14 February 2011 | Langkawi Malaysia
12 April 2010 | Guess
12 February 2010
19 November 2009 | Now Malaysia
11 October 2009 | Off the coast of Borneo Indonesia.
03 September 2009 | Labuan Bajo, Flores Indonesia.
22 July 2009 | Saumlaki Indonesia.
05 June 2009 | Gove
26 April 2009 | Magnetic Island
14 December 2008 | Townsville
31 October 2008 | Townsville
23 September 2008 | Port Clinton
19 August 2008 | Pancake Creek
24 May 2008 | Sydney
27 April 2008 | Hobart
02 April 2008 | Hobart
16 March 2008 | Cygnet


12 April 2010 | Guess
Hot and sunny
I am grateful for the number of emails I have received encouraging me to write more and that the blog is enjoyed. This certainly gives me the incentive to carry on, so here goes.

Since leaving the Indonesian and Malaysian rallies, these blogs are getting harder to write, we have slowed down our pace, not travelling great distances and living a relatively normal life beside the locals in exotic locations. I try to include as much as I can, detail about our lifestyle and any unusual things that happen along the way. I try not to write a travelogue as they can be quite boring.

Xmas in Langkawi with our two sons was magic. It was always part of the dream to have them visit us where ever we are. Pete spent 10 days with us before flying back to Oz so that left the three of us to head for Thailand. After stocking up with food, fuel, water and clearing out of customs and immigration we set off north to Phuket via the Buntang group of islands. These islands are in Thailand and are reportedly good for snorkelling; we really have been spoiled by Australia's Great Barrier Reef and the clear waters of Indonesia and found this area to be poor in comparison. We only stayed one night. Matt had never done an over night sail before so instead of island hopping to Phuket we decided to head off and run the gauntlet of the hidden fishing nets and myriad of fishing boats that trawl the area constantly, day and night. Thankfully we had good wind overnight and no dramas.

We arrived in Phuket on New Years Eve and rushed to get to the customs and immigration office before 3pm not realising there had been a change in time zone, giving us an extra hour. It was still too late to prevent the officials from demanding extra payment for processing our documents as they wanted to leave early that day. I then did what is probably not the best thing to do; I became angry with the customs official said I wasn't going to pay and walked out with my unstamped papers. The intention was to return the day after and hopefully have a different official. No such luck. I had to pay the extra money.

Most of the time Matt was with us was spent in Phang Nga Bay, famous for the spectacular karst (limestone) topography with the numerous caves and hongs. Even in high season there were few cruising boats around and we often found ourselves alone in an anchorage. This must sound so peaceful. The downside was the hundreds of fast tourist boats that transported holiday makers from the resorts to the beauty spots around the bay. These boats ranged from the high speed ultra modern to the low tech traditional long tail. These long tail boats (see photos) have a large engine attached to a prop shaft and are as noisy as all hell. At one anchorage near Krabi on the Thai mainland it was easy to imagine what it would have been like to live near a Second World War airfield with 100s of Spitfires leaving all at once in the morning and hopefully returning in the afternoon.

One of the more famous islands in Phang Nga Bay is James Bond Island. For those of my vintage you probably saw the James Bond film "The Man with the Golden Gun" and like me being fascinated by the rock formations and fantastic scenery. We visited the island early in the morning before the boat loads of tourists arrived and had a great time exploring all the nooks and crannies. Despite an extensive search we never did find Mr Scaramanga's hide out. A cruising friend of ours has all the James Bond movies and lent us this film. It confirmed that the island is as spectacular as the film shows it to be and that Roger Moore was the worst James Bond ever.

Rather than write about the various places we visited I will leave that for the pictures and the notes.

In no time at all we had to say goodbye to Matt, he left with my solar panels under his arm, ready to fit to his motor home. For a good few weeks after, we were both re-experiencing the empty nest syndrome, wondering when we would see him and Pete again.
After Matt left we headed back to Malaysia as our visas were running out. Whilst there we hauled the boat out of the water to remove the coral ecosystem that had quickly developed on the bottom of the boat. We then had to sand the hull and repaint with antifouling. This always takes longer that expected. The paint should last longer this time as we added a chemical that is illegal in Australia, it is claimed to stop weed and barnacle growth for over 3 yrs lets hope so. Being in the boat yard is hard work but also very sociable as we knew many of the people working on their boats. At 5.30pm Greg from "Wind Chimes" would have a "call to prayer meeting" and like all good followers of the faith, we would down tools and gather for a beer or four.

Different places have different animal problems, In Oz it could be the rabbit, in this marina it is the monkey, and if boats are left unlocked the monkeys will climb the ladder and go aboard to eat whatever they can find. We were having dinner in the marina restaurant when a French lady came up to us saying "Ze monkees zay are on your boat". I rushed back but they had been chased away by her husband. Others were not so lucky, with food scattered over the boat and monkey calling cards left.

The boat was relaunched without drama and we hung around the marina resort for another 2-3 days for a well earned rest before starting the cycle again. Stock up, check out, and head off to Thailand. We are currently in Yacht Haven north of Phuket town and we expect to be here for some time doing major upgrades to the boat. This place is out of the way (read not close to resorts) but has many of the things we need. As our location is unlikely to change over the next 6-8 weeks I might write the next blog in the trials and tribulations of having work done in Thailand.

Take care,

Dave and Jean
Vessel Name: Whistle Down the Wind
Vessel Make/Model: Adams 40
Hailing Port: Melbourne