Posted by: catamarantwooceans | August 5, 2012

By myself–part 2

2.8.12 – Thursday – I actually made up my mind yesterday. The forecast for today was westerly 18 – 20 knots. So what’s the problem? The problem is that when you stay put in a place for too long you become “soft”, suddenly 20 knots, that you know can easily go up to 25 or more, makes a big impression on you. But I’ve been there and know that when you go out you can handle anything that comes your way and enjoy doing it.

Yes, the morning started with gusts up to 22 knots; I raised the two anchors and motored out. Just ahead of me a couple on another catamaran had the same idea.

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I put the main in second reef, the genoa in first and shut the engines down. The sea was not too rough, so I raised the main to first reef and we were going fast. “See, Miki? I told you!” (I’m not really talking to myself…) I just felt great; it was as if I was sitting in a stuffy, smoke-filled room and somebody opens all the windows and lets the fresh air come in. I even put the fishing gear in the water! None caught but never give up hope!

Coming to the lee of Racha Noi I took the sails down. Searching for my mooring I could not recognize its location. No wonder, it was high water and the shape of the rocks on shore looked different. Circled the bay I found it and made an approach for it. First try – overshoot, the current was pushing me forward. Second time – I caught the mooring line with the boathook but the boat was moving too fast aft and I was neither able to pull the line nor to release the hook which slipped out of my hand and floated merrily, drifting slowly towards the rocks. Third approach – and this time my “hook” is the broom – is successful. I tie a line to the mooring and jump overboard to save the boat-hook.

Safely moored and refreshed by my dip in the sea I look around with satisfaction. I am the only yacht in the bay but by no means alone. No less than twelve fishing vessels anchor further out to await the night, which is when they go to work. They are far out and do not intrude upon my tranquility.

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I took the dinghy and the snorkeling gear to explore the southern part of the bay. Not a bad reef! A big barracuda was cruising the shallows, noticed me and got scared.

Back on the boat I thought I’d try fishing again. I found out again that the local fish did not like shrimp. I had some remains of the fish we bought in Phi Phi and tried casting those out. Late evening, light is fading and I get two fish in quick succession. Chef! change dinner’s menu!

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I know we had bigger ones in the past but hey, a man’s got to eat!

3.8.12 – Friday – Yesterday evening I was surprised to discover two goats, one white the other brown, wandering on the rocks above the shore. I thought Racha Noi was uninhabited, so are those wild goats? During the morning swim I came close to where I saw them the day before and found out there were four more; a big male among them.

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Snorkeling I saw the regulars plus a big school of young barracuda; there were hundreds of them and immediately the question: “Why don’t they like my lures when they grow up?” comes up and is never answered satisfactorily.

Sometime before noon four fishing vessels came close and anchored. They seem to pair and drag one big net between them. Some of the fishermen went ashore right by the goat’s terrace. I was afraid that they were going for the goats, which have hastily left. After about half an hour the men came back, two carrying banana stems and one something white in his hand. Using the binoculars I was relieved to see that it wasn’t a goat but bamboo shoots.

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As evening came I started my preparations for dinner. I was going to have a Pizza and made the dough, kneading it for 10 minutes and putting it to rest and let the yeast do its job. I now had at least 45 minutes on my hands and the time being right I went fishing. took out three fish, similar in size to the ones I got yesterday. I still fancied the pizza and had it with tzatziki on the side and cabernet sauvignon merlot by, who else, Two Oceans winery.

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The fish went into the freezer.

4.8.12 – Saturday – This is the third day I’m here and I’ve never been ashore. I was determined to correct this. The Thai guys climbed the rocks barefoot, I swam ashore wearing my sneakers and holding in one hand a plastic bag container into which I put my Olympus 770 SW, waterproof down to 33 feet when new and my leatherman multitool.

When you are at the mooring looking towards shore it seems very close; once you’re in the water proportions change, especially if you’re swimming on your side carrying a package. I got there alright, just a few scratches from the mussels encrusted rock I used as a step. Those rocks must have fallen from the hill in ancient times and some of them are very big.

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I started climbing that hill; there was no real trail but I could see a way up, some of it used by the goats. I stopped near a bamboo cluster, found a green branch that broke off it and cut me a walking stick. Big help in precipitous terrain. I went on up and finally reached the summit but from inside the jungle nothing could be seen in any direction. The way down was a bit harder; when I arrived at the last big rock leading down to the water, I was sweaty, bleeding a bit from scratches and could already feel the touch of the refreshing sea water on my skin. That rock is the one where the young guy in the picture above ran down on, I decided to be careful and descend on its side, where I could hold onto some plants and dig my shoes and stick into the earth.

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The intention was good, the execution less so as almost at the bottom I somehow slid, stopping with a bang on my behind. Oh well! The sea water were even more blissful after that!

There is no cellular phone reception in the bay and I haven’t spoken to Gili for three days. Solution is simple, I’ll go to the north bay of Racha Yai; arrive there in the afternoon, just after all the tourists are gone and stay the night.

At 1530 I left the mooring and feeling I had a lot of time on my hands went south a little bit and put the trolling gear in the water; maybe my luck will change in that department too. The moment I opened my phone it showed two unanswered calls; Gili had the same wish to talk. I called her and we had a little conversation deciding to speak again later.

By the way, I purchased a local SIM card when I arrived in Thailand. The girl in the 7-eleven shop gave me a net called Happy (DTAC) that I was not very happy with. Shimon had a net called True and they were much cheaper; 1 baht a minutes to the U.S and other select countries. So here I am doing a commercial for that net… I changed to True!

A counter current made me reach the bay at 1800, a bit late. Entering I thought I saw something lounging in the water ahead, kept looking and then a small blue marlin jumped out and fell on its side. It actually turned a followed me a bit, the dorsal fin slightly above the surface. The mooring that we used here about a fortnight ago was nowhere to be seen. I anchored and snorkeled to check the anchor; anchor was fine only just a few meters to its left a big coral head was only one foot below surface. Were the wind to change we could hit it. Second location much better.

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