Blog 2. 18 Feb 2020. Phi Phi Don. 07.45.100N 098.45.69E

David Batten
Sun 23 Feb 2020 12:05
We did linger in Langkawi half a day longer than planned, partly because we were enjoying spending some social time with Paul and Andy from Talulah Ruby and partly because doing a major shop and clearing out of Malaysia on one day is quite hard work. There is always the round of Harbour Master, Customs and Immigration to be completed. This involves walking around the ferry terminal and finding well hidden offices, except for customs where you join the other folk leaving by ferry by a random scanning machine, not to be searched but just to give in yet another form. As always, they wanted copies of passport photographs, yacht registration, insurance etc etc. We left the marina just before lunch with Paul and Andy, who were waiting for engine parts before they headed to Japan for some skiing, to help cast us off. Talulah Ruby is truly home for them, with ski wear on board as well as beach wear.

After a rather bumpy night anchored between P Dayang and P Singa Besar, we left for Thailand after breakfast on the 15 Feb, heading for Ko Tarutoa, with plenty of fishing boats for company, but thankfully no nets. Not much wind either, so it was more motor than sail for the 31nm to Ao Son, the anchorage on the north west side which was recommended to us by some Americans. We saw Time Bandit’s AIS on their way back to Langkawi from Ko Lipe and had a good catch up on the VHF. Sadly we are unlikely to see them again as they will be on the Sumatra Rally by the time we get back to Malaysia.

Ao Son is a beautiful place with several well maintained mooring buoys, although it was slightly spoilt for us in that the wind was more SE than NE as forecast, so there was quite a swell rolling in and it was another bumpy night. Plus, the wretched outboard, in spite of a very expensive service, refused to work the next morning, so we had to row ashore and get back to the boat before wind and tide against us made return almost impossible. Memo to self: test any piece of boat equipment before assuming job done and paying bill.

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The national park station at Tarutao, which has a Ranger’s station and ....

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....a lovely beach from which to admire your yacht...

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A very good walk up to a lookout post where the Skipper is looking out to sea....

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....and some very nice birds including a pied horn bill which obligingly posed for this photograph.

Sadly, we had to get back to the boat before lunch or we might not have made it by oar power and we decided, with an increasing south west wind, to go to Ko Khao Yai for the night. There is a shallow bay there protected from the south west by Ko Beulah as well as offering good protection from the north and east.

17 Feb and after a more peaceful night in the company of lots of fishing boats and one yacht, we motor sailed to Ko Roc Noc, the most obvious and recommended stop on the way to Chalong. We passed many anchored fishing boats on the way and conditions were very pleasant with a moderate north easterly wind and we were lulled into a sense of false security, picking up a buoy in a nice bay just to the north of the recommended anchorage area (B)in the S E Asia cruising guide and off Ko Roc Nai .

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Mooring buoys off the west coast of Ko Roc Nai

Snorkelling showed us some very good fish here, at least three times the size of anything we saw in Indonesia, although the coral was not in a good state. After supper, the wind increased and came sweeping round the north headland of Ko Roc Nai and we had another bumpy night. Skipper’s wife beginning to wonder about sailing in Thailand!

So off to Phi Phi Don where there is a good choice of anchorages and surely somewhere calm. In fact we had a lovely sail until we were just east of Ko Phraga Nai when we were hit by a nasty squall with rain and easterly winds, 20 knots gusting up to 30 knots. The Bimini immediately started to unzip and we had a frantic 10 minutes rescuing it and reefing the main, all good. Then off the west coast of Phi Phi Don, the wind died completely in the shelter of the very night cliff face and just as the Skipper’s wife suggested taking the mainsail down, it blew enough from NW to gybe the mainsail, damaging the fixing of the runner block on the starboard side. We motored the rest of the way to Ao Lana Bay where we found a convenient mooring buoy and a calm sea, although plenty of wind still.

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The head of the bay at Ao Lana Bay.

How different from Taratuo, but we did have a calm night and some nice snorkelling from the boat with the dinghy in tow to provide a clear marker for the long tails and motor boats to avoid. The outboard is still refusing to work in spite of a major strip down of all components and thorough clean. Even the Skipper is loosing patience with it! Tomorrow, we will go to Chalong and book in to Thailand officially.

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