He’s got a luverly bunch of coconuts 

 As soon as our new serpentine belt and pulleys for the Balmar alternator were finally installed we dropped our lines and motored out of Boat Lagoon Marina in Phuket, Thailand. 

Sadly, because we had to return to Phuket for repairs our leisurely cruise back to Langkawi, in Malaysia was no longer on the cards as we were due to meet some Australian friends in Penang in just a few days. 

As it was mid afternoon by the time we left the marina and we wanted to make sure everything was working correctly before we ventured too far, we decided to sail just a short way and anchored at the southern end of Koh Yao Yai for the night. 

After anchoring we dived in for a cooling swim and just as we were drying ourselves we received a visitor who arrived by kayak with a lovely bunch of coconuts and a rather fearsome looking cleaver attached to his belt. 

Fortunately Capt’n Birdseye had already met him when I had to go back to England earlier in the year, so I was introduced to “Rocky” as he boarded and quickly realised that there was nothing to fear, despite his appearance. 
He offered us fresh coconuts (for a vastly inflated price) and used his rather scary cleaver to neatly hack them open. 

Rocky drained off the coconut water which was deliciously cold as the coconuts are stored on ice. Then he worked the flesh loose for a delicious snack. 

After a long chat Rocky looked at the clouds gathering and decided to beat a hasty retreat as he had two beach umbrellas open ashore at his “restaurant” (BYO food and he cooks it!). 

As it turned out the threatened rain didn’t eventuate and we enjoyed a lovely sunset. 

Early the next morning we set off for Koh Rok Nok. We passed by the Koh Phi Phi Islands around 9am when the first tourist boats were arriving. Already Maya Bay on Koh Phi Phi Leh (where The Beach was filmed) was heaving with long tails and other craft bearing hoards of tourists. We were very happy to be sailing past and enjoying the beauty from afar. 

We motor sailed all day and arrived just before sundown and were able to enjoy another beautiful sunset at Koh Rok Nok/Koh Rok Noi. 

For the first time we were asked to pay a fee by National Marine Park officers. They explained that these fees were applicable from November to April (throughout the northeast monsoon season). 400 Thai Bhat ($15 each) seemed excessive for the pleasure of anchoring overnight, especially as we didn’t even go ashore. 

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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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