Friday, March 25, 2011

Another week gone

A week spent in laying on stores and supplies, rainy weather, and dealing with bureaucracy with respect to pool fencing regs - so over the top its not funny and once again they have failed us despite upsetting our neighbours and doing everything asked of us. They are trying to keep spiderman out not 2 - 4 year olds!!! Anyway believe all the wonderful vines on our 2 metre high front wall are gone including the bouganvillea (yes I know thorns!!!) and the pool looks so aesthetically bad!!! Sooooooo stressful. And our new tenants have opted out!

Hope your week has been better than ours.


Dell and Peter

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sat 12 to Fri 18 March - Koh Rok Nok to Kuah Malaysia

Saturday 12 March –Koh Rok Nok to Koh Lipe Butangs
We left at 7am with a grey sky, grey sea and drizzling rain. Suffice to say that it was a day Peter enjoyed with much heeling of the boat and much wind – both of which I hate! Peter thought later that he really should have had a reef in the main but we hit 10 knots at one stage! Not a comfortable trip at all. Even when we came into the channel at the Butangs it was still howling and the beach where we thought would be good was untenable. The water was too rough to be able to look for rocks and reef so stayed away from the sheltered island. Went around to the beach at Koh Lipe which was lovely and beautifully calm. We just got pipped at the post by a ferry for the only buoy. The bay is full of boats, buoys and a floating platform and drops to 25-30 metres out the back. We tried anchoring but it was over coral and we waited for the ferry to go but he wasn’t in a hurry. Tried another red buoy but went down from 14m to 4.9m over reef before we even go to it so made a hasty retreat!! It was getting late so headed round Koh Lipe to another very windy channel where a lot of yachts were anchored and anchored out the back in 18 metres. Then the ferry came round and anchored in the channel!! We watched a few episodes of MASH and went to bed. A beach bar was playing beat box music and we reckon you would have heard it in Langkawi!! We closed our hatches and put in ear plugs but we could still hear it!! We eventually were able to open our hatch at 4am!!

Sun 13 March – Koh Lipe, Butangs
Still a bit windy but need a rest day and Peter is into a good book called The Historian by Elisabeth Kostova. We went ashore around lunch time and headed down the street to the beach on the other side of the island. Then walked back and had a delicious lunch. We came back to the dinghy and went to a bar on the beach and started talking to an English couple who run a guest house in Lyme Regis in England. They work nine months of the year and have January to March travelling round the world – sounds like a good lifestyle. Spent a couple of hours swapping yarns and travel stories and they commented on the loud music (and they were way over the other side of the island) then went back to the boat and watched the Prince of Persia and had home made pizzas.

Mon 14 March – Koh Lipe, Butangs
Were going to head for Langkawi but decided to spend another day catching up on computer work and Peter has a book to finish. In the middle of the night we had a huge storm come through.

Tues 15 March – Koh Lipe, Butangs
Upanchored at 8am and headed round the point but the wind and the tide were so strong we were only doing 1.3 knots and in danger of going backwards!!! Ramped up the revs and kept going thinking once we got past the island it would be ok. Two other yachts came out but they turned back and then we turned back too – conditions were just too bad. Anchored a bit further up in the channel in 17 metres and in the afternoon the wind dropped off so we had a snorkel and swam to shore. The reef is not very interesting and there are only small fish. Had a late lunch/early dinner on shore and returned to the boat for sundowners then watched Zulu again. The ferry had anchored next to us and we thought at the time he was a little close. When we came up after the movie they were fishing and catching tiddlers and keeping them and we didn’t really like how close they were. So once again we had to move in the dark through no fault of our own!!! We went within ten feet of them getting our anchor up and went back to our original position in 18 metres in the dark. Fifteen minutes later all the boats turned and he would have been over our anchor and touching us!

Wed 16 March – Koh Lipe, Butangs Thailand to Kuah, Langkawi Malaysia
We left at daybreak. It was still a bit windy and weren’t sure it would be good but we rounded the point doing in excess of 5 knots so that was a good sign. It was a bit rough and the wind was on the nose but off we went and the closer we got to Langkawi the flatter the seas and we got a bit of wind in our headsail and made really good time. We were heading for the beaches but decided to go for Kuah. Langkawi has never looked better. The island is so green, the water a lovely green and the sun is shining – just gorgeous and this is our home away from home! We anchored around 3pm and headed to Kuah town to buy some much needed wine!! (been out for a couple of weeks). Came back to the boat to drop off supplies and went to The Asian Restaurant for dinner. We both had the chicken with mango salad and shared a sambal fried rice plus one beer and one water and it came to less than $10 – magic.

Thurs 17 March – Kuah, Langkawi
Had a lazy start to the day then walked through the lovely park to check in – Immigration, Harbour Master and Customs. Sorted out our phones and internet, had lunch – Peter was thrilled with his lamb curry, then went to the supermarket and dvd shop. Unfortunately the hairdresser was closed. Took the supplies back to the boat, went to the post office then walked the back way to Kuah town. Found some great fruit and vege stores – think they must be new. Couldnt be bothered walking all the way down to the restaurants so came back and as we were walking past one of the Muslim restaurants just near the jetty we smelt chilli – quite overpowering really so we went to investigate and found out what it was so ordered it too. We got a fried rice with the fried egg on top, beef and vegetables in a kind of sweet and sour sauce and a small bowl of soup all on the same plate. Ours wasn’t quite as spicy but it was delicious – 6 Ringetts each – thats $2 each!!!! Plus orange and pineapple juice and it was $5.30 for the both of us – unbelievable! Came back to the boat and watched a movie.

Fri 18 March – Kuah, Langkawi
Boat day – tried to move stuff around but we also have to balance the boat and not put all the heavy stuff on one side so a bit of a balancing act. We could see rain coming so Peter put the water catcher up (which usually stops the rain!) and caught 210 litres of water so the tank and jerries are pretty full again and I have been told I am allowed to waste water now!!! Peter got in Bob to bail him out as he was pretty full too and had a bath before he bailed – I wish I had thought of that!!!!

We would like to congratulate Debbie and Phil on both doing so well in their triathalons – really well done guys!!!!

May you always have a foot of water under your keel

Dell and Peter

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sat 5 to Fri 11 March Ao Chalong to Koh Roc Nok

Saturday 5 March –Ao Chalong
We went ashore meaning to catch a bus to Phuket town but decided to hire a motorbike instead. We were looking for the weekend market and also somewhere to buy rattan. We went right through Phuket town and didn’t find the market so went on up to Supercheap for a last shop. Asked directions to the market but it didn’t start til 5pm. We took a shortcut through the park and found the markets then went to Big C Supermarket to fill some time and just as we pulled up who else should pull up but Braveheart! So we went for a fruitjuice and caught up on all the news. Then some shopping and back to the markets. Not all the stalls were open as it was still a little early so we walked through the whole thing. By 5pm it was getting pretty crowded so we were pleased to have gone early. Headed back to the boat and stopped at the Anchor Inn for one of their fabulous salads!

Sunday 6 March – Ao Chalong
Were going to get up early and shoot up to Big C and have the bike back by 11am but we had a bit of a late start so hired the bike for another day. Went chasing down a rattan place but it didn’t seem to exist. We had pulled over in a little town to consult the map and were watching a black ute in front of us putting caged birds in the back. We had to wait for traffic and luckily hadn’t pulled out when the black ute gunned it and took off. We think he must have thought he would scream his tyres and take off - didn’t work though and a minibus was unable to avoid him and they came together – huge scrape down the side of the minibus. We cautiously passed them and back to Big C where we bought a lot of pork to put in our freezer. They have big slabs of pork and you use tongs to pick out what you want. So our freezer is stocked up. It is difficult to find pork in Malaysia being a Muslim country. After we dealt with the meat we went back ashore and went to a couple of places we had seen which looked interesting. By the time we got back the sky looked a bit threatening so we got takeaway salad to take to the boat for dinner. It is spring tides again and the tide was way out so it was really muddy. But being the innovative things that we are we pulled ourselves along the side of a tourist boat which was tied to the shore until we could reach his line which went about 30 metres out and pulled ourselves out by that – worked really well!

Monday 7 March – Ao Chalong
We took the bike back and then went to Immigration/Customs/Harbour master to check out of Thailand. There was quite a crowd in there so it took about an hour. Good to chat to yachties you don’t know as you find out snippets of information to be tucked away. We went and did some last minute shopping and used all our coin up buying cooked chicken pieces off a roadside stall. The lady was lovely and very happy to take all the coin. We bought some fruit from a roadside stall then went to the Anchor Inn for – you guessed it – the fabulous takeaway salad. Got back to Bob about 4pm and the tide was way low so pulled ourselves out along the tourist boat rope again. Had an early dinner watching the sun go down – couldn’t actually see it as it was cloudy. Watched a dvd –Inception – which we didn’t enjoy – very strange. There are now quite a few boats around us way out here. Suspect it may have got a bit shallow for some of them further in and in fact we could see a yacht on its side – obviously ran out of water. We could smell diesel all around us – not a nice feeling but the diesel barge must have spilt a bit when he fuelled the boat in front of us.

Tuesday 8 March – Ao Chalong to Phi Phi Don
We could smell the diesel again this morning and you could actually see it on thew ater but the tide eventually took it away. We noticed that the yacht which had been on its side was gone. We upanchored at 9am and headed out of Ao Chalong for the last time. Had a lovely lunch of chicken purchased yesterday and of course the wind was on the nose so it was a motor day. It was so clear you could actually see the Phi Phi’s from our anchorage in Ao Chalong. An uneventful trip arriving at Phi Phi Don at 2.45. We went in half way up the island to check out an opening which we had seen when Brett was on board. There were two hong like openings but nothing we would like to take our boat into. As we were coming around the point to Phi Phi Don a large tourist boat passed us and he was putting out a wake at least 500metres behind him. When it hit us the waves were 1.5m high – amazing and exceedingly dangerous!!! We anchored quite a way out and could only see one other yacht further in. It was threatening rain so we stayed on board. A big storm came through but passed just north of us though we did get quite a bit of rain.

Wednesday 9 March – Ao Chalong to Ko Roc Nok
07°13’021N 099°03.606E
We awoke to lots of rocking and rolling. The swell was coming from the wrong direction. We left at 7.10 and counted 10 other yachts in. Thats the beauty of taking your house with you – you can do your housework on the way. We sailed for a few hours with a SE swell and then motored arriving at 2.30. Just as we were approaching the islands we thought we saw a fish trap but it turned out to be the fins of a pod of dolphins. Five of them swam under the nose of the boat but only briefly and then they broke away. Was wonderful to see such a large pod. We came in between the two islands and anchored on the opposite side to where we had been last time. We could see a huge weather front coming in and were pleased to be anchored out of the way. The rangers came to collect their 200 baht per person but we only had a 500 baht note and 290 bht in change. They didn’t have any change so decided to only charge us 100 baht each!! We had quite a bit of rain and the storm was all around us and just seemed to miss us. We could see a wall of water (rain) to the north. A couple of cats came in and took up buoys and a French boat came in and anchored in front of us.

Thursday 10 March – Koh Roc Nok
It was very windy through the night and very windy all day – comfortable though. A few tour boats came in at 10. We stayed on board. Peter cleaned some stainless and caught a couple of fish which kept him happy and Dell made us a 2011 calendar – finally.

Friday 11 March – Koh Roc Nok
Well wind against tide did not a comfortable night make! We bucked up and down and at times went side on and rolled. There were white caps further in front of us and when we got up all the other boats had left!! The wind kept blowing but at 12 we got in Bob and headed up towards the beach but the swell was so bad we turned back and investigated the side of both islands out of the wind. The coral didn’t look great so we didn’t bother snorkelling and came back to the boat. Saw a large puffer fish – red with white spots very pretty – who was in a spot of bother splashing around on the surface and all puffed up. Dont know if he puffed himself up too much or he got hit by a boat. Anyway there was nothing we could do for him so left him to sort himself out. Around 3pm it was a completely different story. The wind dropped off, the swell dropped and we were able to go to the beach and have a swim. This is a beach with the shining white sand and beautiful aqua clear water. We had a swim and then sat in Bob and gently floated along the shore line towards our boat. Until Peter realised he was getting bitten by sandflies (they love him!) so we started the motor and went down a bit further then jumped over for a snorkel. The coral wasn’t much and it was pretty murky. We went down aways but visibility wasn’t good and we started to get a bad feeling so we came back to the boat. Seemed we were in the current line and all sorts of nasties were floating past and then we saw something interesting so hooked it. After we managed to get all the crabs off it, who were reluctant to go, we found it was an industrial strength sling used with forklifts. Might come in handy sometime so we have kept it! Tonight four more boats have come in. Three are out the back with us (much calmer) and a big timber ketch is behind us. The boats further forward of us last night must have had a really bad time. So far tonight the weather is looking good!!

It seems we will have to haul out again before we head south. We usually cover our prop with prop speed but this time decided to use copper coating which is supposed to be very good. We had it professionally done but we are not sure if it wasn’t applied properly or it just is no good. It is supposed to last ten years but really it hasn’t lasted ten weeks and the prop already has barnacles. Anyway we don’t recommend it.

For those of you who know Ann and Bill, they are finally on the move and can be found at
Hope you are all well

Much Love
Dell and Peter

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sat 26 to Fri 4 March - Khao Lak to Ao Chalong

Saturday 26 Feb –Khao Lak
Had a relaxing day and later in the afternoon we saw an elephant walking along the beach. Went ashore to meet with Axel and Elisabeth. We were very grateful for the floating plastic jetty as otherwise we would not have been able to get ashore. We went to the resort to keep a lookout for them and asked the waiter how much a beer was. He didn’t know but said it is happy hour sit down sir (to Dell) so we did and paid the same as normal rates elsewhere – but they did give us lovely glasses to drink out of!
From 4 Feb 2011
We met Axel and Elisabeth and went to a beachside restaurant for dinner. It was lovely to see them again and it didn’t feel like 27 years since we last met but looking at the photos of us all which Axel kindly bought along you could see that it might have been a few years!! We had a really lovely evening and we are hoping that our respective children will make contact. So good to see them. Once again on the way out we were grateful for the floating jetty!

Sunday 27 Feb – Khao Lak to Nai Harn
We left at 6.45am, motored for an hour then had a great sail for five hours. The boat was tipping which Dell hates but we were going so well we passed both destinations we had decided on and went straight through to Nai Harn. As we were passing Patong we noticed thousands of jellyfish in the water – thousands – they are bigger than a large round dinner plate and kind of like a cotton reel going in at the middle with a dinner plate on the other side and they are white, pink, some have a purple stripe and all colours between white and pink. Quite pretty really. We took Bob ashore – with terror on Dell’s part and just as we got out a wave hit and soaked Dell’s backside! Anyway had a lovely dinner at one of the little restaurants and came back to the boat without incident.

Monday 28 Feb – Nai Harn
Had a boat day – tidying and cleaning and went ashore at 4pm – made it in without incident. We found out someone had got rolled the day before (it had been his third trip in). We both had a massage which was very nice then had an early dinner and made it back without incident. Watched the final extended version of The Lord of the Rings so it was rather late when we went to bed and the wind had really come up.

Tuesday 1 March – Nai Harn
Just catching up on some work and relaxing. Still windy and so many plastic bags and a couple of fish traps have been floating past us. We have never seen so much rubbish in the bay. Have decided not to go ashore tonight – would probably get wet! So will eat on board. We could see a big storm to the east with all the silent lightning but then the wind came up and all of a sudden we had thunder, lightning and torrential rain. We had gone to bed but got up when we heard over the radio – all boats in Nai Harn – there is a cat on the loose. We went up to check and sure enough – a huge tri-catamaran had dragged all the way out and there it was just on our starboard side very close. A couple in a dinghy came out and asked us if it was still moving and we said yes so they boarded the boat. By now it had stopped dragging and it was dangerously close to us and it became clear that the people were not going to move it so we had to upanchor in the storm and go further out the back to re-anchor. There were unlit and badly lit boats around and the only way you can see them is when the lightning flashed. You could say it was a little bit stressful!!! Nai Harn has not been kind to us the year.

Wednesday 2 March – Nai Harn to Ao Chalong
The sea was a bit rolly so we upanchored and went around the point to the other side of Phuket Island. Ao Chalong is full of boats – big and small and also full of buoys so it is always a problem anchoring. We found a spot between three boats on buoys and a huge big wooden boat also on a buoy but his buoy has a big long rope and then he has a big long rope from the buoy to the boat so his swing room is enormous. We went ashore at 4pm and went to the Villa Market and bought some vegemite (and licorice)!! Then had dinner – the most magnificent huge salad – the meals at the Anchor Inn are enormous. Then Peter went to the dentist and Dell stayed to chat a while with Bach & Byte who had joined us. It was well after 8 when we started back to the boat and we could see the lightning and the dark sky. Got back to the boat about half an hour before the storm hit – timing!! We were sitting behind the huge big wooden boat and could see their TV so they were reasonably close!

Thursday 3 March – Ao Chalong
This morning we saw the most amazing thing – Peter said is that a hang glider with a boat on it. And sure enough it was a hang glider with an engine with a dinghy attached to the bottom and a person sitting in it. He bought it in to land on the water then motored to the boat ramp and drove up it – must have had some sort of wheels as well. A little later he took off and flew over us heading to another island!!! Amazing. Another thing we saw in a shop were kayaks with motors (water jet engines – no prop) in the back – Stu & Jean!!!! Good for when you get tired of paddling. Checked the weather for the day and decided to move as we were a little uneasy about the huge big boat thinking if a big blow came it would be possible for his long ropes to stretch and if we were behind him it might be a bit too close for comfort so we moved further out. Made the long trek to shore - about 1 ½ k and went to the paint store and found some paint which will do the interior of our boat and then wandered through the Home Store with all sorts of interesting things for the house. Then went back to the Anchor Inn for dinner and another one of those huge salads. It was almost dark when we headed back and dark by the time we got to the boat. It was a lovely still night with the sea like glass and we sat and watched the lights on the shore – very peaceful.

Friday 4 March – Ao Chalong
Caught the bus to Phuket town and walked around looking in all the lovely shops and went to the Dibuk Restaurant and Peter had the squid stuffed with pork which Brett had last time - it had gone up 20bht but was just as delicious. We were supposed to take a photo of it but the camera wasn’t working! Dell had the spicy pork which was also delicious. We were going to take the bus back but a tuk tuk driver offered to take us back for 100 bht (against 60 bht) so we said ok but as soon as he had us in the tuk tuk it was ‘I will take you to three stores you don’t have to buy anything but I will get free petrol for taking you there’! We weren’t at all keen as we had been caught with this in Bangkok, however, as it turned out the three stores were fantastic and we spent quite some time in them and yes we did purchase something. But it didn’t keep the tuk tuk man happy as we needed to spend 500 Bht for him to get a free t-shirt – our purchase didn’t come to that!! We went to the Anchor Inn and had another wonderful salad.
From gekko
We are preparing to head south again as our Thai visas are up on the 8th. We may have to have another look at the East Malaysia rally as it has a 500 nm section crossing from Malaysia mainland to Borneo – thats a very long way. Meanwhile huge hugs for Jessie, Charlie and Rosie – miss you all terribly. And a big hullo to Aunti Lottie in Germany!

Calm Seas and Fair Winds
Dell and Peter