What a great back drop to life, still loving Vancouver!
Vancouver, our home town, shows off as first light ignites the city. How we love this place!
We'd like to share the beauty of Vancouver and Whistler, check out "In our Home Town" photos in the photo gallery!
01/10/2013, We are home in Whistler BC, dressed in different garb than when the locals of Alor adorned us in their authentic costumes!
We want to wish everyone a Happy 2013! We hope that all your passages in the coming year take you to the exact place you want to be!
2012 sure was an interesting and diverse year of cruising for us! We cruised over 8000 nautical miles, including circumnavigating the North Island of New Zealand, screaming up to Vanuatu in high seas, gliding across to Australia towards the setting sun, crawling our way along the Australian coast up and over to Darwin, and navigating our ways through the amazing islands of Indonesia before fantastic explorations in Singapore, Malaysia and finally Thailand.
2013 will see us spending more time at home, and may even see Paikea Mist shipped into the Med to avoid those awful Somali pirates. Stay tuned...
12/02/2012, Krabi Boat Lagoon
Sometimes cruising life comes to a grinding halt, and instead of cruising along in la la land (as photo above so rightfully depicts), it's time to catch up on maintenance and chores. This is the reality of cruising life, there is always, always something to fix or clean up on the boat. We've covered a lot of territory, over 8,000 ocean miles since Janaury of this year when we left Opua to circumnavigate the north island of New Zealand and then north west through Vanuatu, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and finally to Thailand. The year has been a satisfying whirlwind of beautiful sailing, gorgeous anchorages, and cultural experiences, but now it is time to pay attention to Paikea Mist, in order to get her in ship shape again.
After searching for and finding the trades we required in the Phuket area, we left Boat Lagoon Phuket for Krabi, where we had decided to leave the boat while we fly home for 3 months.
Along the way to Krabi we were able to enjoy a couple of beautiful anchorages.
These anchorages are magnificent, certainly some of the most stunningly beautiful places we have ever dropped our hook, but they are completely overrun by tourists during the daytime. And this isn't even high season yet! I can't imagine what a zoo this will be when tourism is at its peak in December.
Michael turns his back to close encounters of the tourist kind!
Gloria enjoys the early evening solitude
We decided to take the boat to Boat Lagoon Krabi, a brand new marina because of the math- it is offering half price rates! The drawback is that the location is set well outside of the town of Krabi, and full yacht services are not readily available, so while it works well for DIY projects, the real trades are located near the more expensive marinas in Phuket. A few years ago, Thailand rates were substantially lower and cruisers were able to get big projects completed at a steal, but basically those days are gone! Rates in these places now seem to compare with those in New Zealand and Australia.
One of our boat issues is our transmission, which has slowly started to fail, and often won't go into forward after reversing. Eventually it usually does, and while this is not too concerning in the calm waters of Thailand, it doesn't really pass muster in the long run! When we priced out the cost of repair in Phuket, it was almost half the price of a new tranny, and that was just for a technician to take a look. We've opted to buy a new one when we are home for Christmas and bring it back with us!
view of Krabi marina from our decks
Once we arrived in Krabi Boat Lagoon, we went straight into a frenzy of work on the boat, putting in long days bringing her back into shape. We hired three hard working local men who worked along with us at a very reasonable rate. With daily temperatures in the 35 degree Celcius range, and humidity hanging over 80 percent, we were glad to have the help.
The boat yard team at Krabi pulled us out of the water without any hiccups. The interesting part was that there appeared to be no boss, just 12 guys yelling at each other as we were lifted out of the water. All is well that ends well, I guess. Paikea Mist is now up on the hard all tucked away for our three month sojourn. In hopes of controlling the high humidity and heated conditions inside, we bought a stand up fan and left it running on the boat, along with a small fan in each room. One of the old timers told us that it is effective to leave a bowl of bleach out to help with mildew so we did that too.
While the boat was on the hard we opted to stay in a resort on the beach,
We managed to get back to the resort one day in time to enjoy the spectacular sunset at the resort!
The drive from the marina to the resorts was lovely, taking us through a series of small Thai villages. We enjoyed both the early morning and evening drives, catching glimpses of the 'real' Thailand along the way.
We are now visiting Michael's sister in Australia, on her beautiful cattle ranch near Adelaide. Here we are sipping on the magnificent McLaren Vale reds while enjoying all the meat we could possibly eat! Life is good. Later this week we will rent a car and drive from Adelaide to Sydney along the Great Ocean Road. We fly home to Vancouver from Sydney, to meet up with Father Christmas and Whistler Winter. Most of all we look forward to catching up with our kids, family and friends.
No trip to Thailand is complete without riding an elephant. Our first experience riding elephants was under water!
During the 2006 tsunami the small touristy island of Ko Racha Yai was hit hard, and an underwater shrine to honour those who lost their lives was erected in the bay just east of the main anchorage. It was a beautiful but somewhat eerie sight. Already storms had damaged the temples, but the life sized elephants and one of the buddha's were still standing.
11/13/2012, Koh Muk and Beyond!
One of the most terrific aspects of cruising, and life for that matter, is crossing paths with old friends in random places. When we got to the Telega Harbour Marina in Langkawi, Malaysia, we knew we would meet up with our friends Gordon and Sherry on Serenity, who we hadn't seen since our arrival in Kupang, Indonesia earlier in the year. We had a great time wining and dining and exploring with them in Langkawi. We were also pleasantly surprised to cross paths with Bruce and Alene on SV Migration, and spent at day with them touring the island, which included drinking their NZ champagne at the foot of a waterfall!
One of the unique aspects of Langkawi was the number of newlyweds visiting from Islamic countries. The women were always dressed in a full hi-jab, hot and heavy black cloth draped over their every inch, with only the deep-set eyes exposed. According to one source, they like to come to Malaysia, which although still a Muslim country, allows more liberal actions by the women, including holding hands in public. This seemed to ring true, as we observed many couples enjoying this type of 'freedom'. We found it difficult to reconcile the disparity between men and women though, as the men usually were dressed in beach shorts and a t-shirt.
We checked out of Malaysia right at Telega Harbour, easy to do with the custom and immigration building just off the docks. We didn't leave Malaysia right away though, and instead poked around the north end, taking Paikea Mist to a beautiful anchorage known as Hole in the Wall, where we anchored and explored the stunning river by dinghy, exploring our way through caves, watching eagles in flight, monitor lizards wiggling their way in the water, and monkeys on the riverside. Although busy with tourist traffic in the day, the anchorage is just too beautiful to be discouraged by the constant slap of waves as the tourists in long boats fly past.
We stopped at a total of three anchorages on our way up to the official check in at Ao Chalong, on the island of Phuket, Thailand. It seems the Thai customs and immigration turn a blind eye to cruisers who chose to spend a week or so in the islands as they make their way from Langkawi to Ao Chalong. Although it felt strange anchoring without the official clear in, we none-the-less enjoyed this relaxed entry into Thailand.
Paikea Mist is dwarfed by the massive cliffs at Koh Muk
Our first unofficial landing in Thailand was on the sandy beach of the fully enclosed grotto at the end of the Emerald Cave, on the island of Koh Muk. This has to be the most unique and beautiful way we have 'entered' a country EVER! This long dark cave is a popular tourist attraction so was easy to identify it as we approached the island. The cave entrance is otherwise difficult to spot, as it has quite a low overhang. As you make your way down the long cave, it becomes very dark, and we were glad to have our flashlights with us. As you swim out of the cave, you encounter a beautiful sandy beach, completely enclosed by high lush green cliffs. On our first trip, we arrived to a handful of people on the beach, but within a short time we watched dozens and dozens of tourists all wearing life jackets forming a long chain as they were taken through the cave by the guide, and suddenly the quiet beach was over run!
a new meaning of 360 degree surround
a new meaning to crowded
We went back later in the day with Gordon and Sherry, after the tourist boats had left and we had the entire cave and beach to ourselves, as well as the sudden down pour, thunder and lightning!
celebrating the solitude of Emerald Cave, as only a cruiser can do
Our anchorage at Koh Muk was beyond gorgeous, and we capped off the evening aboard SV Migration sipping champagne (again!) and eating Bruce's delicious pizza he makes on his barbecue. Sometimes cruising life is just one exceptional high; this day and evening was one of those highs! Great friends, and great finds combine in unimaginable ways at times it seems.
Champagne out again for Bruce and Alene's 3rd wedding anniversary- they tied the knot in Minerva Reef!
We are now officially checked into Thailand and at anchor at Ao Chalong. We've rented a scooter and have been busy checking out the chandleries and facilities in the vicinity as Paikea Mist will soon be tucked away for a few months as we make our way back home to Canada for the holiday season.