Friday, 11 January 2013

Cruising Into the Mist

Clear Water & Sandy Bottom At Nai Yang Beach
Last week we departed Phuket for a short cruise along the north western coast of Thailand, up to (but not over) the Myanmar border.

Our first anchorage was Nai Yang beach, where life is very sweet. The water is exceptionally clear, the bottom is sandy and a reef wraps around both corners giving reasonable protection.  There is a great afternoon market on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, mini marts, cheap massage and literally a hundred restaurants either on the beach or lining the one and only road.

We had great wind on our sail to Nai Yang and then the following day to Ban Thap Lamu. 8 to 12 knots, usually from a friendly direction, so our sailing moments have changed into endless hours of delightful sailing in flat water. 

Ban Thap Lamu

Neil inspecting a squid and net boat, all so neat and tidy.                           Fish trap street                                                  
Ban Thap Lamu is a working fishing port and also a major connection for tourists visiting the Similan Islands. Just before dark we walked the town. One street was the hub for making fish traps, in different sizes, some with flotation, some with palm frond shade cover. This street was a dead-end but we managed to hitch a ride out on a local tuk tuk that was taking two other ladies to the night market. The street was full of pot holes and with two farangs, two customers and the female driver, it was a slow and bumpy ride. With our few Thai words we managed to share quite a few laughs. Discovery of the night was dinner at The Naval Club, who welcome visitors.  Fabulous food, right next to the tour boat jetty where we beached our dinghy.

Misty Mountains

Third day we were still sailing!  Some sort of record we're sure. Ley has been trolling two lines each day with no fish caught, maybe a change of lures is needed.  Most of the sailing is forward of the beam and much of the time we are dodging fish traps, fishing nets and fishing boats, so we are kept busy. Our planned anchorage is in the channel behind Ko Ra, north of Ko Phra Thong.  As we approached the bar at the entrance we had incredibly clear water and could clearly see the sandy bottom in 5 metres of water- quite nerve racking as the bar crossing takes over 10 minutes, and is more than a mile . Once inside the estuary we motored along a winding channel until we dropped anchor. The mainland here was covered in mist and clouds, The jungle grew right down to the water and the bird calls and scenery reminded us of Ill Ouen in New Caledonia.
Our only neighbors, in the misty inside channel.
This morning the mist still shrouded the mountains, giving the landscape a mystical feel and as we left the estuary the mist seemed to follow us. Again we had wind, four days in row now, a PB for Crystal Blues since we left Australia! Fishing tally still zero, still dodging fishing boats and fish pots.

 Magic in the Mist

Windward side semi-enclosed lagoon, leeward side opposite where we anchored, just beautiful.
Tonight's anchorage is drop dead gorgeous. Nestled in between Ko Kan Yai and Ko Luk Tam Tok we may have found a little bit of paradise. Ten minutes after anchoring we were in the dinghy and then beach combing along a pristine white sandy beach with a very protected small lagoon on the seaward side of the island. It's been a long time since we have had two beaches and an anchorage to ourselves.  Next we'll visit Ko Phayam, so more updates to follow ...

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