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                              THAILAND TO LANGKAWI

We returned to Thailand August 28/2007 and back on board Ascension at Yacht Haven Marina. The boat was in good shape, but we were horrified that everything.... sheets, sails, lines, deck, bimini, lee clothes, everything....were covered with black mold! It took weeks of cleaning and scrubbing. We still had numerous boat chores to complete so we remained in northern Phuket where the long monsoon season was still in full force, rain almost daily, temps in the 35 degC range, 100% humidity. We sure wished we had air conditioning on board! We replaced hatches, repaired sails, rebuilt the water pump, replaced the headliner in the v-berth and had cabinetry built in the aft cabin. Gord built a hatch cover out of fiberglass. It turned out very professional looking and we can now be assured that water will no longer migrate into the boat when we are splooshed by a huge wave!

By November, we were ready for some sailing adventure and our visas were about to expire. So on November 26 we set sail for a relaxed trip, destination Langkawi, where we could renew our visas and also planned to purchase a new membrane for our water maker.


Ko Hong Krabi

We motored to top of Ko Yao Noi, then had a nice sail to Ko Hong Krabbi. After several attempts at anchoring amidst the coral we relaxed on the boat in front of a beautiful sandy shoreline and waited for the crowds of daytrippers to depart on the longtails. Once everyone had left the tiny bay was very peaceful and we planned to go ashore the following morning.

However, our night's sleep was startlingly interrupted by Scrape....scrape..crunch. Yikes!!!! We pulled ahead and could just see in the early morning light that as the tide fell, bombies were growing all around us! Another bump, and we were outta there!

Krabi November 29

Onward to Krabi in hopes of exploring Chicken Islands, missed on our last visit to the area. Although the wind was only moderate, there was a substantial chop so we circumnavigated Chicken Islands (Ko Dam) looking for a protected anchorage. Chicken Island is so named because of the odd shaped rock, pictured right.

Unable to find a suitable spot for a trouble free night, we finally opted to drop the hook at Raily Beach, Krabi amongst the majestic rock pinnacles.

We went ashore but to a beach adjacent to the backpacker/rock climber's beach we had previously visited several months before. This stretch of beach was definitely more upscale, restaurants and bars lining a sandy strip frequented by a more family oriented group...lots of baby buggies being pushed through the sand.
At anchor, the loud banging of the longtail engines pierced the serenity until well after dark. Then the rock bands on shore were so loud you might as well been sitting on the stage. The music, interspersed with fireworks, continued until 6 am.

So we headed back to Chicken Islands where we anchored and took the dinghy to the main beach, crowded with sunbathers. After stretching our legs with a lengthily stroll we returned to the boat. The anchorage was getting a little rough so we returned to Krabi.


Phi Phi Don

December 2 -  The following morning we set sail and noticed that the fuel gauge was reading EMPTY. We were not sure if we were in fact out of fuel or if the gauge was simply not working. To be on the safe side we decided to detour to Phi Phi Don to replenish out fuel supply.

The anchorage at Phi Phi Don was very rolly. So we went ashore in search of a Tiger Beer for Gord.


December 4

Ko Lanta

We anchored in the bay containing the largest settlement on the West coast of the island with lots of bungalow resorts and restaurants. The long sandy beach was surprisingly hardly even crowded.

There was a huge choice of eateries on the beach. We stopped for a drink at a restaurant that had little huts built around the tables.

Some interesting fishing boats loaded with fish traps were moored all along the shore

We rented motor scooters and circumnavigated the island. We found enchanting deserted beaches, charming restaurants and friendly people. We thought Ko Lanta could be what Ko Samui must have been like 10 years ago.

We stopped dozens of times to wander down to beautiful beaches, not a sole around!

We drove to the the southern end of the island where a rocky trail led to a waterfall, not particularly spectacular, but a nice walk all the same.

December 5

We moved the boat down to the Southwest part of the island, home to a five star Resort, which has a private floating pontoon. There was a restaurant there called "Same Same."

We could have stayed at Ko Lanta much longer but we needed to get to Langkawi, retrieve our part and make it back to Phuket for Christmas.

December 7

Ko Kraden

We anchored at Ko Kraden, a tiny bay on a little island. We took a trail through the middle of the island and reached Paradise Lost, run by a Hawaiian. We continued on to the other side of the island where there was a rustic resort with a windy beach.

The following morning a squall blew in so we tried to take shelter around the other side of the island, but the holding was not good so we returned and rode out the bad weather.


Dec 9

Ko Turatao

On our way to Ko Turatao we passed Island Sonata whom we had not seen in 2 years. We had a great radio chat and hoped to catch up in Thailand (which we never did as they sold their boat and went home)

Ko Turatao was a quiet location with a very long sandy beach. We walked several miles seeing no one.


December 11

Langkawi

We reached Telaga Harbor and anchored amongst numerous cruising boats, some of whom we knew, including Billabong. The anchorage was wonderfully protected and so it was like being tied to a dock. A dinghy ride to shore provided facilities like laundry, washrooms, internet and restaurants. The weather had turned grey and rainy so being on the boat was fine with us.

We discovered that the watermaker membrane that we were going to purchase was the wrong size. Seems that Village Marine has its own proprietary specs so it meant ordering the part from them in the US. We decided to wait for the shipment to arrive in a week so settled in.

One day we rented a car and toured the island. We had not done too much sight seeing on our previous visit but really, there is not many tourist attractions on the island. But we did learn to find our way around.

That was helpful when, another day, we shared on the rental of a car with Billabong to provision and stock up on duty free items. Many products are available in Langkawi that are not found in Thailand (mostly Australian brands) and softdrinks and alcohol is much cheaper.

The anchorage remained calm and secure although the water seemed to encourage the growth of barnacles all down our waterline and covering the prop shaft and prop. We had a whole eco-system happening on Ascension and a barnacle farm of unbelievable size. The temps were in the 38 degree range and humid.

December 20

Time was running out for us to get to Thailand for Christmas and our membrane still had not arrived. We finally decided to set sail even if it meant returning to Langkawi later to pick up our part.

On our way back to Phuket, we stopped again at Tuatao for the night. We wanted to visit the Butang group of islands but the wind angle was not such that we could sail there so we stopped at Ko Rok Nok for the night, anchoring between the two islands.

We passed lots of interesting fishing boats and ferries.

In Malaysia and Thailand, boats fish in tandem, dragging a net between them. We almost got caught up at first, no realizing their procedure.

The squid boats, at anchor and asleep during the day, are brightly lit at night and cover the horizon.

Ko Racha Nai.

Our last anchorage was Ko Racha Nai. We decided to anchor around the opposite side of the island than where we were last trip. We ended up being in front of a busy hotel with speed boats and seadoos, not as relaxing as we would have hoped. We did not go ashore but snorkeled around the boat.

December 23

We reached Nai Harn Beach and joined about 80 other boats already anchored there in prep for the Christmas festivities.

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