Yesterday Randal and I took a taxi to the very popular, very crowded Patong Beach which had been destroyed by the 2004 tsunami. What has been rebuilt is a giant version of Key West or any other honky tonk place you can think of. It makes Provincetown look sedate! We had gone looking for the tour company that Randal had used in 2000 when his bike tour stopped here. We had no luck. After a few hours of wandering the streets in the heat but not really seeing anything, we returned to the east side of Phuket Island where our marina is located. Today we will change marinas and go practically next door to Boat Lagoon www.phyketboatlagoon.com. because it is quite a bit cheaper, looks just the same, and has all of the boat supply shops. We have to wait until 5 pm when the tide is high enough to move along the channel. We plan to stay there about a week. I want to go into Old Town Phuket and perhaps we will take a tour of some sort. We’ll see.
Here are some photos and the longer version of the short stories.
Langkawi to Thailand
“Adventures unplanned are not always so grand!” Linda Burger, Randal’s sister.
“Oh yes they are!” Randal Johnson
It’s traditionally bad luck to begin a passage on a Friday; but in the past we usually have for no reason other than coincidence. Our passage to Thailand began on a Wednesday. Our luck so far depends on whether you see the glass as half empty or half full. Tuesday we went to Kuah Town to check out of Malaysia and to provision the boat. It took us forever to find the right offices to in the Port Authority Building until a lovely tall Indian woman led us where we needed to go, twice! And we found when we tried to provision the boat that many of the best provisioning shops on Langkawi were still closed for the Chinese New Year celebration. Wednesday morning when we stopped at the fuel dock at Telaga there was no one there to catch our dock lines so I had to LEAP from the boat and tie us up myself! And mid-fueling we drained their fuel pumps dry so had to wait while the just arrived Petronas fuel truck refilled the dock tanks so we could finish taking on the fuel we wanted.
Since starting out we have had a mooring line break late at night forcing us into a night passage through at least a million anchored (but very well lit) Thai fishing boats. Six hours later, arriving at Phi Phi Island in the dark we ran a-ground though only briefly, while dropping anchor in the bay. (We do know never to enter a new port in the dark, but….) After a few hours rest we set off for Ao Chalong on Phuket. There we avoided all of the available mooring balls and anchored further from shore using our own tried and true anchor. It was the dinghy ride to shore to check in, get some Thai money and a Thai SIM phone card that provided the challenge. Because of the tide change on the beach, we feared our dinghy might end up stranded a good and goopy way from the water after our chores so we opted to tie up at the huge, greasy, inhospitable, busy tour boat pier that extends from the beach at Ao Chalong. We had to climb up the side holding on to the greasy steel beams. The check-in process had 3 times as much paperwork as usual though no real problems.
Our passage to the Royal Phuket Marina on the 21st was uneventful other than we forgot to factor in the hour time change so arrived an hour too early to enter the low water channel to the marina. But no problem as it was noon so we dropped our anchor and ate lunch while we waited for the marina speed boat to come lead us along the channel. So that’s the beginning of the longer version of all those stories.
Was our luck good or bad? All ended well so maybe we were really lucky given everything that could have happened. Especially the mooring ball episode. Randal had planned ahead sleeping on the bow of the boat so if/when the line broke he could jump up, start the engine and keep us from crashing into any other moored boats or back into shore. When we had originally picked up the mooring late afternoon, the sea and wind were calm. Oh well.
The Telaga fuel dock.
Our gas tank lid is on the port bow and painted red so you can’t mistake it for a water tank. Randal and the Petronas gas clerk are just waiting while our tank fills. Looks almost like a regular gas station doesn’t it? This dock was actually the easiest fuel dock we have encountered so far.
When Randal had pulled as close as possible to the fuel dock I JUMPED from the ladder DOWN to the fuel dock, GRABBED our boat lines and HOOKED them to the cleats. I had never done that before. I did good! I do have to say that while I was waiting to jump it felt as if the boat was going a thousand knots and, that we were REALLY FAR from the dock and that it was 10 stories down from the last rung on our ladder. But you can see the photos so you wouldn’t believe that for a minute.
The sign on the ramp above the fuel dock.
According to our log book we arrived at the dock at 8:50 am and departed from the dock at 11:30 am. We actually had to wait about 30 minutes for the fuel clerk to arrive and sort things out. Then their fuel pump ran dry. Then we had to wait a fair bit for the pump to be refilled so we could finish fueling DoraMac. Most boats getting fuel are sail boats and they just fill jerry jugs not giant fuel tanks so 15 minutes probably does the trick. The Petronas station at Telaga had okayed our fuel request on Tuesday when we had driven our Mr. Din “borrowed”car there to check ahead and know what to expect. (While we were driving along, the car spontaneously stopped and Mr. Din had to come to show us the trick to get it going again. But then it stopped again and I didn’t want to drive up the mountain to Telaga with a suddenly stopping car so he had to come again and then swapped cars with us. OY VEY! ) We took on 1,980.2 liters @ 2.02 ringgits per liter = 4,000 ringgits. That translates to $2.24 per gallon = $1,169.60 which should hold us until next year.
The next dock over from the fuel dock
The blue building was the terminal for excursion boats and it was filled with waiting tourists. The tan building was a giant 7/11 type store for cruisers and luckily they still had some loaves of our favorite wholemeal organic Sailor bread and some yogurt both of which had been cleaned out at the small shop at Rebak Marina leaving us with a short supply for our passage. During the Chinese New Year with so many shops closed supplies had run low or totally out! Though Malaysia is a Muslim country there are many Chinese and they traditionally own lots of the shops.
Randal and I had once driven up the mountain overlooking Telaga to ride the cable car but it had been closed for wind issues. When Randal’s niece comes to visit in March we will try it again. The views are supposed to be wonderful if I ever open my eyes.
Our first day’s cruise was a bit bouncy but the anchorage our first night was calm and cool. Not so our next one but that’s the mooring ball story!