Koh Rang Yai
Tuesday 9th April 2019
Distance run: 60.4 nmiles
We had planned to go next to the Phi Phi islands, about 35 nmiles further north, however, as we were on a mission to get to Phuket Boat Lagoon by the 10th and our stops were really just sleeping stops with no time to explore, we decided instead to go straight to Koh Rang Yai, a small island about 4nmiles from Boat Lagoon, and anchor there overnight ready to go in with the high tide in the morning. The engine had run for eight hours or so yesterday without overheating and the bilge was still dry, so we weren’t particularly concerned about it now.
We would have preferred a slow, leisurely cruise up to Phuket, with time to explore on the way, but having discovered that Thailand has a big national holiday – Songkran – from the 12th to 16th April – we need to get there sooner rather than later. We have three reasons for going to Phuket – firstly to get the final repair jobs done that could not be done in Langkawi, secondly to be outside of Malaysia for a week in order to renew our visas, and thirdly to cruise and explore.
Before the lightning strike, the third reason was our first, and we would have done it months ago, taking our time and enjoying everything the beautiful Thai islands have to offer. The lightning strike put those plans on hold, and dealing with the insurance claim and local contractors delayed them way longer than we would have imagined. So for now our priorities have to be to get to Phuket in time to do the official check-in formalities and get the final jobs done on the boat before everything closes down for the holidays. Hence the longer passage today.
We slipped the lines from the buoy at first light and motored around to the top of Koh Rok Nai before setting course for Koh Rang Yai. There was a good wind blowing so we pulled out the main for its first airing this year and unfurled the genoa. She loved it. Before we knew it we were flying along at 7 knots.
Limestone outcrops A squid boat anchored, resting, its bright green lights off for now.
We sailed for a couple of hours, then motor-sailed for a couple more until the wind died completely and we motored the rest of the way. As we entered Phang Nga Bay, we were passed by hundreds of huge, pink, cauliflower-like jellyfish. No swimming today then!
These jellyfish were huge – bigger than a dinner plate and pink. They didn’t seem to have tentacles, but probably still sting!
With each country in South East Asia we have come to recognise the different types of fishing boats and how they behave. On this trip we have come across another different type – large boats that trawl in pairs, pulling a single net between them. It’s wise not to go between them, but we noticed they were very good at avoiding other boats.
One of a pair of trawlers heading our way.
As we approached the island of Koh Rang Yai, we heard a familiar voice on the radio, and the AIS showed Xamala in the anchorage we were heading for. We met Anita and Pierre on the Indonesian Rally and had not seen them since, so we called to say “Hi”. It turned out that “Starsend 2” were also in the anchorage, so it would be nice to be among friends for the night.
We dropped the anchor around 1640 off the beach at Koh Rang Yai, making sure it was well set as there was quite a current running. We called Phuket Boat Lagoon and arranged to be met by their dinghy at the entrance to the channel into the marina next morning at 1100. Then we went ashore for sundowners and a catch-up with friends.
We borrowed the facilities of a closed restaurant for sundowners. The anchorage at Koh Rang Yai.
Sunset over Koh Phuket (Phuket Island)
Thanks to Nikki from Starsend 2 for the Koh Rang Nai photos – and the delicious frittata!!