Enough is enough and we weighed anchor at 0930 local time, made
our way out of the bay, set a course due East and motored into an F3
headwind for the island of Tarutao. Roger has a lift out date of
the 4th at Satun, which is mainland Thailand, but as yet they cannot
give me a place on the hard. The plan is to go there and wait
outside the yard until they can fit me in. We altered our intended
Tarutao Island anchorage because of the East wind and dropped the hook
in about 8 metres of water off the little deserted beach at Ban Ao
Makham. Initially it was quite calm but the winds increased to 33
knots during the night and although I held firm, Roger dragged anchor
for about 100 yards.
02/12/10 Underway again at 1030 in a
flat calm sea towards the mainland, eventually anchoring again in very
shallow water off the point at Ban Tanyong Po to await tomorrow's high
tide in order to navigate the shallow river to Phithak Shipyard and
Services at Satun.
03/12/10 An early start weighing anchor
at 0730 to navigate the torturous river on the rising tide. It is
a little disconcerting when you cannot see the final destination because
of the close, mangrove lined river banks but we arrived safely off the
shipyard and anchored in the river to await haul out, then went ashore
to see what the yard was like before catching a bus (pick-up truck!)
04/12/10 As I was getting ready to
help Roger into the slipway, a call from Oh (the shipyard
manageress), told us that a suitable cradle was not available for
Storm Dodger until tomorrow.......so they would lift me out instead!
With roles reversed, Roger came and helped me to the slip. I've
never been lifted in this manner before, steering into a submerged
cradle which is then winched up a ramp onto the hard.....so it was
05/12/10 Work started almost immediately
at 8am with two workers sanding the bottom of my boat to remove all old
anti-foul. Unfortunately, they went too deep and removed the gel
coat over about a one metre square area which will now have to be coated
in epoxy resin (at their expense). Helped Roger to bring in
Storm Dodger at 10am. My cutless bearing is showing signs of
excessive wear which wouldn't have been helped by the engine movement
when my mountings collapsed, so it will have to be replaced.
Removed the propeller in readiness.
06/12/10 More sanding.
07/12/10 Yet more sanding!
Removed the cutless bearing housing and also drilled the hole for the
water maker inlet. Hearing about the coldest winter in the UK for
the last 100 years, snow falling everywhere. Well, just to let you
know......it's close on 30oC here and very hot and humid!
08/12/10 Removed the saloon hatch and
re-seated it in new Sikaflex bonding - it had been leaking for some
09/12/10 Unhappy with the yard's plan of
epoxying the damaged area, I've instructed them to sand the whole
underwater boat area down to the fibre glass and epoxy the entire
underwater surface.....which will now obviously take longer than
anticipated. As both Storm Dodger and I are booked
into Rebak Marina (and paid) for the Christmas period of 18th to the
28th, the yard will now have to get a move on in order to launch me in
time to get there. Removed the forward cabin hatch for re-seating.
10/12/10 Bummer! Heavy rain woke
me at 5am.......and I have no hatch on the forward cabin!! Opened
umbrella through the hole which kept most of it out but the bed still
got a little wet until the rain stopped mid morning. Re-fitted the
hatch during the afternoon. Workers sanding the underwater area to
the fibre glass.
11/12/10 Organised carpenter to make new
fridge top, the old one having come off for the second time.
Sanding completed by 4.30pm and the boat washed down of dust. A
group of us 'on the hard live-aboards' had a get together for a few beers
outside the shop which went on until midnight.
12/12/10 Underwater area given coat of
glue to seal all small holes. Freed off my seized outboard tilting
bracket and swapped the instrument computer over for the one taken off
whilst crossing from India to Langkawi. Fridge top renewed!
Storm Dodger had her coat of anti-foul primer put on.
13/12/10 Fridge top stuck!
Carpenter recalled and the job was rectified during the course of the
day. Five coats of epoxy resin applied to my hull. Re-fitted
the cutless bearing housing and the new skin fitting for the watermaker
inlet. Rebuilt the watermaker pump and fitted a new pipe
union that was broken on the 19th of last month (had the union made here
in the shipyard), then showered and off to the shop for our usual
evening beer or two.
14/12/10 My workers today sanded down
the hull and applied the anti-foul primer coat .
15/12/10 Left the workers applying three
coats of anti-foul whilst I went into town with Roger and Astrid to pay
our yard bills at the TOA shop which is owned by the shipyard.
Then went to Tesco's (yes...really, but it is some 15Km out of town) for a bit of shopping.
16/12/10 A stressful day with
immigration, customs and harbour master whilst we checked out of
Thailand - and I'm coming down with another cold! Roger and I tramped all over the place trying to find
the right offices and finally returned to the shipyard just before 5pm -
only to find that my boat had been moved in readiness for launching and
the electricity disconnected. As I had shut the boat up against
the possibility of rain and rats, the temperature inside was in excess
of 50oC because the fans had all stopped! I wasn't best
pleased after a hard day, and I still had to fit my propeller and the
seacock to the water maker hull fitting. I made a mistake because
of the heat inside, and over tightened the seacock, thereby turning the
skin fitting and destroying the seal. Roger and I worked until
nearly midnight to remove and refit the whole thing.
17/12/10 LAUNCH DAY! Up early for
the launch.......wait.....not enough water for Storm Dodger to go
off the cradle! A bit of shuffling around and I was
eventually launched around 9am with the traditional good luck
firecrackers tied to my bow. I anchored just off the
shipyard slip and went ashore in the evening for our last beer with the
other live-aboards - a great bunch including Chris and Judy of
Braveheart, Doug and Pam of Helly, Iain of Scott Free,
Mike and Gaye of Whim 'O Way and the guys from the superyacht
Silver Lining. Roger will not be able to launch until tomorrow
morning - then we will make our way directly to Rebak for the Christmas
18/12/10 Storm Dodger was
launched about a half hour after I weighed anchor at 0915 and we made
our way back down the river to the shallow winding channel out to sea.
The trip to Rebak on Langkawi was a mixture of motoring and motor
sailing before arriving in the marina at 1630. Fish and chips in
19/12/10 So we are back in Malaysia for
the Christmas period, in Rebak Marina.....a small island resort off
Langkawi. This marina was wiped out in the tsunami on Boxing Day
of 2004, so let's hope history does not
repeat itself! After registering this morning and overcoming the
slight problem of 'no dogs allowed' (Mutley on Storm Dodger!), we
caught the ferry to the 'mainland' and hired a car to go into Kuah and
check in again with the authorities, did a bit of shopping and came back
on the 1830 ferry - I say ferry, but it's really a speedboat, propelled
by two 250hp Honda outboard engines that shove it along at about 50
knots! I'm suffering now with the cold/flu but fortunately I had
bought a bottle of 'medicine' from Scotland whilst in Kuah, so it was a
case of a few doses before bed!!
21/12/10 It's very quiet here!
Rebak is a holiday resort, a small island which is basically split in
two halves - on the one side is the marina and on the other is the
resort complex of hotel and chalets and you can walk between the two in
about 3 minutes.......but it's so quiet!! Christmas seems by and
large to be going un-noticed (suits me) with very few boats actually
putting up any lights (guilty). There are some recognised boats
from Kuah and Satun moored close by and today I heard that Marco and
Francesca onboard Easy 'n' Free are some 150 miles off
Sumatra - so maybe they are heading here from Cochin for some peace and
quiet too! In the UK, airports are crowded with holiday passengers
going nowhere because of the snow and ice, while supermarkets are
alleged to be running out of stocks. It's hot
22/12/10 I received an e-mail from Marco and Francesca
heading to Langkawi but they are currently holed up in Sabang, Sumatra,
following a stormy crossing of the Bay of Bengal and are expected to
remain there until Boxing Day.
Christmas to my family, friends and fellow sailors! We
spent last night in SY69 (a covered area of the marina) enjoying the
music of guitarists and other musicians whom we first encountered in the
Muslim cafe on Kuah pier. I awoke later than usual this morning,
looked out of the cockpit and was disappointed that there was no snow.....just
wall to wall sunshine!
We all trooped off to the Hotel restaurant for Christmas lunch - a
affair with so much food and such a variety, that we
didn't quite know where to start. As you can see from the
photographs above, Roger and I had a hard time of digesting our lunches
during the afternoon!
27/12/10 For some weeks now, we (Roger
and I) have had trouble in sourcing gas for cooking. We are both
very low on gas and have so far been unable to find anywhere to have our
bottles filled. In Royal Langkawi Yacht Club we were told the
bottles were non-fillable in Malaysia but we would get them filled in
Thailand......we couldn't. Today I'm told that I will have to buy
new bottles and regulators from Thailand in preference to Malay bottles.
I know, it's crazy. Spent the afternoon in Kuah, checking out of
Malaysia again in readiness for leaving the marina in the morning, then
cooled off in the pool for an hour before dinner in the restaurant.
28/12/10 Storm Dodger left the
marina just before 9am whilst I sorted out last minute things and paid
my marina bill. I then slipped at 10am and motored to Talaga
Marina to raft up alongside Roger on the fuel pontoon, collecting just
40 litres of diesel and a take-away KFC! We then slipped and put
to sea, drifted whilst having our lunches and got underway again at 2pm
in squally conditions. Turning the clocks back one hour, we made
our way in a general northerly direction towards Thailand, finally
anchoring on the west side of Ko Laen in a heavy rain shower.
I am taking in water in the aft cabin bilge - something which has never
happened before and will need investigating.
29/12/10 Weighed anchor at 0730, motor
sailing (genoa only), again in squally, rainy conditions toward Ko Muk
where we anchored just after 4pm in a small high cliff inlet, along with
two other yachts.
30/12/10 Last night wasn't totally
comfortable because of wind gusts and wave slop which made it's way into
the anchorage. At 0715, I hauled up the forty metres of anchor
chain and we made our way back to sea toward Koh Phi Phi. For a
change......it was good sailing! With the main and genoa up on a
close reach, the Aries windvane was able to cope easily with the
steering for a few hours, giving me a break from helming. The
intended anchorage on the southern side of Koh Phi Phi (Ton Sai Bay) was far from ideal
because of the many mooring buoys, chains, ferries and general mayhem of
this holiday resort, so we came out of the bay again and went around to
the northern side to Lanah Bay and picked up a couple of vacant tourist boat mooring
buoys for the night.
31/12/10 Last leg! Slipped the
buoy at 0730 and made our way almost due west to our New Year's Eve
destination of Patong Beach in Phuket, arriving there at anchor around
4pm. In the anchorage are Colin and Trish onboard Moody
Time, Marco and Francesca onboard Easy 'n' Free, Gary and
Vanessa onboard Neptune II, some other familiar faces .......and
another 200 yachts swinging at anchor!! Met up with Colin and
Trish and their crewman John, good to see them again after parting
company in Eritrea. We all went ashore to this wild tourist place, had roast beef and
Yorkshire Pudding, a few beers, met Marco & Francesca and settled on the beach to watch the
fireworks and general night life. We returned to Storm Dodger
to watch the grand firework finale just before midnight, but
really, the sky had been lit by colourful explosions the whole evening.
Mixed with this were the thousands of lanterns which were released into
the night sky - these are like paper hot air balloons with a firelighter
slung underneath. It really was a spectacular sight to see and
well worth the hurried trip here!
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