Langkawi to Thailand, October 2008
Our to do list was finally down to the last item and it was time for us to toss the lines and start moving again.  After six months in one place we were ready.  Once again we say good-bye to some dear friends we have met along the way, not knowing when our paths will cross again.
Once you check out of Malaysia, you have approximately ten days to check into Thailand, before they start fining you.  As the islands in the south are so beautiful we wanted to spend more time there.  Wally, arranged for a long tail to take us to Kantang, in the Trang province to check in.  Usually cruisers do not check in here, as it is an industrial port.  Of course we picked one of the roughest days to go, we were protected in the anchorage, but once we were clear of the island it was a wet and rolly ride.  Above left is a ferry full of passengers.  To the right the driver navigates over the river bar in the rough seas using all his might to steer the longtail.  Bottom left is the ferry terminal where we met our driver who took us to the port captain and to provision.
Rebak is a Taj Resort, and the benefit of staying in the Marina is the opportunity to meet the guests.  One weekend a group of friends from Kuala Lumpur were in town.  They all came over to the boat for happy hour, at first we thought maybe five or so people would come, it turned into fourteen.  A fantastic evening was had by all!
Joanna from Kuala Lumpur
Lisa, Chelsea and Emma
Mekhala returned a month later with her husband Rajeeu.
Carolyn and Paul from s/v Genevieve, who recently bought the boat and are currently working hard to get her ready for sea.
Believe it or not all the above are from Tucson!  Steve and Gayla from s/v Ariel and Julius and Sally from s/v Argonauta.
Chris and Ian from s/v China Grove, leaving for the airport to fly home to Melbourne for a few months, awaiting the arrival of their grandson.
The weather window opened and we tossed the lines from the dock, we were free.  Our first passage was a short 20 miles to Taruato, similar in distance as Redondo Beach to Catalina Island.  Their was a large storm to the west and we saw our first water spout.  What a sight, we were just happy to be far far away. It was quite windy so we decided not to get off the boat that evening.  The following day we had a longer haul, 30 miles to the island of Koh Kraden.  What a beautiful spot, it was wonderful to be back in clear water where we could jump off the boat and snorkle.  Ashore we found Paradise Lost Resort, run by an ex-cruiser named Wally.  The food was delicious and the beer was cold.   The children found all the home made log swings and enjoyed playing on the beach.  Bottom left was a new resort called the Seven Seas Resort, they were frantically working on so it would be ready for high season.  The owner, Buranit Srimat, was there and showed us around, he even allowed the children to swim in the pool.  We later learned he is one of the top Thai actors. You can see the new matteress' on the side, ready to move into their rooms.  After a few days we ventured to the island 5 miles north, called Koh Ngai.  The resort on the hill had a lovely pool over looking the bay, you can just see Blue Sky behind Phoebe and Drake.
The weather is in transition, changing from the SW monsoon season to the NE monsoon, so it can be unsettled.  We experienced a few days of strong winds and rains at Koh Kraden, once it had blown through we pulled up the anchor and headed for Koh Dam Khwan, or Chicken Head island, so called because of the rock formation on the right.  Phoebe and Drake are on the sand bar that conects two small island at low tide, when it is high tide the sand bar is submerged.
Chicken Head is crowded with long tails and tour boats during the day.  One day we met Parker and Ashley from Boulder, Colorado and Maram from Isreal, pictured above.   We invited them out to the boat for a tour before they headed back to Ton Sai, Krabi.  The island has one small restaurant, that does a great business during the day.   
This is the first year we have missed Halloween.  Instead of dressing up and trick-or-treating, we had a bon fire on the beach so Phoebe and Drake could roast marshmellows.  They seemed to enjoy this just as much.  I did not miss the year supply of candy they tend to consume in one week.
The resident goose on Chicken Head.
After a few relaxing days at Koh Dam Khwan, we traveled five miles away to Laem Nang, Krabi.  Rock climbing thrives on the steep sided, limestone cliffs, and the area is crowded with back-packers.  Drake and Phoebe discovered a new favorite sport, Slack Line, a tight line that you balance on like a tight rope and is bouncy.  Drake's new friend Dane was a good teacher and he learned fast.  Phoebe is getting a helping hand from Doreena. 
Above left is Thailand's idea of the "roach coach" mobile restaurant. It was possible to purchase fried rice, noodles, beer, soda, chips etc.  It was time to leave Laem Nang, and our next stop was Koh Hong, in the Krabi Province.  Phoebe and Drake are in the dinghy inside a hong (which means room in Thai), Blue Sky is anchored just through the entrance.  Most of the island are quite small and we would explore them on the dinghy.  On the opposite side of the hong was a lovely beach, where the children pose in front of a sign which shows how high the water was when the Tsunami hit, thirteen people died on this small island.

A monitor lizard strolls past looking for hand outs. 
From Koh Hong we stopped for one night at the North east side of Koh yao Noi, ashore was a lovely resort where we enjoyed a refreshing swim in the pool.  Early the next morning we headed for Koh Hong in Phang Nga Bay.  Exploring the large hong by dinghy we discovered tour kayaks disappearing through a cave.  Once we returned on our kayak's we paddled through the cave and after ducking through a tight hole, it opened into a secret hong.  (Middle left is a kayak ducking through the passage.)  In the middle of the photo below was another opening that we paddled through to find another hong. Tthere were a total of four hongs within this island.  The water in Phang Nga bay is silty from all the rivers that run into it, plus it is very shallow.  So we did not have the opportunity to swim.
A three mile dinghy ride from Koh Hong is the famous Koh Phing Kan, otherwise known as James Bond Island.  It is the location where sceans from The Man with the Golden Gun was filmed.  Of course the children and I had to do the silly gun pose in front of the rock.  Above right are the long tails that brings the hundreds of tourists to the island a day.  Jim and the children are enjoying people watching, it is a very small beach with stalls selling all the junk you do not need.  At this point it was almost standing room only, we just cracked up at the over-weight Euro's in budgy smugglers (otherwise known as speedos) trapesing around like they own the place.  The bottom right is sunset in Phang Nga Bay, the limestone rock formations are a site to see. 
The JW Marriot is just down the street from Yacht Haven, where we spent a great afternoon, swimming in the lovely pool.  Every afternoon elephants come to the beach to swim,  Phoebe and Drake were fortunate enough to climb on top of the elephant.  One even picked Phoebe up on it's trunk and walked away with her.  Our friends Hans and Liz from s/v Reve du Lune picked us up one day and took us to Nai Yang, where we spent the day playing on the beach.  Drake taught us all how to play stick hockey using a can.  The following day we took Rachel, Russ and Liz and Hans back to the Marriot to swim with the elephants.  Rachel and Russ just arrived from Tofo, Africa where they were working as dive masters and will be staying with us a few days as they look for employment in Thailand.
The carved fruit displayed in front of a restaurant at the Marriot was in celebration of Loy Krathong.   The chef carved over 50 different types of fruit and it took him four days. Loy Krathong is one of Thailands best-loved national festivals, celebrated on the full moon in November.  They pay homage to the goddess of rivers and waterways, Mae Khongkha. In the evening people gather at waterways to float Krathongs.  Phoebe is pictured with hers, before she placed it in the water. If it floats away from you it  takes away all your worries, if it floats back it is bad luck.  Ours disappeared in the blackness of the night.
Phoebe and I are pictured with Rachel and Russ.  Rachel is from Steamboat Springs, CO and is a great friend of our niece Becca.