Another country and new possibilities
Langkawi was our last stop in Malaysia. From the highest point on the island we could look over to the southernmost of the Thailand islands. After leaving Langkawi we anchored at some of the ”desserted” islands on the west coast of southern Thailand, before checking in to the country in Ao Chalong, Phuket.
This far north along the Asian mainland, we were in the monsoon area. At this time of the year the monsoon gives wind from northwest, which means wind form the shore and no waves! We had almost forgotten that this was what sailing could be…
Anchored at Koo Muk we were invited for Lucia drinks on board the Swedish yacht Roxy. We had not met Christina and Ulf on Roxy before, but both Roxy and Empire had plans for celebrating Christmas around Phuket.
The next anchorage on the way north was at Little Phi Phi island. Maybe you have heard of the book or the movie “The Beach” that was filmed on this island? The beach on the island is idyllically situated in a small lagoon. If it wasn’t for all the vessels full of tourists racing in and out of the lagoon, the place would still have been very beautiful. We borrowed a mooring in the lagoon and had a quick stop for a swim – a life threatening experience – before we headed off to Big Phi Phi island, which was even worse… It is not our intention to be negative, but after the many nice anchorages in the Pacific Oceanit you actually get spoiled!
From Big Phi Phi we had a calm sail heading for Ao Chalong and the official check-in to Thailand. We were looking forward to calm days with quiet life on board and to swim in clear water, and prepare for family arriving for a Christmas visit. There is many nice anchorages around Phuket, especially on the south and east side of the island. We found “the long voyagers bay” Nai Harn on Phuket’s south west side. The Norwegian yacht Pomona with Lisbeth and Vegard on board, that Eivind originally met in Farsund in year 2000 was anchored in Nai Harn, together with many other yachts on a long voyage. The western side of Phuket is open to the ocean and most of the beaches are very touristy. There were “regular” tourists also in Nai Harn, but not in that huge amount.
A few days before the family arrival we sailed around to the eastern side of Phuket and inn to Boat Lagoon Marina. Heidi’s parents and Heidi’s brother with wife arrived in the middle of December – and we were looking forward to Christmas celebration with the family.
We invited to Christmas porridge at noon Christmas Eve (a Scandinavian tradition) on board Empire – 25 Scandinavians were gathered around the plates of porridge in the shadow on deck. The small headsail was tied up to keep the sun away. The heat in the artificial made Boat Lagoon is other ways unbearable.
We all even had a taste of Raindear’s heart, a treat from the boys from north – Øystein and Vegard – from the Norwegian yacht Liberty that were also berthed in Boat Lagoon. Most probably were the crew from the complete ”Norwegian long voyage fleet” around Phuket represented at the gathering, in addition to a couple Swedish, a Danish and a Finish yacht. Even Norwegian Frode that runs the cafè Deli De Luca in Boat Lagoon, dropped by.
Christmas Day we headed out to “the ocean” with all family on board. We first anchored in Ao Chalong, where we met the American yacht Bahati that we originally got to know at Galapagos. Bahati did not get to Phuket in time for the Christmas Eve, and by luck they were only one day late… At night Christmas Eve sailing toward Ao Chalong they crashed with a big anchored unlit fishing vessel. Luckily was only the bow of Bahati damaged in the coincident. Both the fishing vessel, the fishermen and the Bahati crew were undamaged. – Bahati herself had to go on the hard for repairs. Captain Bahati promised never again to fall asleep on watch.
From Ao Chalong we headed out to the small islands nearby, enjoying beautiful days with swimming and snorkeling in clear water. We also enjoyed the Thai food and we had a very nice time with the family on board.
New Year celebration
The New Year were welcomed anchored in Nai Harn. Together with the Våge family and Betsy and Nat from Bahati, we toasted our glasses as we stepped in to 2010. To see all the traditional paper lights fly over the sky was a beautiful view – and every responsible Captain were on board their own yacht. The traditional paper lights also come back down from the sky – but luckily none hit anchored yachts in Nai Harn…
After New Year celebration when order was regained on board and the visitors were on their way back to Norway, we headed back to the mud hole Boat Lagoon. It was time for shining up Empire. It was two years since her last antifouling...