Phuket – towards 2009

in GeneralComments Off on Phuket – towards 2009


At this time, Christmas 2008, we are at anchor on the west coast of Phuket…

The past few weeks have been busy, as we’ve been preparing Quo Vadis for a passage across the Indian Ocean.
In Singapore we hauled and attended to the antifoul and other ‘bottom jobs’, we also replaced the standing rigging, had the liferaft serviced, updated the emergency equipment and took the sails to the Quantum loft in Melaka for repairs.
In Langkawi we stocked up on diesel and supplies of ‘duty free.
Since being in Phuket we’ve done engine work, minor stainless fabrication to enable a stern-boarding ‘gangplank’, other welding repairs and an assortment of little varnishing and touch-up jobs which (like the major ones too), are so difficult to organise in most places, -but in Phuket, all so easy! It has been nice to return to Thailand after almost 2 year’s absence. Although there has been a lot of development and Phuket is busier than it was then, the boatyards are quieter as apparently the economic situation is causing cruisers to delay their refit plans.

It has been a pleasure to catch up the few people we still know here and we also had a pleasant break when family from New Zealand came to visit.

We arranged accommodation for them in a delightfully low-key and isolated resort in our favourite part of Nai Harn Bay


and we enjoyed too, the change of experiencing it from land.

Their being here was an excellent excuse to take time off. As well as enjoying the company, we got to see and do some of the attractions of Phuket that ‘normal’ tourists do, but which we, -as we regard ourselves comparatively ‘long-term’ stayers, -wouldn’t otherwise get around to…

There was the ordinary: -taking a long-tail trip to the top of scenically beautiful Phang Na Bay and visiting the ‘floating’ village of Koh Pan Yi


for an expensive seafood lunch and a walk around the ‘authentic’ fishing village now more given over to hawkers of trinkets;


then Koh Phing Kan, better known as ‘James Bond Island’, which must equal the most over-exploited National Parks of anywhere,


where the natural features are blatantly abused by tourists solely interested in self portraiture


and where even the most ardent of Thai hawkers lose enthusiasm at the end of another day


cajoling boat-loads of tourists to buy things they will never need;


followed for us, by a fleeting visit to a sea-cave (they call it ‘ecotourism’…!)

Then there was the appetising: introducing the family to our favourite Thai foods in restaurants, hawker stalls, night markets


and going to cooking school.

The whimsical:


the opportunity to get intimate with  elephants,






and riding…
then the very entertaining: -a night-time lady-boy spectacular


at Simon’s Cabaret in Patong, arguably the highlight for us all. To spend the time we have in Phuket and not to have experienced it would be tantamount to negligence!

All too quickly, the family visit was over, our boat-work resumed in earnest.
The job-list slowly shrunk in spite of constant additions to it, we moved out of Royal Phuket Marina and are now enjoying some time at anchor. We’re cruising again and checking that everything works…

At this time we seem to be on track for a departure in the first week or so of January, although it seems a pity not to be going now as we have been having the windiest weather we have ever experienced in Phuket, perfect for sailing westward!
But we can’t go just yet, there are still a few more things to attend to.

Our plan is to leave from here for the Indian territory of the Andaman Islands, stopping briefly in the Surins, just off the coast and still a part of Thailand. Then from the Andamans we’ll bypass Sri Lanka and go on to the Northern Maldives, then across to Oman, the Red Sea, Suez and be in the Mediterranean by mid-2009.

It’ll be more consistant sailing than we’ve ever done at one time, -but as it has taken 7 years to get from New Zealand to here, it is time to make a significant step. 3 years in Asia is enough, the Mediterranean is beckoning!

So far, we haven’t found a lot of company for our passage, the numbers going to the Red Sea appear to be down this year, -partly because of the economic situation, but also, the increase in Somali piracy…

We can’t do much about the economy other than pretend it isn’t happening and we hope that by the time we get there, the increased surveillance and world-wide awareness of the piracy problem will make it just the best time to travel those waters…however, time will tell.


Comments are closed.