Thailand, March 2008
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Our Malaysian visa's expired at the end of February, so once Kara and Lisa left we decided to sail to Thailand for a month.  The day before we were to leave Jim dove on the boat and found a heshin bag wrapped on our prop.  Thankfully there was no damage, the shaft was making a strange noise so we changed the gear oil and all was working normal.   The first island, Koh Lipe, was 20 miles away, in the Butang Group.  Part of the Tarutao Marine National Park. We arrived in the early afternoon to turqoise clear waters, Phoebe's dream water color. A nice change after Langkawi and Malaysia, where the water is silty.  It was wonderful to snorkle again, our favorite passtime. We stayed in Koh Lipe for two nights, as it is still quite unspoilt. Yachts have a ten day grace period to get to Phuket and check in with the authorities.  There are so many islands to explore between Langkawi and Phuket. 
The second stop was Koh Rok Nok, which is also part of the National Park, and uninhabited, except for the park rangers.  Above is a picture of a Moon Wrasse, Phoebe and Drake can name all the fish we see.  Most of the coral was dead, because the Thai's used to dynamite fish, thankfully that has stopped.  From Rok Nok we went to Racha Yai, located 10 miles south of Ao Chalong, where we were heading to check-in.  Racha Yai was a lovely bay, with a small beach.  The entire beach was taken up by a hotel and restaurants.  This was our first real experience of Thailand.  Between 10:00am and 4:00pm we were bombarded by tour/dive boats entering and leaving the bay.  A sea plane even landed next to Blue Sky, you can just see it in front of us, we are the last boat out in the photo below right.  After 4:00pm the beach and bay was ours. 
Phoebe points to clown fish swimming in an anenome, they would swim right up to you, as they are used to being fed. 
Our friends off s/v Gwendolyn arrived a couple days after us.  We ended up staying in Kata for a week, as it was so nice.  We would rent our beach chairs everyday on the far end by the Ska Raggae Bar.  (They were the only ones in the shade.)  Our friends from the magazine Lattitudes and Attitudes gave us flags to give to places that are cruiser friendly, so we gave one to the Ska bar,, which they hung for us.
The anchorage at Ao Chalong was not very nice, so after we cleared customs we went to the west side of Phuket, to Kata Beach.  What a drastic change from Muslim, Malaysia, to Budhist Thailand, topless Europeans everywhere of all shapes and sizes.  The beach is lined with 1000's of umbrellas waiting for the sun worshippers. 
Exploring town one day we found Blue Sky Thai food, the food here is amazing. Thailand is the only SE Asian nation that has never been ruled by a western power. In Kata beach everything was brand new, as it was one of the locations that was destroyed during the Tsunami. 
Phoebe and Tatyana have a mud bath on the beach, while Dare helps Drake catch a wave on the short board.
Drake, Phoebe, Tatyana and Dare enjoy themselves surfing and boogie boarding.  The waves were perfect for them.  It was time for Blue Sky to start working our way back to Langkawi so we checked out, as there were many islands we wanted to visit on our way back. 
The daily tourists are awe struck by the monkies on the beach and they think it is funny to feed them bags of chips.  Unfortunely the monkies don't know when to stop eating, this is the fattest one we have seen.
Phi Phi Don was our first stop, Blue Sky is anchored behind this local long tail.  Below you can see the beach, which was all our own after 4:00pm, and then the following day crowded with day trippers. 
Phoebe is pictured on Phi Phi Don, we took the dinghy around from our secluded anchorage to a booming back packer town.  In the distance you can see the island of Phi Phi Le, our next stop.  Phi Phi Le was put on the map when the 1998 cult movie "The Beach", with Leonardo Dicaprio, was filmed there.  Maya bay is circular and the photos on the bottom shows what it looks like from the beach.  It appears to be completely closed in on the far left photo, the center you can see Blue Sky on a mooring ball at the entrance  and a smaller beach on the right.  A family photo of us on the back of Blue Sky with the lime stone cliffs rising above us.  Phoebe and Drake play in the sand with the boat in the far back ground.  In the morning and afternoon the beach was ours, it was standing room only during the day.
The water in the bay was clear with shallow coral patches and a number of different fish to view while snorkeling.  Swimming under an arch, what appeared at first as a wall, was a thousand anchovies hiding, and moving in one fluent motion as we swam through them.  You are not allowed to anchor in the Bay, however, there are several mooring balls you can use.  The following morning we dropped the mooring ball for a 30 mile motor sail to Koh Muk. 
The main attraction at Koh Muk is Tham Morakot, The Emerald Cave.  Above left is the entrance to the cave, Jim and Drake navigate the darkness in a Kayak.  The far right in the distance is the exit.  The passage is 80 metres long and pitch black, which leads to a circular "Hong", meaning room in Thai.  The jungle climbs the cathedral like walls to a patch of sky. The glow from the water and foliage gives you the feeling that you are encased in an emerald.  Two other boats with children arrived, Quoll II with Tim, Trish, David and Matthew and Indigo with Uli, Adrienne, Arlee and Bella, both from Australia.  The following morning we decided to go to the cave at 8:00am, before the tourists, and have a champagne breakfast.
The kayaks were filled with all the necessities for the bbq.  Tim cooked bacon and egg sandwiches, Adrienne brought smoked salmon and cheese, and we contributed champagne and orange juice.  It was surreal to be there all by ourselves.  Just as we were finishing up a snake of tourists came through the cave, we could hear their echos first, and I am sure they could smell the bacon.  Phoebe used the boogie board to navigate the cave while Drake swam. You can just see the light at the end of the tunnel below.  In the center of the cave lives a colony of bats that you could see with the torches.  There was a lovely restaurant on the cliff over looking the anchorage, where we enjoyed some delicious Thai food, cheap beer, good company and a great sunset.  What more could you ask for.
From Koh Muk we motored a full day and anchored off Tarutoa for one night then left early in the morning for Langkawi.  Below are some of the islands we cruised passed which are typical for this area of Thailand.  Robin and John are pictured below, from Tasmania, we met them back in Telaga.  They were visiting friends off s/v Meridien.  Thankfully, with their help the Easter Bunny found Blue Sky.