Checking in to Thailand – check

So far on the two week Sail Thailand Rally we had enjoyed some terrific sails and done a lot of eating, drinking and socialising. And so it continued once we arrived at Ao Chalong, in Phuket, Thailand.

Putting faces to boat names at the Sailor’s Lunch

We anchored in our usual place on the outer edge of yachts where we know there is good holding and plenty of room to swing.

After a very smooth and friendly check-in process we were surprised and delighted to bump into our mates from S/V Charon who were on their way to check out as they were flying back to Tasmania for a family wedding.

More new faces at the Sailors’ lunch

We had a chat, caught up with each other’s news and parted company making plans to catch up in Krabi where they were leaving their boat while they were away.

We have learned the ropes checking in to Ao Chalong over the last couple of years and know now to register everyone other than the Skipper as passengers. This makes it much easier if anyone on board is leaving the country by air. If you are registered as crew you will need to pay a fee or make a “refundable” deposit.

Yet more new faces at the Phuket Yacht Club

As our boat guests were flying out from Krabi they needed to have their exit cards filled out and in their passports – otherwise they could have ended up not being allowed to catch their flight.

And some familiar faces too

As we wandered down the 720 metre Ao Chalong jetty we remarked what a coincidence it was to bump into friends like that and wondered if and when the same thing would happen again. We didn’t have long to wait because just as we got to the end we spied the Skipper and crew from S/V Island Bound, loaded down with shopping and laundry.

We were to meet the Island Bounds again at the first event of the Sail Thailand Rally, held on 23 January at the Phuket Yacht Club along with Quintessa and her crew (including two guests from Tasmania), Smart Choice and crew (from Yantara), and the You Yous plus our boat guests – all of who we met on the 2015 Sail2Indonesia Rally. It was also great to meet some new faces from boats we had seen at various anchorages at different times. Good to put some faces to boat names!

Marieke Derks, organiser of the Sail Thailand Rally, welcomes participants

The rally event started with another fabulous meal laid on by the yacht club – delicious curries, stir fries, noodles and meat which was very much enjoyed judging by the empty dishes at the end. After the “Sailors’ lunch” there were presentations from various marine suppliers and service providers.

One of the presenters, Scott Bradley from East Marine

During the afternoon there was a tour for first time visitors to some of the “must sees” of Phuket including the Big Buddha, the Rum Distillery and a Thai massage. As we had seen the Big Buddha before and don’t drink rum we elected not to go but those that did said they had a great time.

The Big Buddha

That evening we were delighted to hear from Kiwi boat S/V Sunchaser who were just anchoring in the bay at Ao Chalong. We had last seen them in Langkawi in 2016 and last spoken to the Skipper a year ago in the middle of the night half way across the Andaman Sea (we were on the way to the Andaman Islands and Sunchaser were on their way back).

The Sunchasers arrive

They had recently arrived from New Zealand (by air) and were just about to go on a visa run for the boat. That evening we had a great catch up on Bali Hai and parted ways again.

Koh Yao Noi pretty as a picture

The following day we set off for the next Sail Thailand Rally event but decided to stop on the way at our favorite island – Koh Yoi Nai.

Lovely evening light at Koh Yao Noi

We anchored very close to the Lam Sai Seafood restaurant and after a stroll into the village to hire motorbikes we rode back to eat at the restaurant. The location was fabulous but the seafood was a fearful price and wine was almost Aus$80 a bottle. We ended up eating traditional Thai dishes and drinking beer.

View from the restaurant

Clay pots at the restaurant

Bali Hai anchored near long tails

The following day we rode round the island, stopping in for a while to pop into Dodees a great little clothes and gift store with lots of products made on the island by owner Joy and her friends.

Such a “Joy”ful greeting

It was great to be recognised as soon as we walked in the door and greeted with lots of smiles and hugs.

View from Koh Yao Noi

A long tail passing by

As the anchorage was a little noisy with long tails buzzing in and out from dawn to dusk (and even through the night), we decided to leave that afternoon for Krabi.

On our way to Krabi

We arrived around 6pm, negotiating the river entrance which was well dredged and marked, making the passage through stress free. As it was too late to enter the marina we anchored in the river and had a very quiet and pleasant night.

By the time we arrived in Krabi the sun was getting ready to set

The channel to Krabi was good but narrow which meant passing other boats a bit closer than normal

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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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