Slow Sailing

25 February 2020
29 November 2019 | Vero Beach
09 October 2019 | Washington, NC
27 September 2019
06 September 2019 | Norfolk, VA
07 August 2019 | Washington, NC
07 July 2019 | Washington
10 June 2019 | Washington, NC
15 May 2019 | St Augustine
30 April 2019 | Black Point, Exuma
16 April 2019 | Bahamas
02 April 2019 | Washington, NC
15 March 2019 | Washington, NC
10 February 2019 | Washington, NC
22 January 2019 | Washington, NC
07 January 2019 | Washington, NC
15 December 2018 | Washington, NC
03 November 2018 | Thetford, VT
21 September 2018 | Bradford, VT
13 August 2018 | Thetford, VT

Cruising In Company

11 January 2016 | Butang Group, Thailand
Heather
You might have been worried about us since its been a while since there's been any updates but fear not, we are never alone! We always have boatloads of people around to keep us company, no matter what we're doing.
From Thailand


Between Christmas & New Years we left Yacht Haven Marina after paying our shocking electric bill and went around to the western side of Phuket in search of clearer water for swimming and to see the famous beachy coves that the area is known for. While we rarely even check the weather anymore since we know it will be generally flaming hot with no wind, we were surprised to find both wind from a distant weather system and a decent ground swell running that made for some windy motor sails, rolly nights & choreographed dinghy landings on those white sand beaches. But it did feel good to be out exploring new places again. It was great to finally get our dinghy back- we waited on shore for the better part of a day for it to be delivered to us in one of the anchorages and it now holds air and the fittings which had all fallen off due to extreme heat, are back on snug. Now the liferaft re-certification is another story and the short if it is, it had a 2 week field trip and a 12 hour truck ride but in the end, it is no better off and not certified! In our experience, in trying to arrange and actually get work done in these parts, it seems there is a definite "honeymoon period". This is the time when you are inquiring, possibly getting quotes, and about to have some work done. Anything can be accomplished, it is attainable, and you feel really good about moving forward. Then once you get committed to it and maybe the company even has your equipment, the honeymoon period ends and you find out that what you thought was going to happen or be possible actually is not. And what they told you specifically could be done then cannot, and in some roundabout way, it is your fault and you must decide whether to persevere or give up and save yourself the headache. It might have something to do with that "saving face" phenomenon that is a part of Asian culture, among other things. But in the end, we've found that we just don't have the mental energy at this point in time to deal with it. And our BS threshold has been met. So we spent a couple of days and more transportation rentals collecting the liferaft & fighting for our deposit, the compressor (which was still in pieces) and our mainsail, which has new telltales but about 100 holes in it still, and we feel good to at least have gotten them back. We really miss New Zealand in this regard and it would've been done if we were there. We've put it behind us and will turn our heads on the things we wanted to make improvements on since nothing was serious. I think that some of it has been so pathetic it is almost funny. Almost.

On the day we got our dinghy back, we anchored close to Mike & Karen on Beau Soleil and had a nice happy hour with them catching up. Mike shared some of his homemade stout beer which was delicious (my favorite beer) and it was good to reminisce.

Those that love "Pooks" as Phuket is affectionately called, must be living a grander lifestyle than we are because we didn't fall in love with it. There wasn't much to actually DO. Patong Beach is famous for the sex trade, club scene, cruise ships and some interesting ping pong ball acts which we were inclined to stay for on NYE just for the experience but after being there to see a tame version by day, we decided that we'd had all the porn we needed on the beach and didn't want to witness it at night. Had we gotten in to it and needed a VD check, we could've easily popped in to a clinic on the main street for a shot though! While in there, you could get a botox shot as a present if you so desired. So we moved up to another more laid back anchorage at Nai Yang and joined Shayne & Lisa and Geoff & Lyn again. We had a great evening together on shore and rang in the new year in Champagne Charlie's cockpit watching fireworks and dodging falling Chinese lanterns. A few days prior, another cruiser saw one of these lanterns start a bush fire that burned for a little while- not what we want on our boat!

The following day we covered 50 miles with the iron gennie to the Similan Islands which are Thailand's claim to fame for diving & the clearest water. It felt so good to arrive in turquoise water once again and to be able to see the bottom clearly. There are lots of park moorings to pick up and a couple of the islands have some short trails through bamboo forest to interesting rock formations & views. One thing that has taken most of the cruisers we talk to by surprise including us is the sheer volume of full-on tourism that is going on in Thailand. It actually started in Malaysia but we weren't in cruising mode at that point since we were in the rally and mostly spending time in marinas since the coastline doesn't offer any real cruising options. But this part of Thailand is just unbelievable. We said goodbye to Indonesia's pwat-pwat local boats and said hello to the Thai version called the "longtail" which is quite interesting actually. It is a long, wooden boat with an equally long tiller arm that has an old car engine balanced on it and it turns this 2 bladed prop in forward only. When they steer the boat, they are using the long shaft/tiller as a lever and moving the whole engine with it! The bows are all colorfully decorated and the boats all painted up, the sound can be deafening at times because of the dry exhaust. These boats are ferrying tourists and locals alike and they are everywhere! Add in big ferries, speedboats, fishing boats, planes, jetskis, a few big bananas, parasailers, snorkelers, liveaboard dive boats, and a few cruisers' inflatable dinghies and you get the picture. You might think the Similans are far enough away to be quieter but a stroll up to the viewpoint in the morning will reveal that there are about 100 boats enroute to your quiet anchorage. They will depart by 4pm and you'll once again be able to roll around in the swell in solitude, but by 9am the next morning, it will all start again anew!
From Thailand

We did some interesting snorkeling among huge boulders in the Similans. There isn't much for coral in the spots we got in but there were lots of beautiful fish and moving around through, under and beside these big rocks was fun. There were also a school of squid that appeared to be laying eggs or something, we never could figure it out entirely, but they put on some great displays of color changes & affectionate dances almost, that we got to witness. We did one scuba dive with Shayne & Lisa and were pleasantly surprised to find some pretty fans, massive schools of little fish and soft corals at 80-110 feet. It seemed like the diving there could be good as long as you didn't mind doing some deep diving. Ours was a deco dive which wasn't really a problem except my BCD inflator stuck on twice filling my bc with air which was annoying but other than that, it was a nice dive and the very first time (and probably only time) we did a dive in lycra skins and never felt an inkling of cold. And this at more than 100 feet! Tells you something about the temps here and why we have a barnacle farm on our hull! Shayne & Lisa's keel started giving them problems so they needed to get going back to the mainland, our dive compressor is of course busted so we couldn't fill more tanks and we were about to start needing seasickness meds to be able to stand the rolling in the anchorage, so we didn't stay in the Similans as long as we'd planned but we did go to all 3 of the best anchorages, did all the trails which were few and spent as much time in the water as we could, then came back to the mainland.

When we have internet, Jon has been clicking away in his spare time working on his cruising website Venture Farther and now has over 600 registered users. The most interest lies in easy to create satellite image files that are invaluable for poorly charted areas, but we both think the e-book cruising guides have value too. I am a one man show writing up the markers and am perpetually behind but we have gathered up some good anchorages & points of interest that I enter as I have time. Places like a recent nudibranch snorkel are of course not in any other cruising guide.
From Thailand
From Thailand

We are now checked out of Thailand and heading back to Malaysia via some very beautiful stops along the way. It is customary to allow cruising boats to make the 200 mile or so trip in day hops seeing things along the way which is nice. Our souvenirs are two beautiful uninhabited shells that we've found on beaches recently. Hindsight being 20/20, we would probably have been a lot happier if we had all but skipped Phuket and just explored these outer islands more fully. Even though they are really busy, they offer some truly beautiful scenery and you can sort of get away from the flow of tourists depending on where you anchor. And if you're in the right mood, even the touristy places can be fun and also funny. One of them was the famous Phi Phi Don. Wiped out by the tsunami, the sandspit that connects two beautiful bays has been rebuilt and there are reportedly more hotels and tourist facilities than ever. We anchored underneath towering cliffs and dinghied ashore to check out the island. The harbor was jammed with arriving & departing tourist boats and the amount of backpackers and beach goers packed along the street vendor alleys was incredible but there was a good vibe going. We hiked to some lovely lookouts with places to buy cold drinks on top & did some awesome people watching over lunch at a shoreside restaurant. We were having fun taking in some of the beachware on less than beautiful bodies. On one of the beachside trails back that had some lower budget "resorts", a European guy came running over to us asking if we could talk for a moment. He asked us where we were staying and we told him we had a private boat. As usual, he didn't get it at first and proceeded to explain in desperate terms that he arrived with his friends to this resort (pointing over to a shack on the beach) by ferry and then longtail and he was much less than impressed. He said "you would think it would be paradise but it is actually hell". Hmm, on some levels we could sympathize with him. He said that Trip Advisor was going to hear about this place and asked again which hotel we were staying at. We gently explained again that we had an oasis, I mean, private boat that we lived on and weren't staying ashore. It finally clicked and he asked, well had we seen any places nearby where one could stay instead of this place?!! And of course we had, there were hundreds of places not too far away. Poor guy. We chuckled after we walked away and were thankful that we had our own place to go back to.
From Thailand
From Thailand

And we just spent another couple of nights at an island called Koh Muk. It is home to the Emerald Cave. After picking up yet another great park mooring, we joined Shayne & Lisa and swam into a fantastic cave opening that runs about 80 meters I think into darkness, then opens up into an emerald pool inside with a little sandy beach, shiny bright green foliage and towering limestone cliffs. Once again, you can't capture it in a picture. The tide was a little too low to get the full pool effect but it was still impressive. Flooded by tourists during the day, we could come in just before sunset and have the place nearly to ourselves. It was beautiful and unlike any cave we've ever been in. And outside was just as pretty. We celebrated Lisa's birthday on board Evergreen talking the evening away in the relative coolness of the cockpit.
From Thailand
From Thailand

Koh muk was so pretty we stayed another day to explore more. At the base of the high cliffs there are rocky ledges and shallow caves that have the best nudibranch neighborhoods we've ever seen. All told, we snorked for a couple of hours and saw probably at least 50, about a dozen different varieties along with a sprinkling of soft & hard corals. I had a hard time knowing whether to look above water or below since the bird song and scenery were as lovely as the nudi filled underwater rocks. We met up with Andy & Sue on Spruce, finally, and shared happy hour together. We met them back in Sydney last year. Sue showed me some of her recent drawings and inspired me to once again try to pick up a pencil and give it a try, even if it is at a 4th grade level. This is the month for new years resolutions isn't it?
From Thailand
We went for a walk while we were at Koh Muk to stretch our legs and check out the flatter part of the island and came upon this hermit crab with his unusual house. At first it seemed a little sad that he had picked a piece of trash to live in but at the same time it is pretty humorous. I wondered if I brought in one of the shells we'd found, if he would move into it. It made me think of joking with a friend a couple of years ago about staying happy while cruising. She said you had to just lower your expectations sometimes. Well, I guess having a roof of your own over your head and sand between your toes is worth a lot. I decided not to tempt the little crab with my fancy shell house, that he might have already found paradise under the bottle top!

We're underway today 50 miles to a new island group called the Butangs. They are park, have moorings, snorkeling, a waterfall trail and a beach. It is 94 degrees in the cabin and the emblem plaque on the autopilot just fell off. The glue has apparently given up. But Jon has just made another perfect pink frozen smoothie. Our throats are cold and we have enough ice for another one!

Comments
Vessel Name: EVERGREEN
Vessel Make/Model: Tashiba 40 Hull #158
Hailing Port: E. Thetford Vermont
Crew: Heather and Jon Turgeon
Extra:
Hello! We are Heather & Jon Turgeon of S/V Evergreen. We started sailing in 1994 on our first boat, a Cape Dory 31, then sought out a Tashiba 40 that could take us around the globe. It has been our home for 19 years. We've thoroughly cruised the East coast and Caribbean and just completed our [...]
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