Phuket again

JJMoon Diary
Barry and Margaret Wilmshurst
Mon 6 Jun 2011 02:31
We are coming to the end of another four-week stint in Phuket.  The work has gone well and we have managed to do a few things on our wish list and carry out some more essential maintenance.  The most significant job has been the raising of our guardrails by about six inches (sorry, 14 cms.) and extending the solid part at the stern (the pushpit) another two “bays” forward.  We have been wanting to do this for several years – the old rails seemed to be close to tripping height, more likely to throw us overboard than keep us on board, and we are delighted with the work done by Mr Sung the steelwork man and David the rigger who replaced our wire rails with the latest Dyneema rope.  Very sophisticated.  We have had seven skin fittings and sea cocks replaced and a sock made to hoist and recover the light-weight cruising chute.  We still have to see how our nerves will hold up when we decide we should deploy the sail in mid-ocean on our own. 
As I write Phon the carpenter is working on creating a second drop-down leaf to the saloon table.  It’s tricky – easy enough to saw another leaf and fix a hinge, but how is he going to support both leaves under a heavy dinner and secure them in the down position when we are under way?  He seems confident.  The saloon floor has been re-varnished - this went well - and the down-standing surrounds to the four hatches have been re-veneered and varnished.  This did not go so well and Phon has had the work stripped out and re-done a couple of times.  It’s a good job everyone around here has such a sunny disposition.
While all this has been going on (and more) we have been in a very nice room with a large balcony and view over the marina.  Unlike our previous visit when we had to stay in the hotel, we managed to secure one of the “yachtie rooms”.  A nicely furnished large room with a good shower facility, kitchenette and, of course, air conditioning.  Cleaning services call in twice a week and all for about £11 a night.  Worth every penny.  Nevertheless, we consider it is vital to turn up each day on the boat.  Not so much to keep an eye on the workmen, they are usually far more expert than us, but to be on hand for queries and small decision-making.  We have heard some gruesome stories from people who have gone home for a few months leaving a detailed schedule of work to be completed.  It was no consolation to sadder and wiser owners to learn, on their return, that the contractors had been thrown off the site never to be allowed to darken the doors of Boat Lagoon again.  It was still many months wasted and represented thousands of lost bhats.
We must be out of here 30 days after we checked in and that means Tuesday.  There is no possibility of an extension with our type of visa so we are.....not anxious exactly, but keenly interested in progress.  Meanwhile we have been seeing a bit of new-found friends first met in Rebak.  This is the couple who set off across the Indian Ocean to join one of the rallies transiting the Red Sea but ran into seriously foul weather SE of Sri Lanka and turned back.  (This weather system was featured in April’s Yachting Monthly).  They have decided that discretion is the better part of valour and have arranged for a lift on the deck of a freighter right through from Phuket to Marmaris, Turkey.  Whatever the disappointment I should have felt had we been in the group that decided to ship from the Maldives, it does seem that this form of transport is going to become more common.  With the rise in demand prices are coming down and for some the logic is compelling.  Our friends are Australian and having recently set out on a circumnavigation are very keen to give full justice to the Mediterranean.  In the opinion of many the Gulf of Aden is likely to be a no-go area for the foreseeable future and visiting the Med. via the Cape of Good Hope seems an awful long way round.  Seventeen boats were loaded on to the freighter off Male in the Maldives in the end and although there was considerable delay and much frustration at the attitude of the locals, particularly round the resorts which occupy many of the islands towards the southern part of the archipelago.  But all’s well that ended well and those fellow cruisers who have contacted us have expressed relief and satisfaction.  They are beginning a new cruising experience in Turkey and I expect life in Thailand and Malaysia will soon become just faded, pleasant memories. 
When we get back to Rebak we shall have about a week to get ready to fly home.  Should be OK.  See you then!

m_Rolly Tasker, Phuket

Part of Rolly Tasker’s impressive sail loft.  It claims, in large letters on another part of the wall: “The World’s largest custom built sail loft”
m_Boat Lagoon Lift Out
Apologies for another haul-out picture but it shows the raised and extended guardrails.
m_Boat Lagoon view
The view from our balcony.  JJ Moon is just out of shot on the left.