A nice little lap.

8th February 2015.

 It’s 0130, rolling around in my bed trying to go back to sleep, it’s not gunna happen, every time you commit to an early morning start, sleep somehow deserts you. 0330, still no sleep but up anyway waiting for 0430 to drop the mooring and head south to the Similans, fifty odd miles away.

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The Persians are up, they have been up since 0300, bummer, could have got going earlier, it’s a huge full moon and outside it is almost daylight, lets get going, preheat engines and let the alarms blare for a bit, just to wake the neighbours, probably another cause of my sleeplessness, they being fifty metres away in twenty five with forty metres of chain in, if it had have blew, they would have been on top of us in no time, wankers. Besides leaving these pricks behind it was a bit sad to be leaving Koh Surin, it is an awesome place, great water, great beaches and a place that needs to not change. Keep it simple it works pretty well by the looks of it.

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The passage between the Surins.  photo by Jen.

 

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Well worn jungle path on Koh Surin.  photo by Jen.

 

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Some leafy tree things.  photo by Jen.

 

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Prehistoric Palm trees are all over the joint.

Not much wind, 7 to 10 knots, heady out and one engine tonking along at 2100RPM and doing six knots, eight sixes are forty eight, should get there just after lunch. We have left at the bottom of the tide and will have it for the next six hours so things are looking good.

As soon as the sun came up my eyes started getting heavy, then the nods started as I was sitting comfortably in my chair out in the breeze and overcast sky, next thing you know we are a third of the way there. I awoke as we were coming up to an island to port, all safe, what a way to knock off a few miles. Now wide awake, it is back to business as usual, pretty much the same as when I was asleep, sitting comfortably in my chair whiling away the hours, getting a good bit of guts laughing in, Billy Thorpe you are a beauty, geez Most People I Know (think that I’m crazy) is a good read, the exploits of Buster the boxer dog are unreal, buy this book it’s a ripper.

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We arrived at Koh Similan at 1400 and made our way through the islands to be greeted with boats like Mr Trip flying around everywhere, chuck in half a dozen ferry’s and I was thinking why did we leave Koh Surin, Pete had a ferry sneak up on him, I reckon it spun him out, the Thai’s have to pass in front of you as it is good luck to them, whatever floats your boat. The fourth Island is the main camp with restaurants, shops, tent land and bungalows, there is a bay facing North full of moorings but also full of boats so we headed around to the eastern anchorage and picked up a couple of moorings. Pretty choppy, but bearable, had a couple of Leo’s and a nannery then we headed into town.

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Ended up at a little restaurant which had really good food, spicy as, watch out dunny tomorrow stuff, cold beer although only Chang, as beers go Chang is at the bottom of the ladder, down there with Coopers Green, at least it was cold. We met a young girl, Lyn, from Singapore who unbelievably works at 1 degree 15 Marina at Sentosa Island. She had a confidence about her that you don’t find with very many Asian women, probably been putting up with winging yachties for years, that’ll do it. The Internet was slow as and pretty much a waste of time, emails only but we did eventually manage to get the Buoyweather seven day forecast to be checked out and evaluated later. It was a complete glass off on our way back to the boats, so it looked like we may be going to get a good nights sleep, as if, by 0500 we are pretty much the only boats in this anchorage, all the others have fled, ENE at 15 knots with a metre swell pushing through, lovely. I got the buoyweather out, it is going to be the same for four days, bugger that, there is just no real protection available here, plus the traffic is out of control, so even though it is Friday, I asked Pete for his input, about fifteen minutes later we were out of there.

Raising the main it got to about half way up and stopped, a bit of a look and there it is, the halyard is wrapped around the steaming light, not real happy, it won’t come down either, more not real happiness, spewing in fact, Bloody Friday, so then up on the boom with the boat hook extended, about a foot short, so up on the cars with one foot, one hand hanging onto the lazy jack rope and the other with boathook in fingertips, just reached and by pure arse got hold of the halyard and got a bit of slack, then was able to flick it off and away we go. What else is going to happen, It’s bloody Friday, you dickhead.

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We started out headed for Nai Yang, fifty mile away, but the wind was swinging to the east which soon had us heading for Patong Bay and not to much later Nai Harn. Sailing at 35 to 50 degrees and the port engine tonking along we were doing five to six knots into a dirty looking sea. It was a day of pinching and then losing what you had put aside then back up again. Ended up getting rid of the jib and just pointed as high as we could. As we were passing Nai Yang, fifteen mile to the east a decision was made, down with the main and head for home, rough as guts and battling to hit five knots we pounded on. The sea was getting better the closer to home we got and the last hour was a dawdle, the Leo’s soon were doing their trick.

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We pulled into Nai Yang at 1600, dropped anchor next to Sonnet, a boat near us at Telaga Harbour, it used to be owned by a bloke called Murray Raynes, who did a lap in her and wrote a book called, One Easy Lap, which is a good read. He actually lives in Nannup, about 80k’s from where we live. I dropped in on him one day and had a good yack, my Dad also worked with him at the Midland workshops, an interesting fellow. The new owner Alex, a German, is believe it or not a good bloke, he has bought back to me some faith in the German race, it doesn’t take much to leave an impression on me does it? One bad egg and thats the lot buggered. We gave him a copy of Murray’s book and he was stoked, he is even taking us out for tea tonight. Bargain.

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That was our Northern Thailand passage, about 263nms of nonstop entertainment, great sailing, beautiful places and really nice people. The Similans was a bit disappointing but on its day it is possibly ok, we just didn’t get it. These waters are conducive to sailing, with offshore winds that make life a bit exciting, relatively flat water and beautiful safe anchorages all the way up and down the coast.

Our sailing mates, the Persians, are excellent partners in crime and their outlook on life is contagious, I actually had an AFM and for the last week or so have been sticking to only a couple of beers a day, can’t say I feel any better for it, but it must be good for you. Thanks Nep and Etep you guys are tops. Hubert was on the money there.

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The people you meet doing this sort of thing also makes you grin, The Persians, The Kokomos, The Babars, The Nojokins, The Sylvias, The Adagios and a few others all out doing what we want, when we want and how we want with not too much to bother us or get in your way, what a hooting lifestyle we lead.

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Also you have got to love the Thai’s, they are a very motivated lot but they also have the ability to think into the future a bit and bend to achieve a result, unlike say the Malaysians who will not budge, but that’s not bad either, just horses for courses.

Koh Phayam, Yeah man.

6th Febuary 2015.

 Australia Day celebrations went off like a cracker, beach cricket, BBQ and fireworks with a fair bit of lubricant as well. It was a great way to say goodbye to Koh Phayam, an excellent destination, pretty much like no other we have been to and it isn’t stinking hot with good breeze all the time.  It is so relaxed and easy going that ten days felt more like five so if you were paying for a holiday you might be getting back on the boat before you even know it.

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I reckon the gang found just about all the good restaurants, the last was a bit of a run down joint on the main drag in town but the food was pretty filthy with a price tag anyone would love. A couple of the View restaurants were really good to, even had a sort of Thai spaghetti with clams, filthy, chockers after that one. The entertainment was alright as well, Yenns, the bloke who run the place’s daughter kept us entertained for a bit, although the push button noisy phone thing could have, after a while, had her drowned in the pool.

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During our stay I completed a few jobs on the boat including oil and fuel filters, new oil, scrubbed her waterline and scrubbed the props. When we arrived she had a green four-inch beard from the bow to midships but in the calm waters of Buffalo Bay it all died and fell off which was a bit of a bargain. Fair bit of effort still to get it all off and the growth on the sail drives and props was just getting going so timed that well. The good old Hempel antifoul is working a treat on the hull with only five small barnacles on the whole boat. Under the keel where we didn’t antifoul it is going off, it’s good fun though, you get the wide scraper out and scour them off upside down, while checking out the fish get stuck in to the free meal.

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The Mojito’s from the Hippy Bar are filthy. This place is a bit of a hidden treasure, the dudes are done up like peace and love people strutting there stuff in flares with belts, big hair do’s and handfulls of rings. When you see them in town they are dressed just the same.

Larb moo is available everywhere and cooked to perfection at most. Tried a few other dishes, in particular stir fry ginger and pork, a new favourite, especially when served with sticky rice.

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We upped anchor about 1030 the day after Aussie Day and said our goodbyes to the Kokomos, Phil and Karen, and Archie and Jill off of Nojokin, a nice big stink boat that they travel everywhere in, doing it tough, Jill took a screamer at the cricket. The Babars were hard at it in a resort for the night, it was Elise’s birthday, so we didn’t get to say goodbye to them. All in all a tight gang once again, the type that turns heads and gets people talking, especially the dumb bitch who got the shits because we blocked the track trying to work out where the View restaurant turn off was. Someone should have belted her.

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We caught up with The Persians just out of the bay and headed for the Surin Group. Sweating like a rapist for the next few hours, not sure why but geez it was just pissing out me. We got our spinnaker up and the Persians followed suit and just bobbed along at 4.7kns following the imaginary border between Thailand and Myanmar but with about ten miles to go the wind dropped to bugger all and what there was on the nose so we motored the last bit to Koh Surin Nua, one of the islands in the outer island group in Thai waters.

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Coming around the headland into the bay we found Adagio on a mooring and Sylvia May anchored up in the bay. These guys were all in on the cricket and are good fun. Phil and Cheryl, from Adagio supplied the bat and ball. We met Terry and Jenny off of Sylvia May one night at a big feast with the Gary’s and others at the Shin Mi Restaurant in Langkawi. It was excellent catching up with them again and even got a bet for a bottle of vodka with Terry on the Scorchers vs Sydney Six’s BBL final. Go Scorchers. He is bloody confident, don’t think he even rates us.                                                                                                                                                We ended up anchoring in 25 metres on broken coral and sand, it took a bit to get the anchor set, not to much to grip to down there, in the end put the whole lot in, 100 metres, and on the blowiest day, 20 to 25kns, we moved 90 feet on the GPS, so reckon the sheer weight of the chain did most of the work, goes to show, it doesn’t do much good in the locker. The locals just chuck an anchor over, no chain, just rope and then all their mates come along and raft up, it would be unreal to be able to be that blasé, but I can’t do it.

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We have been diving on a nice bit of reef that no one else seems to bother with, surprising as it is heaps better than the ones the dive boats go to. You jump off the back of Boomerang, the anchor chain goes straight down 25 metres to the bottom, you can just make out the bottom and swim a hundred metres across the bluest blue water and as you get closer to the reef you can see a few boondy’s and sand then it just rises out of the blue to coral reef not one metre from the surface. The fish life is great, coral trout, snapper, garouper, a cod as big as me and his mate and another huge fish with what looked like mutton chops hanging down from either side of its mouth, plus all the other fish that you just take for granted.

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The other afternoon I went over for a look and was blown out by the big fish, they were probably always there but in the late arvo light they both came out and stood out. The parrot fish were doing circles over their territory, coming right up to you, lucky they didn’t get pinged. I was looking down and all of a sudden the bottom moved and the huge cod swam off followed by his mate and a bit later chasing a CT from rock to rock I came through the back door of a little cavern and come across mutton chops, It just looked at me and won the stare off, a ripper snapper came past just staring at me as well.

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We’ve been feasting with the Persians, hooting BBQ on the beach and a bits and pieces aboard Boomerang, also a lunch at the restaurant on land with a couple of other couples they knew from Switzerland and Germany. I had pork fried rice and a couple of Leo’s, Jen had omelet as well. Not to bad at all. They have a funny way of doing things with vouchers instead of cash but it works and there are heaps of tourists here. You can stay in tents that are all set up or little huts as well. The restaurant area is pretty big and well set out, you have to clean your scraps up, hopefully for a pig out the back but not real sure, and stack your dishes. Jen felt right at home.P1040249

 

She went for a walk down the beach where a heap of tourists were all milling around checking something out in the water, next thing I notice is the photographer dude jump, this made everyone jump and Jen walk away pissing herself. She had scared the bloke and he sent shockwaves through the crowd, well done mate sort of reminds me of something I might have done once upon a time.

Sylvia May left this morning, he was trying to reach us on the VHF but it wasn’t on, Pete screamed out from Persian Sands and got me on the VHF to let me know, so called up Terry and he gave me the news that the Scorchers had won by one run, GO SCORCHERS, he didn’t make any moves to drop off the Vodka though, have to chase him up down the line somewhere, lucky we still have plenty anyway. Suppose I should be grateful to get the result, we haven’t had any phone coverage for a while and the HF is a bit sporadic up here in the bay.

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The Adagio’s are leaving tomorrow morning at 0630 and their mooring comes up for grabs but now after a few days, the rock grinding noise from deep below is subsiding and Boomerang seems quite happy to hang out here near what I am now claiming as Rod’s Reef, still no one else has had a look at it. Did a book swap with the Adagios, they also like Ian Rankin, bargain.

Speaking of books I have been giving them a flogging, Let It Bleed, The Falls and Doors Open, all by Ian Rankin are fantastic reading, all hard to put down. Have just started reading, Most People I Know Think That I’m Crazy by Billy Thorpe, It is a pearler, haven’t had a book make me laugh for quite a while, I mean guts hurting laugh, Robert B Barrett could pull it off at least once in every book he wrote. Billy Thorpe is a funny bugger.IMG_1462

Jens read the Hope We Seek off the iPad and loved it. We have been listening to some good podcasts, Richard Fidlers’, Conversations, are great listening, the snow leopards, some bikie from the Pagans in Philadelphia, Mathew Evans the Tassie farmer whose mate Ross we know from Margaret River. There are a few more but can’t remember them all. We are sadly running out of movies and TV shows that have any interest, Halt and Catch Fire the only one we can really remember, so I won’t bore you with the others. Bring on a new series of Justified, The Banshee or Death in Paradise I reckon.

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The other day I had a funny throat which then went down my neck and has now even moved down to my guts, uncomfortable feeling like indigestion and feels like the burps are coming up from my bum. Nurse Penny has got me on a fast, and we will see how we go. It is like something is going through me from inlet to outlet, the only thing I can think of is some antifoul poisoning from cleaning the props and sail drives the other day. Pen reckons it lifestyle, I doubt it but she is probably right. To much larb moo.

Well, fasted for a whole day and a bit, even finally made a AFM, drank buckets of water but feeling better, still got a sore throat, probably a flu or something, the guys of Kokomo apparently had a shocker last week. Speaking of who, will probably come round the corner in the next couple of days.

Well, we have hit the main restaurant on Koh Surin Nae now, good feed of fish and veges, got some phone action and some internet, bloody slow though, tossing up whether to post this now or wait for the photos, bugger it here it comes.

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No it didn’t. They shut the genset down the moment I tried to publish, hopefully lucky for you.         It is now Monday and the wind has come up again 15 to 20 knots out of the East so making for a bit of a rocky existence, spewing too that I never got some photos of Rod’s reef when the water was dead calm, went over for a look today and the visibility is down to 15 metres and a bit hazy. Fish everywhere though so shouldn’t winge to much. While I was snorkeling along I heard motor noise in the water and looked up to see Mr Trip, Mr Gao’s boat fly past, so piled into the dinghy and took off up to the area they take the paying patrons. When he saw me, or perhaps the dinghy, his face lit up with a smile, probably remembering,“oh it’s the dickhead who can’t tie knots,” if he was thinking that, he didn’t show it and it was great to say goodbye to him properly as he wasn’t at his restaurant the night before we left. Reckons it was a good day today, twenty people crammed in and frothing to see some coral. I think from memory it was 500baht a pop to come from Koh Phayam to Koh Surin, so he should be grinning for a few hours work.

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Went exploring down in the bay with the Persians, some nice little bays and rivermouths to be found and checked out, Pen showed signs of her tracking abilities, wading through the mud, climbing trees and rocks looking for her land roots. We let her just go for it.

We are starting to go a bit troppo and have got a new language happening, Retep and Epolenep have picked it up quick as well. Our VHF radio which is now left on our personal channel, 17, is a good apparatus to try it out,“Yendor you there”, Yeah Retep what you want”. Fairly easily entertained hey. It is now moving to full sentences.

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Went for a blast over to the camp today for internet and a feed, both coming up short on quality, then had to drag the dinghy out through rock strewn sand bars and then take off back home to our bay, we are the only yachts here now, everyone else has headed south probably for a full moon party or something, we might just wait till Thursday morning to make sure we don’t get caught up in a day after full moon party, they don’t really need much of an excuse around here and I am just starting to get back to fully fit for duty after this quiet spell.

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Sitting back taking it easy watching a couple of yachts sail by, almost, one of them, a cat, changed course and headed for us, then proceeded to come about 50 metres from us and drop his anchor, there is a whole anchorage but this German wanker needs company. Oh well, we are out of here tomorrow, so who gives a shit.