Thursday, June 25, 2015

Winding down the west coast towards Satun


With the cruising season winding down we made the decision to commit to having some work done in the ship yard in Satun. So we made a slow meander back down the west coast of Thailand, past all our favourite spots.

Rolly Nai Yang. Check the angle of the yacht on the left.
We had a hot and uncomfortable day motoring all of the 50 NMs from the Similans to Nai Yang in rolling and confused seas. We were hot and bothered and fed up by the time we reached Nai Yang. The reward is a great anchorage with clear water, a white sandy beach and restaurants galore. Unfortunately the rolly conditions we had out at sea also rolled into the anchorage. It's OK if you have a catamaran but the mono hulls dipped and curtseyed relentlessly. Fed up with living on a moving platform we ducked around the corner to Bang Tao where we could tuck behind the headland for some peaceful days.

That's a big cleaver for a little girl!
Bang Tao is much quieter and we enjoyed the more simple local restaurants along its shores. I loved seeing this little girl playing "helping" with the rather large cleaver. No super protective parents here! The children are part of the natural fabric of life where they are obviously loved and important, but aren't always centre stage. They seem to learn to respect that things like fire and sharp knives are dangerous from experience, not from being wrapped in cotton wool.

Nai Harn

Nai Harn towards the south western side of Phuket is many a sailor's dream. From the bar you can peruse the boats and watch the sun slip to the horizon on yet another perfect Thai day. Laundry is done fairly cheaply and restaurants and the usual tourist stalls are a plenty.
It's hard to find nice places that aren't overrun with tourists, but one very special place that hasn't been spoilt yet is Taratau. The island is quiet and the facilities basic. There is a large restaurant,  come canteen, that caters for large groups where the food is good and cheap. Generally however you have to make sure you have everything you need as there are no shops at all. A Seven 11 will definitely not be found here.
During our rambling we were very impressed to find the Taratao power station that consisted of an array of solar panels as well as a brand spanking new generator. Rob's eyes lit up when he saw the massive battery bank. Many of the islands that we visit  are solar powered and come six or seven o'clock it's light out folks!

Koh Taratao . Solar powered island.

Now that's a battery bank!


Taratao also has a very impressive cave which you reach by long tail boat. Access through the cave is via floating rafts that are pulled along by ropes. The formations are amazing and glisten in your torch light. With our guide we rafted and walked deep into the pitch black caverns far into the hillside. The guide had no English and we little Thai so it was a quiet tour! It was a little disconcerting to see him smoking and dropping his butts into the water. In Australia that would have been a hanging offense. Regulations and controls over areas of natural beauty are tightly supervised. (Unfortunately, not so the Great Barrier Reef but don't get me started!)

Bat Cave Taratao

Back form the Bat Cave steering by foot

It was with some sadness that we left beautiful Taratao and reluctantly pointed our bow towards Satun and what we knew would be a hard three months in the ship yard and on the hard stand. On the positive side we were looking forward to seeing our old friends at the yard from two years ago and giving The Doctor a bit of a well needed spruce up.

Our last beautiful anchorage before we go to the ship yard.

Next post is from PSS shipyard where you will see The Doctor transformed into a mega yacht! Well not really, but a much classier version of the old girl.

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