The trip to Australia was delayed a year.. long story.. but after retiring family matters crowded in .
Had some nice sailing since then - several months around Phuket , and a trip to Singapore. It was a 15 day solo sail trip back ie day sailing all the way up the Malacca Strait. Including a wonderful stop at the Straits Quay marina in Penang it really was a most enjoyable trip.
But that year seems to have gone incredibly fast. With the trip now planned to begin in mid September the sailing plans are coming together equally rapidly. Crew has been identified and will make their way to Krabi or Phuket by the beginning of August. We will spend a month together sailing in the area: learning the boat together and building the team.
10/16/2012, Krabi Boat Lagoon
Work continues apace to get Suzie ready for her huge trip to Australia.
Polishing and painting is now almost complete. Will attempt to get some photos of her in full sail in her new livery over the next few weeks.
The gearbox and prop shaft had been removed and maintained by Yanmar in Phuket and to re-installed today. Turns out the cutlass bearing needed replacement together with some other perishable items.
Now researching rough weather sailing. A number of books by Lin and Larry Pardey are rapidly becoming my baseline. Surprisingly , though, despite already assembling a lot of gear on the boat, this latest research has generated a lot of additional safety items ... for example portable water desalinator for life raft (used by US Air force in their survival kit) ; high volume manual bilge pump (beautiful bronze unit from Massachusetts that can pump 30 gal / min - at a gal a stroke!) ; high quality life vest strobes; rig cutter for any dis-masting (gulp) ; electronic alert for crew if helmsman goes overboard.. On and on it goes.. but time on land is the time for prevention...
This safety gear inspired by this research has certainly been motivated by the following news.. http://www.cruisingworld.com/news/double-handed-crew-rescued-in-indian-ocean . Only a month ago and very close to my intended course!
Once the crew assembles in Phuket early November we will have a week of familiarisation and safety training.. There is a very cool sea anchor that Megan bought back on a US trip for me that will take a bit of practice learning to deploy.
Sailing, is really the easy part.
|Krabi Aug 2012||
08/27/2012, Singapore time: Sunday Aug 26 Location: 8 00.64'N : 98 57.69'E
Well we arrived..
Had a great sail through Thursday evening: wind held above 20Kts all night and in a favourable direction. Really for sailing , the magic started about Langkawi..
The entrance to the Krabi Boat Lagoon is tide dependent and I was hoping to get in the vicinity of the first waypoint given by the marina to enter by about 11 am. This would also give us plenty of time to dock and get immigration done... I thought we'd arrived a little late. , but goofed up in the time change from Malaysian waters into Thai and had not changed all the devices.. So we were early - and the water was too shallow to enter.
What's more, just as we arrived a small storm blew in - with the wet season starting in the Phuket region now - and we had rain and 30 Kt winds!. So we hove-to for a while.. Done a heave-to a couple of times before and pretty much came to a dead stop - but in 30 Kts the boat still moves at about 3-4 Kts. Possibly we were doing it wrong, yet the sails did seem set right will have to research this procedure a bit more..
Contacted Jimmy the marina manager. You simply can't say enough good things about him , the staff or the marina. Nothing was too much to do.. as it was my first visit he as much insisted a speed boat come out to pilot us in. On arrival there we at least 2 staff to tie us alongside , and he came over and greeted us. What a great decision to stay at this marina. To be away from your boat and know it is in such competent , responsible hands is a huge relief.
Krabi Boat Lagoon is a sister of Phuket Boat Lagoon. The latter becoming wildly successful the last few years but now difficult to get a berth, and er, well a little pricey. Krabi is brand new -with much building still under way - but berths and hard stand spots remain available and great value.. at least for now!
First visit for all of us to Krabi.. we got to see a bit of it as we did immigration , boat check -in and hunted down the hire car . Another goof up by me as it was at Ao Nang rather than the airport.. but that became a story in itself. Krabi town is like many traditional working towns.. not so different from Phuket town and not too much to allure the tourist. but there are beaches, though they are spread out.. Ao Nang is one of those and it seemed delightful - even in the rain. Much more laid back than the Phuket beaches - and seemed more family friendly.. having a Starbucks , for sure it was a hit with me. We stopped for a few drinks before it was back to the marina. A major difference between Phuket and Krabi are the cliffs jutting up every where around Krabi are these limestone hills or cliffs .. we did not know what to call them. Phuket does not have these ., and they are spectacular. Looks like a land based version of the limestone islands in Phang Nga bay. For certain we will need to come back here and explore all this after the Australian odyssey.
So Friday became an admin day. With formalities done we all settled back in the boat pretty early.. though not said, we were all pretty tired.. Saturday became an early start , getting the boat prepped for the lift out. Again the marina were extraordinarily excellent in their service. They'd adjusted the haul out date on the fly - as we arrived late.. and put us in the spot we liked. It could not have been easier.. There were a swarm of staff fussing over everything. Quite different from some other places I've stopped.
With all done by 4pm we departed by hire car for Patong in Phuket .. sadly on arrival we discovered it was a dry town (no alcohol) with an election a day away.. so we had a pizza together and started to disperse. Philip was good enough to put Ae and I up with him in his hotel.
All in all an eventful , but I think great, passage. We overcame a few mechanical challenges and were exhilarated to experience some wonderful sailing the last day or so. Those mechanical challenges will be a bit tricky to get resolved before the Australian trip - as I'm spending the rest of my company time in California - but I'm sure there is nothing insurmountable. So that remains the plan.. finish my employment over the next 2 months.. back to Singapore and close up the house there, then backo Phuket.. fix the mechanical items, sail around for about to week to prove everything and then its off to Perth and Australia!
(Over the next week or so, with good wifi connection and around our trip to San Francisco I will put up the photos in the gallery.. )
|Krabi Aug 2012||