Bumming around the Butangs

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April 10th 2015
Published: April 10th 2015
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10 days in Butangs

includes dinghy ride south of Butang (Dong) Island

As I write this we are back in the same spot, off Sunset Beach, Koh Lipe, where I left off last time. This afternoon we walked across the island, down Walking Street and along the beach to check out of Thailand at the immigration office. The official in charge today was very welcoming, inviting us into his air-conditioned cabin, offering us chilled bottled water as we filled out the paper work.

Back down the beach we had lunch at Cafe Lipe again. They tend to cater to the healthier side of eating, not even serving Coke or burgers, so I am no sure why we keep going back but the masaman curry with roti bread, and banana shakes are very tasty. This was our last meal in Thailand for a while. We got some groceries and Naomi bought a new top and we walked back across the island.

When we sailed into the anchorage this morning we anchored 100m from the same big wooden boat that almost swung onto us at Telaga Harbour a couple of weeks ago. On our return the boat appeared to be very close to Luna Ray now that the tide had turned…. this boat seemed to have it in for us. We didn’t hang around long to dinghy over to find it wasn’t actually that close after all. We asked the french owners if the two boats came close when the tide swung and they were not concerned. Apparently they only had 5 m of chain on their rode….unusual for such a big heavy boat, especially in these coral waters.

We haven’t been up to much the last 10 days. We moved across to the SE aspect of Koh Rawi again and converged with SV Ananda, off a lovely coral fringed beach which was beautiful for swimming when the tide wasn’t low. Every day you could watch the morphing patterns of the dark clouds of bait fish drifting along the shore, clearly defined against the clear blue water. When you get up close, in their panic to get away they bump into your legs that feels like 10 people drumming their fingers on your shins. We had a couple of days here, with beach excursions with the Ananda mob.

They moved on to show their visitors some more of the islands but we bumped
Clown fishClown fishClown fish

Not as friendly as the Nemo movie makes out
into them again a couple of days later at Cafe Lipe when we returned to Koh Lipe to top up on groceries.

We stayed the night there and the next morning couldn’t resist going for a swim whilst Naomi had a long massage, followed by lunch next door at …. yes, Cafe Lipe again!

After this we moved back to the same spot again on SE Koh Rawi for a couple more nights.

On the way, Naomi was resting downstairs after her massage, so I was helming alone. Whilst distracted taking down a sun-shade canvas I hadn’t noticed a flag marking a fishing pot ahead. I looked up to see the flag brushing alongside the hull, immediately jumped down and put the gear stick into neutral, only to watch the flag get swallowed up under the aft of the boat, and more importantly not reappear.

The light afternoon westerly breeze was now at a good angle for us to sail so I switched the engine off and we cruised along at about 2.5 knots. A trail of rope could be seen hanging back from Luna Ray and Naomi climbed down to the dinghy which we fortunately happened to be towing to take a closer look.

We thought about sailing back to the nearby anchorage downwind to dive under the boat or continue onto our planned anchorage hoping the wind would hold out. I decided we would push on. Naomi, with her trusty boat hook, craning over the front of the dinghy managed to pull out the flag, and then the whole line came free…. horay!!! I guess whoever owns it will be surprised to find its moved half a mile when they go back to retrieve it.

Still not 100 % sure something wasn’t wrapped around the prop, we sailed on and managed to drop anchor without the engine - the last 200m taking about 10 minutes as we came under the shelter of land.

I checked under the boat the next day and gave the hull a scraping as a new species of barnacle had taken over. A couple more days of relaxing, beach visits, the only hardship being the humid heat and Naomi was getting a little bored of paradise.

We moved west a few miles , off what we called Monkey Beach because
Over the coral Over the coral Over the coral

Nr Koh Rokroy
there had been annoying monkeys when we visited earlier, and picked up a mooring marked by a large block of polystyrene. This is half way along the north side of Koh Butang (which I have seen called Koh Dong). On the way the engine was running quite hot which I have noticed lately so I dived under again and attacked the barnacle encrusted prop and scraped it clean…. it must have been like trying to churn through treacle before and the next time we motored there was a big improvement.

We took the dinghy on a tour around the east side of the island and stopped in the shallow water between it and Koh Rokroy - a small rocky outcrop. Some average snorkelling but a pretty little island and beach with beautiful aqua-marine blue water. Alex and I climbed to the top before we all took a long ride across open water to one of the most southerly rocky little islands that were dotted about. Cruised by the navigation light and tidal height recorder.

On the way back we stopped next to a long-tail tied up to a string of buoys who had some tourists snorkelling off the side. I dropped in to take a look and found a great area of beautiful bright purple and pink coral, with masses of fish quivering in the fast current. Naomi took a look too before we sped back to Koh Butang and stopped at a couple of beaches on its north side. We finished the trip with some wildlife spotting- a family of monkeys on the rocks just near Luna Ray.

This morning we battled into fairly strong headwinds - well stronger than we are used to now - to get back to Koh Lipe which is where I started this blog and where we finish our trips to the Butangs and Thailand for a while.

Tomorrow we return to Langkawi and then after a few days make our way south to Pangkor. Its 2 weeks today that we fly back to Australia!


PS. that damn boat is drifting near us again - would be nice if it could pull in some of 150 m of rode!

Additional photos below
Photos: 12, Displayed: 12


schooling in the tropicsschooling in the tropics
schooling in the tropics

Alex learns some letters in the sand

Koh Rawi

16th April 2015
Lazing around

Zen moment
Perfect relaxation.

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