Dear Reader (I hope you are still with me), I have neglected this blog shamefully and am very behind. I promise I will catch up very quickly if you can just bear with me.
After a whistle stop circumnavigation of Langkawi Island, Malaysia, Bali Hai departed for Thailand on 31 May – first stop Koh Lipe. We were on a mission to get to Ao Chalong as quickly as possible in order to meet with our daughter who was flying in from India on 3 June.
The weather had been pretty poor during the previous week – rain storms, gusty winds, so it was a question of waiting for a favourable forecast for a few days and then making a dash for it!
We left Langkawi at 8.30 am in the company of Beach House, the 57 foot catamaran owned by our friends from the Sail2Wonderful Indonesia Rally, Dave and Rita.
Conditions were reasonably good when we set off but we still had our fingers crossed. During the previous night a wild wind had whistled through at 1am bringing in sheets of heavy rain.
The trip from Telega on Langkawi to Ko Lipe is less than 25 nautical miles so it only took us a few hours of motor/sailing and we arrived at around 1 pm (it was actually 2 pm as we had to put our watches forward now we were in Thailand.)
Despite the reasonable conditions, the sea had been boisterous and in fact, the journey had not been uneventful.
First there was the water maker. As we had the engine on, we decided to make some water. The water maker had been going for just a short while when we discovered that it wasn’t pumping water through at the normal speed. To avoid any major damage being done we turned everything off and put the water maker at the top of the maintenance “to do” list.
Then horror of horrors, we discovered that the fridge had stopped working altogether. After all the money we had spent on it and all the hanging round in Langkawi to get it fixed the damn thing had given up the ghost!
To top it all off a sheet (rope) had managed to work its way under our boat hook and flicked it over the side despite it being fixed to the deck in two places. We couldn’t believe it! After all the different and difficult weather conditions we had experienced over the past year and a half, our boat hook chose that moment to jump ship!
But we were not downhearted. Even though it was a short trip the anticipation of being in a new country was quite thrilling. We always feel a little buzz of excitement when we get out the new flag and put it up the mast along with the yellow quarantine flag.
Our first impressions of Koh Lipe were good – clear water, white sand, coral reef, and loads of colourful long tail boats (so called because their extremely noisy engines are stuck on the end of long rudders so they can skim through shallow waters.)
We couldn’t wait to get ashore. Dave and Rita generously collected us on their dinghy and took us to the shore, where we landed on Sunrise Beach.
It was great to wander through”Walking Street” a meandering lane that is bordered by bars, restaurants, massage places, stalls and a few travel agents selling dive trips.
It had a great atmosphere and we enjoyed a few drinks at a beach bar, and bought some delicious snacks cooked on charcoal from various stalls at the side of the street. Lots of minced pork, pork sausages, spicy pork etc. – quite a novelty after Langkawi where such food is not generally available where the population is predominantly Muslim.The big swell caused by the high wind the previous night was slightly less severe in the anchorage at Koh Lipe because the next door island provided a bit of shelter. It was still an uncomfortable roll for poor Jonathan to have to work in as he fiddled with wires and tried to find out what had gone wrong with the fridge.
It transpired that in the big swell a bottle had rolled over a wire and pulled it out which had stopped the fridge from working. Easily fixed. Hmm – as long as you attach the said wire to the correct terminal. Unfortunately in all that slip slopping about, the dear captain attached the wire to the wrong terminal and blew the fridge up. Whoops! I don’t think he was best pleased.
The next day we were heading off early for our next Thai island – Koh Rok Nok so it was a rare early night for us.
No fridge, water maker needing an overhaul and minus our boat hook but we were in one piece and very happy to be in Thailand.