Posted by: catamarantwooceans | July 21, 2012

With my friends in SW Thailand

17.7.12 – Tuesday – Now that Gideon is here, I know his and Shimon’s time constraints and can make a sailing plan.

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Today we’ll go to Racha Noi, back to that nice little bay where we found a mooring a few days ago. Although the weather forecast was good we could see some heavy clouds on the western horizon. As we approached Racha Yai that cloud bank overtook us. Time for precautionary reef! As the cloud passed, we sailed to the lee of the island where we found flat water and light wind. Approaching the bay, we saw a catamaran and a sport-fishing boat but thankfully nobody was occupying "our" mooring.

As night approached, quite a few local fishing vessels congregated in our little bay. From time to time the noise of an engine without a muffler broke the silence but that was just for a minute or two.

18.7.12 – Wednesday -  I woke up at 0555 and saw that there was enough light to go. Our destination, Ko Ha Yai, was 35 miles away and since the pilot book described it as "offering no real protection in either season" I wanted to be able to continue to another place should the anchorage turns out to be untenable. I started the engines intending, as I briefed the day before, to go out by myself, but the guys were quick to join. We were surprised by the number of fishing vessels anchoring near the bay; I counted more than twenty! The wind was almost dead from astern, so we sailed wing and wing, jib poled out as is my favorite configuration in such conditions.

Looking back I saw the catamaran that was with us in the bay go out too. We had to sail about 20 degrees to starboard of the target and that cat was going under power, full speed ahead, probably towards the same destination. The going was good and when 10 miles to the islands (actually Ko Ha Yai is a group of small islands in close proximity to each other) we jibed, entered the pass between the two "big ones" took the sails down and turned towards the preferred anchorage, designated "A" in the book. The other cat, that I now saw was called "Bohemian" and probably a charter boat, was already there, taking the best mooring close to the beach while we took another just south of the "floating island".

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                                        Floating Island

The rocks here are not your regular Thai ones; they are stratified in a way that the guide describes as " the work a drunken bricklayer".  It’s beautiful here and there is a lot of birdlife around, circling or diving for food. In the afternoon Gideon and I went snorkeling. A lot of fish here! We got all the way to the sandy beach and looking back at our anchorage, with the sun lighting it from the west, we had the same thought:"I must take a picture of this!"

I swam quickly to the boat, woke Shimon up and we took the dinghy, cameras and smart phones ashore.

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                                  Shimon on the beach in Ha Yai

I have to use a superlative again; this is a magical place.

19.7.12 – Thursday – An overcast morning with choppy sea made me cancel my snorkeling plans. we set out to the southeast towards Ko Rok, a couple of islands where "Survivor" programs were held. Nice, wooded islands, but I can’t say I recognized the place from the little I saw of it on T.V.

There were a few yachts including Bohemian, which moored next to us and a lot of local fishing boats. Some of them have those side-opening booms with strong lamps, presumably for calamari night fishing.

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20.7.12 – Friday – Early morning brought heavy rain. When that was finished we sailed towards Koh Muk, to the famous Morakot cave which goes 80 meters through the mountain to arrive at a beautiful Hong. Described as "Awesome" and "Lifetime memory" in the guide, we did not want to miss it. The directions in the book were not that accurate. We expected a lot of tourist boats, moorings and ropes but none could be seen; we could not find the place!

We anchored north of the assumed position, put the dinghy in the water and motored along the shore, finally locating the entrance. The tide was too high to go in and swell in the mouth of the cave made going in dangerous.

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So, if you come there, look for a square sign south of a deep bay in the middle of the west coast of Koh Muk; the entrance to the cave is close to the north of it.

We decided not to wait for better conditions and motored on the Koh Ngai, where we anchored near one of the beach resorts. Impressive rocks lye on the way; here is one, looking southwest.

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We went ashore to the Mayalay resort and the view from the deck is simply fantastic. Evening is falling so the  quality is not great but you get the picture, I’m sure.

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The food was bland and overcooked. They didn’t have cold beer so we got glasses with ice…  A disappointment!

21.7.12 – Saturday – 32 miles to Ko Phi Phi. We entered the south bay and anchored. Immediately we were rolled by passing speed boats. Really unpleasant! Let’s go to the bay in the north. After an hour we were in a tranquil environment. Much better!

This is just a place to do laundry and provision, not have fun. Hundreds of youngsters think differently. Oh, well, we’re past that stage.

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