Posted by: catamarantwooceans | November 22, 2012

SW Thailand with Yossi and Esther

14.11.12 – Wednesday – Yossi and Esther came yesterday in the evening. The plan for today was to go shopping for food and then sail to Koh Phi Phi. All plans were disrupted when we found out that the port bilge pump red light came on and stayed on for a long time. Looking at the bilge we saw a small trickle of sweet water coming from the front of the boat. Checking the water tank gauge I was surprised to see it only half full; we just filled it the day before! Yossi and me were diving into the various compartments in search of the water’s source and the most logical conclusion was that there was a leak from the tank.

All this took quite some time, so we decided to go out to Phi Phi and do our shopping there. We will let the tank deplete itself and make do with only the starboard tank.

To cool of we stopped in Koh Mai Thon and took a swim; a pod of small dolphins, the first I’ve seen in Thailand, came by; a nice welcome for our guests.

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On towards Phi Phi, I called Steve of Sea Marine Services in Yacht Haven marina to ask about the tank repair. From time to time I went back to look at the area aft of the tank compartment, in which the leak was initially found and on one of those visits I saw that the leak stopped. Reconstructing the events led to the clear conclusion that everything was caused by filling the tank with too much pressure from the hose, which caused water to go out of the breather pipe into the bilge even before the tank was full.

We reached Koh Phi Phi, went to town and did our shopping. You can get almost everything in town including “Ray Ban” sunglasses for less than 7$ U.S and “Cartier” watches for 25$.

We had dinner at a simple and good Thai restaurant, where the “Jungle Curry” was so hot, it could have rocketed us into orbit.

15.11.12 – Thursday – First thing in the morning we motored to Koh Phi Phi Le, circled its famous bay and fled as it started filling up with all the tourist bearing high power motor boats and long-tail boats. We circled the island to the south and took up a mooring in beautiful Loh Samah bay. You can’t have enough of those marvelous views!

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After a swim to shore we passed by Koh Bida islands, a favorite diving location where a great number of dive boats were everywhere.

On to Had Khlong Dao bay on the northwest corner of Koh Lanta, not the prettiest location but a good place to break the way south into easy, short legs.

16.11.12 – Friday – The day started with no wind at all; so back to motoring. First destination – Koh Ngai, where we had lunch and then, timing our arrival for the tide, we motor-sailed to Koh Muk and the Emerald Cave. A large tourist boat was moored near the entrance as well as a few long-tail boats. We took the dinghy inside, followed by a couple on a kayak and immediately had to stop and let a long line of swimmers pass on their way out. That line was interminable! They looked like a huge, long undulating worm, making its way slowly and very noisily towards the exit.

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Once they were gone, we motored to the hong, which was – even on the second visit – exquisite.

Back to Koh Ngai for the night, we stopped at the Koh Ngai resort dock to fill up water.

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After tying to a mooring we sat down for happy hour. While we were having fun, back in Israel the armed conflict with the Gaza Palestinians reached new heights, missiles being fired on populated areas in central Israel. This blog is APOLITICAL so apart from expressing my anguish thinking about the human suffering and the human folly causing it I’ll say no more.

Dinner on shore and then a walk along the beach. A few minutes after we came back to our boat a strong gust, up to 25 knots, blew and heavy rain started falling. We all retired to our cabins for the night.

17.11.12 – Saturday – The original plan was to go to the east side of Koh Lanta where, in addition to the supposedly picturesque anchorage, we could find a supermarket. The necessity of the latter became less important because we found some stuff we needed at the resort’s shop; so the idea of going to an “E Bay” (E for enchanted) where we could swim and snorkel came up. Koh Ha Yai, which is the ultimate E Bay was just 20 miles away and the expected weather made it a good overnight stop.

From afar we saw quite a few dive boats near the islands but “our” mooring was free and we quickly took it. The place is magical, the sea was calm with just enough wind to drive the heat away. A strange thing was the absence of the many birds that were all around the last times we visited. We only saw two couples of Osprey like black and white birds.

As we sat in the cockpit, relaxing and enjoying the view, a big inflatable approached; the Park Rangers!

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It turns out Koh Ha Yai is part of the National Marine Park and everybody  has to pay 400 baht (13$ U.S) per day to stay there.

Yossi tried fishing in the evening and took three small ones; one was sent back and the other two were used as live bait with no result.

18.11.12 – Sunday – Snorkeling in the morning was even better than the day before. A lot of fish were out; we saw groupers, trigger fish, spiny puffers, a moray eel and Yossi spotted a small sea snake. There were large schools of tiny fish darting to and fro fleeing attacks by the ever present needle fish.

We said goodbye to KHY and motored north to Phi Phi Don. We anchored at Ton Sai bay to go shopping and then rounded the island counterclockwise and found a mooring in Lanah bay, which is open to the west. The wind was supposed to blow lightly from the east but somebody forgot to tell Aeolus and we spent a somewhat bumpy night.

19.11.12 – Monday – I’ve been here for about a fortnight and most of the time the wind is very light. Is this typical of the season? Today was not different and we motored to Koh Dam Kwan, the Chicken island. Coming from the west the rock did resemble its namesake.

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We rounded the island to anchor near the reef on its north, where a fleet of tourist boats kept us a noisy company up to 3pm.

A more interesting phenomenon was a large flock of fruit bats hovering above the island; that was the first time I ever saw those birds and I was surprised by their big size and their bronze color. I took a picture with a very long lens and magnified it some more so it is not very crisp; but still you get the idea.

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20.11.12 – Tuesday – In March we had the misfortune of having to do a cleanup of the starboard toilet system. This morning was the turn of the port one. I was lucky to have Yossi on board; he is an excellent technical man who is not afraid to have his hands dirty. It took us three hours; not the most pleasant way to start your day!

We had 11 miles ahead of us to Koh Hong (the one near Krabi). The white mooring I used last time was no longer there and we anchored in 14 meters about 200 meters from the entrance; closer the depth was 20. The Hong was, as usual, beautiful.

On to the bay on the north of Koh Hai Noi; as usual we were rained on. Planning to anchor near the Paradise resort for the night, we found that they had put three moorings and took one. Very convenient.

Dinner at the resort was Thai Food buffet and  was real good; as usual…

21.11.12 – Wednesday – It started with rain; we went out towards Koh Hong, the Pang Nga version. The wind was 7-8 knots from the starboard quarter. Shall I open the sails or keep motoring? True seamanship prevailed and the sails filled, pulling us at about 4 knots. No worry, we had a lot of time on our hands. After a while the wind strengthened, reaching 17 knots and giving us up to 7.5 knots SOG over the shallow bottom which went up to a mere 1.9 meters.

Approaching the pass between Koh Yai and Koh Nakaya a fishermen’s long-tail intercepted us; the two men on board showed the shrimps they caught. I motioned them to follow us and after the pass took the sails down and let them get close. After a bit of bargaining we had food for the evening meal and the fishermen got fairly compensated for their efforts.

We anchored among the many tourist boats and went into the Hong, maneuvering between the many kayaks and motor boats that filled the place. The bay chosen for the night was that of Koh Yang.

22.11.12 – Thursday – Last day aboard for Yossi and Esther; We motored to the cave on the west coast of Koh Phanak to watch the monkey show. Here, too, the number of tourists was incredible. The monkeys didn’t mind so why should I?

We went into the Yacht Haven marina, rented a car and took Y and E to the airport. We enjoyed our time with Yossi and Esther; even though most of the places were ones we already visited before. I can see a movie I liked  again, listen to music I love frequently so why not enjoy a certain symphony of nature more than once?

Gili will be leaving on Saturday; my next crew, Sven Beer, will come on December 11th. I think I’ll sail to the Similan and Surin islands to pass the time!

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