Tuesday January 11
Left Phi Phi Don and the slop created by hundreds of power boats which caused the boom to bang about a bit. Nice broad reach for a while then we dropped the Main and continued on under spinnaker. Destination Nai Harn Beach on the SW tip of the phuket peninsular.
Evidence of a rat on board. A few pooh's were found so we started emptying the pantry to check . A few holes in biscuit, yoghurt and powdered milk packets were found. We dug out 2 large plastic tubs to put all the packaged food into, vacuumed and cleaned the pantries. Checking under the seats in the saloon we found the little bugger had chewed up part of the airconditioning duct work. Fortunately the Chippies and Twisties were ok. For once we were gratefull for the heavy duty plastic packaging favoured in Malaysia.
We motored into Nia Harn. A lazy NW ocean swell was still rolling in from the storm and all the monos were tucked in a corner and still rolling. We had the bay to ourselves apart from the hundreds of tourists on the beach.
Enjoyed a beer while googling how to make rat traps.
Thursday January 12
No succes with the home made traps but the bastard was still at large. The only thing that wouldn't fit in the tubs was a large packet of Jasmine tea. Lea thought that would be safe but no; got into that too. We also discovered chewed up wires behind the stereo. One audio lead was chewed right through and the computer power lead was badly damaged but the braided wire sheath under the plastic saved it. Now we had an explanation for the damaged gas detector lead. Time for serious anti rat action!
We surfed the dinghy ashore through the small breakers, on a mission, looking for traps. Couldn't find any mechanaical traps but found this at the local 7/11
The roads were busy and lots of people were exercising around the Lagoon. Lea swam back to boat and after setting up our new rat trap we moved on the short distance to Freedom Beach. Took the SUP's in toward shore but soon realised the beach was being closed out by dumping waves up to 4 feet. We made a strategic withdrawl and moved around to Patong Beach.
This is the tourist Mecca of Phuket with wall to wall restaurants, bars, hotels, tatoo parlours, highrise and traffic. It was devastated by the 2004 Tsunami when 250 people lost their lives. None of the destruction is apparent now and its business as usual.
Our uninvited guest had been caught by the sticky tray placed in the cupboard behind the upper nav station. Unfortunately I hadn't put down any newspaper and there was sticky glue everywhere from the rat's struggles. I negotiated a deal with Lea where I removed the still wriggling rat and she cleaned up the mess. The clean up wasn't as bad as expected as on reading the rat trap instructions we found that the glue is soluble in vegetable oil. Good riddens. We must have picked him up at Yacht Haven Marina.
Ashore it was crowded with lots of hawkers trying to sell their goods or services. The whole place had a smell tinged with the sewer and has a seedy feel to it. About as cultural as we could find we inquired about the Thai Boxing bout scheduled for tomorrow evening.
A full moon that night over the lights and sounds of Patong Beach.
Friday January 13
No loud music disturbed us but the breeze dropped and we ended up broadside to the swell rocking and rolling anyway. Swung by Chantille 1, anchored nearby, to say hi. Ashore we dropped off a big load of laundry then headed up the hill to the SW of town for some exercise. Lea went off for a good 7km run.
Found a nice little restaurant called Rustic for coffee. Back on board we spent the afternoon restitching cockpit covers and replacing worn out elastics. Arranged to meet up with Claire and Stephen for the Thai boxing. They seem to be enjoying their “detoxing”.
Dinner at “Tigerland” then met up with Claire and Stephen for our first ever boxing tournament.
The bouts started with kids, 8 years olds first moving up to teenagers. Gloves, box's and mouthguards but no head protection. Kicking is allowed. The referee quickly seperates them after a clinch. One kid was knocked down hard which wasnt pleasant to watch and in the female bout one girl got her leg hammered repeatedly until she could barely walk. The young men were much more skilful but only Lea was enjoying the fighting and the eye candy of lean, fit, finely sculpted bodies.The usual loud drunken yobbo (Dutch, not Australian for a change) was just behind us. A vote to leave was 3:1 for.
We walked down the main street to the beach, repeatedly saying “no thank you” to the locals touting “sexy club” and “ping pong girls”. The go go girls were up on the tables wiggling their ” booty” and looking bored as they swung around their poles.
A nightcap of soda water back at Rustic and we called it a night.
Saturday January 14
Another rolly night and the poor mono behind us was rolling nearly gunnel to gunnel. It was a relief to get off the boat. Walked to the wet market, which was excellent, to restock. Back to pick up the laundry and then we couldn't get away quick enough.
We didnt go far though as all the anchorages further north are exposed to the swell still running in from the NW. We found a mooring tucked into the NW corner of a little bay called “Naka Lay”. Water clarity was good so we spent the afternoon cleaning the hulls.
Finally a good nights sleep.
Headed north while it was still calm. The mooring was free on Koh Waco a pile of granite boulders just offshore. Stopped for a snorkel in lovely clear water. great rock formations and small fish but very little coral. Chantille joined us from their nearby anchorage so as there was only 1 suitable mooring we passed it over to them and continued north. Debated how far to push but elected in the end to tuck in behind tge reef at Nia Yang near the airport. Glad we did as the NW'ly came in quite strong in the afternoon.
Lovely walk ashore through the parklands where many locals were picnicing with their families. A good selection of local food was available at the car park where many street vendors had set up shop. Very pleasant without the tourist hype.
Daylight departure on a very low tide. The reef extends much further out than charted but fortunately the locals have put a buoy out on the end of the reef. Motored the whole 33.5Nm against a light NW breeze. Lots of fishing flags to dodge.
Got into the Ban Than Lamu anchorage before the breeze got up. Spent the afternoon dancing, spinning and bouncing around on anchor in fresh winds opposing a strong tide flow. Chris off Quasar called us up to make sure we were ok. Explained our manoeuvres were just the joys of high windage and shallow footprint of catamarans.
Stayed on board that evening but conditions settled nicely just after dark.
Tuesday January 16
Decided to spend the day here as forecast winds were not in our favour again. A bit of boat cleaning while the fast boats loaded up their tourists for the trip to the Similan or Surin Islands. Once things had quietened down ashore we tied up at the floating barge under the Navy Wives Club Restauant.
The village outside of the Fast boat area was the most authentic we have seen so far. Grimy fishermans houses littered with trash and junk are right next door to well groomed and mainrptained homes. The smeel varied from delicious home cooking , fresh herbs growing in gardens to raw sewage and rotting food scraps. We wandered the back streets down to the local fishing docks.
Crossedover the big shipyard which had large fishing boats in all states of repair.
We found 2 fish processing wharfs where the boats were being unloaded.
On board the fish are stored on ice in these big blue bins.
Ashore they are hand sorted and packaged.
We didnt see any fish that appealed to us. Most was small stuff and the larger fish were mainly barracuda. Massive ice blocks were made in the ice works close by and transfered to tge boats by a large overhead gantry. The wharf area smelt ok so they much keep it nice and clean.
Lots of industrial looking workshops were nearby and with a good interpreter we suspect that you could get most things fixed here. Caught up with Chris off Quasar and planned dinner ashore with him and his partner Claire. Had a dreadful coffee at the Navy Wives Club but the food that evening was quite good.
Wednesday January 18
We expected to wake up to a nice Easterly. Instead it was mirror calm as we caught the last of the ebb out of the estuary.
It ended up as 45 Nm day of frustrating winds which varied from 4kts NW to 25 kts ENE. The land seemed to either block or funnel the wind. We had a close look at a nice beach on the west coast but the NW swell was still there so we made our way into the protection of the channel between Koh Phra Thong and the mainland for the night. Tomorrow we would get to Koh Phayam.