Koh Lipe, Thailand - hurray!
Sunday 7th April 2019
Distance run: 25.1 nmiles
Anchor up just before 0800 this morning, and what a messy business it was! Literally. There was sticky grey mud everywhere. The deck wash on the bow with which I would usually wash the mud off the chain ceased working not long before we arrived at Rebak. I’m not sure if it made it to the job list, but if it did it certainly hasn’t made it to the top. I could not believe the amount of the horrible stuff clinging to the chain, but as we were getting close to another boat, there was no time to get a bucket to throw water over it.
I closed the lid of the anchor locker and concentrated on getting safely out of this very shallow anchorage at low tide without getting a coating of mud all over the keel as well. We made it out with half a metre under the keel and a sigh of relief, and set our course for Koh Lipe.
After an hour of motoring, we were delighted to feel a zephyr of wind, soon followed by enough to sail by. We unfurled the genoa and switched off the engine. Yes, this was an unexpected pleasure as the forecast was for no wind. We sailed along nicely in 10-12 knots from the starboard quarter for three hours before the wind died away and we went back to the engine.
Sailing nicely in flat seas under genoa. Not looking too bad for a 15-year-old sail that’s been round the world and more.
Looking back at the island of Langkawi as the sun rises higher in the sky.
An hour later we arrived at Koh Lipe. Thailand at last! We found a very busy harbour with a very nice sandy beach crowded with tourists. Speed boats and longtails were whizzing everywhere and the shallower water was full of mooring balls for commercial boats. As we were deciding on a spot to drop the anchor, a dinghy approached the boat and it was our neighbours from the hard at Rebak. Their boat was anchored on the north side of the island where they said it was much quieter and more sheltered than here. After a quick catch-up with them, we decided to anchor here for lunch, go ashore for a quick look around and get our Thai SIM card topped up, and then move around to the north anchorage.
Koh Lipe harbour during a calm moment.
We dropped the anchor in 20+ metres of water behind the one other yacht there, then made the mistake of having lunch before going ashore. It was a mistake because by the time we launched the dinghy an afternoon onshore wind had picked up at the same time as dozens of longtail trip boats brought their tourist passengers back into the bay, essentially blocking access to the beach for the dinghy.
Eventually we managed to find a spot and pulled the dinghy up onto the beach, aided by the now rather lively breaking waves. We found the “Walking Street” which was lined with small shops selling tourist tat and restaurants, and not far down it was a kiosk selling SIM cards. Having successfully topped up and not feeling the need to explore the commercialism any further, we had a particularly lively ride back to the boat where we hauled up the dinghy, lifted the anchor and made our way out of the bay.
Looking up Walking Street… and back down to the beach.