Adventuring with the Alison’s. A froggin good time.

13th March 2013.

Well, picked up the tourists, on time and fully loaded with all sorts of surprises. We headed back to Boomerang and lazed about for a bit and then Captain Erratic made the decision, lets bugger off, so then it was get rid of the hire car, pick up the washing and any last things like milk and a bit of cheese, go over and say seeya to the Persians who have proved to be splendid cruising companions, or I think it is buddies, but that sounds a bit gay. Thanks guys seeya in Sumatra. We then gave the Yanmah’s a kick in the guts, hauled in the anchor which had been well and truly set after three weeks of us and sixty metres of chain hanging off it, then set off for Koh Lipe or perhaps Naiharn or was it Koh Rok Nok. Just had to be at Koh Lipe in a couple of days to meet up with Hubert and his folks on Investigator.

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Pretty much motored down the west coast of Phuket, no breeze to speak of but once we got to the bottom there was a bit, 10 to 15 knots from the ESE which although pretty tight, 30 to 45 degrees, enabled us to get the sails up and get rid of the starboard engine. Got on the blower to the Persians and asked about pulling into Koh Rok Nok at night, “piece of piss, I will email you the coordinates”, just what you would expect from them. So it was that we headed out into the Andaman Sea on our way south with a couple of options. I carked it for a few hours, Jen and Chris had us in good position when I got back up to do a bit, three slabs of Australian eye fillet, half a block of chocolate, a coffee and my new book from home, The Mulberry Tree, which is written by Ken Hill and is a ripper, had me sitting there all night pinching up and up as the wind gradually moved more east which helped us to make Koh Lipe. Koh Rok Nok not an option anymore, so it’s the long haul. One hundred miles instead of sixty but it is a nice night.

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The Mulberry Tree is partly about my Grandad Sweetman, and his brothers’s lives living on the Canning River and down Mandurah on the Serpentine, which is where we spent just about every school holiday I can remember when we were growing up. I had the pleasure of sailing down to Freo from Dongara with my Uncle Alf, who also features in the book and as we sat there heading south he told me story after story about Gran and Grandad. Then reading this book just shows how skilled they were, fishing, hunting and building stuff and how generous the Sweetman’s were. It is an excellent read.

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Had to slow down a bit to let the sun come up to pass between Koh Adang and Koh Rawi, don’t know why, its pretty bloody wide but my eyes were playing tricks, ended up just angles being a bit out there. Had no problem with boats or nets, didn’t even have to adjust course once to avoid anything, which is pretty bloody good for Thai waters. We sailed down the passage, no Investigator, so on to Lipe and still no Investigator so grabbed a mooring, big mother, and I went to bed while the crew, who pretty much slept the whole way in what I would call a bit rough conditions, all came to life and hit the town. Little Molly was a big surprise, sleeps like a log, got to be happy with that. Jen took Chris, Em and Molly to Fino’s for lunch and introduced them to Pete at the Peace and Love Bar, giving me a good few hours sleep, the bloody long tails wear a bit thin but at least there are no jet ski’s.

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Caught up with Hubert and met his parents and we hung out in Pattaya Bay for a couple of days, then up to Adang and some snorkeling. Molly has not done this before, I remember Em’s first go, years ago at Rotto, geez I just about pissed myself when she first put her head under with the goggles, she came back up in a funny as flurry, so how was Little Molly going to go. They stuck the goggles on and the snorkel in her mouth, she was in a Mickey Mouse ring and she bobbed over for her first look underwater, took to it like a duck to water which was what she looked like, head down bum up. We have a snorkeler in our midst’s you can be certain of that. We went and snorkeled Koh Rawi, got Em set up and had her enjoying herself in no time, they have now seen Nemo’s and heaps of other stuff. Molly had a sunburned bum, which was pretty funny as it was the only part of her not covered in sunscreen.

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The guys from Aurelia passed by, hadn’t seen them since Christmas, then Micah anchored up nearby. Had a bit of a rubbish burn on the beach one night with a few beers, then a big one back on Lipe, the frog got me, Laphroaig Quarter Cask Whiskey, it is amazing the things that happen when a bit of frog is about. Probably pay to stay away from it for a while, it is scary.

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After a few Chris, Em and I went to town to get pizza, roast duck and money, came back with loads of stories, pizza all scrunched up in three plastic shopping bags and a sore jaw from laughing so much. Well and truly frogged.

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We woke up to long tails and ferries all on top of us so escape stage left, our plan to get going early now a bit like the duck and money, had gone to shit but never mind the tide changes at 1030 and looks like being the only natural assistance we are going to get for the next few hours, it is like a millpond, with only a slight two knot flutter from out of the West, so we took off about 1000 and around Lipe then back up the channel and forty odd miles North again to Koh Rok Nok.

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The last fourteen miles we got wind and motor sailed into the anchorage right on 1700, struggled a beer down, dived on the mooring which is bloody deep, just got there and only just got back up, the water is crystal clear and almost tempts you to go that bit further, good coral and a few good fish here too. Deane and Yanina come over and asked us out for tea at the restaurant, we had just got there so we declined and said we might get there for a drink later, then the Marine Parks boys rolled up wanting our fees, 400thb each, 100thb for the boat, kids and captain are free for five days, it came to 1300thb, we went through Ems purse and found 1360thb and handed it over.

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I don’t think there is anything under 60thb for sale here so hobnobbing at restaurants is out for us until we get to Koh Lanta, a bit further North and what is meant to be a sizable town. Forced saving, classic, it’s only type of saving that works on me.

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We can dive off the back of the boat, swim twenty metres and be onto a pretty good bit of reef, it is about twenty metres deep under the boat, imagine how Molly feels when she jumps in and it is the big blue, she loves it though. She has moved away from Mickey and just using a lifejacket now, she hasn’t got the flippers bit quite sussed yet but it won’t be long.

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Doing some repairs on a snorkel I cut my finger with the Leatherman knife, blood sprayed out, never seen that before, but got it covered up and now in a bandaid with the heaps of good old Three Legs Brand, Yellow Lotion, it has stopped throbbing, probably a stitch or two would go down well but not going to happen out here. Chris also did some major big toe nail carnage kicking his toe twice on the same thing.

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Have now checked most of the spots for snorkeling around here, some nice viewing to be had and some good fish.

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We watched an aluminium cat come into the anchorage the other day, he was going flat out and I said to the crew he is going to hit the reef, then they came to a screaming halt, then one of the rudders popped to the surface, then, I could go on but the I feel sorry for them, their holiday would be rooted, fair few aboard as well, just goes to show how stuff happens and can visit you, when and where ever you are out here. It happened so fast you didn’t even get the chance to stand up or offer any warning, it was a low low tide as well, all you can say is, poor bastards.

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Another session on the Laphroaig did pretty much the same as the last one, arghh frogged again, upped anchor next morning and only had to motor twenty odd mile to Koh Muk and the Emerald Cave, not a breath of wind, got there and the rangers come over, we handed over our five day tickets, they handed them back and said, give us 200thb per person, we have 60thb left, tried to explain, even offered my lucky American twenty buck note that has lived in my wallet from way back when we bought the boat, he looked at it and said, not enough, I looked at him and gave up, took my twenty back, then out comes Molly, he sees her and has the big change of heart, I conferred with Chris, who had been checking out the crowds, then had great pleasure in shaking my head and taking off. The place was teeming with people, music going off, boats everywhere, only thing not there were jet skis, so perhaps they actually did us a favour.

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We upped anchor and buggered off to Koh Lanta, which ended up being a good little sail with all sails up in 12 knots, a bit tight but good fun all the same. Halfway there we were confronted with about twenty Thai fishing boats, two boats with one net strung between them. One good thing about them is they are slow and we managed to drag them off.

Came around the bottom of Koh Lanta, got the guide out and headed for anchorage B, Hat Kan Tiang, apparently a nice little bay to hang out in.

We abandoned ship and hit the shore, asked a girl from the resort the location of a money changer, sent us on our way down the beach, got to a bar and asked again, oh no no no money changer here, went to next shop, same, we are thirsty as and starving by now, then a Pommy bloke comes up and points up the road, so off we go, ATM that will do, then we walk up the street and the first thing we see is a big yellow sign saying Currency Exchange, the girl at the beginning knew but the ten other local people just had no idea, kind of like we have just travelled back in time or something, perhaps they are all on the gear, stuffed if we could work it out. Shared a feed and a coconut with the fly’s and headed back to the boat along a track with open drains heading for the coast, got to the water and the stink is horror, the breeze had changed and being low tide all the filth was oozing out of the sand into the sea, we got back to the boat and had to shift as a dive boat had moored next to us and just taken off, this was really my fault, I saw the lines in the water but thought whatever boat comes along will pull up on them or just use some others, not these guys, they just put the eyes over the cleats and left with about ten metres floating in the drink. Ended up being better, as further out you only got sniffs of the stink. We call anchorage B, Stink Lanta. Probably couldn’t recommend it for anything. Sorry, there was a wedding on the beach and they had an excellent fireworks display once it got dark, it went for about half an hour and to top it off one of the canister boxes fell over a bit and started shooting them low over the water, it looked superb, they were pretty bloody good.

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Couldn’t get out of there fast enough though and not long after sun up we were gone, heading north for the next possie, Anchorage A, Had Khlong Dao, this time though it has a big asterix next to it, Alex off of Sonnet who we met at Nai Yang has recommended it, big sigh of relief. It is a pretty big bay but quite shallow so you need to stay out a bit with the tides we are experiencing at the moment, couple of metres movement, but we landed at pretty much the top of the tide, dragged the dinghy up and headed for the first restaurant bar in sight, The Easy Bar, check the menu, they sell larb moo and other moo things, they have as many coconuts as you want, cold beer, no flies, everyone is smiling, feels like we are back in Thailand again. Since leaving Koh Rok Nok it all seems to have been a bit hard, so hooray, if not it was the frog. I even double checked it wasn’t a Friday a couple of times.

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We had a great feast, followed by a foot massage and then beers all arvo, occasionally dragging the dinghy down the beach to the new water line as the tide dropped, two vertical metres equates to about fifty metres horizontally, but no hardship when you do it in bits.

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Molly turned on the charm, got to know the owners little girl, ended up getting a facial and a foot massage from the girls who were just happy to have something to do, they all loved having her there to pretty much play with. Later on we were sitting up in the bar under the big tree that shades the place, Molly was down at the waters edge just yacking to some woman, they got very friendly and when they said their goodbyes Molly just continued to play on the waters edge by herself. Later on, after another ten metre dinghy shift, we came across the woman and Molly pointed her out to Em so we got talking, she reckoned she was a bit worried about Molly being on her own, we all cracked up because we were wondering what questions Molly was shooting at her, like how come your bikinis don’t match? Why have you got black hair? Why do you speak funny? The lady, from Turkey, laughed and was relieved that we were watching her like hawks. Single child children are good at amusing themselves and need a bit of latitude. Our Mo turned out good and this little kid is a beauty too. She has got the whole boat sussed, if you say there is none left she will take a step left or right and point out a box of what you just said is all gone and say “no they are in there” and boy can she eat. I made a deal with her that she could have the last 7UP but I don’t want to see her blanky, scaly old rug, again, she has not removed it from her room since, we may have cracked a big one there.

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We hit town for brunch, internet top up, phone top up, cholesterol pills and found a bookshop and bought ten of their twelve Ian Rankin books. She was stoked. We moved on up the street, Chris had a horror toilet moment, I just held on, and ended up having beers at the Easy Bar. The Alisons had massages and I went out the boat and had the most excellent time listening to the poms get done and dusted, go Bangladesh you beauties. Stick that up your arse Jeffery Boycott, have a long lonely flight home. Went in to pick the guys up but ended up in a flash hotel, The Chung, which has a pool and a happy hour. Two for the price of one, but you get them at the same time, bit of a pain but makes you knock them back a bit quicker than normal. Really good pub with no problems using the pool or bar, surprised us all.

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Got going mid morning heading for Koh Phi Phi Don, no idea what to expect but a few people have tuned us on how busy it gets.

Horror, it is way beyond your wildest dreams, boats, boats and more boats, what a spin out. 1600 and we are just about to go ashore and have a look around, when we first arrived it looked like we wouldn’t be here to long but the place has settled and might be ok, we are on a mooring so fingers crossed.

Bedlam is a word that could be used to describe this place, the north side is the doof area, all day and all night by the seems, Chris was grooving, I was amazed, DJ’s going during the day, a pool full of tattooed, pissed young people all going off, oh well whatever rocks your boat. This is tattoo land.  Some of the tats just looked like they had been rolling in mud. We had some tacos, average but the beers were cold, then cruised on down the lanes and tracks that criss cross the joint, dodging carts full of beer, food and baggage, pretty busy place, found a seafood restaurant that also had duck, so stuffed ourselves full then off we go again. It is not real hard to go through 3000thb and have not much to show for it, found that out as had to wait for a few hours for the tide to come back. Had a foot massage that was more like a shin massage, very lazy woman, poor old Em had a facial done by some bloke, he had just been doing a foot massage and hadn’t washed his hands so she was keen as to get out of there, nothing like a massage to relax you. Chris got his nails done, that’s weird, can’t see what’s wrong with using your teeth.

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Finally got back to the boat, good breeze so good sleep. The mooring we chose ended up being a beauty, in pretty close with all the speedboats, but they all go to bed early and the water stayed nice and calm even with 15 knots coming at you.

Up early and out of there, rounded the southern tip and set the jib and starboard motor up, to make some water, and sitting on 6 to 7 knots in quite breezy conditions, put it this way I was glad to be going with it, we have found this stretch of water can be a bit of a slog, real washing machine job.

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Made it into Naiharn Bay at 1300 and anchored up, sat back and had a beer. Another lap down, this one was approximately 260nm and a pleasant little jaunt.

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I reckon the Alison’s have had a ball, little Molly can just about do padder-kick now and is not scared of the water at all, just zings around the boat without a worry and didn’t even come close to falling in, she is a funny little moosetekeer, which is the new way it is spelt according to Molly. We left her with a mate of theirs wife and Paul took us to Patong, Bangalore Road, excellent, we cracked up, ass whipping fun was a classic and then Chris had a go at smacking the nail into the lump of wood. I had been hanging out to see him do this as I have witnessed him using a hammer cack handed and back to front at the same time and not miss once, he proved me right.

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First hit he sunk it in past half way, his opposition, an ex barmaid or dancer you would think, had a very surprised look on her head, she only hit hers in about half an inch, Chris picks up the hammer and eyes it up and smack, bye bye nail. It was unreal, I just about knocked some old bag over in celebration, Winner winner chicken dinner. That does not happen often.

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Watched a magician and some dancing in the street but it gets a bit boring pretty quick so we bolted, checked all the ladyboys, lined up along the road at Kata, waiting to pounce on some poor pissed sucker on his way home. Beware.

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Had an excellent lunch the next day up on Kata Hill, local place with awesome food and an amazing view. Back to the boat, which meant a few beers, vodkas and saying our goodbyes. Ended up a waste of time as we ended up in Pier 93 for a few hours before Captain Rod had to go home, Blurrrr. It was excellent having The Alisons on tour, I asked Molly what her favourite bit was and she said without a pause, the pool at Koh Lantra, there you go, life through a little kids eyes, she has now been promoted from swab, didn’t like that much, to first mate. Chris and Em, the same as normal, as you would expect, excellent partners in crime.

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They flew out at 0600, Paul gave them a lift at 0300, he’s a good bloke too.

Hired a car to go and say goodbye to the Persians up at G&T Boatyard, Toi had cooked up a storm, roast chicken with beer cans shoved up them and a roast lamb, veges and gravy. Pigged out and had a few beers, not to many as it is a fair old hike back to Naiharn from Ao Poh. Sad to say seeya to Pete and Pen, will see you in Sumatra guys, The Kokomos also made it and it was good to see those guys as well.

Seen a hooting car crash on the way back, horror, but the way they drive is conducive to having them.

We haul out next week and then the fun starts, big list of jobs, Gerry was joking about how long we were staying at G&T, reckons always have an open mind, I have the perfect incentive to get it all done on time, Bay of Plenty, Sumatra is calling.

 

 

Once again, Our Boomerang comes back.

25th December 2014.

Made Koh Lipe in just on four hours and found our old mooring from the last visit. It is secured to a huge piece of rock on the seabed. We sat back and had a few drinks and relaxed, it was good to be on holidays again with only one commitment, be at Bang Thao Bay in Phuket by Xmas to meet the Sandy’s and the Bonnies, not to hard you wouldn’t think.

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Slipped into Lipe for some new phone sim cards, a feed at Fino’s, dropped in at the Elephant Bar to see the Banana Band boys and to say gidday to Pete at the Peace and Love Bar. I ate so much food I could not get a beer into me so we went home early.

This is where the fun starts, we were just tooting along in the dinghy back to Boomerang, dropped by another cat to say hello, a couple from Singapore, then we turned for home but where was it. We motored around a ferry but still no Boomerang, then we motored out a bit and there was a nice big Perry 57 that wasn’t there before, for a brief second I thought it was an early Xmas present, but it wasn’t, it was Ivory Street from Penang, by now the blood pressure is rising, not something I relish, I am thinking someone’s pinched it, then I am thinking that the new shackle I put on had come undone, then I am thinking oh well it is insured and then I am thinking I don’t care if its insured, I want her back. All this shit going on in my head, HORROR.                                                      At this time we noticed a couple of people waving vigorously at us so we shot over to their boat, it was Steve and Teena from Telaga, my hopes were rising and when they explained that they had watched Boomerang drift past them, missing all other boats and head out to sea on her Pat Malone I thought what, how long ago, about an hour, panic is setting in now big time as it is blowing it arse off, but Steve says don’t get to worried as its just out there somewhere you can see the anchor light, see out there, I looked and of course I could see the yella anchor light out in the distance. We took off in the dinghy and bashed our way out to her, and when we got there she was perfectly ok, amazing. We piled on and I started the engines just to be sure, she was weighed down at the nose so we went up to see what was going on, would you believe the whole fucking mooring is hanging off the bridle, it is true, unbelievable. So now it is strip off and get my flippers and goggles on and the Leatherman knife Muz and Kazza gave me then swim under the boat and start cutting the mooring away. Jen shone the torch from above and you could see the lump of rock about fifteen metres below, clear as. Cutting the rope was a bit of a mission as where I had to cut was about a metre below the surface and I had to keep finding where I was cutting every time I went back down with a new breath. The last strand about 8mm in diameter broke by it self and then the mooring went down and Boomerang went up with me hanging onto the bridle, Horror.  We then motored back to shore and anchored up, in 25 bloody metres so had all the chain we had in, it grabbed good. I had marked our spot where we found her and it was just on 1nm out to sea. How lucky was that.

Once back and settled I headed over to thank Steve and Teena, they reckoned it was so frustrating watching Boomerang drift by but once it was safely out of the mooring area it seemed to not be in too much peril. Then I had to mop up the carnage as they had rung Keith and Cath in Langkawi to get our number, KandC had called a resort on the beach they knew and had people looking for us on the beach, one bloke had Keith on his phone asking if Rod and Jen were here at the Peace and Love Bar and along the beach, before we got there, but no one let us know about it once we arrived, another lost in translation, Horror. It was an amazing effort by everyone and thank you all.

Goes to show it pays if sometimes you guts yourself to exploding on Larb Moo, Larb squid, Sweet and Sour pork, sticky rice and a couple of coconuts. If I could have fit a few beers in who knows what would have happened.

Next day we moved to Koh Adang as we didn’t clear in on Koh Lipe because we would then have to clear out from there when we left for a visa run. We would just wait for a weather opportunity and head to Ao Chalong to do the paperwork.

Found our old mooring, dived on it and did some repairs before deciding it was safe, the hauser from the float had the outer strands damaged so made myself up a sling so it was doubled up and safe as houses. At this point the weather turned to shit.

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We visited the neighbours, Steve and Teena, they visited us with an excellent bloke from Germany, Thomas, who was waiting for his wife and daughter to arrive at Koh Lipe. Bit of a blinder.

Our ETD was not looking real flash, to the north we had 20kns NE with 1 to 2metre swell at 4 seconds or windy and choppy as on the nose, bit like a washing machine, so we waited.

My main task each day was to take the dinghy down to the SW tip of Adang and hit the internet for weather, good old favourites, Buoyweather and Passageweather, both showing pretty much the same with Buoyweather indicating a bit stronger winds, in Indonesia if Buoyweather said 15kns it was going to blow 25kns so we waited.

Then the internet ran out so a mercy dash back across the channel to Koh Lipe, which was out of control bouncing around and hanging on, a brisk walk into town found my mate the phone top up guru at the 7/11 and filled up. Also bought another sim card, AIS this time as the dtac was sometimes a bit sketchy. I am not sure about other people but we end up with so many different sim cards it is not funny, so a cull was needed and in the end we had my old iPad and Jens Samsung phone all with credit coming out of their slots.

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By the time I got back to the dinghy it was time to have a well earned beer, only one as I only had 100bart left, dickhead, but then departed with a brief catch up with Persian Sands, another Perry 43 from Broome, whilst talking to Pete The InvestigatorII sailed past, Hubert and Jasmine, who both Pete and I know well.

The ride back across the channel was heaps better, riding down the waves instead of up them this time, I caught up with Hubert and guided him in to a anchoring spot behind us. Good to see these guys again, although the Bloody Mary’s were guaranteed to be strong.

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Had a good night on Investigator, Hubert as usual the perfect host, I spilt some tomato juice on the new teak so I was banished to be served upon only, don’t you dare try to pour anything was the call. Then I kicked my beer over, horror.

Next morning was Xmas, opened our pressies from home, got books, money, shortbread and something else but can’t remember at the present moment what it was, it was great being able to have a surprise though. Wine glasses was the other things. Cheers Family.

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We went down to our local internet café and rang and emailed everyone from the dinghy, it was great to talk with everyone even over the outboard noise as we had to shift due to oyster encrusted rocks every few minutes, they were all sorted with breakfast and lunch organized, checked the weather, tomorrow it is, yeeha.

Had a nice dive with Hubert and the new speargun which is 3 from 4 in the killing stakes, I can even load it quite easily, the other one was so hard to do. Got two parroties and another don’t know its name.

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When we were here just over a month ago there were fish everywhere, we had been watching the locals diving daily and now it is slim pickings, wankers have cleaned it out. Pointed out a stone fish, a small crayfish and a couple of pencil fish to Hubert along the way. We did the top of the tide thing and with no real effort we had probably covered a mile up and back.

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Filleted it all up and we now had our Xmas BBQ food for later. Our Xmas brunch was Sailors beef sausages on sticks, dipped into a blend of Indian mango pickle, some mustard from the Andaman and a bit of tomato sauce. Jen even put tomatoes on sticks, she’s an ideas girl.

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We all met on the beach for a BBQ late in the arvo, time enough for Frisbee, which I am still pretty crap at but getting a bit better, Steve was an old pro, then followed by crab races. We met Thomas’s wife and daughter, can’t possibly try to spell their names, Soph, the newly named daughter, helped Jen collect a bag full of hermit crabs and they set up a track and it was all go. Teena seemed to have bet heavily as her excitement levels rose to fever pitch, but it was a track for Soph and the smaller crabs on the day. After an action packed card the crabs were let go and more wine and beer were drunk.

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Soph was tending the fire like a seasoned pro and Steve made a bed of coals for the potatoes in alfoil.

In the end Thomas and his mob went back to their boat, so did Steve and Teena for a roast chicken, eating late again, and we had the fillets with garlic, salt and pepper and a drizzle of coconut oil wrapped in foil.

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Have lost our BBQ plate thing, last seen Telaga on back step of boat. Bugger.

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Jen had some of her Yoghurt and garlic jizz which went superb with the spuds and the fish was really nice and soft, Jasmine reckons it was perfect, she even had 2 serves, she is a very easily pleased girl. She explained that where they are from in Austria, all the fish tasted really fishy so they didn’t eat it, I know the taste she means.

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We hung around for a few wines and beers sitting around our camp fire listening to geckos in the jungle surrounding us, Hubert was knowledgeable on these little critters and when you listen you can here them puffing themselves up and then letting rip with four or maybe five GE-KO noises they are famous for.

As the fire got lower so did our lighting level and the time to pack up had come, all in all a pretty good Xmas was 2014.

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Merry Xmas from SV Boomerang and her Captain and Crew.

Mission Impossible.

30th November2014.

Happy Birthday Dad and little Mo.

Well we find ourselves in Perth for my dad’s birthday, early Xmas with the family and saying howdy to all the crew.

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Geez the last night on Koh Lipe was a classic, feast at Fino’s, beers at the Longtail Bar and then JD’s at the Peace and Love Bar till stumps, I am definitely getting too old for this shit. Peter helped us get the dinghy off the beach, it had done a full tide since the last time we looked at it.

Immigration was easy, a bit more paperwork and that was that; we were free to leave at our leisure and it cost nothing.

The motor back was excellent with a good current pushing us along at 7 knots, we were even motoring into 18 knots on the nose at one stage. Luckily not for too long as we got into the Lee of Langkawi and it soon dropped to 10knots. Fishing boats dragging nets all over the place, it is funny now, a fishing boat is not really an adversary anymore, just last year they bought on atrial fribulation with their antics, now we just pass them by, often close enough to have a yack.

Got back to Telaga at 1630 making it a three and a bit hour trip, snuck into our pen and got up to immigration, then the harbourmaster and then customs to finish our paperwork off. Telaga has the best entry and departure setup and with all the people coming in and out of Koh Lipe they are like a well-oiled machine. All three sections are friendly and helpful and a pleasure to deal with.

There is an arrangement between the Thai’s and the Malaysians where The Butangs is concerned, you can get a 30 day visa on arrival from Langkawi, you must not leave the Butang Group, which is a pretty big playground anyway, you must clear in and out from Koh Lipe where an Immigration official handles all the paperwork. This is the best option for a visa run that I have come across, didn’t need to do it this time but worth thinking about next time.

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Spent a day washing the boat, a day in Kuah doing shit, we also found the Mercury dealer, Swift Marine and what excellent people they are, well set up as well. Ordered a new carby for the old 15HP four stroke so hopefully that will arrive soon, if I can sell it that would make for a nice Xmas bonus.

Had a muddy at Shin Mi, a pie at Mangoes and a couple of barbies on the boat. Also had a going away do for Naim, my favourite Telaga girl, got her a cake and said our farewells, she is off to KL to start a new job. Good luck and Jumpa Lagi mate. Naim even dropped us off at the airport, she is a beauty.

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Well this flight home was not like my last, we went business for the first time. Back in September Air Asia had a special on Business class, same price as flexible economy and as we were booking so far in advance the possibility of a stuff up was just that, a possibility. Lucky to as we had to change the flight and it cost nothing, which even made the decision sweeter.

It was pretty bloody good sitting in the big seat reclined back and I was fast asleep from takeoff to just before landing, got to be happy with that.

Dad was on airport duties and we didn’t keep him waiting, through all the gates in no time, just like Langkawi. Jen even declared a wooden mortar which had to be inspected.

Moved into Jan and Rod’s which is where Mo is also living, so good to catch up with everyone. Spent the first days getting all the bits and pieces we needed on our list, setting up a vege patch out the back yard with Mo and then it was holidays. Well trying to fit everyone and everything in anyway. Ten days seemed like long enough, I love setting goals but this could be mission impossible.

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We had an excellent day for Dads birthday, hit the Red Herring, which is on the Swan River in East Fremantle. The oysters Kilpatrick weren’t, since when did you put BBQ sauce on an oyster, but thankfully the chef saved the day with a beautifully baked flounder, it was winner winner chicken dinner. Dads red emperor was quite possibly the best piece of fish I have ever tasted, the serve was huge and served on a bed of kale, filthy. All the other meals were devoured as well.

I was yacking with Dad about the last time I went to the Red Herring and told him that it was at Darren’s, the bloke who bought my business, fortieth birthday. No sooner had I passed on this bit of trivia that I looked up and there he and Ali, his wife, was standing next to our table, oblivious to me staring at them. That was a spinout.

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We hung around Perth for a couple of days, went out to tea for xmas with Mo, Jens Mum Marls, Chris and Rommy at Nocello, an Italian restaurant that was packed. It was also excellent, the gnocchi gorgonzola was the winner that night.

We had to go to the Thai embassy to apply for our visas, a phone call Monday morning had me rummaging through paperwork, iPad and laptop for all the stuff required. You need your boat insurance policy, boats papers, airline ticket to prove you are leaving Australia, receipts proving boat location – thanks Lyn, passports and a bit of time. So piled into Teniele’s car and off we went.

B is in charge and she is a ripper, the place fills up with people wanting to visit Thailand for extended stays but she just methodically works her way through each application whilst commenting on other applicants failings to do it right. A couple in front of us when asked where they live in Australia answered in the forest, they were sent packing to find a real address, bloody hippies, reminded me of the protestors at Ludlow Tuart Forest when I went protesting for the sake of the trees. We failed but it was bloody good fun causing as much mahem as was possible without blowing something up.

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Anyway back to now, it took us about an hour and B informed us that we could pick our passports up on Thursday, pretty painless experience and a good way to start the week. We headed straight for Rowe Street in Northbridge, Yumcha was calling, it was superb. Don’t know the name but it is the second restaurant from William street heading West. The prawn dumplings were awesome, same with the tripe, the shuimai and the crab balls. I reckon Perth is the leader in Yumcha even eclipsing Asia, so far anyway.

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A hooting roast lamb meal by AJ and Mo, my guts is getting bigger, had us prepared for a few days down South. This was where the mission began, drive to Margaret River, headed for Chris, Emma and little Mo’s for a night of beers and wines, next morning dropped in on Helga and Bonnie, geez she grew quick, went for a walk round our old neighbourhood, even checked out the old house as it is up for sale and the owners have headed overseas to live, climbed a couple of fences and we were following my old way home from the pub, said gidday to Bruno and Gudi then back over a couple of more fences and that tour is over and so is any thoughts I had of moving back to Margaret River. Bugger that.

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Had to do a rental inspection of our workshop that is now leased by TEC’s. Bummer Gus and the other boys weren’t there, saw T, Sarah and the new Supervisor then moved on. Went over to my favourite lunch bar, Auger Bites, where Joe made me a filthy bacon and egg burger on the house, she is a ripper, got Mo’s car serviced, paid my drivers license at the shire, bought the new Michael Connelly and Mo Hayder books and went to the bank to sort out an account, then hit the Tav for a beer where I ran into a bloke I grew up with when I was a kid, used up some of the loyalty points on 621 my Tav number for years, bought 3 crays for sixty bucks which just happened to be the amount I took out as Fastcash, first time I have tried that, not really sure what was so fast about it, I suppose I spent it pretty bloody quick, then we went around to the Tommo’s for dinner. This ended up in a horror huge one. It is gunna be hard to get the dinghy off him Jan.

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Next day we had lunch at the Tav with Carla, I surfaced at 1330, so a bit late, good to see the Freo Dockers # 1 fan again, we then hit the road for Augusta, another 40k’s South and had a bit of a snoop around the new marina, flash as, it is unreal and the finish is brilliant.

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Headed over to the Barbara’s where the Cala’s were waiting for a beer and a wine or two. Good to see everyone.

Later we headed over to there house and had the best Laksa and heaps of beers, Woodsy came around with beers, he got a five for playing cricket on the weekend, didn’t get for what out of him.

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Another big night but up at 0530 to go pull the cray pots, blowing its arse off so headed back home after a tour of the Cape Leeuwin’s many sites. We could see the pots but getting there would have been bone jarring and cold and wet.

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Had the house inspection at our joint in Augusta, looks good, went and got Hemmy, our neighbour’s dog, out for a spin, it is like a wind up dog that is just flat out every where. While we were there Mick and Kylie came home so it was hooting to say giddy to them too.

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Said our goodbyes to the Cala’s then back to MR to say our seeya’s there and collect heaps of out of date medical supplies that Tommo scored for us to give to the fishermen in Sumatra next year, they have got nothing so any thing is appreciated, could be worth a lobster or two.

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Saw little Mo and Emma then Helga then off to Busselton to the Geographe Bay Marina for happy hour beers with the captains, Mike and Andrew, at The Deck. Ended up scoring half a platter of cheese to go with the beers off some blokes, bargain.

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Tommo had been telling me about a Deck local bloke who fell out of a cherry picker, got there and sure enough I knew him, he is a lucky bugger, fell six metres and landed on his head, always thought he had sponge for brains, hahaha, sorry Darren hope you get better soon.

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Jen then drove to Mandurah where we were expected for tea at Muzz and Kazza’s, what a feast, Steak Diane, rack of lamb and veges. Excellent to catch these guys as they are the still frothing over their time on the boat in Langkawi. Koh Lipe next year guys.

Up at sparrows for our final part of the road trip to Perth, picked up a couple of muddies for xmas lunch with my side of the family. Round trip of 804kms. Another big day with a nanna nap chucked in for good measure. We had everyone there including Brodes and Scott who were in transit sort of from Broome to England, be a bit chilly there. Jan does a pretty good impression of when her and Rod arrived in England with her smile frozen on her face. Some excellent food and wines went down and my guts is definitely getting bigger.

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The vege patch is cranking and alls good, Mo also had Teniele and Craig’s herbs booming too..

Last day saw us visiting Marls, Yumcha, IGA and Bunnings and then packing. Finished off with Mum and Dad and the neighbours, Mark and Fee for drinks and goodbyes.

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Left for the airport at 0430 with Dad being the taxi driver, got there at normal time but by the time we got through immigration they were boarding our flight, shit rushing to the bitter end, horror, but 5 hours of Business class helped us on our way. Back home for a holiday I reckon.

Not Quite, we got to Langkawi with one box missing, spewing its got some good stuff in it, but no point getting to bothered cause no one else is either and really five out of six ain’t too bad.

 

 

Thai me up, Thai me down.

14th November 2014.

Motor sailed over into Thailand, I got tell you though, there would not be 10 square metres of ocean without a bit of shit floating around in it. It is shocking, foam, thongs, plastic bags you name it.

We rolled up to Sunset beach and anchored up as all the moorings were gone. The water is so clear, heaps of fish and even a bit refreshing.

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Brian and Lyn headed for Immigration as they were diving first thing, we hung out on the boat to check anchor and get covers all set up. Then a mooring came available so we jumped to it. Good mooring, new rope and fixed to a pretty big lump of rock 10 metres down. By this time it was sunset and we were at sunset beach, nice pink and grey setting. We hit the beach for dinner at the divers bar restaurant, not bad food, a bit tame if you ask me but nice all the same. The Breezies left and we went next door, The Boom Boom Bar, a place that Keith and Cath had told us all about, sadly guys, Mr Mann has passed away from cancer.

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It proved to be our undoing with a pretty hooting hangover next morning, can remember not having any money left but that was no problem, come back tomorrow, good way of getting repeat business. We went into shore around lunch and went to pay the bill, no one knew how much it was, cracked me up, just come back later, OK.

Our first assault on town was done under extreme fire, I started in fine form, trying to get back on the dinghy to tie it off properly I fell backwards off it into the water, in my neat clothes ready to impress Immigration, everyone except Brian and Lyn saw it, Jen pissed herself, so I now had to hope I was dry by the time I got to town. The walk started out OK but soon we were out on a dusty old street, sun blazing down and hungover like bastards, all Jens Joviality had deserted her and she was now walking trancelike behind me, falling further back with every step. Should have in hindsight got a taxi, thought the walk would do us good. Not much harmony around.

Town is really quite nice with a blue concrete road flowing down and fingering off through it. The main drag is called Walking Street and it ends at the beach. Restaurants, bars, shops line this blue road and it has a very nice feel to it.

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The Peace and Love Bar is a good spot for a beer, no food so not so busy, Peter and family are excellent crew and their bar is dog friendly, couple of times more dogs than people. Funny to watch as they muck around with ropes, bits of wood and the occasional dinghy.

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We have been going to the Longtail Bar on Walking Street, has an elephant sign out front and a longtail boat cut in half as the bar, good place. They have live music by The Banana Band, which happens to be The Breezies dive instructor, Brandon on the drum box, a Swiss bloke by the name of Roman on piano which he rests across his knees and a local bloke Yaman on guitar, they are joined by anyone else who can sing or play an instrument and do requests although I haven’t heard them do any. Heard plenty called out from the crowd. They are really good and do a really good version of Hotel California, it is real fast so it is over and done with in the time it takes to finish a Leo, which is an excellent beer, also a pretty good way to listen to that bloody song.

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We have had a few meals at Fino, Thai food done filthy, they love us, as soon as they see you they call out, “come in larb moo come in sticky rice come in coconut”. We have had larb moo four times now, absolutely superb. We also had some tacos at the Mexican that were finger licking good.

We were sitting out the front of The Peace and Love Bar having a beer one arvo when all of a sudden all hell breaks loose, dog fight, and they timed it just as a group of about a dozen Korean or Japs walked past, with nowhere to go the poor buggers all ran into the ocean and in the melee that followed they have just about all got wet, in their going out clothes, some just gave up and wallowed in the shallows, pretty funny, well it was to me and Jen anyway.

Up early today and headed to the island above Koh Lipe, Koh Adang, as the bay in which we were staying, Pattaya Bay, is full and I am pretty sure there will be an exodus today as the weather is going to turn a bit blowy from the NE at 20 knots so Koh Adang looks good.

The Breezies are there and so is Deane and Yanina on Tropical Soul, a Wedding Cake 410, sorry I mean Lagoon 410. We first came across these guys at Rebak Island Marina.

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I went for a snorkel on supposedly the best reef this morning, some specy soft coral and saw a couple of Juvenile Tiger fish, pretty good thing to see live, they just kind of float around a bit like sea horses. Did the usual crushing of sea urchins, that gets some feeding frenzy action happening, lots of them on this reef which is a bad sign according to the not to shabby marine biologist at Datai Bay, their presence shows water quality is on the decline. Geez the fish go hard when they detect a flaw in their protective spines, must taste good. There is some really nice soft coral, purple and mauve that make the place look a bit like a garden.

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Barbie on the beach with six other couples, we had snaggers with sticks in them, just how the Thais do it down Walking Street, potatoes in the coals and onions in alfoil. Good feast, Sailors Meats must be doing a roaring trade with the yachties as nearly everyone had something bought from them.

As it was Deane and Yanina’s second anniversary we had fireworks to go home to, not bad but starting to run low now.

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Getting up was a bit of a mission, especially when you have to mix some fuel, refuel dinghy, get all the shit together, have breakfast, all this before 0730 which was our EDT for the circumnavigation of Koh Rawi, the North Western Island in the Butang Group. I had looked at the map and thought about seven to ten miles, didn’t really pay to much attention, should have, although nothing went wrong, 20nm and six hours later we finally got back to Boomerang.

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We were about fifteen minutes late to get going but The Breezies and Deane and Yanina weren’t too fussed, we then headed for the Northern tip in not real flash conditions, bit bouncy but once there we had a following sea so not to bad, some good waterfalls along this coast, one that spills into the ocean.

One of the many bays we checked out has a river mouth that would be unreal to see in full flood, The area behind the sand bar is quite large, the river would go a mile or so in between pretty big mountains so when it is pissing down there would be a lot of water trying to squeeze out the 15 metre entrance. Not sure what season that is but I would come again to see that happen for sure.

We kept on going and once around about the fouth headland it was smooth sailing all the way to the bay we had set out for in the beginning. Big sand beach, nice clear water, good spot for a swim and a relax after the sometimes bumpy trip there. The top of the beaches is littered with so much crap, found a few balls and a hunk of wood which made a good cricket bat.

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We came through Alert Passage and headed for a diving spot that is on the corner, the current was hongin through, and they have installed ropes that you can pull yourself along as you can’t swim against it. Jen sat this one out but was rewarded with some near death by drowning tourist action. A longtail pulled in and the punters, Japs, proceeded to remove life jackets, put on goggles and snorkel, no flippers, then jump in. Once in the water they all got swept into the corner but luckily they got caught by the rope and Deane and Yanina where it did a Y, The guide then went about rescuing them, swimming over and dragging them out one at a time. Yanina saved the lifebuoy ring as it floated past her, the whole lot of them were shitting themselves and thankfully no one drowned. I am at a loss as to why no flippers.

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The clarity at this spot with that much water flowing was amazing, my favourite dive so far. Heaps of fish and all the coral was opened up and feeding. Colours like you wouldn’t believe, it was great.

Next thing I know Lyn is trying to get my attention as our dinghy has done a runner with Jen in it, so swim over to it with the current, got there in no time, still reckon something dodgy going on as it was a bowline, perhaps it was time to leave, cant get to the bottom of it, Jens lips are zipped.

We continued around past some more bays, one is meant to have the best beach in the Group, not today though. There was a nice big eagle circling over us and gliding up the cliff faces. From here was a bash into the wind back to the Rangers Station where we had Papaya salad, sticky rice and Chang beer. Good tucker.

Got Brian on a swing hanging in one of the trees, check this out.

We had a bit of fun with some thieving monkeys and then headed back to the boats for a last bash across open water to the anchorage at Koh Adang. Big bloody day.

Later on I had a good crash coming home from Frisbee practice, I am so crap at it, stepping off the dinghy I somehow missed the bottom step and just fell onto it, then almost sliding off the back into the drink. Couple of Brufen 600’s and that was enough for one day.

Everyone departed today and left us to it, good to have it by ourselves, we had planned to dinghy to Koh Lipe for email and weather and after bacon and eggs on toast for breakfast we were primed. Trying also to find Jen a new pair of goggles, Brandon has given us tips, low profile skirt, strap should come from the skirt not the frame that holds the glass, when you have a look at them on the shelf you see straight away what he means. The poor girl in the shop, we tried on heaps of them and ended up with them all over the joint, they must be put back where they came from now she said, we bolted.

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A quick larb and rice at Fino’s, couple of beers with Anan and See at the Boom Boom Bar and we were ready for home. Looks like the Boom Boom Bar is closing to make way for more accommodation, I don’t have a problem with expanding the place but losing beach bars like this is a real shame. It will end up like Langkawi with bugger all places on the beach to have a beer and a cheap meal. It is definitely not cheap to eat here anyway. Hows this young fella, playing on the main street of town, pearler.

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Spent the arvo squidding, caught two, need smaller jigs, put it on the list. There is so much squid but they are small and require small 2 gram jigs, we had a few but must have given them to Captain Rss when we left Pulau Banyack, he used to look at and touch them every time he came aboard, without fail.

We even got the flood light out, heaps of squid but they are scared of the jig that is about the same size as them.

Speaking of the devil, Jen found one of the small jigs with squid action straight away so you got to be happy about that. It was right in front of us the whole time.

Had a rough old night with a bit of swell rolling through and we have now moved from neap to spring tides so if there is enough wind to blow us sideways to the tide or vice versa it gets a bit rolly, even in a cat, the mono down the road is rolling like nothing else. Beautiful morning though, bit overcast and a bit of breeze. Looks like bacon and eggs on the barbie again, doing it hard.

Timed the tide right, jumped in and swam about fifty metres to the start of the coral, then with the tide with us we snorkeled south half a mile or so in about two metres and when the tide changed back we came in about five metres which then drops off to ten pretty quick.

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Lots of fish, all the culprits from Indo are here plus many more. Morey Eels are about in numbers, shockin lookin things and we came across the killing of a clam by fish. They were just attacking it, even swimming inside it having a chomp and then escaping, I think the clam was rooted anyway as it wasn’t trying to stop them. We were in the water for a couple of hours and felt great when we got out, good snorkel, Kim Hughes and Wal would be proud.

Rounded up all our rubbish, not too much for a week or so, but worth a fire anyway, anything for a reason to sit on a beach, under a tree, fire roaring and having a beer.

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We have watched the final of the Different Strokes latest series, awesome, the Murder In Paradise latest offerings are as always, excellent. Peter Temple’s Jack Irish shows, Bad Debts and Black Tide are really good Australian movies. Black Flag, a pirate series is pretty good to.

Have been knocking off all the Ian Rankin books I can get my hands on, his latest is a book of short stories called The Beat Goes On is a ripper, just like all his others, getting to be one of my favourite writers.

The Breezies came back from a couple of nights on Lipe to once again join us, chopped up probably a kilo of fillet steak into strips and BBQ’d it on sticks, our new eating implement. They were deluxe and with Lyn’s Greek salad, Jens pickled onions and a few bottles of wine a good night happened. Next day was a bit sluggish with hair of the dog being after dark, we did a dinghy run to go to the closing of the Boom Boom Bar but when we got there they had already closed it up and had been pulling the place to pieces, very sad.

Had a feast at the divers bar, ended up with an extra larb moo, bummer hey, deep fried fish in ginger and peppers would have to be the best thing we have had since we got here.

Set ourselves a good mission getting home, pitch black, rough as but at least it was only 4 or 5 miles. Made it with flying colours, Brian said hang around I will get some wine and came back with a couple of bottles of red, blurrr.

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Departed our mooring of over a week at 1100 and headed out to the Western Islands, Koh Butang being the largest. Found a couple of moorings and went for a dive. Different coral again, hard coral this time but pretty flash and good fish to be seen. Also found treasure but am not telling you what it is, just that in Asia I cant believe there is any left.

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Got back to the boat just in time to get the mooring off and bolt for a more protected anchorage, within ten minutes it was 15 to 20kns and swelly as, the sky went black so we were pretty happy to pick up a couple of moorings on the North side of Koh Butang as it is bloody deep. These moorings were in 35 metres and didn’t have the usual red buoy just some hunks of foam. Our life on the mooring was short lived as the owner in his bloody big fishing boat pulled up and gave us our marching orders. It was at this stage that the storm was at it’s best and we had nowhere to stay so bugger it back to Koh Lipe, bit rough but seen worse, there was shit everywhere out the back but never spilt a drop, lucky to as Jen opened the Cloudy Bay Sav Blanc, more a sitting down sipping wine but it has many qualities and is still really nice with wind and waves all around our outdoor tasting room. Needless to say, it was really good, at first sip or perhaps slosh I knew it was not one of the wines we have been quaffing over the last week or so, very fruity is all I will say as not to sure what it was like on the nose, perhaps a hint of the sea.

The mint plant copped a wave over the side, it was swimming in salt water so I guess that will be the end of that, it was just starting to get going too.

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We motored into the anchorage at Sunset beach, first attempt was a mooring Brian had spotted, as we approached it Jen yells out ,”it has got a name on it”, What is the name? “Max something” Who? Max Ton”, then it spun around some more to show a number 3. Just about pissed myself.

We dropped anchor and kicked back for our second last night. A bit rocky. Jen got the Wahoo out the freezer and we had green mango salad with pan fried hunks of Wahoo, not to bad, in fact finger lickin good, could also be called plate licking good.

This morning we motored around to Pattaya Beach, picked up a mooring and came to town for some breakfast and good WIFI which is a bit iffy here. Ended up in Papaya Mom’s and had Top Man Koong, Pad Thai Omelette, couple of new coconuts and finished off with Larb Moo spicy with sticky rice, what a breakfast.

Sitting now at the Bundhaya Resort with wifi, the weather is balmy, chicks wandering around in the nick, blokes are clothed, on to my second freezing cold Leo and I am chockers, what more could you ask for, how about you? Much the same I reckon.