Back again

We’re in Malaysia (again). After trying the main town anchorage in Kuah, and realising it was all mud with very bad holding, we decided to head into the marina. The marina is very affordable and it makes provisioning so much easier. You can just walk down the pontoon with the shopping and load it onto the boat. No dinghy landings and tricky passing of bags involved! And it’s worthwile to do a big top-up here. Langkawi is a duty-free island and that includes fuel, alcohol, electronic goods, boat parts, etc. Even groceries are noticeably cheaper than in Thailand. So, we’ve done a big stock-up which should last us a few months at least.

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beautiful Langkawi

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the anchorage in Telaga, on the Western tip

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being in the marina makes provisioning so much easier!

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loading up

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quick dip in the marina pool

On the way out of Thailand, we stopped in a few more islands. There are plenty of gorgeous anchorages in the Southern Andaman Sea and we chose just a couple more after our brief stop in Ko Phi Phi Lee: Ko Rok Nok and Ko Lipe.

Ko Rok Nok was peaceful and quiet, with good snorkelling, despite the cloud cover. The island also has an ancient shrine where worshippers for centuries used to come and pray for their fertility. There are huge carved penises and some other offerings. Bit weird, but funny.

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the anchorage in Ko Rok Nok and a great beach to run wild on

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the shrine is hidden between these rocks

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strange carvings

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colourful offerings

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obligatory writing in the sand

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lots of colourful fish

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lobster

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some good corals

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colourful nudibranch

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met this cute clownfish family too

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Ko Rok Nok sunset

We also stopped in Ko Ha before reaching Ko Rok Nok and wanted to stop for lunch and do some snorkelling, but were stopped by the Rangers who wanted a disproportionate sum of money for the privilege of anchoring there for a few hours. So we left…

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Ko Ha

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interesting formations

Our last stop in Thailand was in Ko Lipe, a beautiful small island, part of the National Tarutao Marine Park. We didn’t snorkel but had a lovely swim and admired a gorgeous sunset. The next morning we continued to Langkawi which was less than a day-sail away.

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Ko Adang, just north of Ko Lipe

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another gorgeous sunset, we just can’t resist taking one more sunset photo

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and then it turns all pink

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gorgeous colours

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Ko Lipe

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Ko Lipe

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view over the anchorage in the passage between Ko Lipe and Ko Adang

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early morning and we’re off to Langkawi

So where to next? We might explore Langkawi for a bit, we may head back to Thailand for another month. We also like the idea of heading to Sumatra where the surf season soon starts. Other options are to head back towards Singapore and explore the Anambas Islands, Borneo, Brunei,… so many options, not enough time!

 

 

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Take me to the Beach!

We finally and eventually managed to extract ourselves from Phuket and found ourselves spending a night in Maya Bay, Ko Phi Phi Lee. The place became famous after the movie ‘The Beach” with Leonardo Di Caprio was filmed here. We had passed this busy bay on the way up but hadn’t stopped. It was too early in the afternoon that time and we literally couldn’t get through the traffic, so we had continued to Ko Phi Phi Don (the next island) instead, that time. But now we had timed it more careful and arrived around 5pm, just as the last sets of tourists were getting ready to leave. There was one other yacht inside and, guess what, we knew them! It was great to see our friends on Impetuous Too. They had been to Langkawi and were on their way back to Krabi. One more yacht arrived and picked up one of the moorings and then the sun set and all went quiet. Apart from a bit of a short swell that made us roll around in the early evening, we had a pretty comfortable night. No lie-ins were to be had though (except for Aeneas, who sleeps through anything); as soon as it became light the first noisy local long-tails turned up and not much after that the first fast ferries. I had a quick snorkel and was surprised to see there were still so many fish, despite the noise and crowds. We didn’t stay and left, still sipping our morning coffees. Off to somewhere quieter!

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approaching Ko Phi Phi Lee

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Ko Phi Phi Don, the next island, where the hotels, shops and restaurants are 

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Ko Phi Phi Lee is uninhabited

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this yacht is on its way to Maya bay too, we met them later on

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soaking it all up

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with The Beach in the background

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tourists are leaving at the end of the afternoon

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admiring the sunset

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red sky at night, sailor’s delight

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early morning and they’re back

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bye bye, we’re off to somewhere quieter!

 

Old Friends!

I love it when friends happen to turn up exactly when we are in the area, totally by coincidence. And not just one but two sets of friends turned up in the last week. We had a lot of fun going for a day-sail, hanging on and around the boat and lazing by the pool in their resort whilst catching up on the last few years since we saw each other. I can definitely recommend the beautiful resort our friends Dan and Naz were staying at (Anantara Layan) as it was absolutely gorgeous, peaceful and super-stylish with an amazing upscale Thai restaurant (dinner was an experience!). We will miss Phuket and our friends… we’ll be back!

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playing the ukelele while sailing along the coast

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lunch at sea

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We gave Patong a miss

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Bangtao is much nicer!

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sunset photos on the foredeck

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sunset glow

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catching up with Matt, Wendy and Ellie

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2 northerners and 1 Scott, oh oh

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obligatory foredeck selfie

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morning coffee with Dan and Naz

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kids loved the pool

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the gorgeous and quiet Anantara resort at Layan beach

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ready for Songkran, Thai New Year, this buddhist festival traditionally turns into a giant water-fight, nobody is spared!

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water-fight in the pool

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Aeneas got hold of the hose…

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We had an amazing dinner. This little amuse-gueule definitely got our taste buds going; you had to make a tiny basket out of the beetle leave and fill it up with nuts, chillies, ginger,  pickled lime, shallots, dried seabass and coconut jam and then put the entire thing in your mouth. Spectacular.

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Cheers!

Good Times

We just love Thailand. Comfortable anchorages with lovely sandy beaches make for a great daily routine, starting off with a swim or a SUP to the beach early morning, followed by school, lunch and then another trip to the beach in the afternoon. It’s just perfect. The locals are friendly, the food is great (and cheap) and you can have a super-duper 1-hour massage on the beach for 250 baht (£5/$8). The weather’s been dry and breezy although the first squalls started appearing in the last few days. Perhaps it’s a sign that the seasons will be changing soon?

Thailand has also been great to get some key items ticked off our to-do list. We installed a new chart plotter (thanks Paul!) and a new VHF radio (the old one was unfixable) and upgraded our cockpit with new cushions and newly upholstered helmseats. We had our rigging inspected (all good) and finally also installed new trampolines. Not a bad set of achievements!

We could easily stay here longer but unfortunately our visas are running out soon. So, it’s back to Langkawi (with a few islands stops on the way) and then we’ll see where the wind takes us next. But first, we still have a very important birthday to celebrate…

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early morning SUP to the beach

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daily swim

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fitting the new trampolines

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final tweaking 

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our ‘new’ cockpit

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very luxurious!

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new helmseat

The Shoal

We’ve had so many little fish under our boat here in Naiharn, Phuket. They are beautiful to watch and make a great subject for some cool underwater shots…

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thousands (millions?) tiny baitfish

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Aeneas jumps in amongst the fish, feet first (picture by Tyrii)

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can barely see the hull

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fish confetti 

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fishbowl

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There’s also a short video of this amazing fishbowl which we put on YouTube:

Phuket

It’s been a while since the last blog… but, yes, we are still in Phuket. We’re anchored at Naiharn beach, a lovely and quiet bay with no jet skis or noisy long-tails around. We’re rather enjoying our time here and just getting on with life as we know it: school in the morning, boat jobs, some swimming and time on the beach in the afternoon and of course the odd trip into town. Not a bad situation! The weather continues to be dry and breezy but we’ve noticed a slight change over the last few days, the humidity is rising every so slightly and there are definitely a few clouds gathering on the horizon… I wonder how much longer we have before the SW monsoon season arrives?

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Naiharn bay

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Windmill viewpoint

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Rehua is somewhere on the right

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and another gorgeous sunset!

As usual, and this is the same for every boat owner, we have a long list of jobs to do. One of them is to replace our trampolines which had some wear and tear. So, we dropped them off at Rolly Tasker the other day. They are the largest purpose-built sail loft in the world, very impressive. We’re also getting our cockpit seats re-upholstered in one of the local shops we found during a walk around town. Great value for money in this part of the world. And very good craftsmanship.

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Rehua sans tramps

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makes for a great jumping off platform!

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Rolly Tasker, the largest purpose-built sail loft in the world

During our last trip into town, we stopped off at Wat Chalong. It’s a beautiful temple and a great photo opportunity with all its rich colours and sparkling gold statues. I love the positive vibes you get at a buddhist temple, feeling happy and peaceful when you walk out!

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Wat Chalong in Phuket

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sun behind the temple

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entrance to the main temple

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lots of buddhas

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colourful murals

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what a funny face

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and a scary one

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beautiful light flowing in

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view at the top

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view over Phuket

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more buddhas

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the temple has 3 levels

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playing with light

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the donations box

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little angels

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one of the other temples in the complex, all colourful and sparkling with gold

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inside the temple

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the gardens are gorgeous too

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cute elephant hedge

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that’s it for now!

 

Life’s a beach 🏖

Well, we’re certainly not complaining about the weather here. We’re experiencing a lovely dry heath, with a refreshing afternoon breeze and relatively cool nights. Long may it last!

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Nui beach, probably the cutest beach on Phuket

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digging never gets boring

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Nui beach

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fun boulders to climb on

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kids returning from the beach

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another day, another beach: Bangtao

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surfing behind the dinghy

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he makes it look so easy

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Aeneas on the board

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meanwhile, Oma and Opa are taking it easy

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lovely time catching up with my parents

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then it’s back to Naiharn beach

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and we went snorkelling;  the coral and fishes are healthier than I expected

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another gorgeous Phuket sunset …

Back in civilisation…

We’re back in civilisation, there’s no doubt about that! We’ve been in Phuket for a few weeks now and it’s like being back in the Med during the height of summer. It is super-busy, tourists everywhere, hour-long traffic jams, packed beaches, restaurants and shops galore, busy anchorages and there is no space in any of the marinas. That last one doesn’t bother us so much, we prefer to be at anchor anyway. But, sometimes, it is useful to nip into a marina for one or two nights in order to organise and arrange some work. And, after having been in “the wild” for two years, we do need quite a few things done to the boat! In fact, the list is quite long: rigging inspection and potential replacement, cushions re-upholstery, canvas work, polishing, anti-fouling, etc. etc.

After pulling some strings and using a few connections, we managed to book two nights in the Boat Lagoon Marina and organised several companies to come and discuss the work we need doing, measure up and prepare a quote. We’ll see what comes back and then decide and plan the work. We might nip out to the islands for a bit first.

Phuket also has very good hospitals and dentists, so it’s not just the boat that’s getting a check-up! Dental and skin checks, eye tests, … We’ve been to one of the hospitals in town and were extremely impressed with the quality of service at a very affordable price. No waiting list or queue there!

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catching up with the grandparents onboard Rehua

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Taxi Tyrii

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fun on the beach

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visit to the big buddha

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it’s big …

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view from the top over Phuket

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view over Chalong

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the anchorage at Chalong with the big buddha on the top of the hill

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getting ready for dinghy sailing lessons

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and they’re off!

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Tyrii in action

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Chalong sunset

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next stop: Kamala where Opa and Oma are waiting for us

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the surf is too big to land the dinghy so we anchor it instead

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but of course that same surf is fun to play in!

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entering Boat Lagoon Marina

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and it’s hot in the marina… so we’re happy we can use the pool!

 

En route to Phuket

Welcome to Thailand! Land of the free. It felt like we finally entered paradise again. We had a few lovely stops on the way to Phuket. It’s roughly 120 NM from Langkawi to Phuket, so, we split the journey up in three very comfortable day-hops.

Our first anchorage was Ko Bulon Le, a small remote island with a lovely beach, a wooden shack-type beach bar and a couple of backpacker-type lodgings. We were welcomed by bar-owner James Bond, or at least that what he told us his name was. But when Seathan introduced himself as Sean Connery, he had no idea who that was. 😀

Anyway, first Singha was free. Welcome to Thailand. Yay! We like it here already.

That evening we were in for another treat. We heard there would be a super-moon and were watching it in awe as it rose in the early evening. Little did we know that there was going to be an eclipse too! What a sight. How awesome to see this from our anchorage.

The next day we continued to Ko Muk, where we parked in a stunning bay underneath towering cliffs. Ko Muk has a famous hong to explore, accessible only through a cave and a tunnel at low tide. During the daytime, hundreds of tourists were dropped off to go into the hong but after 4pm everyone was gone and we could venture in on the dinghy.

One more stop before Phuket: Ko Phi Phi (pronounced pee-pee). Probably the most famous island in Thailand. Especially after they filmed “The Beach” with Leonardo Di Caprio there. It consists of two main islands: Ko Phi Phi Le and Ko Phi Phi Don. Ko Phi Phi Lee is where THE famous beach is located, in Maya bay. We went in but turned around quickly. It was busier than the Singapore Straits. The big difference was that nobody here seemed to know their Col Regs, who cares at 35 knots. And I don’t think there was room for one more person on that beach anyway.

So instead we stopped in Ko Phi Phi Don. A narrow sandbar separates the two main bays and we anchored on the quieter side. I was there 20 years ago or so and was shocked to see the difference. Of course there has been the tsunami in 2004 that swept everything away but the amount of building and infrastructure that is now set up on this tiny sandbar is incredible. We didn’t stay long and fled back to the boat to have dinner onboard.

Next stop: Phuket and catching up with my parents who are on holiday here and I haven’t seen for two years. Bliss!

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entering Thailand

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approaching our first anchorage, Ko Bulon Le

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and there’s a beach bar!

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James Bond, the beach-bar owner, showing off his tat

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free welcome beer. Yay!

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view from the bar

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and then there’s the moonrise

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it’s the night of the super-blue-blood moon

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and on top of that, there’s an eclipse!

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our first Thai sunrise

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onwards to the next anchorage

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Ko Muk

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lovely evening light

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off to find that hong

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entrance to the cave and tunnel

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entering the cave

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inside the cave

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there’s light at the end of the tunnel

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and the tunnel enters into the hong

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inside the hong

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inside the hong

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looking up inside the hong

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one more sunset, couldn’t resist

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Ko Phi Phi Le on the left, Ko Phi Phi Don on the right

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Ko Phi Phi Le, where they filmed The Beach

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We’re not the only ones heading there, plenty of speed boats around

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and local transfers

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Busier than the Singapore Straits

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No room left on that beach now

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so we make a quick exit

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to Phi Phi Don

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tide is going out…

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let’s go see what this island is like

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Phi Phi Don at sunset

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time to head back to the boat, tide is out

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but we left the dinghy in a safe place, tied up to some local boats

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our anchorage in Phi Phi

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Rehua in the sunset

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and finally, the next day, we approach Phuket

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Nai Harn beach

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first stop: clearing in at Ao Chalong

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All done and we’re legal in the country

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And then a happy reunion with my folks

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Nai Harn beach the next day, great surf

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aaah, we like it here

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evening over Nai Harn

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busy parking lot

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one more sunset ….