Panwa Bali, Chalong Bay, Phuket, Thailand 07 48.90N 98 22.96E

Brian Palmer
Mon 10 Jan 2011 00:02

Happy New Year everyone.


We would like to say a very big welcome to Rougemont School in Newport, Wales where Brian’s grandson Alex and his school friends are to follow the final leg of our circumnavigation which will end at Port Said for Brian and Cyprus for Jackie.     This passage will take us from Thailand to the Maldives, Oman, Yemen, Aden, Eritrea, Sudan and Egypt before finally transiting the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean.


The past few weeks since arriving in Thailand have been extremely busy and stressful as equipment decided to fail.     On the passage up from Rebak, Malaysia our outboard was troublesome but finally decided to give up the ghost late one afternoon before Christmas and we had to row for 90 minutes back to Songster.     It was exhausting rowing against an incoming tide in the dark trying to find Songster and avoiding mooring buoys and other boats at Au Chalong.     We did it and were none the worse for wear other than extremely hungry by the time we returned.     On the way back to the dinghy we had bought some fantastic looking cooked pork sausages, something we had not seen for years, so we bought some to eat on our return.     It was mighty tempting to eat them on the way back but we resisted and they were like heaven once we did get to eat them.


The anchor windlass decided to die 2 days later whilst we were lifting the anchor at Au Chalong.    The motor had given up and it was only new in New Zealand.  However as usual Brian does not like to be beaten so he tried to rebuild it but it was beyond him this time and we were lucky enough to find a local who could.   In the meantime a new motor was ordered from Scotland and sent to us by the speediest courier service available, but that did not go smoothly as firstly the motor missed the plane – not sure how when it was collected early in the morning and the flight left late at night, then it was sent via Germany where it was held up by severe weather.    Eventually it got onto another plane which then developed problems and it was held up again, and then weather again deteriorated and another hold up before it finally arrived and was delivered to Au Chalong Cruising Yacht Club on Christmas Day.


A few days before Christmas with the rebuilt motor on the windlass we upped anchor and moved to Panwa Bali in Chalong Bay where we were to spend Christmas and celebrate with friends but on Christmas morning the generator decided to give up after half an hour as it had sprung a serious water leak.     There was nothing Brian could do and so we sort refuge in the nearest marina Royal Phuket where there was a vacant berth.      Our Christmas as you might imagine was rather quiet, however, we managed to find an engineer at Boat Lagoon who would repair the outboard motor.    Along with his two workers we climbed aboard the sidecar of his motorbike and sped out of the marina and down the dual carriageway to Royal Phuket Marina where they carefully lifted the motor off the back of Songster and carried it to their sidecar, we jumped in and we sped back to Boat Lagoon but this time we went the wrong way up the dual carriageway along the footpath.     It was great fun and lovely and cool with the breeze blowing past.


With the Christmas holiday we had to wait a day or two before we could organise anything as the end cap of the heat exchanger had to be ordered from the States.     Fortunately we ordered two as Brian managed to rebuild the one that had broken, fitted it, the generator ran for a while before the other end cap developed a leak, so they both failed within hours of one another.      The new ones arrived.    These were quite different in design to the ones originally fitted on the generator and resembled the end that Brian had modified.    Northern Lights had obviously realised the design was not good.


On Thursday last we managed to break out of the marina and head back to Panwa Bali where we joined friends and celebrated Christmas on board Songster with Alan and Di off Moonfleet who we have known a number of years but who we will not see again cruising.    Hopefully we will meet up with them in the UK some time this year.


Panwa Bali is a largish anchorage with a very difficult shoreline.     When the tide is low it is extremely difficult to get ashore with all the rocks waiting to attack the bottom of your dinghy and your feet when you get out.    However, it is quite calm and beautiful giving us shelter from the easterly winds.


We are now on countdown to our departure, possibly this weekend, for the Maldives some 1000+ miles away which is likely to take around 10 days.      The forecast is showing very light winds so we are hoping for a little more wind from the east so that we can sail all the way.    


The boat is filled with food and provisions for the next few months and hopefully along the way we will be able to purchase fresh local produce from the locals to ensure our diet is totally balanced.


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