Welcome to Phuket Island, Phuket Province, Thailand

We untied from the mooring at 1000, just as a long line of tourists boats came chugging into the bay. Not only was our timing good going in, it was good going out, too. If there weren’t so many tourists around we probably would have stayed in the Phi Phi islands another day or two, but all the ridiculously heavy boat traffic made for very uncomfortable and rolly anchorages. Besides, we haven’t checked into the country yet, so it was probably time to get officialdom out of the way. Technically we weren’t supposed to have stopped in Ko Muk or the Phi Phis, but we had been told that the Thai government gives you a week between checking out of Malaysia and checking into Phuket before they become suspicious that you may have made an illegal stop along the way. Also, there is no real coast guard checking for illegal boats, so getting caught stopping someplace is unlikely.

Our trip to Phuket was almost identical to our trip to Phi Phi. The seas were smooth, calm and pleasant, there were some pretty islands along the way, and there were lots of fishing flags to weave in and out of, requiring constant hand steering. We understand fully why people out here prefer to day hop versus take overnight trips. Trying to avoid these little flags at night is very stressful. And like on the trip to Phi Phi, we had an equipment problem. Eric turned on the Continue reading Welcome to Phuket Island, Phuket Province, Thailand

Ko Phi Phi Don, Krabi Province, Thailand

Ko Muk was another place where we would have liked to go diving, but Christi still had some congestion and a cough, so we decided to skip diving. Other than diving, laying out at the beach and going to the cave, there isn’t much to do at Ko Muk. Besides, we really needed to get some money. We pulled up anchor this morning at 0945, bound for Ko Phi Phi Don (pronounced Pee Pee — the “h” is silent. No laughing, this is a serious name!). The ride was short, taking only 5 hours.

We are happy to report it was pleasant and very smooth on the way there, though Eric needed to be vigilant about avoiding the fishing lines. There were small islands all along the way, making for a scenic drive. The bad news is that Eric turned on our spare auto pilot to give it some exercise and it did not work. That is probably not a good thing.

From the distance, the Phi Phi islands looks similar to Langkawi, with tall vertical cliffs jutting up out of the water, except these islands have more unique shapes in the peaks of the cliffs. Phi Phi Don is in the first picture, actually two separate islands connected by a small isthmus of sand between them. Next to Phi Phi Don is the smaller Phi Phi Lee, the second picture, and there are a few tiny rock islands near the larger Phi Phi islands.

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We pulled into Ton Sai bay on the southern end of the isthmus at about 1500 (3:00 pm). There were tons of Continue reading Ko Phi Phi Don, Krabi Province, Thailand

Bali to Singapore Days 3-4

Continued from yesterday”¦ We neared a couple low, flat islands at 1700 (5:00 pm) on Wednesday. We changed course to get closer to them so we could be in more protected waters. Unfortunately, they were not a suitable place to stop, but at least in the lee of the island it was a little bit calmer. Christi’s nausea instantly went away and she ate a big meal. Eric felt less nauseous and managed to eat some crackers and drink some Pedialyte. We looked on the charts and found a suitable place to anchor off an island called Bawean that was 24 hours away. After an hour of idling, we pressed on, heading for the anchorage. Moving on was hard for Eric. He struggled with going out knowing the sickness would return. But he managed to do it.

Literally, the minute we were out in the big waves, Eric’s sea sickness returned. As the night wore on the wind and seas again got bigger. By Thursday morning the wind was at 34 with gusts up to 40 and the waves were 12 14 feet right on our nose (head seas). Surprisingly, Christi physically felt OK, but Continue reading Bali to Singapore Days 3-4

Passage from Lizard Island to Thursday Island

We went over to visit with Maria and Gary on Merlin. They were a wealth of information, telling us all the best places to go in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. While in Port Douglas we had picked up a cruising magazine with an article about Indonesia, and it turned out they are the authors. They have written a couple other articles for the magazine on Indonesia, as well. Guess we bumped into the right people!

The plan was to Continue reading Passage from Lizard Island to Thursday Island

A Peek at Marquesan Culture

May 27, 2007 On Sunday morning we decided to go to church. The tourist guides all said that Polynesians are deeply religious people and everyone goes to church. Dean Richard, our guide, said that was true in his grandparent’s day, but nowadays it was socially acceptable to not attend church. The tourist guides all said the singing was amazing and worth a visit on a Sunday morning.

The Catholic Cathedral we had visited the night before had very high wooden ceilings, rock walls, and lots of statues and crucifixes. The church could have held at least a couple hundred people and there were maybe 40 at the Saturday night service. Everyone sat attentively. The service was in Marquesan. The singing was really beautiful, as promised. The priest and alter boy were dressed in white robes. Since we wandered in out and while the service was going on, we had no contact with the church goers. Continue reading A Peek at Marquesan Culture