The morning after the spectacular night before

IIt had been a spectacular night at Port Takola Marina – the Sail Thailand fleet had been invited to the wedding celebrations of the owner/manager Matthew Na Nagara and his beautiful wife Liu – but the next morning some of the fleet were feeling a little tired and muzzy.

Dancing the night away

However, most of the participants were up early and raring to go as they were signed up to go on a tour put together by the rally organizers. This included a visit to crystal clear pools and waterfalls, hot springs, and a massive climb up 1237 steps to Wat Tham Sua (“Tiger Cave Temple”), one of the most famous monasteries of southern Thailand.

Our crew for the Sail Thailand Rally

We had elected not to go as that morning our crew of the last few weeks from S/V Anthem were leaving for Darwin from Krabi airport and we wanted to be there to farewell them properly (nothing to do with those steps I promise!).

That evening at dinner on Ball Hai we heard all about the excursion from Quintessa‘s Tassie crew who had thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

The following day we went back to Krabi Town to meet with the Quintessas for lunch at a little cafe and ate numerous delicious dum sum which cost, including drinks, around Australian $3 a head!

Stormy weather approaches Krabi

Night falls over Krabi Town

After a peaceful night in our anchorage opposite Krabi Town we made our way towards Yacht Haven Marina in Phuket where the last events of the Sail Thailand Rally were to take place.

Stunning Phang Nga

Despite having spent extensive time cruising the Phang Nga area in 2016 and 2017, we were still amazed by the stunning beauty of this intriguing place.

Some of the limestone karsts make strange shapes

Limestone karsts thrusting skywards, lonely white-sand beaches, stalactites hanging precariously from towering cliffs, secret cave entrances, glimpses of inland lakes, hidden hongs and mysterious cave systems burrowing their complex way hundreds of metres into the rock formations. Bewitching Phang Nga Bay!

What a view!

We anchored in one of our old haunts between two massive karsts with a wonderful view into the distance. We were longing to dive off the boat for a swim round the the boat and Capt’n Birdseye was keen to try his new full face snorkel mask. Although it looked rather strange he found it was excellent – much better visibility than a conventional mask and no need to blow through the snorkel when you come up from a duck dive.

We anchored between these two rocky islands

The next morning we took the dinghy for a spin so we could swim in a the sheltered and shallow green waters of Koh Kudu Yai – famous for the Indie film festival organised by Hollywood actor, Tilda Swinton

Splendid sunset view

The entrance to Koh Kudu Yai

On the way back in the dinghy we reminisced about a previous time whenwe had anchored in the same place and riding back thought Bali Hai had disappeared! It happened to us again but this time we knew it was just a trick of the eye – Bali Hai was hiding (see photos!).

Now you see her, now you don’t!

The next day we arrived at Yacht Haven Marina and anchored outside as we had arranged to enter the following morning at slack tide (note to anyone intending to stay in Yacht Haven, there are some wicked currents that can make getting into a pen very tricky so go in at slack tide and at the time the office suggests.

View of Yacht Haven Marina en route to dinner

With Balii Hai safely at anchor we took our dinghy in our to meet up for dinner with various other boats at Papas and Mummas – a quirky restaurant built over the water just along the shore from the marina.

The crews of You You, Quintessa, Bali Hai and Osbourne Star at Papas and Mummas

It’s a very much “DIY” restaurant- you don’t have to cook your own food but it’s virtually DIY the rest of the way, for example you grab a menu and find a table and then while you are thinking about what to order, you help yourself to a drink from the fridge, open it with the opener provided on a string next to the fridge and grab yourself a glass.

Next, you go up to the little counter in front of the tiny kitchen and place your order. Before long your beautiful freshly cooked stir fry, or coconut milk curry or fresh fish arrives at the table. And the food is delicious!!

Visiting crew from Quintessa and behind, the DIY bar fridge

While we were enjoying our meal a wild wind whipped up suddenly bringing in massive black clouds and then a tremendous thunderstorm. With the thunder cracking overhead and driving rain outside we were kept snug and dry by storm covers unrolled and secured by the restaurant staff.

“Mumma” enjoys a drink with the Quintessa crew

Although we enjoyed the storm we were very disappointed that we were unable to witness the total eclipse of the moon, which was even more special as it happened to coincide with a full moon that was closer to earth than it had been or would be, for many a year.

The rainstorm carried on for quite some time and we were a concerned that taking shelter in the restaurant would hold up closing time but no one seemed to mind and in fact “Mumma” enjoyed a beer with us and even posed for photos.

The amazing moon

By 10.30 pm the storm had cleared and through the residual cloud we were able to just glimpse the extraordinary moon.

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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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