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Travelling on the shoulder

December 5, 2013

We recently completed a trip from Langkawi to Ao Chalong, Phuket.  It was what I call done in the shoulder season.  By that I mean it’s the time of the year when the seasons are changing.  Here in Thailand/Malaysia we are changing from the south-west monsoons to the north-east monsoons.  It’s a tricky time of the year as the wind can come from any direction.

We were confident that we would be OK weather-wise.  We have been in the area now for almost a year and we have rarely seen the wind blow from the same direction with any strength for more that a few hours.  However, we were caught out this time.

We left Khua, Langkawi and headed over to Telaga, on or our favourite anchorages in Langkawi.  The wind was from the north-east which it had been blowing for the last week and our thoughts were that the north-east monsoons were settling in and our guest, Sandy from Edmonton, would enjoy a trip north with us.

We anchored in Telaga for the night and with predictions of a bit of a blow and a low coming in we left for Koh Lipe.  The prediction was for the wind to change directions and come from the southerly quadrant.  We headed up to the north-west coast of the island despite the wind coming from the northerly sector making the anchorage a little jumpy.  Sure enough that night the wind changed to a more southerly quadrant and the bouncing anchorage became smoother.

By nightfall the wind was up, local fishing boats were coming into anchor, rain had been blowing hard for two days and were not at all comfortable.  Night was no better especially when the wind shifted to the south-west.  By morning we could not see the boat next to us as it disappeared in the swell.  Time to move.  Local boats were calling us to follow them so up with the anchor and off to the east side of the island.

We were finally in some degree of comfort with the seas calmed by the island but we were tired of being trapped on the boat so headed ashore.  And the day after we left for points north.

What follows are a few pictures of the storm’s aftermath in the various places we visited as we made our way to Phuket.

Beach scene on what should be a calm anchorage

Beach scene on what should be a calm anchorage

The above scene is in Koh Lipe and is taken in an anchorage where most boats normally anchor but with the southerly winds blowing it left it exposed and those who stayed behind had lots of trouble on their hands

A charter cat on the beach

A charter cat on the beach

And here is someone in the same anchorage that stayed too long and their mooring broke and when they started their engines the ropes became entangled in the engine props and around the rudders

Sunken in Koh Phi Phi

Sunken in Koh Phi Phi

Look closely under the water and see the sunken tourist boat – 4X350h.p. engines and seating for 40.  Don’t know the story but now it’s flagged and underwater in the main harbour of Koh Phi Phi

Koh Phi Phi harbour

Koh Phi Phi harbour

Yet more damage in Koh Phi Phi’s main harbour.  Lots of local fishboats that are now only good for firewood

This is all just a reminder to us at sea that we too could possibly end up on the beach in a storm but we hold on to our luck and hope for the best.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Jesse permalink
    December 6, 2013 03:47

    So eerie seeing that boat just under the surface! Glad you weathered everything – have been thinking of you two lots over the last while!

  2. Anne Boldt permalink
    December 6, 2013 04:24

    Holy shit you 2!!!!!!
    Give me our land yacht any day!
    Annie B.

  3. December 6, 2013 05:13

    Tony:
    Minus eight degrees here at the moment. With wind chill factor -20! The only boats on the beach here should be. Glad you made it through, hope that was a one-of experience.
    Bugga! Fred

  4. John Middleton permalink
    December 6, 2013 05:22

    Glad to hear you guys are ok after all the horrible storms you’ve had in that part of the world. I hope you have a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  5. December 11, 2013 07:36

    O wow, that’s horrible!

  6. Donald Innes permalink
    December 14, 2013 06:32

    Wow that was a blow eh
    that tourist boat looks like it was a good size
    I am happy you two made it OK
    Hey Top of the Season I hope it is Fun One
    Happy New Year
    Much Peace
    Don

    • December 15, 2013 02:11

      Apparently the boat that sank in Koh Phi Phi harbour could carry 400 passengers. From the look I had the would have had to be jammed in like sardines. At least no-one was onboard when it sank.

      Tony Gibb/Connie McCann Onboard SY Sage 52/25 Soi Phon Chalong, Moo 9 Chaofa Road East T. Chalong PhuketSage

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