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Published: February 8th 2015
We had a couple of days stuck on Luna Ray as we worked on the dinghy which we had lifted onto the front deck. We cleaned away some of the glue like residue from when I cleaned it in Bali with acetone (oops!), prepared the handle areas and handles (with some sanding away of old glue) and I tried to glue down the area where the air leaked around the valve (you’re supposed to take it apart for this apparently but I do not have the tool). Two days later the handles seem pretty well fixed on but the air leak was still there - it seemed to stop with pressure so we applied some with long pieces of gaffa tape.
Despite the air still leaking we decided to continue our planned tour rather than rush return to Phuket to have it fixed. The leak was slow and at worst we were never further than a full day sail to get back anyway. For a test run we took the dinghy around the bay with the tourist kayakers at the cutout feet of the towering cliffs and around to Rei Lei West for lunch and a sneaky shower
On our return to Luna Ray we found rally friends of ours from SV Camomile had anchored next to us. After a little chat we set about pulling up Luna Ray’s anchor. There seemed to be a lot of strain on the windlass and it soon became apparent why. The chain was wrapped around some steel pole structure about half the size of a single bed frame, naturally weighted down with barnacles.
As it happened the guys from Camomile were up beside us now as they planned to follow us out the bay but paused when they saw our problem. I could barely lift it let alone manipulate it free but with their help from their dinghy we unwrapped it until it fell into the depths, only to return when I pulled up more chain held on by tangled rope. We cut this free and still it needed further strenuous unwrapping, the last twist swinging the poles around and scraping the nose of the boat before it finally fell away for good.
We both motored over to Naomi’s favourite beach near Chicken Island for a peaceful night. Its actually the same
spot that I am writing this blog as we are back here again.
The next day we motored south for a few hours in the afternoon and anchored off the west ‘quiet’ side of Phi Phi Don. It was not quiet and the next day it proved to be a rocky anchorage with the numerous boats delivering snorkelers to the bay, littering the water with their bright fluro orange life-jackets (I don’t like to generalise but it seems a lot of asian tourists cannot swim).
We visited the beach, inspecting the coral on the way which was pretty poor, and had a little swim and throw of the frisby. Set behind the beach a large complex of bungalows are half built. I came across a Tsunami evacuation sign (there are a lot of these around) pointing “400 m” down the beach, I followed it but 20m later came to another Tsunami evacuation sign pointing “500 m” inland, vaguely at a scrub covered hill.
Back at Luna Ray we said a fond farewell to my experimental goaty.
We moved Luna Ray a little further south down the island to the large bay on
Phi Phi’s west side, and into Monkey Beach where we picked up the one mooring that happened to be free. Its a lovely beach, set back by steep jungle, white sand, clear water and indeed monkeys are about, Macaques to be exact.
The next day Naomi & Alex went to the main Phi Phi strip while I had some alone time on the boat. She liked it so much we all went back again for lunch the next day, and then we moved the few miles down to Maya Bay on Phi Phi Le. That evening was quite mystical in the bay as the water was dead calm, masts reflecting in the moonlight and the looming cliffs lit up by the bright green lights of the fishing boats out to sea.
When the rocking from the wake of long-tails & speedboats got too incessant the next morning (about 9:30) we headed out on the dinghy to circumnavigate the island (see aerial view photo). First a closer look at “the beach” and around to the bay at its south where we stopped for a while at another beach (“A” on picture). Then around to huge
hong Pileh on the east side, full of speed boats and fluro life-jacketed tourists where we stopped at another beach for a drink and snack.
Next was the “Viking Cave” which looked like it had been lived in and there was a platform for boats but none of the tour boats were using it so we assumed it was not safe. Naomi later found out that apparently you are not allowed to enter as the cave is full of nesting birds and the nests themselves are collected as very valuable for making soup & cosmetics. Apparently the nests are held together by the bird using its own spit…. nice!
Then we followed the cliffs around the tip of the island in the messy choppy water, passing a cave that actually opened up through the island completely and returned to Maya Bay for lunch and visited two more beaches.
When we ask Alex what he wants to do the answer is usually “goto the beach” and today he went to four!… what a spoilt child.
The next morning we returned to Monkey Beach and had another visit to Phi Phi for lunch and to get
some supplies and the next day motor-sailed back to Naomi’s favourite beach again near Chicken Island.
We had a few lazy days here, relaxing on the beach, relaxing on the boat, watching the rock climbers and gave Luna Ray’s hull a bit of a clean - its a slow job so we are doing it piece by piece and had to stop the first day when, first Naomi has a fear that sharks come out at sunset, and second the current was getting too hard to fight and I already had to swim once after Alex as he had drifted away.
As each evening sets in, swarms of bats fly overhead and the almost full moon creeps out from behind the cliff tops. A nice end to a day of not doing much… we are really appreciating the fact we have a chance to rest without the ever-present need to keep moving… its been the first time since we left Yeppoon 9 months ago that we haven’t had a deadline to keep (except for my visa renewal in a few weeks).
From here we returned to the mainland to West Rei
Lei beach where we had some disappointing pizza but did top up the shower bags again.
From here we set out west on our gradual return to Phuket, stopping first at Koh Hong (Krabi side (not to be confused with Koh Hong near Phuket which is only 15miles away)) . As you might guess this island has a hong, what we didn’t guess on was the unusual SE 15 knot wind that picked up that evening which gave us a bouncy uncomfortable night as the anchorage was fully exposed to it.
We left early the next morning, came around the west side of the island (which was nicely protected as we thought it might be as we jostled around the previous evening) and took up the mooring outside the hong right next to the reef. The guide says you need a metre of tide to dinghy into the hong but even with 1.8 m it was a close thing and we paddled the last bit to a small sand spit in the middle of hong. We have seen a few hongs now and were not too impressed with this one. Stopped at the nearby beaches and
came across a cave the guide recommended visiting but it was closed for “swallow conservation”.
From here we motored north towards the tip of Phang Nga Bay in search of a better protection from the 20 knot winds predicted that night… we found a great safe spot at Koh Roi and of course the wind stayed light. 'Nuff said for now.
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