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

Storms, shipwrecks and Pirates.

14 February 2011 | Langkawi Malaysia
Dave, weather hot
In the last blog entry I mentioned the work performed by Dang a local Thai carpenter who did a wonderful job on WdtW. We were saddened to hear that he died a few weeks after finishing our boat, he was 46!!!. We got to know him and his family quite well and our thoughts are with them in what will be a difficult time going forward.

We have been more or less in holiday mode since completing the makeover allowing us to visit parts of Phuket we haven't previously seen. One such place was to the notorious town of Patong famous for its girly bars, lady boys, massage parlors and sex pats. We went with a group of friends mostly Aussies on the occasion of the AFL Grand Final replay, televised in many of the bars. As the game started at 10 am it meant a long day was ahead of us and many hours later we inevitably found our way to the girly bars. I am assured that some of them were actually girls but wouldn't bet on it. As the night drew on it was more and more difficult to tell what gender you were talking to. At 3am it was impossible. Must admit I was relieved to leave.

Patong is on the west coast of Phuket and many yachts anchor along this coast from December onwards, it's a more lively scene compared with the east. We had been warned not to go there too early in the season as it is not uncommon for an unpredicted storm to come in. It happened this season and a number of boats were washed up on shore, some completely wrecked. I heard of a catamaran just in the process of being sold that was dashed on the rocks and broken into pieces. Rumour has it that it was uninsured (value $400,000).

Another casualty of the weird weather affecting most of the planet, was a boat with which we travelled through Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia. A 46 foot yacht on her way home to the UK to complete a circumnavigation. She was in the northern Indian ocean near to Sri Lanka when hit by an unseasonal storm, sustained damage and was starting to flood. The skipper and crew were rescued by a commercial ship who answered their MAYDAY call. The yacht was abandoned, left to drift presumably until she sank.
January and February is the traditional time for yachts to leave Thailand / Malaysia and head west. This year, as in previous years, some 200 or so sailing boats have set off heading for the Med via the Red Sea. It was with some sadness that we said good bye to a number of people we have cruised with over the past 2 yrs. The route to the Red Sea is probably one of the most dangerous a yacht can take, not due to the weather as storms are rare but because of the well publicised Somali pirate attacks that can occur within a 1000 mile range of the horn of Africa. Even though there is a large multi national naval presence it cannot be relied upon for assistance as the problem area is vast. The authorities look upon yachts as being a pain in the neck and try to discourage them from taking this route. Pirate attacks on commercial shipping have increased considerably over the past 2-3 yrs but attacks on yachts have remained stable ( even the pirates think we are not worth the hassle). Of the 200 yachts that took this route last year only 2 were captured i.e. a 99% chance of getting through. This is why yachts are willing to take the risk. The ones that do decide to chance it often travel in small convoys for support. As we are going to be in SE Asia for the next 2-3 yrs, a decision on wether to take this route does not have to be made yet. Forever the optimists (probably misguided in this case) we hope that it will be safer in future as there should be more naval presence in the area.

Away from death, disaster and pirates.
Christmas once again snook up on us. We had a great time with Matt, Pete and his girlfriend Sam coming to stay on the boat for a few weeks. Our boat is not large but is well set up for 2 people, we can sleep 5 albeit a squeeze. Thankfully everything was fine and we had a relaxed, sociable Christmas day on board with food, drink, music, fun and the occasional dive over the side to cool off. We were sad to say goodbye to Matt who went home prior to New Year as there was a festival he wanted to attend. While he was with us he took the time to get a hole in his tooth fixed at one of the very good dentists on Phuket, 5 visits later, including root canal treatment, a crown and a wisdom tooth extraction he was all patched up.

The remaining four spent NY at Rai Leh on the Thai mainland. We had a wonderfully atmospheric new yrs eve with 100s of lanterns released into the night sky, carrying the dreams and wishes of the senders.
The rest of Pete and Sam's time was spent ticking items off their to do list; elephant trekking; motorbike riding; hot springs etc etc. We all had a great time.

Jean and I are again back to "normal" and planning our next 12 months. One of our achievements so far this year has been to qualify as SCUBA divers. We bought some dive gear from a very rich Frenchman who once had a dive boat. His engineer, a Scotsman, is a qualified dive instructor and he offered to teach us. Over a three week period we were in the classroom (usually a quiet part of some bar) studying dive theory and putting it into practice on Sundays, finishing with a dive to 18 mtrs. We both passed easily, Jean was especially proud as some years ago she burst an ear drum in a swimming pool and has had problems equalising the pressure on her ears and was concerned about her ability to take up diving. She was fantastic and performed all the underwater exercises without problem. We are now qualified and looking forward to our first dive without an instructor.

At present we are in Malaysia heading south. We intend to leave the boat in a marina and embark on some land travel, including a trip back to Australia in May, June or July

Seems that I can't add photos to the gallery anymore. I have asked the administrator why. Might have to add to facebook instead.

Best wishes Dave and Jean

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