Posted by: catamarantwooceans | November 13, 2012

SW Thailand in the NE Monsoon

4.11.12 – Sunday – Last time I sailed here was in the South West Monsoon season; this dictated the choice of destinations and anchorages. Now it is the North East Monsoon and a good time to explore places that were inaccessible before.

I left the marina and motored to Koh Yang, which is close to the famous and much visited "James Bond Island". Gili and I came here a few month ago and anchored on the northeast of the island. Now I could spend the night in the bay on the southwest, which has the best view.

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This was a charter cat that went away and left me in splendid solitude.

5.11.12 – Monday – The morning light gave the rock a very special color. I wanted to walk on the beach and as it was low water I got stuck quite far from the sandy shore; trying to walk there was simply comical. The moment I put my weight on the bottom I sank into the thick mud; putting another foot forward and taking the first one out made a funny sucking noise and was like taking out a cork out of a stubborn wine bottle. I left a few footprints in the mud and admitted defeat. Pushing the dinghy out, I rowed to the rock, where the bottom was covered by oyster encrusted stones on which I could carefully advance. After all the effort the beach was very disappointing; the only thing of interest were those air-breathing fish wriggling along the water edge.

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As I was leaving, a small long-tail boat in front of the rock and a catamaran peeking behind the overhang made a nice picture.

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I sailed south to Au Labu on the southwest of Koh Yao Yai, using the new jib for the first time. The wind was very light but I could see that it had a good shape.

The anchorage on the north side of Labu bay is near a river mouth into which I took the dinghy to explore. Apart from a few fishing boats and a shabby hut there was nothing to be seen.

Visitors came; a fisherman and his wife tried to sell me their catch. They had some gigantic prawns but wanted too much money for the single one I wanted. As is my habit, I did not let them leave without making a purchase, a pound of regular prawns.

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6.11.12 – Tuesday – I sailed to Koh Mai-Thon, dropping anchor in a small bay "suitable for a yacht or two" as the guide said. I was not alone there; a few fishing boats used it to wait for the evening.

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Remember I wrote about the "end of maintenance for a while"? The  while did not last long. Today I found out that the deck-wash saltwater pump, which also supplies sea water to the galley sink, was not working. This is a fairly new one, installed in March! Item number two: I started using the starboard water tank which I did not use for a very long time and what came out was brown liquid. I drained the tank completely but when going over to the port tank I still had dirty water coming out the taps. I figured it was probably dirt from the starboard tank going into the hot water tank and after a few minutes it disappeared.

7.11.12 – Wednesday – I sailed slowly and pleasantly to Au Calong to wait for Gili, who is coming on Friday.

8.11.12 – Thursday – I went into two of the cockpit lockers, throwing away stuff that cluttered them for ages; old ropes, strips of old plywood, rotten BBQ utensils etc. All to the rubbish bin.I also gave them a good, long overdue, wash.

9.11.12 – Friday – I rented a car to go to Boat Lagoon, where there were three chandleries, to buy the water-pump; I suddenly remembered the chandlery in Chalog. They ended up giving me the best prices! They are called "Top Marine" and are located near the road going to Chalong yacht club. (www.topmarinephuket.com 0818660704)

Gili called to say that the only flight to Phuket she could go on would be landing at 2100. I had to wait four hours at the airport departure lounge, the only reasonable place where I could get a seat. I passed the time finishing the book I was reading (NW by Zadie Smith) and trying to concentrate on Chess against the computer and Mahjong games. When Gili finally arrived we were both tired, drove to Chalong and called it a day half an hour past midnight.

10.11.12 – Saturday – The day was dedicated to shopping. We bought new cutlery and crockery and looked unsuccessfully for suitable carpet material to replace the old mats we have on the boat. An important thing I did was arranging an unlimited data usage program with True cellphone company. Using the tethering feature of my Samsung Galaxy III I’ll be able to access internet all over the islands and not have to rely on Wi-Fi.

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                                  New Comm system

In the afternoon we motored to the water-filling station in the bay and then back to the anchorage for the night.

11.11.12 – Sunday – My cousin Yossi, who already sailed on "Two Oceans" in 2008 (Puerto Rico to the Dominican Republic) is to come with Esther, his wife on the 13th. We wanted to pass the time in a place we could swim and relax at; the first one that came to mind was Koh Racha Noi. But the bay there was facing East, so would it be tenable? The only way to find out was to simply sail there.

Approaching the co-ordinates of what we started calling "our mooring" we had a disappointment; it was no longer there and the Northeasterly wind brought small waves into the bay. We did anchor there for lunch but after that sailed back north to the west facing bay of Racha Yai to take up a mooring. We could swim here too!

12.11.12 – Monday – M for Morning and Maintenance. I put the new saltwater pump in place and a new neon light fixture in the starboard hull. After a bit of snorkeling we sailed north to Nai Harn bay in southwest Phuket. As we were preparing to take the sails down, Gili’s favorite hat flew of into the sea. We immediately initiated the "Hat Overboard" drill and the coveted item was retrieved.

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13.11.12 – Tuesday – Once again the problem of brown water coming out of the tanks raised its ugly head. A cleaning solution I found in one of the big hardware stores did not seem to make any difference. I tried to troubleshoot it by disconnecting the hot water tank from the system and checking the water coming out of each tank separately. I could not get a definite result. It seemed that the starboard tank was to blame but from time to time we had brown tint in the output of the port tank too…

After spending a lot of time in the cramped compartment of the hot water tank, which is aft of the port engine, I went out, leaving the hot water tank disconnected; we’ll use mineral water for drinking and when our guests will leave I’ll do a thorough cleanup of the tanks, no time for it now!

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