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Published: March 21st 2015
Its been a while since the last blog and I left off at the bottom of Koh Lanta, half way to Langkawi. I guess I am not so keen to post the blogs now that we are familiar ground, less novelty to inspire me to write.
We had some more very pleasant long slow days sailing south to Malaysia - I think our record low was 2.4 knots average one day. Despite this being the NE monsoon, making us anchor on the west side of land, there were westerly afternoon sea breezes. They were light winds so the waves made were small but the land we anchored next to were sheer rock faces the waves would reverberate off them make for sloppy water… so we sailed slowly each day as long as possible as it was more comfortable than resting on anchor.
One afternoon we pulled up next to Koh Muk. After visiting the lovely little beach and the throng of tourist boats had gone we went down to see the Emerald Cave. At first glance it looked like we must have the tide too high as the arch into the cave was low to
the water but on closer inspection the true entrance was revealed and we carefully paddled into the tight passage. This became my favourite hong. Not only do you get to paddle through a dark tunnel, when you enter the hong on the other side the water is clear and a small beach welcomes you. All around you are overlooked by the tall vertical walls of the hong and huge trees trying to clamber up the sides. We found the windless arena is also a perfect spot for throwing a frisby.
The last day was a beautiful sailing day. A decent breeze pushed us away from Turatoa Island and when we were clear of fishing boats to avoid I left Naomi at the helm while I visited the toilet. I returned 5 minutes later to find we were becalmed!… so the motor went on for an hour. As we came across the 4 mile gap between the island and Langkawi the wind piped up again and we were flying across at 6-7 knots. We crossed the border just after noon and the wind eased as we fell into the lee of the towering Langkawi coast. Just as it
was getting so light that we considered putting the engine back on, a new breeze came in from the opposite direction, perfect for bringing us around the corner into Teliga Harbour.
We arrived a lot earlier than expected so called up for a berth that day at the marina - this small marina does get a nice breeze across it which made steering into our spot a little tricky but there were a couple of staff to catch ropes so no problem. We spent 3 nights at the marina, our main reason was to fix the dinghy by using general marine sealant over the hole where the PVC was coming away from the valve. We decided to use some Fixtec sealant we had left designed for windows as its has more stretch which we thought would be good for the inflatable. The first setback was the next morning as the hot morning sun had expanded the air in the dingy and inflated it making a crack in the sealant before it had set. I was surprised to find it was still so wet. So we sealed it again but a few days later found the
Enjoying the complimentary tea
Lookout at Langkawi highest mountain - Gunyung Raya
sealant never set. It might have been a good choice of product but all we had was an open tube and out of date so not really a great surprise.
We had a few nice lunches as the harbour side cafes and hired a car one day to tour the island and stock up at the supermarkets in Kuah. We finally sorted out our filtration system- we joined two filter housings together, the first has a 5 micron sediment filter and the second is a ceramic filter, which means we can fill our tanks from the tap via these.
We sat a couple of days on anchor in the popular little harbour outside the marina before we docked at the fuel wharf to top up the tanks. We left Luna Ray there while we went through the efficient check out process which is conveniently right at the marina - we had intended to do this the afternoon before but the Harbour Master was nowhere to be found. The officer at immigration said he probably went home early- we had been there since 1pm!
We got back to the fuel dock just in
time to let in a huge motor boat, shifted forward to the next jetty to top up the deck water and then out to sea. There was a bit of a swell which we are not used to but when away from Langkawi the wind picked up to about 12 knots which gave us something to push against our sails and stop up swinging about and meant we could actually sail for a couple of hours.
The rest of the trip was easy as when the engine came back on the waves were now almost with us and around 4 pm we dropped anchor on the busy southern side of Koh Lipe. I immediately liked the look of the clear blue water fringing the beach and though busy with tour boats and long tails this was nothing compared to the Thai waters further north. Naomi was non-plussed until we went ashore the next morning where she fell in love with place… it is developed with conveniences for tourists with restaurants and massage parlours lining the beachfront but not so much it hasn’t lost its laid back charm and not swamped with tourists.
small prefab hut on the beach where we did our immigration check in. To our surprise and annoyance Noami & Alex (officially passengers) only got entrance for 15 days where we know other boats had got 30 days for all aboard as indeed we had in Phuket. It seems it depends on the mood of the official on the day… perhaps we should have brought a gift (bribe).
The next day we moved around to the northwest side of the island where we picked up a mooring off “Sunset Beach”. It was around this time that the dinghy no longer just had a slow leak but went completely flat, as if Neptune himself had sat on it. We pulled it on the deck and got our our spare dinghy - not heard any complaints recently from Naomi about how much space it takes up. Our second attempt returned us to the previous state of a dinghy that still deflates slowly and not completely. So for now we just need to give it a c
ouple of bouts of pumping for a days use - we can live with that - just a little bit of extra exercise.
I am now writing this on saturday, our last morning in the Butangs as we checked out of Koh Lipe yesterday (this was free but would have cost 1000bht ($40) if we had left it until today as its the weekend).
We have had a lovely relaxing 2 weeks on white sandy beaches covered in hermit crabs and clear water. In one spot between Koh Butang and Rawi we sat on a mooring for 4 days visiting the surrounding beaches and the most colourful coral I have seen in Asia, before we got kicked off by a dive boat.
We found the couple that we leant our dinghy to had left an inflatable flooring with it which we liked more than the slatted flooring we have. It also has a slow leak so I took Alex for a paddle on it to search for the leak. We found the hole but later I ran us over some oyster shell covered rocks. As the air started bubbling from between my legs I called Naomi over to rescue us on the dinghy before we sank. So another extra repair to make. We pulled the zodiac
Testing the leak on the dinghy inflatable flooring
This was before I ran us over rocks and made a much bigger leak
onto the front of the boat to pack it away. I decided to hang it off the side and throw some buckets of water into it to wash out the sand and tiny pebbles. Unfortunately in the process I stepped on a small skylight air vent - crunch!, cracking the 30 year old plastic cover. Great , another repair and like most boat jobs that you think will be easy was not straightforward. It took about 2 days to glue the plastic back together which it wouldn't do back to its original shape and then when I came to screwing it back down two of the screws snapped off leaving half in the deck. Because of the soft plastic collar they were in I could not drill them out without causing more damage so ended up filling the holes with epoxy so I could hold it down with small screws. I think it was five days later that I finally put it all back in place with sealant to stop water leaks.
We have had some rolly anchorages as there really are not any well protected bays and the heat in the middle of the day has
been oppresive - so we have spent plenty of time under the shade of beach trees and taking cooling swims. Alex’s floaties have progressively been getting punctures but this was timed well as he’s now taking his first few strokes in swimming unaided - for a boaty this could be a bigger milestone that taking his first steps.
So today we will head back to Langkawi and think about whether we want to come back here as we always planned to spend a month.
Our big news is that we have decided all this relaxing cruising has got too much so we are going to return to Australia for a break, about 6 months, and top up the cruising kitty. We touch down at the Gold Coast on ANZAC day.
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