Surin and Similan Islands 8:39.9N 97:38.8E

Michael Hughes and Ger White
Sun 17 Mar 2013 02:03
After a great few days on Koh Phayam--including a few days re-learning how to ride a motor scooter--it was time to leave for the pleasures of the Surin Islands. It seems many cruisers get stuck in Koh Phayam for a long spell--the island is very laid back, but basic provisions are available, motor scooters can be rented cheaply to get around the island, there are lots of good, cheap restaurants--difficult to justify cooking when you can have an excellent meal--including cocktail and beer--for around £6. Old hands say it is like the Thailand of 30 years ago.
But we have a schedule to maintain--namely flights to Brisbane towards the end of March to visit Michael's first grandchild, Tilly.  So on 9 March we sailed the 40 miles or so offshore to the Surin islands. Nice anchorage--where we met the crew of First Flight who we had not seen for a year---and over the following week we probably spent more time in the water than out of it!! The water is beautifully clear and clean and lots of fish life. But although the coral structures are great, unfortunately the coral was bleached in 2010 by warming water, so the old coral is dead---the colour of concrete rather than the spectacular colours it would earlier have been. There are the beginnings of new colourful coral showing, but it will be many, many years before it will again be beatiful--if warming does not set it back again. Against that, the fish life is bountiful and beautiful---so we were snorkelling both here and in the Similan islands for several hours a day--dinghying around to try different places.
But again our schedule, so we sailed down to the Similan islands on 12 March, spending a couple of days on Koh Similan and a couple of days on Koh Miang---living on board and in the water, with a couple of trips to the beach for exercise.
And then yesterday we sailed back to the mainland---50 miles and although we had to motor for a couple of hours around lunchtime when the wind died, the last 20 miles were on a beam reach with 12/14 knots of wind and a benign sea---wonderful closing the land--Nai Yang Bay-- at 7 knots and arriving earlier than expected---in plenty of time to go for dinner at our favourite restaurant on the beach.
And here we'll stay for a day, to chill and catch up on internet.