Saturday, November 29, 2008

Into Thailand

It's only 120 miles from Langkawi to Phuket but I chose to make two stops en route to avoid mammoth day-sails or overnight trips. One of the benefits of smaller hops is there's more opportunity to sail in light winds; no need to switch the engine on when the speed drops below 5 knots in order to make landfall before nightfall. The strategy worked well with most of my duty-free Langkawi diesel still in the tank. The stops have also been a great way to reacquaint myself with my mask and snorkel which have been languishing in the stern locker throughout the trip up the uninviting Malaka straight.

What a change a few miles north makes; clean water, new fishing boat design, larger dolphins and real flying fish, as well as the acrobatic trumpet fish pretending to be flying fish I'd seen further south. The downside is that I'm not the only person to make this discovery and even remote anchorages are shared with other yachts and tourists ashore. I've even been charged an anchoring fee, but with no Thai currency, the national park ranger seemed content with a small bottle of barely drinkable whiskey I offered him.I'd expected Phuket to be a bustling port, but an hour out there was little difference from the other Thai island anchorages I've approached. That said the island was shrouded in mist; even the giant hill-top Buddha overlooking the anchorage was only just visible through the haze.

I arrived just before dark and have already met up with a couple of old friends, full with tales of delights ashore. Looking forward to exploring tomorrow...
26/11/2008, Off Koh Adang, Butang group: N6deg 31.4' E099deg17.0'
27/11/2008, Ko Rok Nai: N7deg 12.9' E099deg04.1
28/11/2008, Ao Chalong, Phuket: N7deg 49.2' E098deg21.5'

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