moved anchor as we were too close to a dive boat on a buoy then we went to shore to see if we could get a longtail. Found one which left at 9am (this was 8.45am). There were 14 people onboard and we went to a beach just near where we were anchored where there were a couple of monkeys, one of which took someone’s water bottle, took the lid off and drank from it. Went to the beach at Phi Phi Le (where the movie the beach was made) and it was so crowded!! We walked across to the other side of the island – stayed an hour till the longtail left and then went round the other side of the island to snorkel. The fish were great, the only worry being hit by a longtail or another boat!! Then went to a lovely long hong and had a swim – it was absolutely beautiful and a place that we would not have been able to see in our boat. It was a great morning out and very good value. We left late in the afternoon to see if we could get a buoy in Phi Phi Le and just as we got there a big cat released one so we grabbed it – couldn’t believe our luck. Quite swelly and water murky. There was quite a party on the beach that night with the sleep on the beach tour group – they were still doing fire twirling at 12.30am!

Will bring you up to date shortly, meanwhile our thoughts are with you all at home with the devastating floods and we hope you all manage to avoid that incredibly frightening cyclone which is bearing down on Queensland tonight.

Much Love
Dell and Peter