Saturday, June 28, 2014

On anchor in Thailand

A misty and rainy Phang Nga Bay

Hi folks. We are at last back on anchor in Phang Nga Bay and it's been something of a trial to get here but here we are, rocking gently from side to side under the leaden skies of a typical wet season day. The last blog had me up this way sneeking a few weeks on the boat in between check ups. Well, I flew back on the 27th of April and had the biopsy and then waited about 2 weeks for what were pretty good results. No sign of anything unpleasant down the oesophagus and next check up in 4 months. All's clear at this stage. So it was then a mad dash to book tickets, tidy up the Busselton house, catch up with family and friends and get my back side on the Air Asia shuttle we are getting to know so well. Diana rang and said we are short on Twisties and milk powder. You cannot buy Twisties in Thailand which  is a national disgrace and the milk powder is sweetened and quite foul. So I ducked down to the supermarket and I also bought 6 months supply of my reflux medications which amounts to about 360 tablets. So you can appreciate my slight concern as I approached the luggage xray knowing I had 6kg of packages containg a white powdery substance as well 360 tablets of supposed reflux medication. No probleemo friends. The only other possible headline waiting to happen involved the Twisties. I had them in my overhead locker and when I went to get my kindle from said locker I noticed the twisties had all filled with air and were ready to burst. I sat back down and waited for the series of muffled pops to go off while airline staff assumed terrorist attack mode and requested an emergency landing. You could imagine their surprise as the anti-terrorist -squad carefully opened the overhead locker and were showered in Twisties. What a waste. Anyway, the Twisties packets hung in there and were enjoyed along with a cold beer back on the boat in Yacht Haven.

Motley and Diana had to vacate to a nearby condo while a "little" paint job was done

Diana had been busy while I was away and it was great to uncover all the impovements she had done on The Doc. A new toilet in forward head was perhaps the best improvement as anyone who has lived with a dying pump action variety can testify to. There was a new paint job down below, leaks sorted, patches of rot gone, stainless looking like new, topsides shining, new bow shades and the list goes on. She is certainly a can do girl.

Hazan putting on a coat of varnish on the toe rail

Our exit out of the pen was delayed due to a tropical ulcer type thing I had on the back of my leg. I should have got it sorted in Perth but time ran out and we decided to get it looked at in Phuket. We found the Phuket Bangkok Hospital and basically were seen straight away. Anyway, long story short, the dressing needed to be changed every 2 days so we had a week in Phuket we weren't expecting. There is an area called old Phuket town and its full of classic sino-chinese style restaurants that serve all types of food. It is quite near the hospital so it made sense to call in for lunch. The best was Dibuks and we highly recommend it.So it was quite nice to have the week to just poke around Phuket. We hired a car for the hospital days and by the end of the week were finally getting into the "driving in Phuket' mode. It's mad. It's like driving along Leach Highway at peak hour without any road rules and surrounded by a 1000 year 10s on mopeds. I kid you not. It takes a day to recover. We were looking forward to just getting away from the crowds and out into the space and breeze of Phang Nga Bay.

The marina supplies boat boys who help in your exit and entry into the pens and as it happened, we needed them big time. Just before we left, Zara, the marina manager had come by to have a chat about looking after Motley. As she left she asked when we'd had our prop last cleaned. I said just before we'd come in and she looked kind of concerned and said, ummm, might be pretty bad. No worries said I, we'll do it out on anchor. Diana backed out and the boat boys guided our stern around with their inflatable and it was all too easy.
" a problem.....plenty of revs but not much forward motion......Damn", we thought, barnacles on the prop, maybe we can shake em off as we go. Well we got out of the marina and headed down the channel against the tide, and we were going nowhere fast. I put the revs up and it made no difference apart from some ugly vibrations pounding through the hull. The decision to turn back is never an easy one but this was dangerous so we radioed up and headed back in. The boat crew were waiting and helped us tie up, and after a quick chat one of them was volunteered to go over with scraper and do the deed......for 1000bht, about 33 bucks. Not a bad deal as that's probably his weekly wage for half an hour's work.
Approaching rain squall

The prop was cleaned and with the tide easing to slack water we made our way easily down the channel and into the first of many squalls. Its wet season up here so you have to expect some weather. We finally made it to the anchorage which is behind a 300 m vertical limestone cliff face. Soft grey misty clouds cover the tops and its like being in the Scottish highlands except its 30 degrees and you're wearing bathers. Rain squalls appear and disappear in a matter of seconds and apart from some roll its very pleasant. We'll be here for about a week and then its back to the marina and then down to Penang for a visa run. Till next time, bye for now. Rob

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