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New oceans and another birthday passes

March 12, 2013

Wow we are ìn the Indian Ocean.  What a feeling that is.  The charts also say we are in the Andaman Sea. Regardless we are out of the Pacific and in a totally different realm.  It’s quite the feeling and will probably take some time to get used to being in a completely different environment from the last 30 years.We were looking forward to leaving Langkawi as we wanted to find some clear water to snorkel in and check out Sage’s bottom. We have suspected damage to our centreboard. Not having proper scuba gear to spend time below the surface in murky water has made it difficult to assess how much damage. We heard that the islands between Langkawi and Thailand had clear water. We were keen to get under way so left Telaga Bay after seeing to all the clearance procedures.

Enjoying the flat sailing to Phuket

Enjoying the flat sailing to Phuket

The north-east winds were blowing gently so off we headed to our first island which happened to be part of Thailand and only about 28 miles away.  The two islands we were headed to were Ko Nipit and Ko Adang. There is no way to make formal entry in these islands and so chose a remote anchorage and spent the  night at anchor admiring the sunset, the landscape and finally clear water.  Yes, it’s true once north of Langkawi the water-cooled down a bit and the water felt refreshing and being clear felt cleaner.  Still not wetsuit time thank god.

We decided to-day hop our way up to Phuket due to the large number of fish boats that work at night-time primarily catching  squid.  However there are lots of other fishing ranging from nets stretched between two boats, anchored floats holding nets just below the surface as well as hand lining for various types of fish.  Daytime sailing is like an obstacle course avoiding scrap pieces of fishing net, watching out for hemp line floating free and staying out-of-the-way of any local fishing vessels and avoiding all the other garbage that was floating out at sea. There is everything out the from bird cages, yes for real, have sunk refrigerators, old crab traps. I guess the only thing we haven’t seen out on the ocean is a car or a tourist floating by!

We succeeded.  We made out way to Phuket safely stopping at two other anchorages on the way north.  One, a national park called Ko Rok Nai, and the other, Ko Pi Pi. Ko Rok Nai was a hoot.  There were 7 boats anchored in the channel between the two islands.  We were amazed to see so many boats in one anchorage. It was tight and luckily the wind remained light and by next morning all boats were in the right place.  We headed out early so as to make it to Ko Pi Pi made famous by party animals who like raves and we were ready to fit in!

Toursit boats lined up in Ko Pi Pi Don

Toursit boats lined up in Ko Pi Pi Don

Ko Pi Pi was wild with boats coming and going, a shoreline bustling with small businesses, restaurants and hotels and ferries coming and going to and from everywhere.  The harbour did not settle down until well after 2200hrs with the music from the shoreline shutting down at 0200hrs.  We were glad to leave the next morning and make the last jump to Phuket and clearance through Ao Chalong Bay.  Humoresly as we were approaching the coast of Phuket and clearance into Ao Chalong we passed by a sailing dinghy.  The boat was about 2 miles off the coast of Phuket and we were on intersecting courses.  As we passed by the one person onboard called out in broken english ‘and which way is to Pi Pi?’.  We were amazed as this was just a small laser sailboat good for lake sailing and he was definitely headed in the right direction so we just confirmed his course and sailed on.  He still had 15 miles to go, good wind but it was 1600hrs and we wondered if he had any navigation lights.

Toursit boats lined up in Ko Pi Pi Don

Toursit boats lined up in Ko Pi Pi Don

Now we are anchored in a lovely bay called Freedom Bay which at one time was called Relax Bay.  Amazing, it’s a tiny anchorage with a gorgeous beach that is only used in the daytime by tourists coming in on longtails to spend the day baking.  Lots of Russians with a smattering of french and german.  No Canadians! Or, at least no Canadians that made their presence known or flew a Canadian flag which tourists from Sweden, Norway and Switzerland seem to do.  Oh yes, Norwegians to that as well!

We feel blessed in Phuket with Buddha overlooking most anchorages

We feel blessed in Phuket with Buddha overlooking most anchorages

And all this was a 10 minute walk across the headland to Patong.  Patong is party central.  A carnival of exotics dosed with lady boy bars and strip neon that outdoes the most garish of shopping streets in Paris or New York.  We were glad not to have to listen to or see the bacchanalian celebrations and rather enjoyed sitting out on deck under a starry night contemplating what kind of celebration Connie wanted for her birthday the next day.

Luisa as a Buddhist noviate

Luisa as a Buddhist noviate

Being close to party central was not an attraction for Connie.  Instead we spent a nice quiet morning enjoying the beach and scenery until the first boatload of longtails arrived at 0930hrs.  We then decided to up anchor and had a great 12 mile sail along the Phuket coast to Kamala Beach.  Yes another sandy beach and another lovely sunset.  But this was special. It was Connie’s birthday and we did celebrate with a duty-free bottle of champagne from Langkawi, a dinner out at a place called ‘Grill Bill’ and another starry tropical night.  Grill Bill satisfied our desire for western food for quite sometime.  We both had ribs and afterwards felt like we had each eaten a cow.  We had not eaten that much meat at one sitting in quite some time. All quite memorable as this was beginning to feel like the tropics we remembered.

It’s been relatively dry for the last 4 weeks, the wind has been consistent off the west coast of Phuket, the water clear for snorkeling and the food excellent and all at a reasonable cost.  No complaints here.

View of Ao Chalong up at the Buddha statue

View of Ao Chalong up at the Buddha statue

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Donald Innes permalink
    March 12, 2013 19:54

    Tony Wow!!!!! you two are in the Indian Ocean!!! The old saying “farout” seems correct.
    Well done and how very cool, as you said it just must seem strange to be tacking across a different sea.
    Thanks as always for the great posts and pics
    Be well and take care
    Much Peace

  2. armchair admiral permalink
    March 12, 2013 21:29

    Hey you barnacles, that was an excellent post. Love that new ocean and enjoy all it holds for you. Happy birthday Constantly McCann, you must be 49 by now! More please…

  3. John Middleton permalink
    March 13, 2013 04:02

    Glad your enjoying Thailand. We absolutely loved it when we were there in 2006 – friendly people, great food, warm clear water for snorkeling and all at about 1/4 or less what it would cost here at home (except the diving which seems to be run by westerners and is not cheap). Always wondered what those fishing boat were after, as you could see them dotting the horizon at nite when we were on Ko Lanta. Look forward to every posting. Have a great time and be safe!

  4. Anne Boldt permalink
    March 13, 2013 12:47

    in the clear water what did you learn about your centre board?
    In Eugene Oregon tonight, home on the early COHO on Friday morning.
    Annie B.

  5. Raewyn Weyer permalink
    March 13, 2013 18:16

    Following your travels eagerly. Was cool to see the pic posted of Strider in Rebak!! Take care. Raewyn & Brent
    Oh – and loved your orchids Connie – happy belated birthday.

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