Posted by: catamarantwooceans | July 3, 2012

Sailing in Southwest Thailand–Continued

30.6.12 – Saturday – Sometime in the middle of the night raindrops coming through the hatch and the noise of  wind woke me up. I closed the hatches, looked through the rain splattered windows reassuring our position by the rocks to our north and went back to sleep. With morning light I saw that we were much nearer to those rocks than yesterday, the depth meter showing 16 meters instead of the original anchorage in 10. We dragged!

It was still overcast and rain was in the offing. We raised the anchor and motored northwest towards Koh Hong (this one is in Phang Nga). Hong is a sort of enclosed bay or lagoon and the one we were going to is supposed to be very beautiful.

Sailing through the Phang Nga bay is really amazing; all those rocks and pinnacles will take your breath away. The overcast and bad visibility hamper my photographic efforts but will still give you some idea.

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The area is also quite shallow but we were mid way between high and low water and did not see less than 3.5 meters were 1.6 was indicated on the chart.

As we turned right by the south tip of Koh Yai, Koh Hong became visible with quite a few tourist boats at the south entrance to the hong. We motored on, passing the eastern entrance, in the middle of which a big rock stood as a sentinel.

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We anchored on the northeast of the island and took the dinghy into the hong joining the multitude of kayak paddling tourists.

Back on the boat we had visits by two fishermen’s long-tail boats. One had a few prawns, good for a meal for two. I was willing to pay 300 but not having the correct amount suggested payment in U.S dollars. The fisherman held the money, inspecting it undecidedly.

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He did not have change from 500 and was afraid of the strange notes I offered. The deal did not happen. Another guy had blue crabs and very small lobsters that we didn’t want. By the way,both of them had their wives as crew.

It was only 1200 and both of us thought we could visit another location. Koh Phin Kan, better known as "James Bond island" was just around the corner. We motored over and anchor on the east side of Koh Yang opposite the island where the movie "The man with the golden gun" was shot. The sight of too many tourist boats made us decide to wait until tomorrow morning and visit before the crowds descend on this favorite spot.

Some of those who read my blog regularly may ask themselves:"were there no maintenance issues at all?" Well, of course there were. A few days ago the port head neon lamp had a short and I cannibalized a replacement from an old unit. Today, washing dishes using the salt tap, Gili suddenly complained that the water flow stopped. Coming to take a look I noticed that the port bilge pump light was on. I found a pipe connection that somehow came apart, spilling salt water into the bilge. I reconnected it with a new clamp. Maintenance never ends.

1.7.12 – Sunday – Big rain and wind up to 0800 and then we took the dinghy to J.Bond island. We just circled around without going on shore. The beauty of the place is marred by the numerous vending stalls but this is the way the local people make their living so who am I to complain?

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On the way south we stopped by Koh Phanak’s west coast and going into a cave with the dinghy saw a family of monkeys perched on rocks near the entrance. There was a lot of kayak traffic into and out the cave and the tour guides threw bananas to the waiting primates. So Gili got to see her monkeys after all!

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A bit to the north of the cave we spotted another entrance into the towering cliff through which daylight could be seen. The tide was too high to go in but I’m sure to come again for it.

From Phanak we motored to our night stop, Koh Wa Yai, an island near the entrance to the sound that leads to Yacht Haven marina.  A bit of a disappointment after all those dramatic places we’ve been to, but we had to get closer to the airport as Gili is flying back home tomorrow.

2.7.12 – Monday – From our anchorage, 3.5 miles to the south, Ao Po Grand marina could be seen clearly. Why , then go to Yacht Haven? Gili can get a taxi there and it’ll be closer for me to go back to Au- Chalong. A phone call confirmed that they had space and in we went. They wanted me to go backwards into a space shared with a big motor boat.

I had to battle a strong current and placed the boat right by the dock, Gili gave the marina people the bow and stern lines, but instead of tying them to the cleats they just held them as the current pushed the boat onto that motor boat. My shouts: "Tie, Tie!" Fell on deaf Thai ears and it took a while before all was sorted and we were safely tethered in place. This is a big, busy marina, home to charter companies and some really big and expensive motor yachts.

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                                          from their website

I’ll only stay tonight and then go to Au Chalong to do some planned maintenance and wait for my next crew to come. Shimon Zimon will come on the 8th, he is an old friend; we graduated out of flight-school together many years ago and then flew for the same airline until retirement. Shimon, who has already sailed on "Two Oceans" in Costa Rica is a fun guy and we’re sure to enjoy his stay on the boat. Another Air-Force/Airline friend – Gideon Dror -  will join on the 17th.

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