SOUTHERN THAILAND ISLANDS                                                                                                      


Nov 29  What a wonderful sail (finally some wind!) albeit fluky and up and down, changing from 20 knots to 0 and back again! The usual dodge of fish boats. Stunning landscape transformed from the steely sea as the well know pinnacle icons of Thailand started to emerge from the waters ahead.

Ko Tarutao is a national park. The anchorage was open but offered adequate protection and good holding.

Ashore there was a small resort complex that looked as if it had suffered severe Tsunami damage. We noticed the obvious presence of Tsunami towers with sirens to alert people in case of another unfortunate occurrence. There were also Evacuation Routes clearly posted. The boys parked themselves in a little bar for cold beers while I opted to walk the expanse of the beautiful deserted sandy beach to look for shells.

All night we could hear the traffic of fishing longboats, with their noisy engines, the prop stuck way out the back on a long shaft. In the morning, we were completely surrounded by fish nets, with one of the flags only feet from our stern.

Nov 30 

We wove through not hundreds, but thousands, of fish nets marked only with whatever the fisherman could find that floats, sometimes only a small pieces of Styrofoam, a stick protruding upward sometimes marked by a flag made of a plastic bag or other material that can only be seen once you are too close to avoid!  These floats cover the ocean’s surface, spaced maybe 40 meters apart with no rhyme or reason as to the pattern or color of flag.


These are actually two islands, which you anchor in between.  The water is crystal clear and the coral is quite diverse, particularly with strange polyps which reminded me of the little multi-coloured lights on a Christmas tree. They are all very bright colours like orange, red, neon blue and have little 'jewels' which make them sparkle!!! 

Lots of Penises!

We took the dinghy in search of an interesting shrine with many wooden effigies, most of them phallic in nature. The penises varied in size from tiny to very, very large, many painted brightly and decorated with flags and bows. Gord could not resist trying one on for size!

Dec 1

We motored the 16 miles to Ko Muk from Rok Nok because the wind was directly on the nose. A few miles away from the anchorage we noticed a fisherman in a longboat frantically waving at us. We thought he was warning us to stay away form his fish lines so we altered course. But still he waved. Finally we decided to go to him and investigate, perhaps he needed fuel.

We motored along side his boat and he pointed to the long shaft of his motor, then he held up his prop which had broken clean away. He had anchored in 70 feet and who knows how long he had been there waiting to be rescued.

We threw him a tow line and drug him to Ko Muk, where there was a village south of our destination. He was very happy indeed and rewarded us with a snapper. I had noticed that there were only 3 small ones in his boat, probably the result of an entire night’s fishing for his family so the offer was very generous indeed. The fish was pretty rigid and warm, no refrigeration on his boat, but we accepted with gratitude and gave him a bag of clothing in return.

Towing the Longtail


We continued on to the anchorage, Stardust not far behind. Just as we got there, everyone else was leaving so we had the delightful little anchorage off a sandy beach, enclosed by steep rocky precipices riddled with caves.

Morakot Cave (Tam Nam) and Hong

We took Stardust’s dinghy to the mouth of a partially submerged cave. Since it was low tide we were able to paddle the dinghy 80 meters through the pitch blackness, bats clinging overhead and the sound of the surf exemplified in the narrow passageway. Using our dive light we were able to see the rock formations inside the cave, amazing huge gnarly outcrops with stalactites and stalagmites dripping from the ceiling and walls, shimmering apricots, greens, yellows and amber.

 The passageway was low and narrow and pitch black. The ceiling of the cave towered up for hundreds of feet in places, with bats, stalactites and oysters covering the rocks overhead.

The cave emerged into an incredible Hong (Thai for "room") with a pool of green water and a completely enclosed sandy area surrounded by giant soaring 100m jungle covered vertical cliff walls. It felt somewhat like being inside a volcano, only the sound of cicadas echoing through the a lost land of Jurassic Park with strangler vines hanging in twisted shapes amidst the lush jungle rainforest. This enclosed lagoon had a white sand beach and gigantic vegetation which seemed to belong in a completely different era. We found all sorts of strange & unusual plantlife! (Right)

There was a carved sign giving some information on the cave. It spoke of how the local people used to come there first for the bird's nests. Later the pirates brought their booties here to hide in the cave.

We headed back through the cave, fortunate that all the tour boats had left for the day and we had the area to ourselves. Back at the anchorage, I swam to shore where a tiny beach rewarded me with a seashell. Unfortunately the high tide line was totally riddled with garbage, such a travesty of what would otherwise be a pristine paradise.


December 2

We finally had a glorious sail to the Phi Phi group of islands and arrived early enough to investigate the third most beautiful island in the world Phi Phi Don.

Since being committed to being in Phuket for the  King’s Cup there was restraints on our time so we motored into the huge bay and marveled at the scenery. A long sandy beach was crowded with longtails and tourist boats. Although this island had its central village washed away by the Tsunami it remained  stunningly beautiful. Several upscale hotels covered the shoreline but it looked like a fun place to revisit when we had more time.

Magical Phi Phi Lei

We continued on to Phi Phi Lei (left), the neighboring chunk of rock that towered vertically from the ocean in amazing splendor and awe inspiring majestic imagery. It reminded us of Fatu Hiva, our landfall in the Marquesas.

The end of the island boasts an impressive soaring vertical rockface that would challenge the best of climbers.

Maya Bay

The island is a national park and provides mooring balls to protect the coral and most of these were occupied with day trippers. We found a couple of vacant balls in a beautiful bay on the west side of the island.

We immediately went for a snorkel off the boat.. lots and lots of fish and some coral. The water was like a bath tub.

After we went to the sandy beach at the head of the bay, where lots of tourists were swimming and sunning. A sandy trail led through the jungle and emerged through a hole in the rock to another heavenly bay on the other side of the island.

As evening fell in ever changing colors over the rock faces, the crowds left in the noisy longtails and the anchorage became a peaceful paradise.

We later returned to Phi Phi Isles several times, with Chris, and with Bruce. more Phi Phi

December 3, 2006

We set off for the last leg of our journey to Phuket. We left our idyllic anchorage at 6 am motoring across the flat seas with the usual NO wind.




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