01/02/11 Although I intended to sail
today, continuing high winds made me decide to stay another night in the
safety of the marina. I was not the only one, as several other
crews I talked to had made the same decision.
02/02/11 Slipped and made out to sea.
Worrying news of cyclone in Australia which according the the BBC World
News Service is expected to affect the Phuket area with big wave surges?
Headed south-east toward the tip of Koh Yao Yai where I had seen an
anchorage when passing the other day. The wind was ESE force 4-5
so I made good progress, but as I neared the southern end of the island,
it increased to F6 and the wave height was around 2 metres. I
could see a mast over the top of the western arm of the bay and it was
swaying through quite an arc. This made me wonder if I had made a
wrong choice, but it was too late now - it would soon be dark.
Entering the bay quietened down the sea somewhat but on anchoring
the boat started to roll through about sixty degrees, taking water over
each toerail on almost every roll. Hey ho, it would have to do!
03/02/11 What a night! The rolling
didn't stop and the winds gusted 30 knots but the anchor held firm.
I should perhaps explain for the uninitiated .....when a boat is at
anchor, ie pivoted by the bows, it lies to either the wind or the
current/tide, whichever is the stronger element. In this bay, the
wind is the stronger of the two and is at right angles to the
swell, so the boat weathercocks to windward and lies across the swell -
hence the rolling. For lack of something better to do, I defrosted the fridge this morning
and did some washing - only to lose my favourite t-shirt overboard.
Did the wind blow off any of my crap shirts? No! Only my
favourite one! Then I couldn't open a tin of beans for
breakfast because the tin-opener has gone walkabout......and the rolling
continued throughout the day, finally abating around 5pm. I was
now part of the furniture in the bay and recognised various fishing
boats as they came in for rest and shelter.
04/02/11 A relatively peaceful night
despite the gusting winds. Around 11am, I spotted Storm Dodger
and Moody Time passing by the entrance to the bay and heading up
to Ao Po Marina. I weighed anchor around midday and once more turned
northward, anchoring again in Ao Labu bay for lunch. About 4pm, I
again pulled up the hook and headed west to re-anchor with the other two
boats off Koh Nakha Yai for the night. Strong winds and a brief
thunderstorm at 11pm.
05/02/11 At 0900, all three boats moved
into the marina. I took out the saloon hatch, cleaned all the
sealant off and re-seated it. Lo and behold, another bout of
heavy rain during the evening......and the bloody hatch leaks! I
am at a loss as to what to do with it now. A quiet beer in the bar
turned into an all night bash with Charlie, Craig, Danielle, Nicholas from the
motor yacht Here Comes the Sun, and Adam the bar manager pouring
a bottle of Bacardi, Tequila and Vodka into the slush puppy machine!
06/02/11 A little ragged around the
edges this morning following last night's episode (arrived back onboard
about 5am)......but there has been no sign of the crew of Here Comes
the Sun throughout the day! I have been putting more
photo pages into the site but because of slow internet connection, have
as yet been unable to upload to the web - perhaps it will have to wait
until I get back to Langkawi, where I will soon have to go to collect my
new wheelpilot which is being shipped from the USA.
08/02/11 The plan to sail for Ao Chalong
was changed due to the lateness of leaving Ao Po Marina and we all three
boats just went out (not without tide and wind problems) to the
anchorage off Koh Nakh Yai.
09/02/11 A brief trip in Roger's
dinghy to the nearby island of Koh Nakha Noi, known as Pearl Island for
it's pearl farms. Although the pilot book says there are
educational shows twice a day and discounted pearls for sale, it was
clear that although pearl farming was obviously still going on, the
tourist part had for some time been in decline and the buildings were
dilapidated. We weighed anchor at noon and made our way
south toward Ao Chalong, skirting a US warship at anchor - with very
skittish launches protecting her from any yachts venturing too close.
Who would think that three small yachts, flying British flags, could be
considered a 'threat?' Are we not supposed to be allies?
Anyway, we all anchored, not in Ao Chalong itself, but across the bay,
off the beach at Panwa Bali which was infinitely preferable to the dump
of Ao Chalong, around 4pm.
10/02/11 Pulled up the anchor just after
mid-day to motor across the bay to Haemorrhoid Harbour - otherwise
known as Ao Chalong! Re-anchored (twice) at 1pm. This
harbour is a minefield of mooring buoys, they are everywhere and trying
to find an anchoring spot between them and the hundred and fifty (or so) other
vessels of varying types which are also anchored here, is a nightmare. My worry is
that when it comes time to leave, the anchor picks up one of the mooring
chains which must obviously criss-cross the seabed.
11/02/11 Still no news of my wheel pilot
delivery! The track and trace facility shows it as having been
delivered in Malaysia on the 7th but I have no idea where it is at
13/02/11 Moody Time sailed this
morning for Patong, and Slammat arrived in the anchorage.
14/02/11 After a two consecutive late
nights on the town (5am finish!), we decided last night to have an early
night and just go ashore for dinner in Captain Hook's - which turned out
to be closed as it's Sunday. We went instead to The Anchor, a
German restaurant which served excellent food and masses of it!
Met Armin and Monica (Slammat) there and joined them for dinner.
Returned onboard at 11.30pm. The wind started to pick up around
2am this morning and increased throughout the night, blowing at 25 knots
by 5am. Storm Dodger sailed for Patong around mid-day
whilst I was helping James and Sandy with an engine problem onboard
Swordfish. My wheel pilot has arrived in Langkawi and James &
Sandy, who need a visa run, have agreed to crew for me tomorrow evening
back to Langkawi. Late afternoon......... and this unfortunate yacht owner moored alongside me with a
very expensive rigging failure.
15/02/11 A similar night to last night,
with the wind picking up around 2am - now it's 8am and the anchorage is
rolly! The plan to sail around 4pm direct to Royal Langkawi
Yacht Club, with James & Sandy crewing, pick up my wheel pilot and make
the return trip to Phuket (about 260 miles) was delayed by four hours
whilst engineers visited Swordfish but we finally weighed anchor
at 8pm and made out to sea. The first eight hours were against 25
knot headwinds and rough seas and we made slow progress through the
16/02/11 Continued southward all day,
the weather moderating and allowing us at times to reach 7 knots.
We passed the northern end of Tarutao as darkness fell, turning into the
mouth of Bass Harbour just after midnight.
17/02/11 No response to VHF calls to
Royal Langkawi Yacht Club, so we entered the marina anyway and picked
our own berth, tying up at 0300 local time. At 9am, I booked in
and we arranged ferry tickets to Penang for James and Sandy to renew
their visa's. On reaching Penang, they found out that tomorrow
(Fri) is a public holiday and that they would be unable to renew their
visa's until Monday - meaning they would not be able to return to
Langkawi until Tuesday. So what was intended to be a quick
turn around is now looking like a four day stay! Picked up my
wheel pilot and started to figure out how to install all the different
components and what I would have to modify.
20/02/11 Began the long process of
installing the wheel pilot. I fixed the course computer
inside the box which houses the radar screen, the fluxgate compass above
the forward cabin door and the control head adjacent to the other
instruments in the cockpit. The actual wheel motor will not
fit my wooden steering wheel because Raymarine only make brackets
suitable for 12mm and 16mm spokes, so I am having to get stainless steel
brackets made to suit my much larger spokes. A second problem is
the pedestal mounting bracket........it's bent! Because there is
no visible damage to the packaging in which it arrived, it can only have
been packed that way - obviously Raymarine's quality control department
was having an 'off day'. By 4pm it was too hot
to carry on and time to get a cold beer in Charlie's Place, where I met
Steve, a Queenslander trapped here in Langkawi until he can sort out his
visa for Vietnam.
21/02/11 Had a day off from wheel pilots
while I wait for the steering wheel to be returned and went with Steve
to the Bird Sanctuary again. Then we went to Cenang Beach and
relaxed with a beer or two before making our way back to Kuah and The
22/02/11 Sandy and James returned from
Penang as I readied the boat for leaving. Then it turned out
the marina would have no fuel until late afternoon/early evening, so the
planned sailing time of 3pm on top of the tide would have to be delayed.
We eventually got away at 7.15pm, motoring out of Bass Harbour before
putting up sail. We made good progress in the north easterly winds
throughout the night.
23/02/11 Because of the speeds we were
maintaining, it became apparent that we would make it to Ao Chalong in
under 24hrs (not the 30hrs expected) and we did indeed drop the anchor
there at 5pm local time......135 miles in 23 hrs wasn't bad!
Whilst underway, we received the bad news that the four Americans
onboard S/Y Quest had been killed by the Somali pirates. I am sure
that the present rallies heading that way will now be re-considering
their course of action.
31/02/11 Over the past week, I've had a
bit of a clear up on the boat, continued to install the various bits of
wheel pilot, had the bent pedestal bracket straightened and moved from
anchor to a permanent mooring in anticipation of leaving the boat for a
week and travelling inland to Bangkok. With the latter ......today
we (Storm Dodger crew and self) booked our bus tickets to Bangkok
for tomorrow evening along with a hotel for five nights and the luxury
of air tickets back to Phuket - it's a twelve hour bus ride!
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