We left Koh Tarutao in Thailand on 9 February heading for Ao Chalong where we planned to meet up with other boats heading for the Andaman Islands, India’s furthest ocean outpost except for the Nicobar Islands (where visiting yachts are not allowed).
We were later than we had first anticipated partly because we had to wait for a new motor for our water maker to arrive from Australia. But at last we were off!
This time we decided to sail via Koh Muk (aka Koh Mook) for the first time and it was a decision we did not regret at all.
This island is as far away as possible from the rip-off, too crowded, tourist haunts that many parts of Thailand have become. It is a small but very pretty, clean island with friendly, helpful locals who are not hell bent on making money out of visitors to their island home.
We initially anchored in the southern anchorage of Koh Muk but there was such a horrible roll that we decided to motor round to the East of the island where it was much more comfortable although the dinghy ride into the island was a little longer.
We enjoyed walking through three of the resorts on shore – all nicely done with some beautiful villas available. Being built in an isthmus most of the accommodation had sea views.
The village was very quiet with a few general stores and some nice looking restaurants but no cars and not even many motor bikes!
We settled for a pleasant spot on the beach where the cocktails were extremely cheap (although we opted for the fantastic fresh mango juice) and the food cheap and delicious.
As it was such a lovely spot we decided to stay an extra day and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. We motored back to the first anchorage where there was a lovely cove. There were quite a number of tourists but it didn’t feel too frantic.
At lunchtime we climbed a steep flight of stairs to a lovely restaurant on a cliff with fabulous views. What a glorious place!
We were planning to stay the night at that anchorage but it was so rock and rolly that at 10 pm we up anchored and followed our track on the chart plotter back to the Eastern anchorage which was perfect.
The next morning we headed round the island to the Emerald Cave – a the only way to enter this cave is to swim through a dark cave for about 80 metres until you reach a beautiful hong. The Emerald Cave is so named because when the sun shines on the water, it reflects colored light all over the cave wall.
We got round there about 10am which was far too late as by then it was very busy with tourists. We did motor up to the cave and were amazed by the strings of tourists in life jackets swimming along in a long line, shrieking and giggling.
We returned to Bali Hai and headed for Koh Phi Phi where we were going to anchor for the night. On the way we were delighted to see dolphins for the first time in ages. They seem very shy in SE Asia and typically don’t play around the boat’s bow wave or swim alongside. Nevertheless, it always makes you feel happy when you see them!