It was like one of those dreams – you know you have to be somewhere but no matter how much effort you put in, you never seem to make any progress. Fortunately, we did eventually make it to Thailand and just in time to meet our daughter at Phuket airport the following day.
We woke up at Ao Chalong where we had anchored the previous evening to much calmer weather after a day of sailing through some nasty storms and rough seas.
However, there were still some big gusts of winds and after one such blow we received a phone call from Rita on Beach House.
“It looks like you’re dragging anchor” she said while I was exchanging pleasantries. “Nah we can’t be, we let out loads of chain and the anchor dug well in when we anchored.”
But it was true, we realised that we were indeed drifting back towards the shallows. When we pulled up the anchor we saw why we had dragged. Of all the places to put the pick down in this massive anchorage, we had chosen the place where a mess of calcified mooring rope was sitting on the ocean floor. Our anchor had dug into it and all was fine until the gusts of wind put pressure on the chain and off we went, pulling the mess of rope with us.
Once we had reset our anchor we went in to clear customs, check in with Immigration, and register with the Harbour Master. At Ao Chalong all these offices are in one place, next door to each other, at the end of the 800 metre government pier.
You first go into a pleasant office where the computers work and the lovely young people speak excellent English. After you have registered they then send you off to see each of the other officers in turn.
While we were there we bumped into Rosie and Mike from Shakti who were in the process of checking out, taking their newly refurbished yacht to Malaysia. We hadn’t seen them since the end of the Malaysian Rally in November last year (2015) as they had been doing some major renovations in Boat Lagoon Marina over the past few months. It was great to catch up and a group of us got together for lunch at the Anchor Inn, a restaurant close to the pier.
Later that day we went to get phone credit/data so we could stay in touch with family and friends and did a big supermarket shop ready for taking off to see some of the lovely islands near Phuket.
After an early dinner at the Phuket Yacht Club we set off (far too early) to pick up Hannah. As we had plenty of time we went via Nai Yang Beach for a drink. We ordered a mango smoothie but didn’t expect a jug each!
Before we took the car back the following day we did a quick trip to show Hannah Phuket. With our usual lack of research we took off for the Big Buddha which we could see from Bali Hai.
As we turned round to try and get on the correct road Hannah spied a beautiful little elephant. Normally I try and avoid elephant camps as I really don’t like the idea of them but this little chap seemed very well cared for and had the sunniest disposition.
The big Buddha is BIG! Forty-five metres tall to be precise and is twenty-five metres across the base. It’s Thai name is Phra Puttamingmongkol Akenakkiri Buddha (try saying that after a couple of drinks!)
It is covered in white jade from Myanmar and glows in the sunlight. The views from the Buddha are spectacular and well worth the trip. There are some lovely restaurants on the hillside on the way down with delicious food and more great views.