Sailing at last

After days of rain, high winds and generally inclement weather, we woke up to find that the new day was quite fair although still overcast. Finally we could take our friends who had come to visit us from Australia and Ghana for a sail and show them some of the spectacular scenery which could be glimpsed from their resort on Koh Yao Noi.

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A glimpse of the spectacular scenery near Koh Rai Noi

We headed for beautiful Koh Kudu made famous by Tilda Swinton, star of The Beach, who in 2012 organised a four-day Indie movie festival inside the island’s capacious hong.

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We’re on our way
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En route we had enough wind to put both the sails up and it was excellent to feel the wind in our hair once again.

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One of our guests looking happy to be on board
There is an excellent anchorage in a channel nestled between Koh Kudu Yai and Koh Kudu so that’s where we decided to have a lunch stop. But before lunch, we decided to go and look at Tilda’s Hong and our trusty dinghy made two trips to transport the six of us over there.

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Our lunch stop
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Coming into the hong on Koh Kudu

The hong was stunning – sheer sided rocks rising out of the water with a large expanse of green shallow water, warm as a bath, stretching from the sandy beach to the entrance of the hong. We marvelled at how an entire floating cinema could be erected and removed and hundreds of guests ferried in to watch the festival’s four days of movies. An amazing feat and one that has become an annual event – so we have heard.

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Inside the hong where the warm shallow water stretches from the beach to the entrance
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A view from the beach
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We hadn’t been at the beach long when the wind started to get up. Suddenly the water was being whipped up to a nasty chop which we had to motor into on our little dinghy. Three of us plus the skipper started back to Bali Hai but it soon became apparent that the trusty tender wasn’t coping so we went back to the beach and offloaded one passenger which made it easier and a more comfortable ride.

As we approached Bali Hai we realised that while we had been away she had shifted backwards – much further than if she had simply stretched out on her chain. She was still in between the two islands but had moved a reasonably significant distance. We thought it through – we anchored in calm conditions and had dropped roughly four times the depth we were anchoring in which under normal circumstances should have been fine. When we anchored, there was scarcely any wind but while we were away the wind had whipped up and the narrow passage between the two islands had acted as a funnel, putting the anchor and chain under terrific pressure. 

Fortunately our excellent Rocna anchor had reset itself but it was a lesson to us – if you are leaving the boat, even for half an hour, put out extra chain in case the wind blows up!

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Back at the anchorage the sea had calmed down again
With everyone safely on board again we had an enjoyable swim – some of us jumping off the bow of the boat (the first time for me on Bali Hai!) and drifting in the gentle current back to the stern.

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Growing older doesn’t mean you can’t have fun!

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We were making some excellent splashes
On the way back we had a great sail with our crew taking over the steering, sail trimming and they even chucked in a couple of tacks (the first time in ages for the lazy cruising couple). We managed to beat the rain back and get everyone to shore before the weather broke.

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Travelling through some stunning scenery
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The crew take over!

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Salty tales from Bali Hai

In 2015, after a break from cruising of almost 30 years, my husband and I sailed off into the sunset - this time to the wonderful Islands of Indonesia and beyond. Three years passed and we swapped sails for wheels driving through Scandinavia and Europe in a motor home. Now we are on the brink of another adventure - buying a Lagoon 420 Catamaran in Athens. This is our story.

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