I don’t want to go, I can’t eat a whole carrot cake by myself.

13TH April 2016.

Happy Birthday Mo and Jan, 3/4/2016.

Songkran Festival, Sawadee be mine, Happy New Year Thailand.

This last month has been a hoot, so, so much fun I have laughed a few times till me guts hurt, that’s usually a pretty good sign.

With help from Gerry, you could say a guiding hand but I wouldn’t, geez we have seen the sights, from Ao Chalong to Rawi to Nai Yang and back again.

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The month started with stripping fourteen years of antifoul and primer from the hulls, when we got to the glass it was perfect, not a sign of osmosis, onya Bryan Perry, we coated it with two layers of epoxy, six layers of the Hempel epoxy primer to primer primer, four layers of primer primer to antifoul primer and then five coats of antifoul, big two weeks doing that, had Nook, Nok, Ronnie, Nick at it flat out, they are unreal guys, always happy and will do anything to help you, then come 1700 its under the boat for the daily couple of beers or cokes. Then it is a stroll up the steps to the Ponderosa for beers on the deck with Gerry, then the boss lady, Toi, comes along perfectly timed for a change to white wine. This is how a boatyard should be. I have tried doing it on my own a few times, you just get a bit overwhelmed and lost after a while which generally means you get stuff all done.

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Toi and I fibreglassed a new panel to a bulkhead behind the lounge for the inverter relocation, then she got stuck into stripping the floor in the saloon, she is a beauty, I removed all the stainless seacocks and replaced them with new bronze ones, shit job head down arse up in the bilge, glad when two days later that was done.

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I also had a job helping out in the yard, hauling in and out boats, repairing electrical stuff and just generally fixing shit, I would do that job for ever if I could, mucking around with boats is the best fun. We hauled out a bloke called Jack, he had been rescued by the Thai Navy after drifting for five days with no sails, they were rooted and an engine that is much the same. Gerry dragged him up to G&T and we hauled him out, you would not believe the shit that was on this boat, the sad part was that the good shit, a new dinghy and outboard and the box with the disassembled windless were lost overboard, poor bastard, felt sorry for him, helped him a bit but in the end you have to get on with your own stuff. He wasn’t real happy when I suggested he get a skip bin and just chuck all the crap in it, it would have made his life much more organised.

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Meanwhile back at the boat Toi had started on the saloon floor with the polyurethane, ten coats with a sand in between, had to relocate up to one of the chalets, strong smelling stuff, they now have six of them, chalets that is, and they are pretty much fully booked by people staying in the yard.

Freezing cold A/C and the new local mosque couldn’t wake me up, the morning prayer is horror loud, White and Brown, the G&T Boatyard dogs, howl most times but not all the time, perhaps they actually like the sounds, I don’t know.

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The boys are still going on the hulls, I went out to a party with Gerry and some of his mates, it was Happy Ban’s company do, he owns a tourism venture for the Chinese tourists. As I was walking up to the house out pops Gerry in a nice shirt, shorts and thongs, I asked him if I was dressed up enough, Yeah you’ll be right, T-Shirt, shorts and thongs. Jesus wept when we get there everyone is dressed up to the nines, we were greeted by Happy Ban, a quite young and happy man, and shown to the VIP table.

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We had our own hostess who supplied us with whisky and soda and a huge banquet all night long. And so started a fun filled night which ended up in a Jazz bar in a private room with everyone singing Karaoke and a heap of bar girls wanting to come in and ply their trade but there wasn’t any room for them. No one was leaving any time soon. This was one of the occasions I laughed my guts out. Unbelievable. Way to go Gerry. My way, sung with an Oriental twang was definitely the most popular song.

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Next day was a bit dodgy but we had made it home safely with me in charge, in Phuket they have heaps of RBT’s, I drank soda water for a couple of hours and just sat back and laughed, then loaded me mate in and off we went.

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Ended up in Patong one night with Alex, Char and one of their mates, another eye opener and much fun was had. Last time we were there Chris beat some chick at hammering a nail into the wood block, which spun her out.

Next morning, bit hung and riding home on the bike I got pulled over for no helmet, 500baht later I was back on the road with a piece of paper explaining that I had already been busted and to leave me alone for twenty four hours. I had tried to put the helmet on but my head wasn’t the right shape. Bugger.

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Have had some good feeds along the way, The Bang Pae Seafood Restaurant is always good, had some unreal crabs in curry and this smelly stuff called Hamuk, curried fish paste which comes wrapped in a banana leaf, once the smell wears off it is Aloi muk muk.

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Toi has fed me many a time, her pork chops, mashed spud and gravy with mushrooms is deluxe, Gerry does a good lunch with surprising capability, curry sniggers and mash, pies and mash, must be all those years running pubs. We had a big BBQ for Ray when he thought he was leaving, well and truly frogged that night with a few others, nearly a whole bottle downed, unreal ribs done by Toi and cooked to perfection by Nok. Toi is also famous for her carrot cakes, they are filthy.

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Since I have been sweating so much it has been three changes of clothes a day, so I was heading down to Nada’s a fair bit, she is the best laundry lady we have found, it was then that I sampled the other services available, massage, drinks and really good larb moo and a new one called kapow moo, always followed with cold watermelon sliced up. Ratree is my massage queen, unbelievable, I was a massage virgin, had me feet done lots but that’s it, I am hooked, plus she cooks a filthy larb moo, she is a lovely person. Then you have Nada, she is also unreal but don’t play that game with the coloured discs, you can not beat her, even when I cheated she beat me. Her kapow moo is Aloi muk muk and she is also an excellent dude. The two of them and Gee, one of the locals, were my entertainment daily, or perhaps it was the other way around.

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Also had a few good nights up at Nai Yang at Alex and Lek’s Bar with the old gang, Lek is a ripper and gave me the back room a couple of times, then brekkie in the morning. That’s looking after your patrons.

We hit the Suparlai resort up the road for pizza and a swim a few times, five star resort with us the only ones in the pool, just take an esky full of beers, wine and coolies for the kids and buy a couple of pizzas, good value.

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Back at the boat, Toi and I wet sanded the Polyurethane, looks and feels like glass when you are finished and she started the long process of varnishing, at least ten more coats, the boys have polished the hulls and sanded the sail drives back to metal, primed and painted them, I finally relented to Gerry’s gay pleading and gave them back to work on other boats. Caught him sending Nook over to another boat and he took over with the roller doing a primer coat, we had to sand his bit off and do it again, what a wanker. I gave Nook instructions to not let him touch my boat and if he tried too, get hold of me straight away. The word wanker is now being bandied around G&T freely and to my great amusement, when I told the boys what it meant they cracked up and started calling everyone wankers, Toi’s got it rolling of her lips pretty well, she has good reason to.

Went to Nai Harn and who should we run into, Noah and Joe, oh well another blurry morning. Unreal.

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Easter came and for me it hung around, I went MIA from Saturday to Monday. It started with working all day Good Friday, many beers consumed that night and a sleep in. Then Gerry and I had to deliver one of Gerry’s mates, Mike’s, dinghy to the Ao Chalong yacht Club, beers followed, scored a hooting little stainless reef anchor from a bloke who had all his gear out for sale. Then this bloke rolled up and he looked familiar, ended up being Alfie who we met in Penang at the Raja Muda a few years back, he was the horse like myself in the chariot race at Straits Quay, well that didn’t end up so good for him and his passenger, the only time I am likely to beat him at any type of race, I just picked my line and stuck to it, I can still see the crowd booing me and Dunkin Bucket, giving them the finger was pretty funny, a bit like in- sighting a riot. Had a good yack with him, he’s been flogging everyone in the local sailing rounds and training young people to sail in Phuket, he is a good bloke. We left there and headed to a game fishing bar, more of Gerry’s mates, full on fishermen who after showing us a video they have made you know they know there stuff. Next we all went to some other bar, this is when things are becoming hard to remember and a bit blurry, probably due to no food all day and so many Leo’s. Got my arse whipped at pool, although they let me win a couple before they got serious. Gerry was funny as and I remember laughing my guts out to the point of crying, we left there and in the end I bundled Gerry off into a taxi, I wanted to be in town for the 1000 start to the AFL so woke up in the car with the A/C going and quite comfortable, then watched the Dockers get done at the Light House Hotel, then had lunch with Paul down at Rawi, then Bloody Mary’s at Mikes Bar, taught Oi how to make them properly, watched two full games of footy so things were getting a bit out of control again, had a sleep in the car, A/C on and then headed home to G&T a fair few hours later. Made it to Nada’s, had an excellent massage, then Ratree made me larb moo, aloi muk muk, and I think probably my 4th or 5th wind kicked in, it is a good ability to have but sometimes I wonder, ended up the girls tucked me into bed at Nada’s place and that was where I woke at 0900 next day. Got my sorry arse into Gerry’s car and trundled off home to the freezing cold Chalet. Slept till night time then ventured out, I think Toi was a bit pissed at me, Gerry was wrapped he got his car, phone and wallet back all in one piece. That was Easter for me, quite possibly a bit irresponsible and a bit out of character, it was pretty good fun though, haven’t run amuck like that for a while.

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Back at the boat the new Captains seat and SUP cover are back, unreal job, the little wood jobs inside are all done, Toi has given the thumbs up on the saloon floor, it is superb, I don’t want to put carpet on it anymore.

Eck the ex Volvo mechanic helped me extracting the needle bearings out of the saildrives and then replacing them, he is a nice kid, doesn’t make it on time sometimes but he will always get there. From what I saw he is onto it, another mate of Toi’s.

Gerry and I picked up the sails, covers and new window shades from Rolly Taskers, Far out they were under the pump but John came through for me, bargain. Then the customary beer in a bar in Phuket town or Rawi, or Ao Chalong, I am going to miss those little outings, always took my wallet or a pocket full of cash because who knows when you might get home.

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Gerry volunteered to help put the inverter in its new spot, it is pretty heavy, about the weight of a big bag of cement, and it had to go through a hole, then twist upwards, then push back onto the new mounting board and some how get the head of a two inch 10mm coach bolt through a mounting hole, then drill out to rest of them, some swearing, sweating and injuries happened but it got done and it sits there perfectly. The cables were perfect length and it even works.

I went through every cupboard and hidey hole aboard and chucked anything we hadn’t used for a couple of years in a box, I then gave it to the boys, big mistake, I should have given it to them after work, they couldn’t help themselves, caught them in the box twice so in the end I had to shift it. At beer o’clock it was like go for it, everyone trying on shoes, checking out fishing reels, lures, flippers, food, tools you name it. My only stipulation was that the box and everything in it didn’t come back to the boat.

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Another day I was washing the teak out the back when Toi came aboard, she said I should do it her way, which of course involves a frigging sander, I have grown a real distaste to sanders, soon enough up comes the sander, which by the way is Toi’s favourite and most treasured tool, ah perhaps second favourite she is a dab hand with a two inch brush and a pot of varnish as well, and a day later I finished sanding the teak, it looks pretty bloody good. Cheers mate it wouldn’t have got done if you hadn’t started that ball rolling.

Put the table back in the saloon without scratching the floor, harder than it looks and then started to clean up, three days later everything is Rod neat, not quite every thing in it’s place and a place for every thing but good enough.

Wow just caught a fish, little tuna, sashimi for lunch, might go well with salted endami beans and a savvy blanc.

Geez just got another one, this stretch between Koh Roc Nok and Koh Lipe must be good grounds, heaps of boats out here, at night time it is a place to keep an eye out all the time.

Jen arrived back to a pretty clean boat, outside she is glowing but inside well, but the new floor and teak did the job, plus the wine, she was most impressed with it all, Nada even washed all the cushions so they were gleaming as well.

Toi turned on the traditional BBQ, this time we had a slab of pork cooked traditionally, huge pieces of crackle and awesome meat, chicken, and prawns, it ended up being a big night with heaps of people coming to say goodbye, what an excellent send off.

Over the next day or so we had Boomerang back to home again and then we hauled back in, all went smooth as, with little excitement, both engines started and pumped water, no leaking seacocks, genset primed easily, A/C the same and the watermaker was pumping out fifty six litres per hour so went out the front and anchored up. You beauty job done.

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We have got to thank the G&T team, Toi, Gerry, Nok, Nook, Ronnie, Nick, Nim, Pee Bau and the other girls you guys are great, not to many boatyards where you are looking for excuses not to go back in, which is what I was doing in the end over some carpet, my only failure. The boys are onto it and with Toi’s guidance it is a smooth running ship. Toi and Gerry are really good human beings in their own ways and I am so glad I got to meet and know both you guys, Gerry you will always be a wanker. Keep reminding him Toi. Thanks for the carrot cake mate, this other one will last us for ages, joking Gerry you wanker.

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Or and Ing look after your mum and drive papa mad, you are doing a fine job as it is so keep it up. Good luck you guys, I reckon you deserve it.

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Thanks to Ratree and Nada. The Nada Nada Massage, Laundry, Bar and Restaurant was just what I needed, you guys will stick in my memory for a very long time, thanks for looking after me and having so much fun, also to Gee and Scott it was great meeting you guys, I have had enough watching snooker to last me a lifetime.

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Alex and Lek and the staff at Leks Bar Nai Yang, thanks for everything and putting up with me and keeping an eye out. You guys are beauties, hope your hand gets better mate. If anyone who reads this are ever on the way to Phuket airport drop in to Leks Bar for one last Leo, it is the go.

Leks Bar gang, Seppy, Digger, Katie and the girls, it was great to know you.

The local crew, Gordon and Dah, Newy and his wife, I am sorry but I forgot your name again, it is a hardy, Jim and Camera with a T, Rolf and Sally, Ian and Emma and Jack it has been excellent to meet you guys and thanks for the help at the BBQ.

Gerry’s mates Lek, Paul, Happy Ban, Mike Carter and the fishermen thanks for many a Leo session, Horror.

John at Rolly Taskers, thanks for everything, everything fits and looks great.

Now we’ve got something on the prop, hang on. Hunk of fishing net, quick dip cools you down.

That will have to do, this may well be the last time we go to Thailand this lap, so I wish all the people who I met and got to know a really good life and if some day I do get back be sure that I will come looking for you.

 

 

 

 

 

Visa and supplies run # 1

20th February 2015.

Well we finally prised our arses and the anchor out of Nai Yang, great anchorage and our home for the last seven weeks. We had a big night at Lek’s Bar, 2700baht, JD’s and G&T’s were to blame, Alex, the owner, served up spag bog for everyone and got us all started, great crew we have met here, mainly Bavarians, apparently there is a difference between them and Germans, if this isn’t the case they are definitely the best Germans we have ever met.

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We had some good shopping forays, still forgot the beach umberella, but the boat is fully stocked and ready for some frugal living. Found a new Burger King, to us Australians it is Hungry Jacks, what a ripper of a place, everything is clean and they do a hooting whopper and the chips are filthy. Been there a few times now, when we walk in the manager and staff are all over us, Sawasdee cup and car’s all round.

Tales from the Tinnie is back, what a bargain, we can now listen to Sabrina’s Roots and Shoots and then download the podcast of the tinnie every Saturday morning, just like being at home in some ways.

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We dragged Investigator II out of the water at G&T, and left Hubert and Jazzy to it, we hit the AoPo Boat show, pretty ordinary, ended up drinking beers and red wine on Alex’s fifty something foot stinky, very flash boat, I wanted to go for a spin with me as captain but that wasn’t gunna happen.

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Had a couple of excellent feeds at Heng Heng, seems to be getting cheaper each time we go, been to the Nai Yang markets heaps, pig on a stick is wearing off but the passion fruit are superb, so cheap even putting it on the weetbix now, not unusual to eat six a day. They had some muddies the other day but geez they are small as, hardly worth the effort, hopefully we come across some goody’s before we leave Thailand.

Alex and Char came up with an idea to go to Koh Racha Noi, sounded good to us and with it being a westerly facing anchorage it was a good plan, it has been blowing East and pretty much twenty knots plus for the last few weeks.IMG_0208

We hit Nai Harn and camped the night, about ten o’clock that night it was a mercy dash to the yacht club for ciggy’s and some cash, ended up getting a bit side tracked with Simon, the owner who bought up Kiwi Tony’s wake, which we missed by one day, spewing. We met a couple who had come over to sort out his boat and stuff, Brad and Gwen, good sorts, Brad was talking about a yacht delivery he had done from Borneo with Tony and a heap of others, his stories sounded familiar and it came to me where I had heard them, Captain Keith of the Burka Boat, then Brad knew Doggsy, then we asked if he knew Jens brother Rob, only for twenty years I think he said, small bloody world.

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Next morning woke up to see Sonnet disappearing south, had to eat, starving and a bit hung as well. We finally got going around lunch and with the heady up we were there in a couple of hours. The water was pretty rough and the first anchorage we saw looked dodgy as but as we came around a point and into the next anchorage we both smiled, Alex was up to his old tricks, one of the nicest anchorages we have seen. He has given us a few and they always come up tops. Pretty deep, eighteen metres so all the chain out and did it make some noise during the night. It is great going sailing with Alex, he has tanks and a compressor so it was nothing to worry about.

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We had a couple of dives then we went and checked our chain, horror, you couldn’t do that deliberately, it was wrapped through and over and around this bloody great rock a few times, it took a bit to get it out, then we sucked it up a bit and it was no problems, thank god.

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I have now dived to thirty plus metres, it is ok but if something stuffs up I reckon I might be struggling to get to the top but you are better off not thinking about it.

We hung out there for the week, had a couple of filthy meals on each others boats and then sadly upped anchor and headed for Koh Racha Yai, more of a resort place, we scored moorings and went to town, pretty good place, flash as, but they sting you for everything. We had a meal at the cheaper restaurant, I had fried fish in red curry, unbelievable, one of my best meals so far. Ended up at a karaoke bar but we didn’t sing anything.

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Woke up next morning and we had a sixty foot cat anchored only about ten metres in front of us, you got to wonder some times.

We hit the road and arrived back at Nai Harn in the arvo just in time for a few beers. The Muscats invited us for drinks that night, you just don’t get a break, it was pretty good fun though.

Read a book next day, spent pretty much all of it in bed, it was blowing it’s arse off so not much point doing much else. It was called The Midnight Club, not a great read but kept you going, read another one the other day but can’t remember what it was called, it was by Peter Robinson, great book about a murderer in the Hippy years, I gave it to some bloke we met so hope he enjoys it too.

Headed around to Ao Chalong and cleared out and waited for an early morning departure to Koh Lanta. Had a great sail to Phi Phi then the wind dropped and went on the nose to Koh Lanta but anchored up at 1400 and went to shore for spicy larb moo, stir fry Tofu and veges, some really good Tod Man Kung and beers, then the most hooting foot massage, Jen went the whole body thing, hurts to much for me, as it was I almost kicked the poor lady in the head when she was scraping the soles of my feet, horror, she gave me a dark look.

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Bit slow in the morning so waited for lunchtime and up with the heady and off down the west coast, pretty loose wind going from six knots to thirty in seconds, you could see them coming though. When we rounded the bottom of Koh Lanta the wind was all over the place but ended up getting a good angle and motorsailed towards Koh Muk, bit like pulling teeth through a couple of islands, tide against wind at twenty degrees at twenty knots so went from sixes and sevens to fours. Got to read some of my new book, Michael Connelly’s The Overlook, pretty good so far, stoked to find another one I hadn’t read. There is an excellent bookshop in the northernmost bay on Koh Lanta, only problem this time was I forgot all the authors I wanted to check out due to sweating profusely from the bloody larb moo, I couldn’t think of anything half an hour later, christ that was hot.

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We have anchored up out the front of The Emerald Cave, we hit it and it is pretty speccy. We paddled the dinghy in, gets pretty black but not for too long, and you come out into an amazing hong, very cool. Good to finally do it after last years kerfuffle with the Alison’s.

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After a few changes to the menu tonight for our last meal aboard on this trip we ended up with West Australian Scotch fillet, Nai Yang baby eggplant dusted in parmesan, cabbage salad, baby red onions in apple cider vinegar and pepper and a bottle of JP Chennet Champoo. Beats Yeo’s beef curry on toast which was another option as was frozen spinach and gorgansola melted all over it. Actually bringing two cans of curry, one can of baked beans back to Langkawi which is pretty good.

I was up at sparrows and heading south, Bouyweather says 18 to 20 knots, so it could be 30 so one reef in and the heady up and doing eights and nines in twenty knots of East, we had a great angle for us, sixty degrees and the swell wasn’t to bad. But when we came from behind a small island group we just about got blown over, horror, so we dumped the main and were able to bear away a bit, bloody rough though, wind was 34 knots and the waves were crashing over the back and water spraying everywhere, doing nines and tens and powering along. We made it to Koh Taranto at 1300 and decided to keep going, fairly flat water but windy as, you could see the gusts coming, 38 knots was the best gust, then bear away just as it hits you, pretty good fun, we were flying along and made it to Langkawi in no time, then it took a bit of time to get down the coast to Telaga, it was the only time I could get my hands on a beer.

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Clearing in was as usual, very easy and efficient and over and done with in no time at all. Had a feast at Teo’s, a couple at Shin Mi and one big feed at Kumah’s joint, he did us up a filthy curry, couple of fish and chips days with the gang and it was time to leave again.

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We left with a new crew member, another Jenny who we met one night at the Shin Mi, she really enjoyed herself which was pleasing, we pretty much followed our southern route and teed up with Alex and Char to meet at Koh Phetra as they were taking Sonnet to Langkawi to hand it over to her new owners, some Russians who aren’t to boat savvy, I reckon Alex will miss his boat.

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Got going at sun up headed for Koh Lanta and some larb moo. Got there mid afternoon after a good morning sail but the arvo was still, hot and sweaty, motors on and lets get there. It is bloody hot up here, everyone is noticing it.

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We all pigged out on shore, got a massage and a few beers then back to the boat just on dark, pretty rooted by then. Next morning, on a yacht which pulled in behind us when we arrived was a bloke waving good-bye, red hull, it didn’t click though and I just waved back as we left. Got to Ao Chalong and did the paperwork, very easy also, had a feed, pizza from Pizza 2000, excellent, then back aboard and a quick relocation to the other side of the bay ready to head up into Phang Gna Bay first thing. It was pretty rough in the morning but by lunch time it was hot and still and we were motoring along, a longtail rolled up and sold us some prawns, started at 700 baht, end up 300 plus a few beers and a can of coke for their kid. Cooked them up straight away, unreal.

That afternoon we cruised through the islands up in the bay, James Bond one and James Bond two islands, heaps of ferry’s and longtails flying around everywhere, all seems pretty organized, they pull up at one spot, go for a look then off they go somewhere else and do the same. We went to a point and it started getting shalla so that was that, Persian Pete was right, you can see that area in a day.

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Anchored up out the front of Ao Po and were instantly surrounded with longtails catching jelly fish, which are there in their thousands. Pretty easy pickings and the longtails are really low to the water by the time they leave.

Next morning we come around to G&T hauled out, all went well, and here she sits until the list of jobs is done. Dropped the girls off at the Phuket Airport, Jens hitting Perth for a month and other Jen is going exploring Thailand and me, well I am just gunna kick back and do stuff on my boat.