Kai Mai Thon to Phuket

 February 6th: Departed Ton Sai Bay at first light (7:00am) and decided to head for Kai Mai Thon, a small island not far from Phuket. Had a good passage light winds and arrived at 10:30am. It’s quite a small bay and it took us 3 attempts to get the anchor to hold. Robbie dived down and checked out the moorings in the small bay. No hope there, both of the rope around the bases were down to 25% of the original, there was very little holding them. Too risky for us to use. There was a continual stream of tour boats coming in all day with snorkelers and tourists. These boats were happy to use the moorings, Ok for them as they don’t have to rely on it overnight.
A motor boat called Tramp pulled into the bay, looks a bit like a Nordhavn. Robbie had a chat to the skipper and it’s a Seahorse brand, they call them Diesel Ducks. Lovely boat. They tried to anchor and the anchor didn’t hold and so they ended up leaving.
We spoke to Steve and Claire via the radio on Almacantar and they were just on their way to us and were just around the headland. They arrived around 5:00pm and also had trouble anchoring. Steve decided he didn’t like the anchorage and we agreed, so at 5:30pm we lifted anchor and decided to head for Ao Chalong the main harbour for Phuket. Bit risky as it meant we would be arriving in the dark which is not our preferred method of entry! The wind had picked up considerably and we felt we would have had an uncomfortable night where we were, so the choice was made to go.
We headed off, upping our normal revs from 1600 to 1800, it was only a 12 nautical mile passage so not so bad.
Was a bit tricky coming in at dusk and it’s not the easiest harbour to come in to at the best of times as there are a lot of shallows and obstacles – moorings, lots of boats on anchor and a few rocks and reefs to dodge. We were lucky as Almacantar was half an hour ahead of us and we were able to follow their AIS tracks which eased the stress considerably!!
We safely dropped anchor at 7:15pm, it was quite windy and choppy but much better than where we were previously.
 

February 7th: We went into Yacht club, after tying up at the very, dodgy dinghy dock. We hired a car with driver through the yacht club, which we later found out was very expensive. We went up to Boat lagoon and brought a seal kit for our Spectra water maker and on the way back to Phuket town had lunch at a seafood restaurant which was very nice, but again expensive. Apparently the drivers get a kick back for taking you there! Our driver then took us for a drive up the hill which had great views of the bay and Phuket Town. We stopped in and did some shopping, at Tesco and also Villa market. Great choice available but very expensive, e.g. blueberries $8, strawberries $10 and then back to yacht club, where tide was rapidly, going out. We threw the groceries in and jumped into to the duck and after a few minutes of churning mud with the outboard prop, we finally churned our way out and into deeper water. Had we not have got out we would have been stuck there for many hours!
We got back to Southern Star and had a visit from Chris and Wilf from Yindee Plus with an invitation for us and Steve and Claire to join them for Sundowners which we did. We hadn’t seen them all since Xmas day in Rebak Resort so it was lovely to catch up. They are an English family Chris and Sue with 12 year old twins Wilf and Syd, who have been sailing around the world for about 6 years. A very interesting and lovely family. Sue had made the most gorgeous flat bread with a garlic, olive oil and Coriander dipping sauce, which was divine and Claire and I both begged for the recipe.
 
 

February 8th: We had quite a roly night and not much sleep so decided to move to Nai Harn, a bay on the Western side of Phuket, not very far away. We had already been warned by Oda not to go between the mainland and the island of Ko Bon, as there is an unmarked obstacle underwater and one of the local dive boats had hit it and sunk. I drove and took a wide course around the island. Unfortunately the wind really picked up and was against the current so it was sloppy and choppy and at one point we were down to a speed of 4.5 knots as the current was so strong. Once we got around the southern point of Phuket Island and into the protection of the bay it was much better.
We dropped anchor on the Southern end of the bay. There were a lot of boats anchored all over the bay, and it’s a very pretty bay, surrounded by hills and a lovely long sandy beach. There’s a Yacht club on the Northern side hill, which isn’t really a Yacht club but a bar with an outstanding view, but they have a great dinghy dock, and a dock boy who helps you tie up. It costs 700 baht for the week but you get 10% discount at the Yacht Club bar and restaurant, which has a stunning view over the bay and especially at sunset. The owner is lovely and really goes out of his way to be helpful.
 Robbie took apart the Spectra water maker and began installing the new O rings. What a job this was, there were lots of O rings, different sizes, colours and thickness which I tried to match up to the drawings they supplied and it was not so easy.
Almacantar and Yindee dropped anchor not long after us. Sue and Wilf came over and we swapped movies and some TV series. Thank goodness for Portable hard drives and now thanks to Sam, Jess and Brad and now also Yindee plus and Almacantar we have hundreds of movies and TV series to watch.
 We went out for dinner with Yindee plus, Almacantar and Chris’s cousin Dave who has lived in Phuket, for about 7 years with his Thai girlfriend Rod and her daughter. We were thrilled to be invited and lucky to have Rod and Dave with their local knowledge of restaurants. We had a really nice Authentic Thai meal that for 11 people, including 15 beers cost under 2000 baht which is around $80 Australian. The food was amazing and we tried lots of different dishes which was great.
 
 
February 9th: We caught a taxi into Ao Chalong with Steve and Claire went and had lunch and then walked out the pier to the Customs, immigration and Harbour master offices to officially clear in. This was really easy and simple for us, I had previously completed the paperwork online and we virtually just walked in, got a stamp and walked out of all 3 offices. No charges either which is great, Australia take note – the $618 clearance fee sucks!! Plus we also got sent a reminder but we had already paid on the day no way we were going to pay that amount, twice!
 
 
February 10th: We took the duck in to the dinghy dock and went for a walk around the lake and then came back and I did the 3 monthly tax stuff while Robbie did odd jobs, swam under the hull and gave it another scrub, and generally tried to cheer me up as I hate doing this paperwork now. It’s a good feeling when it’s done and dusted for another 3 months. Except this time it will only be 2 months as they give you an extra month after Xmas to complete the October to December quarter return.
 
February 11th: Have decided we really like the routine of a morning walk, and swim so that’s what we did. I also started a diet today, yeah I know, famous last words. I am doing the “cabbage soup diet” which is a 7 day fast track diet. Today is fruit only and as much vegetable soup as you want. I love fruit so it’s easy for me.
I washed the duck and Robbie waxed it, she looks like a new girl now. We had a swim and snorkel and looked at bottom of Southern Star and after seeing all the growth there again, so soon, we decided we needed to haul out and give her a clean and new antifoul paint. Will start checking out prices, Thailand is supposed to be cheap for this sort of work we have heard.
 
February 12th: Walked, swam and then hired a car with Steve and Claire to explore marinas and slipways. Went to Rattachnachi slipway and checked it out and then to the boat lagoon and had lunch in the Italian restaurant at Boat Lagoon. Wow, this is the nicest marina and slip way we have ever seen! Very impressive, the hardstand is spotless and there are lots of shops, chandleries, workshops, restaurants, beauty salons, massage places and really anything you could want here, all in the one complex. Plus you can use the resort swimming pool, a real bonus!
We went to the chandlery and then drove a short distance to Roly tasker Sails, the biggest sail shop in the world. Lots of sails and chandlery equipment for yachts but not much for power boats. The workshop floor is huge and there were lots of Thai ladies sewing sails.
We picked up the dive tanks for Steve and Claire and headed back to Nai Harn. We stopped in at the yacht club where we ran into Stefan and Silva off “Mediterraneo”, it was lovely to see them again. Also met some kiwis and a young lass from Blenheim who was on holiday with her boyfriend and had been on her Dads boat out to the Similan Islands, where we are heading soon with Paul and Steven Grace. We had a drink and then headed back to the boat as it was dark and we had not put the anchor light on. This is not so bad, as we do always have the Aqualuma underwater lights on, and they definitely light up the back of the boat, and more so than just an anchor light would.
 
 
 
Feb 13th: Had a quiet day emailing contractors and marina’s getting prices for a haul out and bottom paint. A super yacht had arrived into the bay, 73m “Flying Fox” a very beautiful super yacht, but wait, there’s more! Not far behind Flying Fox, came another large superyacht, named “Bikini”, but this one, was only to carry “Flying Foxes” toys – which included a helicopter, and 4 other different sized speed boats and possibly a small submarine! They were all covered up so was a little difficult to tell.
We watched a guy flying around on one of those hang glider things off the top of the hill, and he got quite close to the wind turbine generators at one stage which was quite scary.
 
Feb 14th: Went for a walk on the beach and a swim and then came back and polished stainless steel until 6pm but only got half way around the boat. This is so much more work than you think. When you really look at this boat, there is stainless steel everywhere. We enjoyed the work though and with the music cranked up it was very pleasant, although tiring work. We washed the boat as we finished the polishing as it does make a bit of a mess. Not that easy as you might think washing the boat when you are on anchor as it means we are using our precious water from the water maker and it takes a lot of water to wash the boat. It seems to get dirty and dusty very easily here and of course it’s the dry season so no rain. The salt seems to spray up and then dries and it’s very annoying.
 
Feb 15th: Hired a car and went up to Royal Phuket Marina to check it out for our haul out. Then went to Yacht Haven and met Per and Elisabeth from Oda. Great to see them again, and had a beautiful lunch at the restaurant overlooking the marina. Dropped Per and Elisabeth at Tesco’s to do their shopping and then went to the big shopping centre “Central”, where we finally collected our Furuno memory cards for the Mediterranean from Angie, Noels daughter from Rebak Marina. This has been a major mission and without Noels help getting the parcel through customs we would have been stuck. We had to meet Angie outside Powerbuy, an electrical retailer that was dangerous – We had a walk through and ended up buying a blender so we can make smoothies. We got a Phillips and it has a grinder attachment also and a worldwide guarantee so that’s good for us.
 It’s not actually that easy for us to buy electrical appliances as the boat is USA power so we always have to check the power draw on the appliance. We do have one small inverter that we have to use to run the bread maker, (but we can only use it to mix the bread and then we cook it in the oven as the bread maker cooking cycle draws too much power), a fan, sandwich maker, cake mixer and now the blender. Robbie also runs his Australian power tools off it. You might ask why not just buy USA appliances? Been down that road and too painful. I have tried buying appliances on Amazon but you need an American address otherwise you get right to the end and it deletes the order saying this appliance is not suitable for your area of the world or something similar.
Our washing machine and dryer, oven and the water heater all run off 240 volt which means I have to have the generator running to use the oven and washing machine, even if we are on shore power in a marina.
 

Feb 16th: After a pretty much sleepless night due to a bad swell, we departed Nai Harn Bay at 10:30am, we are slowly making our way north towards the airport to collect Paul and Steven Grace on Saturday. After only one hour we anchored in Kata Bay, a really nice looking bay with a long beach, quite nice water but quite a few tourists, jet skis and long boats. The swell here did not look as bad as Nai Harn.
We took the duck in and tied it up to the floats which mark the swimming area. We had a big walk on the beach and a swim and then a lovely lunch in a little restaurant overlooking the beach. Robbie had a curry and I had stir fried chicken and vegetables. Today I was allowed protein on the diet which was exciting after day 2 of vegetables only, day 3 was fruit and vegetables only and day 4 was bananas and yogurt only, so to be able to have chicken was a treat! It was quite roly so Robbie decided to put out our “Flopper Stoppers”- which are big metal devices which hang off ropes and poles off the side of the boat, and they reduce the roll effect. We have hardly ever used them, I think the last time was at Waiheke Island in New Zealand. Anyway it takes about half an hour to set them up and get them in the water. It does make a difference.
 
Feb 17th: Went into the beach and had a walk along the beach and then into the small town and back to the beach again. This is the first time we have had sellers approaching us. Brought a new pair of crocs to replace the one that disappeared when we were in Telaga marina. Also brought a bikini. You have to barter and never pay the price they first ask. We had lunch in a restaurant and then a swim and a sit on the beach for a while. Back to the boat and did a few chores. Chris and Dave an English couple who have been travelling the world for 7 years on their yacht CD came over for sundowners on Southern Star. We had a very enjoyable evening, it’s a real bonus meeting people like Chris and Dave, who are all travelling the world on their boats and all have very different experiences and stories to tell.
Last day of the diet today and I have lost 4 kg. Probably would have lost more but I did have a few drinks on 2 days and went off the rails on rice crackers tonight as we had the sundowners with Chris and Dave but on the whole, not so bad. I am happy with 4kg and that’s a good start.
 

Feb 18th: Departed Kata Bay at 8:30am for Meridian Bay. Only took 45 minutes and wow, this is a beautiful bay and only one other boat anchored here. The beach is only about 800m long and most of the bay is taken up with the resort, Le Meridian. Very beautiful white sandy beach and the water is very clear, we are anchored in about 6 metres and we can see the very bottom, and lots of fish swimming around, and unfortunately, also jellyfish! We went to the beach for our walk and swim and it was just lovely. Plus, the added bonus of a baby elephant, named Valentino, who stole a kiss from me! He was just lovely, shame hes too big for the boat!

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