Phang Nga Bay and Haulout
11 March 2013
Photo: Koh Hong Phang Nga Bay
Wednesday 6th February, Waitangi Day at home, we said our farewells to Stuart and Sheila “Imagine” and motored around to Nai Harn Bay. We stayed in Nai Harn for 5 nights while a blow went through, Brian did a few jobs in preparation for the boat coming out of the water and on Monday 11th February, Ruth and Kelvin “Island Sonata” and Steve and Anne “Recluse” arrived. It was morning tea on Dol, Steve and Liz “Liberte” joined us and dinner ashore.
The following day we put out a headsail and sailed to Patong Beach. We went ashore, recharged our internet and phone minutes, did some grocery shopping, had lunch at the Irish pub and Brian had some fun with the local vendors buying a t-shirt he has been after for a while. Patong hasn’t changed, although everyone seemed more aggressive this time maybe because there was a cruise ship in. All tasks completed we went back to the boat, lifted the anchor and sailed back to Nai Harn. After drinks on “Island Sonata” and a quiet night, we sailed 10nm to the Racha Islands, anchoring in Racha (“King”), Yai (“big”) island. This is another of those bays which has dozens of day trippers and dive boats but which quietens down late afternoon. At 4pm as we watched the day trippers and dive boats leave, we noticed on diver frantically waving his bright orange inflatable stick as his dive tour boat headed out of the bay without him, we were just about to do a rescue act when the dive boat realised they had forgotten someone and came back into the bay to pick them up. With the bay now quiet, we went for a swim, it is not often in 13m of water you can see the bottom but that is how clear the water is. After a swim, we met a couple of another Kiwi boat who came over to say hello, we went ashore for drinks and dinner. It was lovely evenings at the café on the beach watching the resort supply boat unload. The wharf did not extend out far enough for the boat so they anchored off, unloaded onto a raft which was then pulled in from the shore by 6 men, unloaded onto trolleys and hauled up the beach. The unloading took several hours. We stayed the following day, relaxing and doing some laundry, then left Friday and sailed to Panawa Bali, Ao Chalong.
We spent two quiet days at Panawa Bali, Brian again tried to destroy the boat as he continues to try and eliminate the interference on the VHF radio. Our friends, Ruth and Kelvin “Island Sonata”, Wayne and Ally “Blue Heeler” and Steve and Anne “Recluse” where in the bay, it was therefore dinner ashore each night, meeting up with other cruising friends, very social and relaxing.
Monday we sailed to Koh Rang Yai. We stayed at Koh Rang Yai for several days, enjoying sitting under a tree in the afternoons, swimming and going for walks in the mornings. One evening during sundowners on Dol with Ruth and Kelvin “Island Sonata”, a fishing boat drifted back towards us as it was bringing in its net full of fish, as they discarded the smaller fish, a sea eagle enjoyed swooping and having a free feed. This is what cruising is all about. On Wednesday, Laila and Claes “Comedie” arrived at lunchtime; it was lunch ashore and a good catch up with all their news. Later Jan and Norma “Fearless” arrived and it was sundowners on the beach, good night.
After 3 great days at Koh Rang Yai, we sailed or motor sailed to Koh Dam. Again at Koh Dam we took the dinghy to watch the guys rock climbing and then went ashore for a swim. After sundowners and a quiet night we motored to Rai Le Beach. We stayed 2 nights at Rai Le, went ashore each night for dinner, we were in awe of 2 guys who base jumped from the very high cliffs next to the restaurant, luckily their parachutes opened safely and they landed on the beach. We took the dinghies ashore for an afternoon, had lunch from one of the food boats in Phan Nam bay, swam and relaxed. Ruth and Anne decided to imitate the “model posing” for photos which seems to be the “in thing” with all the young girls in Thailand. Steve “Recluse” had a half day rock climbing, a great thrill by all accounts. Then it was time to move 1nm to Ao Nang to provision before moving further up Phang Nga Bay.
We spent 2 days at Ao Nang, one of them on a Tuc - Tuc trip to Krabbi town for provisions and a look at the Krabi Boat Lagoon Marina. The general consensus was that Boat Lagoon Krabi was a great place to leave the boat for a long period, but not to stay aboard. It is very isolated. Walking through Krabbi we noticed a café with a guy cooking roti outside, the café had lots of locals so we stopped and had egg roti for morning tea with the greenest green tea we have seen, yummy. We were the novelty in the café; the roti chef took our picture. The Tuc-Tuc’s had the usual large music systems with big sub woofers, although the driver was kind to our ears and did not turn the volume up full. In the centre of Krabi was a set of traffic lights which caught our attention, they were 2 huge statues of Neanderthal men holding rocks inside which were the traffic lights.
Next stop was 8nm to Koh Hong (Krabi). A quick stop and trip in the dinghy to see the hong and we were off again, the anchorage was very deep and we felt it was better to go elsewhere for the night anchorage. We motored 8nm to Koh Roi and had a couple of very quiet days with no longtails or tourist speedboats, there is only so much you can take of them and their endless noise and boat wake.
Thursday 28th February after morning tea on Recluse, we motored to Koh Yang. Island Sonata and Recluse carried on to Koh Pan Yi and the stilted Muslim village. They joined us the following day and enlightened us on the village at sundowners. The following day we left and sailed to Koh Hong (Phang Nga) and took the dinghy through the tunnel into the hong. Unlike the last time we were here, it was high tide and the hong was full of water, what a different place. The tunnel entrance opened into an atrium bathed in green light and even though it was full of tourists in canoes was still worth the effort. We moved down to Koh Phanak and anchored for the night.
Sunday we motored, again no wind, to Yacht Haven Marina to get fuel, anchoring outside to have lunch. After lunch we went in to refuel, a little more difficult than usual due to the strong current running, but all achieved successfully. At 4pm we went ashore with Ruth and Kelvin “Island Sonata” for sundowners and dinner. Brian reckons the Massaman curry he had was the best he has tasted to date in Thailand. After re anchoring in the dark due to an unattended yacht sailing all around its anchor, we had a quiet evening and left the following morning, motoring 9nm to Koh Wa Yai.
Morning tea and a game of cards on “Island Sonata” followed by a quiet afternoon then sundowners on the beach with Ruth, Kelvin “Island Sonata” and Steve and Anne “Recluse”. We left the following morning, 5th March, and motor sailed to Panwa Bali, Ao Chalong. Thursday 6th March we took a taxi into Phuket Immigration to extend our Tourist visas by 30 days. We were there and back in a little over an hour, a very efficient process. When we returned, Brian with the help of Steve “Recluse” removed and replaced the exhaust elbow on the generator which had become blocked, causing problems the night before similar to the major problems with our old generator. Brian was very relieved when they finished and the generator worked perfectly. Dinner ashore and the following day we spent the afternoon at the resort swimming pool, showered at the resort and then had dinner at the beach café.
Friday morning, 8th March, we were up early to take the genoa off before the wind got up, said our farewells to Steve and Anne “Recluse”, after lunch motored to Koh Rang Yang Yai in preparation for going into Boat Lagoon on Saturday.
We upped anchor at 08:30 Saturday 9th March and motored up the channel into Boat Lagoon Marina, the pilot’s dinghy had broken down so Brian had to navigate the very shallow channel. Luckily we had the track from the last time to follow. The hard work of unloading the boat ready to come out of the water on Monday began. We spent the next 2 days taking sails, squabs, clothing, food and other items off the boat and into the condominium we will be staying whilst the boat is out of the water. As Kim and Sharon “Georgia J” are not moving out of the condominium till later in the week, we have booked a hotel room at the Boat Lagoon resort for a week.
Monday morning, 11th March, the boat was lifted out of the water at 09:00; it all went smoothly with 14 Thai workers completing the haul out and wash down of the boat. Dol was then moved to Precision’s yard, ready for the work to begin. David, rigger, had the mast ready for removal and at 17:00 the crane arrived, the mast and boom were removed and Dol was moved into the shed. All in all a very successful day with very little stress.