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Footprints and Sailing

day 31 till the end of the sailing trip!

THAILAND | Sunday, 7 August 2011 | Views [596]

Day 31 – Sunday 31st July

Early rise, water tank filled and off we set for Phuket at 9 am. A fine calm day but very little wind for sailing;…..However….that did change and we had a good 3-4 hours under sail – edging the boats to a speed of over 6 knots – now that what sailing is all about….we made great headway and arrived at Ko Taphao Yai – which turned out to be the main shipping port…………no chance of getting near a jetty – so we tucked in behind the island and rocked and rolled all night!! There was a smell of diesel and it had got into the bilges – so after a phone call to the marina, it was decided we get a new boat tomorrow…a Bavaria 37.

Day 32 – Monday 1st August                                                                                        

After a near sleepless night, we set off up the coast heading to meet the new yacht at the mouth of the river – the entrance for royal Phuket Marina – the thought of the comfort of a marina is very appealing right now! We anchored off a small island to get our gear into bags then met our new yacht ‘Lolita” at the mouth of the estuary. She doesn’t smell of diesel – hurrah!!!

After seeing the instruments and length of her, we decided not to venture up the tricky channel into the marina – but instead found an anchorage at Ao Po – full of ferry boats! We lay down anchor just outside the mooring buoys – wrong move obviously – we had to move her because of the ferry traffic wanting to moor up for the night………..so another night of very little sleep!! In between all of this, we went into Phuket town to get supplies and organize a visa run for Y… which means a 5am start for her to meet the bus for Penang!

Day 33 – Tuesday 2nd August

Undaunted by the 5am start – Y never slept anyway for fear of a ferry boat landing on our bow or stern – we set off in the dinghy to drop her off at the end of the pier – we attempted to get on to the outside pier but it would have meant a ‘climb’ up of about 3 metres – even Y doesn’t have that long legs!! So we motored in closer – until to find ourselves aground as the tide was rapidly coming out1 Y leapt out the boat and pushed the dinghy off, with J frantically rowing with all her might to get back into deeper water!! A phone call later revealed that Y had cut her feet on the rocks wading in – at least up to waist level! – a wet journey to Penang ensued for her! J meanwhile,after a sprint row to avoid the rocks,  got the engine going and went back on board ‘Lolita” for a sleep!! – and a lazy day, hopefully!

Day 34 – Wednesday 3rd August

The day started pondering where to go on the last leg of the sailing adventure, deciding to go to Koh Yaka Noi for a swim then round to Koh Naka Yai to anchor off the beach. Once organized we noticed we we were caught up in a mooring………….soon to be caught up with another boat…………..aaargh! Some damage to Lolita later…………we set off to Koh Naka Noi…….reflecting how on earth we managed to damage a hand rail stanchion……….. We decided not to drop anchor there, instead going round to a more sheltered Koh Naka Yai – which turned out to be the most peaceful anchorage on all our travels….apart from the hoardes of tourists who rocked up in their speed boats, and canoe ferries to spend some time on a beautiful beach backed by two bars and fruit stalls, along with the customary ice cream vendors. We, of course dinghyed over and joined in, relaxing in one of the many deck chairs strewn along the beach. After a while, we strolled along the beach and followed a path towards an abandoned resort – Y took the lead up the hill and suddenly from the undergrowth there was a rustle of grass and leaves and out shot a lizard the size of a small crocodile, approx 6 ft long! There turned out to be two of them, but only one dared to run off and scampered down the narrow road….unfortunately we couldn’t get the camera out quick enough to capture this lizard hurtling away from us………..thank goodness it wasn’t charging towards us!!

As the tourists left, we had a drink, Y with a pina colada(made in a coconut shell) and J – a refreshing singha – we got a carry out of two beers, a pineapple, two bananas and two bottles of water – supplies beginning to run down quickly.

Once back at the boat, time for swimming off the back and chillout.

Day 35 – Thursday 4th August

An early morning exercise swim at the beach before the tourists arrived prompted us to have an explore further up the coast in the dinghy. Koh Naka Yai has three beaches – the Northern one turned out to be a wee treasure trove – a beautiful resort – a tented village – well - tents which were one massive big room with ensuite facilities – very simple but spacious, fully covered with thatch and on stilts! They do meals and have a massage suite too. So lunch provided us with a nice mixture of pad thai curry and a burger and crisps! No wonder it is called ‘Secrets’.

Day 36 – Friday 5th August

The anchorage was like a mill pond – so relaxing and calm – it didn’t seem as if the boat had moved all night! So another day of exploring – we took the dinghy right round the island – and visited the small village round the other side. This turned out to be a very interesting place, it had a school and a mosque and houses scattered along a makeshift road lined with electricity poles – they looked the height of a greeny pole – supporting sagging lines – how they transferred energy – who knows?

We tried to engage a few of the locals in conversation, asking if they sold bread – but to no avail. It really highlights how difficult communication can be without knowledge of a particular language. The sum of our Thai is Sawadeeka – Hello……………and Koopenka – thank you…….so you can imagine the sign language that went to portray our wishes…………..not a chance! We did buy two coca colas and sat with the shopkeeper trying to share some common ground – she did understand that we came from Scotland and the cat that was under our feet was a pest! We left the village empty handed and proceeded round the island to the southern beach – to have a snorkel – but not much sea life to be had.

Lunch/dinner at Secrets was just lovely and that satisfied our hunger until the next day. J had another go at fishing but the fish here are not daft – they didn’t bite at the bait – a silver piece of tin foil with a bit of apple to entice some unsuspecting salmon! Or whatever fish are in these waters…………..we do get thousands of little fish swim behind the boat when the tide runs in or out – the current is strong enough to drag you away………..indeed a swim round the boat is nearly quite impossible as you swim one way without going very far!!

The evening was spent listening to music – since we had no neighbours sharing our spot!

Day 37 – Saturday 6th August

After a lazy start to the day – an early morning dip –it was time to get ready to head back to Yacht Haven marina in the north of Phuket – to return the boat and find out what we would have to pay for the damage. The passage back to the marina was pleasant but windy and we arrived mid afternoon. The cost of the damage was reasonable and despite several apologies, the marina manager – a german – told us not to worry – as someone had hit a rock the other week and put a hole in the hull………….

We had a stroll around the marina, found the swimming pool and restaurant then returned to the boat for our last night on the water!

Day 38 – Sunday 7th August

The end of the sailing adventure – on to a spa resort for three nights then the two amigos set off on their own journeys – Y to a yoga/meditation retreat for a week to prepare her for going back to Scotland to the cold and wet – wonder if she will be able to wander around in tshirts and shorts from morning till night in sunny Tealing? And J – well – she is off to see her pal Sheelagh in Perth Australia for a week then two weeks with Peter and Judy in Sydney – before returning the sand pit on 31st August!!

It has been a great adventure – and Thailand is beautiful – glad we had a yacht to see some places that we wouldn’t have normally seen if we did  the ‘touristy’ stuff!!!!

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