DREAMCATCHER - Asian Cruising

25 March 2020 | Thailand
17 March 2018 | Malaysia Thailand
24 March 2017 | Royal Langkawi Yacht Club
24 March 2017 | Kata Beach early 0730, before the onslaught!
21 May 2016
30 March 2016 | Boat Lagoon Marina, Phuket Thailand
13 February 2016 | Boat Lagoon, Phuket, Thailand
03 December 2015
10 June 2015 | Straits Quay Marina, Penang
22 February 2014 | Asia
25 October 2013 | Redang Island
25 October 2013 | Singapore
16 June 2013 | Singapore: Keppel Bay Marina
27 May 2013 | Singapore
07 January 2013 | Rockingham, Western Australia
27 November 2012 | Malacca Straits, November 2012
25 October 2012 | Phuket, Thailand
17 September 2012 | Malaysia - East Coast
29 May 2012 | The Malacca Straits


24 March 2017 | Royal Langkawi Yacht Club
Instead of our usual 20 hour overnight run from Phuket to Langkawi, we had decided to dawdle south to Dreamcatcher's new home. On that topic: we have berthed her in Penang for 2 years now, but on pulling in to Royal Langkawi Yacht Club (RLYC) we made a snap decision to move the boat there permanently (photo). A combination of factors - a longer berth made it possible to move the dinghy off the fore-deck and on to the davits, a shift away from Penang's growing construction dust (new made-made island development just outside Straits Quay Marina), unlimited in-out access from the berth depth-wise: we were always nervous about touching the bottom on entry/exit at SQM. We've been in & out at RLYC over the past decade and always found it a bit wanting in quality. That's all changed now with extended and upgraded docks and a fresh look with some great F&B outlets. So, Dreamcatcher is now "permanently" at home in Langkawi. Permanent being an oxy-moron when it comes to anything boat.

The morning we planned to leave Nai Harn in Phuket for Phi Phi Island, it was blowing a steady 20 knots and gusting up to 27 knots. Disconcerting: we deferred our departure to the next day. Winds were then steady at 15-18 knots and the gusts not severe, nevertheless we had a very uncomfortable drive on the first few hours to Phi Phi: course 98 degrees, wind from 90 degrees with a steep chop between the Phuket islands. We arrived Phi Phi Don 5 hours later during the half day tour changeover and needed a traffic light to get through the high-speed day tripper boats crossing from Phi Phi Le, 4 miles to the south. We targeted the anchor way-point suggested in the cruising guide, just for kicks, and gave up nearly half a mile from it: sadly, Phi Phi's Ton Sai Bay is littered with work boats and defunct ferries and crisscrossed by a network of moorings and day tripper boats. An awful contrast to the pristine sail-boat anchorage that I recall from decades ago when I did 6 or 7 Kings Cup regattas. The Tsunami has left is mark but it seems to us the tsunami of unfettered tourism has caused nearly as much devastation to the peace and beauty of this stunning island. Odd that the authorities have banned the spread of deck-chairs along Thai beaches, but have allowed the Phi Phi anchorage to become such a jungle. We eventually found a spot to drop the hook and tolerated the local speed boats' wakes until things quietened down around 5pm. We left at dawn and will likely not return.

Our track took us down the west coast of Koh Lanta: calm, lush, lovely. We stayed about a mile offshore and took in the coastal vistas - little huts and beaches along the way. We'll be back later in the year and spend a couple of weeks plying its coast and cluster of islands. We aimed for Koh Muk and arrived mid afternoon. The famous Emerald Cave entrance was clogged with tour boats and long-tails - hundreds of squealing Chinese in life jackets splashing in the water. A quick decision not even to try and see the cave at this point, we meandered half a mile north and found our nirvana. A high-sided tropical cove with a white sandy beach. No other boats. Startlingly lovely, made lovelier by soaring eagles and the full moon and the closest thing we've found to Fatu Hiva in the South Pacific yet. We extended our one night stay to 2 days, kayaked, swam, ate & drank. It was lovely and we didn't want to leave. We'll tackle the Emerald Cave next trip on an early morning sortie before the day trippers arrive.

Another dawn departure, we passaged south past the pretty Koh Kradan and vowed to stop there on our next trip. The day was bright and mostly windless, which allowed us to focus on the veritable orchard of fish-trips along the way, as well as the scenery. What has been small land markings on the charts blossomed into dozens of tall, lumpy islands: some stark, some rounder - so many in view. We'd missed all these in the past as our passage to/from Phuket covered this territory at night, spent dodging the myriad of squid and fishing boats. We felt a bit like Alice in Wonderland and somewhat regretful at having missed this startling daytime seascape this last decade of getting to Phuket. We will in future be meandering between Langkawi and Phuket and focusing on the journey rather than the destination!

Our 6-hour scenic passage found us dropping the hook on the mid-west coast of Koh Tarutao - blue water and a long white sandy beach without a sign of life. Tarutao and all surrounding islands are part of Thailand's huge national marine park and is mostly devoid of any occupants, bar a few local subsistence fishermen. We were delighted when some dolphins and a turtle surfaced. Other than that, it was a peaceful night at anchor after the swell died down, followed by another dawn departure, this time for Langkawi and our new berth.

Once tied up, we enjoyed beers and Charlie's Bar's great chicken burger at RLYC, and spent a lovely day/night with friends in Langkawi. We departed for Penang via ferry, to say a formal farewell to our SQM Marina manager and pals and see the friends we'd made there over the past 2 years.

So, another chapter - Langkawi - starts for the Dreamcatcher!

FOONOTE FOR CRUISERS: there is a frozen food/meat product in Malaysia called "Sailors". We've always liked their products but now - we love them even more - the company is under new ownership of some Langkawi-based super foodies and real professionals who are also boat owners/cruisers. Great sausages & pies!

Vessel Make/Model: CAL 3-46 Ketch
Hailing Port: Singapore
Crew: Henry Mellegers & Glenys Taylor
About: A collective sailing experience of over 100 years across the USA, Australia, South Pacific and now SE Asia....we love cruising in Asia............
After sailing Dreamcatcher from San Francisco, through Mexico and across the South Pacific to Australia, and then to Singapore for 8 years, we will base her in Malaysia and Thailand to cruise the Malacca Straits and Andaman Sea. In April 2015, we moved the boat from Singapore to Penang to have [...]
Home Page: www.dreamcatchervoyage.com
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Created 25 March 2017
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Created 25 March 2017