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                             THE SIMILANS, THAILAND                                                                                                      

Ao Bang Tao

January 19 

We decided to accompany Gone with the Wind on a trip to the Similan Islands, lying 52 miles northwest of Patong.

From Chalong Bay we sailed to a bay just north of Patong and anchored for the night in front of a lovely shoreline of sand. Although we did not go ashore we did watch horses on the beach and also a huge group of dogs playing.

SIMILAN ISLANDS

Koh Miang

January 20

We had only a little bit of wind and what we had was right on the nose, so it was a motor ride most of the way.

We arrived at Koh Miang just before dark and picked up a mooring ball in indigo blue clear water, among easily seen reefs.

The current in the channel was extremely strong and the chop produced by the wind, swell rolling in, and current made for a very uncomfortable moorage. We rolled mercilessly the entire night.

The area right around the boat provided some excellent snorkeling. Since the Similan Islands is a marine park and undeveloped, the area is teeming with tropical fish and coral. Gord got in some excellent dives, although the current around most of the islands was very strong and required better than moderate diving experience.

We got together for a BBQ potluck on the beach with several other boats anchored in the bay. Dive sites were compared and we met new friends.

Koh Bangu

When we could endure the rolly anchorage no more, we moved the boats to Koh Bangu, the northernmost island in the Similan Group. A tiny inlet in the bay offered shelter and excellent snorkeling richt off the boat. There was no beach, in fact most of the shoreline in the Similans consists of a rocky headland.

From 10 am in the morning, the bay turned into a frenzied, chaotic stream of dive boats dumping tourists into the clear blue waters. Because there were limited mooring balls, and we had one in a prime location, they just tied their speed boats on to Ascension. At times we had a string of powerboats tied to our stern.

The submarine topography is interesting,  due to the granite boulders which not only litter the shorelines but also lie in jumbled heaps beneath the waves. There are not many beaches in the Similans, Koh Similan island probably has the best. The rocks pictured here are from Horseshoe Bay, Koh Similan.

Gord, Annie and Liam took the opportunity to do a number of dives in the area and I followed their bubbles with the dinghy as the current was strong.

Back onboard we relaxed as the sun sank into the sea and the hundreds of tiny lights form the squid boats appeared across the horizon.


Jan 24 

We returned to Koh Miang hoping that the anchorage conditions had improved, but they had not. So early the next morning we set sail to return to Phuket. Of course the wind had switch and it was again in our face!

We stayed a few days at Ao Chalong, near the Aquarium, before heading to Yacht Haven where we left the boat during our Visa trip to visit Norm and Marianne in Koh Samui.

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