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Published: February 23rd 2015
Well, last time I left off was at Koh Roi and now I am writing most of this back at Phi Phi Don again.
Koh Roi is a beautiful little island, with a large enclosed hong and mostly spared the tourist traffic. In the morning we went to northern of the two beaches and the arch way entrance came into view. We waded through the gap in the rock, ducking our heads, and lifting them up to take in the view of the vertical walls of the hong surrounding us. Its mostly taken up my mangroves with a sandy creek skirting one edge.
We left the hong to find two tourist long tail boats arriving so we went to hang out at the other beach.
From here we travelled over to another chain of attractive islands and rested the night. There wasn’t really anywhere to go ashore but the conditions were right for Alex to fly his new kite.
Across the shallow waters of north Phang Nga bay near the top of tide, we made our way up to “the Gypsy Village” - popular spot for tourists which is actually a
stilt village of muslims and not sea gypsies at all. We were planning on just a drive by but decided to stop as it would would be a well protected spot for the predicted windy night and there were some interesting sounding caves/tunnels to explore. Despite some long dinghy trips we never found these sites but had fun exploring mangroves amongst the beautiful scenery, and then had a poor meal at the village.
The next day we made our way a little south passed James Bond Island and anchored at a little island a little to its south, where we came across SV Chapter Two who we hadn’t seen since we left them in Langkawi before Xmas. In the late afternoon we dinghied across to the famous island which has 2 ticket offices as its a national park apparently - seems strange as half of it is covered in hawkers stalls. Fortunately we were there late enough all the tourists & hawkers were gone so got explore alone, and didn’t get stung for the park fee too.
The following day we moved down to the west side of Koh Hong (the western one) and
I became tour guide as I showed Naomi & Alex the hong.
From here we completed our circuit of Phang Nga Bay by returning to Koh Phenak and this time made it into the cave to the hong. We paddled quietly under the hanging bats and the view of the cave roof mirrored in the torchlight was bazaar, as if you were looking at the sea bed through extremely clear water. On our first visit the water was still too high to pass under the arch into the hong so we returned a few hours later and managed to squeeze under with about an inch to spare from the sharp inflatable puncturing rocks.
Inside the hong we were alone to paddle around the two ‘rooms’ in the shallow water… we couldn’t stay long as it was getting shallower… we never did find the openings in the hong wall we had found in the cave at the north end of the island a week or two earlier.
The next day we motored the few hours south alongside Phuket Island to a island just off the entrance to Boat Lagoon Marina. We rejected anchoring where
the guide recommends as it was getting a little swell from the SE and stopped more on the west side in 7m.
Just after I had had a shower Naomi told me the wind had shifted from the land, blowing us toward the island’s beach and we were hitting the bottom. We raced to get the anchor up in the dropping tide, and had to drive the engine hard to drive off the seabed.
Late morning the next day, when the tide was on the rise we followed the long shallow meandering channel marked through the bay by many concrete pilons and into the creek passed The Royal Phuket Marina and into Boat Lagoon Marina.
We had three nights here to try and get the dinghy’s leaky valve repaired. It was hard to find someone and even harder someone who comes to the marina so we resorted to borrowing a tool to open up the valve ourselves but it didn’t fit. At the same time we found a guy who took a look at the dinghy but said he couldn’t work on it until monday morning.
Each late morning we
got into the routine of heading to the pool to cool off, followed by lunch (I had fish & chips every day), after which would be time for another cooling dip. It wasn’t all lazing around though, Naomi did lots of washing, and we got the wind generator down. The dinghy guy returned monday and after failing to remove the valve too as he didn’t have the proper tool either, told us it was best to leave it as opening it could damage the surrounding PVC, making the repair harder/impossible. He recommended we use some sealant to plug the leak. This last day day became frantic. We hired “Randy” who was looking for work to tend to the hull scratches, I got some quotes for repairs on the pulpit & stanchions, had the wind generator pole straightened, got 200lts drinking water delivered (I had to walk to the shop eventually to make this happen), some food supplies and also had a free rigging check that we had been offered way back in Darwin. The rigger said the mast was very strong and couldn’t fault the rigging except for one rusty bolt in one of
the spreaders. He said it didn’t really concern him but might give reason for an insurance company not to cover a claim if we were in an incident… I told him it was not a problem for us, we are not insured!
When Naomi went to settle the water and electricity bill once the tide was high enough to leave at five o’clock, the office staff said the computer charges for a new night once 3pm has passed. I was pissed off, they knew we were waiting for the water delivery they were meant to organise (and failed) and couldn’t leave earlier as we had to wait for the tide but had said nothing. I didn’t see why we should pay an extra night, especially when the main hold up was the channel into the marina that they didn’t bother to dredge so we left an envelope to cover the water & electricity and motored out.
About 100m outside the entrance we ground to a halt in the shallow muddy water just next to where a few of the large tourist speed boats tie up for the night. A dinghy with a couple of boys from
the marina came up behind and we thought they might be after us as we hadn’t paid for this surprise extra night. We reversed off the mud and made it through slightly closer to shore and then the two boys actually offered to lead us out.
The next day we motored down to Chalong Bay and went ashore to get some more shopping for things that couldn’t be found at the marina shop. After this we had a couple of evenings back in Nai Harn Bay - whilst there we heard on the radio it had been voted the 3rd best beach in Asia - Alex enjoyed playing in the tiny surf and rode his first few waves on his boogie board. We have decided that rather than extending my visa we would leave Thailand and return for a month to explore the southern islands.
So we returned to Chalong Bay to complete the checking out process which was very straight forward and moved across to the eastern bay for the night.
We left early the next morning to take advantage of the breeze that tends to die out around midday
but were surprised to find it was pretty blowy. Close hauled into 20 knots (with gusts to 24 knots) we were having a bumpy wet ride so decided to stop for breakfast at an island about 8 miles out. After bacon & eggs we set off again as things seemed a little settled but within half an hour the wind quickly dropped leaving us flapping about going nowhere so we motored all the rest of the way to Phi Phi Don - to rub salt in the wound a nice southerly breeze picked up just before we dropped anchor!
Sunday we took a long bumpy ride on the dinghy down the west side, stopping at a couple of coves punched out of the high cliff coastline and then into a stunning little bay with a narrow entrance of vertical rock and schools of small fish in the clear water - called Wang Long Bay. We stopped at the beach and I climbed up to a cave but didn’t have a light to explore it to its end.
After morning tea back at Luna Ray we went to the tourist packed village for lunch and a few
The afternoon went badly for me. I set about repairing the dome of wind generator - I had already glued together many of its cracks - then I dropped it making three more big cracks! Damn!
We decided to have a swim on the beach and getting into the dinghy, as a joke, I pretended to accidentally fall in the water but my arm got caught up in the davit ropes giving me wicked rope burns in my armpit….ooch! This really spoilt the trip to the beach so it was cut short as I was so sore.
Today we set off early again and enjoyed a delightful sail close hauled in 12 knots but it lasted less than an hour before dropping to around 8 knots but still enough to move slowly forward, until the engine had to on just before noon. We were heading into a bay near the top of Koh Lanta when I realised the light westerly wind had arrived so we turned right and slowly sailed south passed numerous beaches, bungalows, resorts and sunbathers. We dropped anchor at the southern most bay at around 5:30 pm in barely enough wind to move - only 28 miles in 10 hours but a very pleasant comfortable trip.
We should get to Langkawi in the next few days.
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