Category Archives: Westerly

Maryland

Pretty house built around a lighthouse

Monday 2nd October there was no wind as usual so we motored south. We had a day in hand so decided to stop in Magothy bay overnight and dropped our anchor just after 5pm. The waypoint was

39°04.916N

076°27.623W

There were the usual ‘cottages’ around the water’s edge. One of them was set on an island and built around a lighthouse. I can’t imagine it ever being used for navigation that far inside the bay but it looked pretty.

Tuesday 3rd, after taking my turn on the OCC net on the SSB radio, we got underway again.

Big double bridge crossing right over the Chesapeake

This bridge is one of the few possible ways of crossing the Chesapeake from Maryland to Delaware. It was enormous and disappeared off towards the horizon.

Approaching Crab creek

It was a shame we didn’t have more time to explore the bay but October was heavily planned with events and our holiday. I had contacted an OCC member and asked if we could leave Camomile on the jetty at the end of her garden, as advertised on the OCC website. It’s an amazing feature the OCC offer and well worth the membership fee. The marinas in the U.S. are way beyond our budget at over $100 a day. Gemma’s place is just south of Annapolis in Crab creek.

One of Gemma’s neighbours

The jetty is just across from the boathouse on the left of the photo.

There were several other OCC boats anchored in the creek as Gemma allows them to use her jetty to tie up their dinghies.

The jetty is at

38°57.522N

076°31.811W

Gemma is the port officer for Annapolis and her contact details are on the OCC website if you are members.

Bill tying Camomile securely to the jetty.

Screenshot of our position on the chart

The OCC end of season dinner

Gemma moved to the U.S. from the Netherlands many years ago. It was very generous of her to allow us to use her jetty, we were very grateful. It was so nice to be able to  step ashore. Gemma’s house is set up a steep bank which we walked up to look for the supermarket to buy a few supplies.

Wednesday 4th was the day of the OCC US east coast end of season dinner. Gemma and other OCC members did a wonderful job of arranging lifts for everyone. It was nice to dress up for a change.  Some of the cruisers we had met on the Maine rally in August were there along with Dick and Moira from the Westerly called Equinox.  It was nice to see them again.

The lady speaker

Dinner was chicken Cesar salad and a very nice tortellini in a creamy sauce with prawns followed by some chocolate dipped thingys. It was all delicious.

The speaker was a lady from the Chesapeake bay program who spoke about their restoration of the bay and the control of the environment protection they are undertaking.

 

 

Visiting the Annapolis boat show

 

Thursday 5th I spent a very frustrating day trying to book a car for our holiday and kept hitting brick walls! The problem in the U.S. is that everyone carries their own insurance but as we don’t we would have to take out the car hire’s CDW (they insist). This would only cover the hire car if any one hit us or if we damaged it so we needed a second insurance that was a third party insurance that would cover us if we damaged anyone else’s car or, more importantly, them.  I spent all day trying to find cheaper options but gave up in frustration.

The Annapolis boat show

Bill next to the Gin tent – the equivalent of the Guinness tent

Friday 6th again the OCC members arranged for the cruisers to be picked up and taken to the boat show. The Annapolis boat show is almost as big as the Southampton boat show but is divided into two shows, sailboats the first weekend then there’s a 2 day change around with the motor boat show the following weekend.  It was great to see some old friends. We were just standing by the Gin tent when who should wander by but Jason of YOLO and Karen. Haven’t seen them since Malaysia. There were also a number of new friends recently made.

 

Meeting Jimmy Cornell

It was nice to speak to some old friends on the supplier stands. We finally met the guy who organised our new Staylok fittings when we had our rig failure on the way to the Galapagos. Also Will Curry was on the Hydrovane stand. We almost helped him with a sale by telling his client how good our Hydrovane was and how we wouldn’t be without it. Will had a guest on his stand later in the afternoon and that was Jimmy Cornell.  We last met Jimmy at the Cruising Association in London many years ago when he had inspired us to go sailing. It was great to meet him again.

Bill on Solstice

Jake and Jackie of Hokule’a

After the boat show we made our way to Solstice in the marina for the reunion we had been looking forward to. Bill on Solstice had invited our lovely friends Jake and Jackie of Hokule’a, now based in California, to stay with him, also Jack and Zdenka of Kite drove down from Portland where we met in the summer. Neil and Ruth had Rutea across the way and were invited and Behan of Totem joined us later in the evening. It was wonderful to all be together again and catch up on everyone’s news.

Ruth, Zdenka, Jackie and Sue

On Saturday 7th I looked at the hire car situation again including working out if it would be cheaper to fly to Boston and hire a car from there but it was more expensive. I looked at trains but they were also expensive plus public transport isn’t so regular in the States. Buses aren’t so good either so eventually I booked a car at a cost of $25 a day plus over $40 a day for the 2 insurances. Crazy!

Sunday 8th I spent the day cleaning the boat and packing and getting excited.

Advertisements

May update

I can now continue with my blogs. This is long overdue but this is the May update.

Monday 1st May we checked into America. It took all morning. The biggest problem was not having an American phone and the satellite phone wouldn’t call the number the coastguard gave me. It’s necessary to have a check in number, which you get calling the phone number, before the customs will even speak to you. For yachties following us, the custom’s have an internal phone you can use when you get there. We spent several hours establishing that! We also assumed they would want to inspect Camomile and tried to obtain a marina berth for a few hours but that was unnecessary because they decided they didn’t want to inspect so we stayed at anchor.

Very clean American mall

The next day was my birthday and I decided I wanted to go a real American mall, Bill’s idea of purgatory but off we went. While there we got a new phone for me on an American contract so I can facebook and message as much as I want. The number is 561 301 6266. I had a wonderful time browsing around the shops.

Yum yum yum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had lunch out, which was delicious, but the best was the strawberry shortcake for dessert. The first of the ‘Everything is big in America’ pictures.

The next day on the 3rd we headed north leaving at 6.30am going back out through the Lake Worth inlet at

26˚46.348N

80˚01.719W

The wind was from the east and gave us a good push with the sails hoisted. We entered back into the ICW (inter coastal waterway) at

27˚28.537N

80˚16.137W

and then into Harbourtown marina at Fort Pierce.

Camomile in Harbourtown marina

The entrance waypoint is

27˚28.030N

80˚19.569W

The space is the marina was very tight. As you can see Camomile is way over the edge of the berth but the marina weren’t concerned. It will be fun getting out but we’ll work that out later.  This would be Camomile’s home for the next month. The cost was $623 for the month working out to a little over 55c per foot per day. We were later to realise what a bargain this was. In the US you pay by the foot for a day or a month. The monthly rates are a lot cheaper than the daily rates.

As many of you know the purpose of the beginning of our stay was to fly back to the UK but the first job was to clean Camomile inside and out, which took most of the next day.  I had spent several hours cleaning Camomile’s decks then it started to rain!! Should I have bothered. The couple on the motorboat next to us were very friendly along with most of the other boat owners.  Word got round there were a couple of Brits in town and everyone was ‘Just stopping by to say Hello and welcome’.

The smallest car available to hire.

Spent the rest of the week sorting out the boat, washing and packing.

Monday 8th we picked up our hire car. A one way car hire worked out the cheapest way to get to Orlando airport which was only a 4 hour drive away but America doesn’t really do public transport. When we arrived at the office in town and had completed the paperwork we were shown to our car. I pointed out that I thought they had given us the wrong car. I had booked a small compact car. ‘No’ he said ‘this is a small compact car’!

Selfie by the fountain

 

 

Tuesday 9th we drove to Orlando airport. I was really excited. We were flying to Miami and then to Heathrow. Orlando airport is huge and full of shops selling Micky Mouse hats. There was a beautiful fountain in the middle of the building.

 

Getting our flight ready

 

 

Our flight was delayed twice and was transferred to Philadelphia where we had to take a later flight to Heathrow. All good in the end.

It was wonderful to see Thomas at the airport. All the planning for this event and finally we were in the UK.

 

Logan is such a cutie

 

Had a busy first week. On the Friday Bill went off on the stag weekend to Barcelona to the F1, with James, Will the best man and some others. Thomas had a great time. I spent 3 days with my younger sister shopping for my wedding outfit then 3 days with my middle sister enjoying chatting with her and my niece Kirsty and my great nephew Logan, who is adorable now. It’s a year since I’ve seen him and he isn’t a baby any more.  Bill and James were back from the stag and working on James’s van.

Thank you to my sisters for having us.

We then returned to Kent to stay with Sonal’s mum Meena. Thank you for having us Meena.

Working in the cookie kitchen, do you like my hair net?

 

 

 

 

 

During our second week James was back at work so Bill helped Thomas put some finishing touches to their house, which ended up taking quite a time. I had a day in the cookie kitchen making cookies. I didn’t eat many……

Kate and Bill catching up.

 

 

 

A week before the wedding on the 20th we were invited to a family party of Bill’s relatives at cousin Sally and Rob’s. It was wonderful to see everyone. Bill’s sister Kate was there who had flown in for the wedding and Bill and she had a lovely catch up. It was also the first time we’d seen our nephew Will in almost 5 year, he had grown very tall.

 

3 delicious cakes

Bronwyn blowing out her candles

 

 

There were 3 cakes for 3 celebrations Mike and Angie’s 25th wedding anniversary, Bronwyn’s 80th birthday and cousin Wendie’s 60th birthday. We had a wonderful day.

 

 

The Chilston park hotel

Amanda and I with the Ferrari

 

Our third and last week was spent shopping for boat bits, of course, clothes to take back, more visiting, hair dressers, nail painting, more last minute bits for the wedding that it just flew by.  Finally on 27th the big day arrived. A group of us had stayed at the Chilston Park hotel which served the most amazing breakfast. James and Thomas were there and we had had one last family evening together – when everything was finally completed.

On the morning of the wedding Thomas’s friend arrived in his Ferrari to take Thomas to the venue. My sister and I had a pose in front of it.

My two sisters-in-law Claire and Kate, the very tall nephew Will, Uncle John and Auntie Hilary

 

 

 

 

Guests were arriving at the venue when Thomas’s party arrived.  Everyone looked beautiful in their wedding outfits. It was a glorious day, they were so lucky with the weather.

My favorite photo. My sisters Angela and Amanda

 

 

 

Sonal’s mum Meena. Our babies were getting married.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill and I outside Bradbourne house, the wedding venue.

Thomas and his best man Will

Thomas leads his bride up the steps.

 

 

 

Finally the bride arrived and looked absolutely stunning. The wedding was outside on the steps that made a stunning setting. Sonals’s dress was exquisite.  She had done a wonderful job of blending Indian style accessories with the traditional English wedding theme.

 

Slinky the ring bearer

 

 

 

 

Their little dog Slinky was a ring bearer. They were attached to his collar. Will led him up the steps to Thomas so he could receive the rings.

Thomas had asked Bill to do a reading but instead Bill wrote a poem and read it to them at the end of the service. Here it is

Welcome

And so I am called – to give sage advice
It’s a special occasion – so I’ll try hard to be nice
All things considered – I really feel I oughter
Because today – I gain a beautiful daughter

It is a brave step – to be husband and wife
One that’s at least – for the rest of your life
So be a friend and an ally – as well as a lover
Be tough be gentle – care for each other

Be quick to unsay – the wrong things you said
You can’t always know – what’s going on in their head
Compassion and compromise – tolerance too
Strive always to see – another point of view

Share fair the burden – of everyday chores
You both work so hard – but make time that is yours
Show respect and interest – for each other’s dreams
Be fast to forgive – however tricky it seems

Put up with the in laws – when they get you upset
They love you and care – so sometimes will fret
Are they smarter than you? very probably not
do they know useful stuff – well they’ve been round the block

All these good things – in plentiful measure
Will build you a life – you’ll both love and treasure

Did I hear you say – is that right are you sure?
It can’t be that simple – there must be some more
After near 40 years – of matrimonial bliss
I’m pleased to say – we’re still working on this
So
A talented woman – a beautiful bride
How lucky is Tom – to have you at his side
And how lucky am I – that it now falls to me
To welcome you Sonal – to my family

Bill reading his poem

Signing the register

We all moved into the grounds for the photos. Everyone has hundreds but this one is one of my favourites.

Claire, chief bridesmaid, Sonal, my beautiful daughter-in-law, Jasmine, my beautiful niece, Jen, Sonal’s sister-in-law

The beautiful bouquets

Lovely photo

Thomas giving his speech

Cutting the cake

and of course there were cookies

Amazing photo. I’m going to have this framed.

This was the first Indian style dance then it was followed by a first English dance

The girls looked beautiful dancing together.

My wonderful flowers

It was a fabulous day and one of the nicest things was the wonderful mix of cultures.

So now I’m no longer Mrs Redgrove – I’m Mrs Redgrove senior.

The following day Thomas and Sonal had invited any one who had stayed in the area over night to join them for a drink at a lovely village pub near where they live.  It also gave us a chance to say our goodbyes to everyone as our time in the UK was coming to an end again.

Bill with his award for writing the best technical article for the Westerly magazine

 

We spent our last two days in the country with our old neighbours in Teston. Relaxing and going for walks in our old neighbourhood. James was able to join us for a day. Thank you Gill and Nigel for having us.

Also Bill had won an award at the Westerly AGM earlier in the year and we were able to unpack it and photograph it before leaving it with my sister.

 

 

Our plane awaits

 

Tuesday 30th May it was back to the airport where our plane was waiting for us. Sorry to all the many people we didn’t get a chance to see this visit but we plan to return April next year for 6 months so we’ll see everyone then. Thank you to everyone we were able to see for making our visit very special and to Thomas and Sonal for allowing us to share your special day.

Despite being on 3 different flights we managed to meet up with Kate and her partner Mark in Orlando airport. Their journey will be in the June update.

xxxx

 

Week 8

The floorboards out

The floorboards out

Week 8 was mostly spent undercoating the topsides and varnishing floorboards.

Bill said there were five components to painting the topsides. Port side deck, starboard side deck, top of the coach roof, sides of coach roof and the aft deck. He would get up early to paint the port side deck then the starboard side from the scaffold tower before it got too hot. The next day he could paint the top of the coach roof and the sides of the coach roof while on his knees and finish off with the aft deck. Another day to rub it all down and repeat the process again. This didn’t take up all his time so as I was away he took up the floorboards from down below, took them under the boat to rub down then laid them out in the cockpit to revarnish.

Floorboards drying

Floorboards drying

 

 

This shows the floorboards drying in the sun with a masked up aft deck in the background.

 

 

My galley floor

My galley floor

 

This is my galley floor where the edges had recently come loose so Bill’s stuck them back down again with Sikaflex. The steps were out and they were rubbed down and varnished too.

 

 

 

 

 

Bulkhead under floorboards

Bulkhead under floorboards

The joint masked up and reglassed

The joint masked up and reglassed

Another job Bill wanted to do was repair the joint at the forward bulkhead where it meets the hull. It had been repaired shortly after the boat was built, before we owned her, but the repair had failed so Bill reglassed the joint between the saloon and the heads (toilet).

Thursday 26th Bill went into town to pick up the gloss paint that had finally come in so that he could start the topcoats next week.

I was half way through my trip to the UK. The good news was that Bills new passport had arrived at my sisters, followed by his old one the next day so that was that sorted. The bad news was that the immersion heater on the boat had failed and was added to my shopping list.

West Malling village

West Malling village

This is West Malling a beautiful village in Kent just over the hill from our old house. It was the setting for the farmers market that week where Thomas had set up his cookie stall.

 

Thomas Cookie Co

Thomas Cookie Co

I had driven to Kent on the Saturday afternoon just because I could! I wanted to go to church on the Sunday morning. The Teston church (our old village) only has a service once a month but Father Jim also administers over Wateringbury and East Malling. I had been going togo to Wateringbury but at the last minute I decided to go to East Malling and there was Father Jim. It was wonderful to see him and take communion. I felt very emotional being inside a church again, something I’ve really missed.

West Malling park

West Malling park

While Thomas was selling cookies Sonal and I had a lovely coffee sitting in the spring sunshine before we went for a lovely walk in the park with Honey the Dashund. The English countryside was beginning to wake up and a few leaves were starting to bud on the trees. These swans looked very pretty in the park.

In the afternoon I drove to Havant to spend the night with my sister-in-law Claire and her husband Gordon. I was there on the right day because they were in the process of sorting their DVDs out and I scooped a bag full. Thank you.

The 'pepperpot' in the middle of Chichester

The ‘pepperpot’ in the middle of Chichester

The next day I drove into Chichester to have a look around the shops. I got a nice top for the wedding, my wizzy wiz things from Lakeland, but more importantly Bill’s stainless staples that I had spent ages looking for. Good old Messams, you can’t beat the little old-fashioned hardware shops.

 

Liz and I after a lovely evening of catching up.

Liz and I after a lovely evening of catching up.

 

 

After a lovely lunch with Claire I continued onto Southampton for an evening with our WOA friends Liz and Julian. Their Westerly is in Turkey but it was great to catch up with them.

So 3 nights in 3 different beds and it was back to my sister’s in the rain. To be fair the weather had been very good during my stay and this was only the second lot of rain we I’d had.

 

Our pamper session

Our pamper session

 

 

On the Thursday Angela, her friend Pat and I had a pamper session before the wedding. Our nails looked beautiful after this, not sure how long they will last when I get back to the boat.

Into Indonesia and Camomile on the Rocks

The journey continues.

From Tawau you have two choices

  • Go back the way you came through pirate alley! A couple of boats did that and were offered another escort
  • OR head south into Indonesia.

There’s an Indonesian consulate in Tawau so it’s possible to obtain a visa. To enter Indonesia you need a CAIT (Cruising Authority for Indonesian Territory), which needs to be applied for in advance. There are various places to obtain a CAIT. The Raja Ampat rally follows on from Sail Malaysia and the organisers were offering free CAITs, which many participants took up. As we weren’t going to Raja Ampat but heading south we paid $150 for ours, which is quite good value. I won’t include any more detail here but if anyone requires more information please email me.

Sunset over Tarakan

Sunset over Tarakan

 

We arrived in Tarakan, Indonesia from Tawau, Malaysia on 19th August. We anchored at

03º17.05N

117º35.16E

It took all afternoon for the authorities to check in the rally, which now consisted of 13 boats. We had a beautiful sunset that evening.

Tarakan was very under whelming so once we had our numerous bits of paper giving us clearance to proceed into Indonesia the rally moved south on the 22nd August to the Derawan islands.

Camomile dressed overall

Camomile dressed overall

 

The rally anchored off of Tanjung Batu on 24th August at

02º16.2N

118º05.8E

They don’t see many yachts in this part of the world and there was great excitement when the rally arrived. The organisers asked if we could put some flags up so we dressed Camomile overall, being one of only two boats who had the correct signal flags; the other boat was also British. Some people put up an assortment of courtesy flags. Shame I didn’t get a better photo.

Steps down to the lake

Steps down to the lake

The following day we were all picked up from our boats by a local passenger boat and taken on the 3 island tour. If you get the chance to do this I would recommend it. Unfortunately we arrived at Pulau Sangalaki, famous for it’s Manta rays and sea turtles, on a falling tide and the boatman said we couldn’t go in because we wouldn’t be able to get out until much later and there wasn’t time to do that. I have to say they should have known that before they took us down there but I think the boatman had told the guy in charge but he wanted him to try. We carried onto Pulau Kakaban and landed on the jetty and walked about 10 minutes to the centre. This photo shows us descending to the lake in the centre where we all got in the water and encountered these.

 

Non stinging jelly fish

Non stinging jelly fish

Handling jelly fish

Handling jelly fish

Normally if I see a jellyfish while swimming I’m straight out of the water but these creatures are non-stinging. Many thousands of years ago the island rose creating the lake, the jellyfish were stranded and without predators they have evolved as non-stinging. I believe the lake is one of only two places in the world that has these creatures; there were 4 different species. It was bizarre swimming among the hundreds of specimens surrounding us.

Bizarre

Bizarre

Bill getting out of the ferry

Bill getting out of the ferry

 

 

On our way to the third island our hosts handed out lunch boxes. Kind though it was the food wasn’t very nice and not many of us ate from it…. luckily.   Maratua was a picturesque island with a striking beach. This is the boat we arrived in, Bill was happy to let some one else drive for a change!   The water was an incredible azure blue inside the coral fringe.

 

 

 

 

Beautiful water

Beautiful water

 

Wonderful gardens

Wonderful gardens

 

 

 

We didn’t get the chance to swim in the inviting water but walked around the beautiful gardens on the island instead.

 

Scorpion fish

Scorpion fish

 

When we got back to the jetty I spotted this chap in the water. I think it’s a scorpion fish or lion fish but highly poisonous. It was quite happy swimming around the jetty supports and I was able to get really close to it in the shallows.

 

Fantastic hats

Fantastic hats

 

 

After a great day the ferry took us all back to the town where the locals had prepared a welcome ceremony for us presenting everyone with one of these beautifully handmade hats.

 

Dancing girls

Dancing girls

 

Dancing by some young ladies in the most remarkable hand made costumes followed the presentation. Their dresses were embroidered with exquisite pearls and shells; it must have taken hours of work.

 

The detail on their dresses was exquisite

The detail on their dresses was exquisite

Happy Smiling Children

Happy Smiling Children

As always the children were wonderful. The day was finished off with a buffet meal. Unfortunately either the lunch boxes or the buffet meal had some thing lurking in them because half the rally went down with suspected salmonella poisoning over the following few days including Bill. It was difficult to narrow down but it was decided it was either the boiled eggs in the lunch box (which tasted revolting) or the calamari.

The following day was a sad one because the rally were leaving for the next destination but we, along with 3 other boats, were staying behind. Among the boats leaving were Steve and Julie on Samsara II and Peter and Pearl on Simply Sensational both of whom were heading back to Australia. Saying goodbye is the one part of cruising I like the least. Great to know you guys and maybe we’ll meet again one day.

Camomile aground

Camomile aground

After saying our goodbyes we lifted the anchor to motor out to the anchorage by Pulau Derawan with Jackster, Calypso and Saol Elie, unfortunately Camomile found a rogue bommie only about a mile from the anchorage. Dinghies were launched and everyone tried to help us. A line was passed to Jackster, a 55’ Amel, who tried to pull us off while Steve took the topping lift to try and pull Camomile over but the tide was dropping and she wasn’t moving. Luckily we were still inside the reef so there wasn’t any swell running. After the initial rush to tow her off Bill said we needed to stop her falling over so yachtlegs were needed. They are stored underneath the saloon bunks and even though they’ve been used 3 or 4 times to dry out they haven’t been used in an emergency before. I just threw the cushions across the bunk so I could get the legs out.

The yachtleg on the starboard side

The yachtleg on the starboard side

 

 

 

Bill fixed the starboard leg in place before we had leant over too far.

 

 

The reef was visible in front of us

The reef was visible in front of us

The foot of the leg sitting on the piece of wood

The foot of the leg sitting on the piece of wood

 

Camomile was sitting right on the edge of the reef and the foot of the leg wouldn’t quite reach the bottom. Bill dived down to check. We put a call out ‘does any one happen to have a piece of 4×2 about a foot long’? Amazingly Saol Elie came back that they had some wood that size. I raced over in the dinghy to get it, it was just enough to get the foot on the bottom.

The topping lift going out to the reef is just visible

The topping lift going out to the reef is just visible

To relieve the pressure on the leg Bill tied a grapnel anchor to a line, which was tied to the topping lift and dropped it in the water the other side of the bommie, I winched it in and we were secure. There was nothing to do but wait.

 

 

Bill scrubbed the exposed hull

Bill scrubbed the exposed hull

 

 

The others carried onto the anchorage while Camomile creaked as the tide fell. Bill got in the water and decided to make use of our predicament and scrubbed the hull!!

4 hours we waited, 2 down and 2 back up again.   Eventually,  with me in the dinghy pulling on the starboard aft side to protect the rudder as we came off and Bill on the helm, Camomile glided off the reef with nothing more than a few scratches in the anti-foul underneath her iron keel. Westerlys are made of strong stuff.

 

 

Nice clean hull

Nice clean hull

The waypoint of the bommie is

02º16.803N

118º06.291

If you are coming along behind us that position looks like it’s on the reef but the chart is out and the reef was several 100feet to our starboard but there were obviously a few bommies around the edge and the one time I wasn’t on deck spotting one jumped out and grabbed us!

Anchored safely off  Derawan island

Anchored safely off Derawan island

We joined the others at the anchorage before nightfall in time for a stiff drink. The food poisoning really took hold then and of the 8 of us in the anchorage, 5 became really ill and spent the next few days recovering. Bill didn’t eat for 2 days and Dave on Jackster was really ill too.

The anchorage waypoint is

02º17.24N

118º14.24E

Crossing the equator

Crossing the equator

On the 28th Camomile and Jackster left Derawan leaving the others to continue to recover. We really wanted to go to Maratua, the third island on our trip, and anchor inside the reef but as we approached the swell was up and the entrance looked untenable. Having kissed one reef we weren’t about to do it again in an open sea. Sadly it was goodbye to Jackster on the radio because they were heading across the top of Sulawesi to Raja Ampat and we were heading south to Lombok to meet up with our son. The wind was strengthening and we had a good 5-day sail. On the second day we crossed the equator again but we’ll only be in the southern hemisphere for 2 months.

The Sulawesi coastline

The Sulawesi coastline

 

 

We headed towards the Sulawesi coast but decided not to land but to keep going. This was the closest we got and also the most easterly point of our journey this year.

 

Sunset at sea

Sunset at sea

On the fifth day we had a fantastic sail with the wind on the beam and a good current with us. Our 24 hour run was 162 miles which was very close to our record from the Pacific ocean. There was a lovely sunset that evening and we arrived at Medana bay, Lombok the following afternoon. We travelled 747 miles in 129 hours giving us an average speed of 5.7mph, a good average for us.

Camomile on the Mend week 5

The autopilot hydraulic ram

The autopilot hydraulic ram

So the auto pilot hydraulic ram turned up on Monday. Bill spent the morning finishing off some wiring for the crossover DC switch in the radar arch to get his horns working (I’m not going to begin to explain that). After lunch Ally turned up with the hydraulic ram, which she had extracted from the Singapore customs. When we opened the box we kind of understood why they had held it. The ram was skilfully attached to a backing plate to prevent it from moving in transit, it had come from the UK, but on an x-ray the profile probably looked like a gun. Secondly it had a little container of hydraulic fluid attached to it and the customs officials, bless them, had drained it.   Why? Who knows but it meant we needed more before we could test it.

Trying the mounting unit for size

Trying the mounting unit for size

 

 

 

This is how the unit fits onto the mystery object.

 

 

It needed some fine-tuning!

 

Fine tuning

Fine tuning

The base of the ram in place

The base of the ram in place

 

 

The hydraulic ram hull mounting reinforcement, Bill’s official name for the mystery object, was fibre glassed in place by the end of the day Monday. Bill spent the next 2 days mounting the ram and wiring it up. The main mounting is under the port locker next to the bed with the ram going through a hole in the bulkhead ready for attaching to the rudder quadrant.

The ram ready for attachment to the quadrant

The ram ready for attachment to the quadrant

It couldn’t be tested without the hydraulic fluid and I spent 2 afternoons, on the bus, going to the next two towns carrying my little empty bottle trying to buy hydraulic fluid with an ISO of 10 – without speaking the language! Who says I have nothing to do all day? Unfortunately I failed. I managed to get cable ties, easy, and electrical terminal blocks, little harder, but not hydraulic fluid. I could have bought a 15 litre bucket of it but we only need 2 or 3 litres and they wouldn’t sell me a little bit. So I came home disappointed. We had a further disappointment when we heard the TV coming from the UK had been held up until Monday but at least that gave us a focus to work towards – leave on Monday.

Meanwhile Bill had sent another email to Aquila asking again about the VHF and the SSB. To give Aquila their due they always respond well to emails. Ally assured us the new VHF was on it’s way from Australia and would be here before the weekend, and they had bought a new Icom SSB from their supplier and installed it in their office to test ours, (apparently their supplier maintained it didn’t have a warranty because they don’t break) and they had our SSB head working! She also had hydraulic fluid. As our parts for the fridge had also arrived with the refrigeration company in Singapore we decided another trip to Singapore was in order.

Busy streets of Singapore

Busy streets of Singapore

Thursday morning we got on the bus and made our way across the border, stopping to get a stamp in our passport either side. We went to the fridge company first to pick that up and got all the parts in our backpacks. After lunch we made our way to Aquila’s office. They are based in an unusual building in that it’s a vertical industrial estate. Singapore is very short of space so they have built many light industrial units vertically, it’s a brilliant idea. Apparently there was a service area around the back with a multi story ramp that delivery vehicles can drive up and there’s a large service lift on the inside.   Aquila has a showroom/storage area on the 7th floor with a large office at the back of their unit.   Very practical. Any way we arrived and had a demonstration on the SSB and sure enough it was working – brilliant. We made our way home – stopping to get two more passport stamps – and refitted the SSB head to try it. Turned it on …. same problem, GGGRRRR.     Another email.

The new TV with two of my cushion collection

The new TV with two of my cushion collection

Friday 13th was it going to be our lucky day? Aquila were due to come over in the afternoon and commission the new instruments. The first good news of the day was that Ally had our VHF radio from Australia. The second good thing was the little TV turned up from the UK early, hooray nothing to stop us going now except a couple of radios! Then we heard Aquila were delayed and wouldn’t be over until late afternoon. 2 steps forward 1 step back all the time.

Bill made an attachment to go on the back of the TV so it could sit were the old one had been.

Bill had arranged for Aquila to bring over the new SSB system they had bought to check our system, which meant my sewing machine cupboard had to emptied – again.

We waited all day for Aquila to arrive and just as we were giving up hope of them coming, they arrived at 4.30. There had been a big accident on the causeway bridge causing gridlock in the area. Sylvester and Allyson had come along with Raja the SSB technician, the new SSB set and our VHF. While Sylvester started working on his laptop downloading the latest firmware for the sonar unit and configuring the new system, Raja started swapping out different parts of the SSB.   Their head didn’t work on our system either so the next thing to check was the transceiver. Success, suddenly the system was working. So the new SSB set was fitted to Camomile and Aquila took away the non-working set to argue with Icom that it was faulty. We now had on board everything we had ordered, Friday the 13th turned out to be a good day.

Bill squeezing in cupboards again

Bill squeezing in cupboards again

 

Saturday Bill spent all day fitting the VHF and it’s speakers. Again wires and connectors were bigger making life difficult for poor Bill.

 

 

 

 

 

SSB transceiver on the left VHF on the right

SSB transceiver on the left VHF on the right

 

 

 

 

The main VHF unit had to be fitted next to the SSB transceiver because it wouldn’t fit in its old place.

 

 

 

VHF speaker above the SSB speaker

VHF speaker above the SSB speaker

All the wires neatly tucked away

All the wires neatly tucked away

 

The speakers for the SSB and the VHF are now together and the wires are encased in some conduit because they wouldn’t go behind the ceiling panels.

Sunday was clean up day trying to put everything back where it belonged. I scrubbed the outside decks because as there’s a building site next door the boats are all covered in dust. No photographic evidence I’m afraid!

Bill putting his tools away

Bill putting his tools away

 

 

 

Bill spent time putting his tools away including oiling his big vice.

 

 

 

 

Bill oiling his Grandpa's big vice

Bill oiling his Grandpa’s big vice

All back to normal

All back to normal

 

 

 

 

The bikes back in place and the workshop all back to normal.

 

 

 

The forepeak all clear

The forepeak all clear

The cupboards back in place over our bed

The cupboards back in place over our bed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new instruments all configured

The new instruments all configured

The completed navigation station

The completed navigation station

And this is the chart table, looking like nothing happened, with Bill’s new computer and the new instruments. It’s worth noting that in the middle of the instrument on the bridge head is our faithful, stand alone Garmin that survived the strike and still works. It displays our trip figure and has a very useful snails trail, which we often use, so it was refitted among the new posh instruments.   It looks very old fashioned but it works.

 

Some of the old instruments

Some of the old instruments

 

 

 

The final use for the carrier box is storage for all the old bits which I managed to make Bill part with on the basis they don’t work!

 

 

 

A last drink with our friends

A last drink with our friends

 

At the end of the day we met the crews of Soltice, Hokele’a, Totem, Utopia II and Kite for a farewell drink. Soltice, Hokele’a and Kite are heading across the Indian ocean this year so we won’t see them until we get to the US some time in the future.

 

 

Jackie and I

Jackie and I

It will be sad to say goodbye to Jackie after our gym sessions together. Utopia II and Totem went back to their boats but the rest of us had a final meal together. Tomorrow we head out of here.

 

 

 

 

Bill (Soltice), Jackie, Sue, Jack, Jake, Jamie, Bill, Behan and Zdenka

Bill (Soltice), Jackie, Sue, Jack, Jake, Jamie, Bill, Behan and Zdenka

Camomile on the Mend – week 4

The kit arrives

The kit arrives

40 days since we were hit by the lightening, 19 days since interim payment from Insurance company was agreed, 12 days since we accepted Aquilla’s quote and paid for the bulk of the new instruments but we are still waiting for most of it. Bill has been really busy fitting what we have so that when the rest of it arrives he can get straight onto it. Thankfully Monday morning 2 big boxes arrived from Aquilla, one contained the new radar dome and the other had the rest of the items we were waiting for but sadly no auto pilot hydraulic drive, still on ‘back order’. Bill agreed with them that we would be ready Thursday for the technician to come and connect the network. This would be a struggle but Bill thought he would be able to do it.   Monday afternoon I went on the bus to Gelang Petang looking for conduit and found a little emporium that had what we needed.

Respraying speaker pods and autohelm housing

Respraying speaker pods and autohelm housing

 

 

 

Tuesday was wiring, wiring and more wiring. Before it got too hot Bill started the day spraying the bridgehead, new auto pilot housing, and speakers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Respraying the bridgehead

Respraying the bridgehead

 

The transducer under the floorboards

The transducer under the floorboards

 

 

 

Then the floorboards came up. Bill fitted 2 transducers 1 for depth 1 for speed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Floorboards up for more wires

Floorboards up for more wires

New course computer

New course computer

Now that we have the course computer and all the wires that go with it Bill was able to fit this and run all the wires ready for Mr Yap to arrive on Thursday. He sat at the chart table most of the day with his arms in the cupboard but at the end of the day he had achieved it.

 

 

 

AIS and network box

AIS and network box

 

 

It looks quite impressive, again all the boxes are much bigger than the old system but they just about fit.

 

 

 

 

All looking very smart

All looking very smart

It works!!

It works!!

 

 

All the wires are behind the panel and at the end of the day we have a chartplotter that works with AIS contacts on it. The red boat in the middle is us.

 

 

 

Bill working in the aft cabin with more wires

Bill working in the aft cabin with more wires

 

Wednesday was radar dome day. Ironically our old raydome was still working but it was analogue and our new system is digital so it had to go.  Again the wires were bigger and the connector was too big to go down the A frame arch where the raydome lives. So Bill took the collar off the connector and took out the wires for the lights and horn in the starboard side so that the new wire would just about fit down inside. This was achieved with me inside pushing and Bill outside pulling the wires out with a mouse attached then we had to push the radar wire in and down. The old wire was inside the port side so that had to come out and the lights and horn wire had to go back inside there. As you can imagine there was a lot of huffing and puffing and shouting and cursing of inanimate objects but we did it and the Ray dome was fitted!

Posh new Ray dome

Posh new Ray dome

 

 

All this was going on through my lockers in the bedroom so clothes stored in the forepeak.

It’s birthday week this week and today it was Bill’s sister Kate’s birthday in NZ. Happy Birthday.

 

 

Yap working at the chart table

Yap working at the chart table

Thursday was the day the Rally were due in Kucking where we had hopped to catch up with them but we are nowhere near ready to leave yet. Yap arrived from Singapore to start fitting the instruments. As it was shopping day I disappeared for the morning, when I got back everyone was scratching their heads. It seemed there was stuff missing, there were things not working and generally everything was still in a muddle; will we ever get out of here. I managed to get Bill out for a meal that evening because he hadn’t been off the boat for over a week.   Bill sent a strong email to Aquilla later that evening listing all the problems which included the fact that we still couldn’t get the SSB to work and the VHF she had brought over was the wrong one and where was the hydraulic ram for the autohelm? The good news of the day was that the little 12v TV (unheard of here) we had found on a UK website had arrived at my brother-in-law’s company and Alan was sending it out for us.

The at Traders overlooking the marina

The at Traders overlooking the marina

Friday was a good day because we finally got to use the gym in Traders hotel right next to the marina. Several of us have been asking about it for some time and the marina has reached an agreement with them.

 

 

 

The hole in the cockpit coaming for the new autohelm control

The hole in the cockpit coaming for the new autohelm control

The new autohelm control

The new autohelm control

Bill worked on the housing for the new autohelm controls in the hope that one day we’ll get our hydraulic ram!   The old control had been on the side of the binnacle but Raymarine don’t make those any more so Bill cut a hole in the cockpit coaming for the housing he had made to take the new control.  Very cleaver considering it’s humble beginning.

In response to Bill’s email Sylvester and Allyson from Aquila came with Yap in the afternoon to sort out our problems.   After their trouble shooting session it was established that the SSB wasn’t working, the wind instruments at the top of the mast wasn’t working (originally we’d thought it was ok but the tests showed it had been zapped), we were short of some wires and connectors, and the VHF was the wrong one so they took it back with them along with the SSB head. The good news was that the hydraulic ram was in Singapore but unfortunately held in customs. Another birthday today, our nephew in NZ was 18. Happy Birthday Will.

New wind transducer

New wind transducer

 

 

 

First thing Saturday morning Bill went up the mast to change out the wind transducer.

 

 

 

 

 

The new instruments being wired in

The new instruments being wired in

Wind and second autohelm control on the starboard side

Wind and second autohelm control on the starboard side

 

Yap arrived with missing items and made good progress in the morning with the new instruments in place. Bill worked in aft cabin finishing off the Radar wires and sorting out the wires in the cupboards so I could put my clothes back.

 

 

Speed and depth and chartplotter repeater on the port side

Speed and depth and chartplotter repeater on the port side

 

By the end of the day all the instruments are working, including the autohelm control even though it isn’t connected to anything yet. We had a meal out that evening when we were finally able to stop.

 

 

 

New autohelm control working

New autohelm control working

The contents of the food cupboard on the table

The contents of the food cupboard on the table

Sunday I washed down cockpit while Bill wired speakers in and finished off the last little bits. Camomile is starting to look dressed again. As soon as it warmed up we moved inside and Bill started working on connecting up the Gas alarm.   The wires had already been run through the deck locker so Bill just had to get them to the alarm, easier said than done! I had to empty my big food cupboard; the contents covered the table.

A working gas alarm

A working gas alarm

By the end of the day we had a gas alarm.

Last birthday of the week was our son Thomas.

Happy Birthday Thomas.

Still no auto pilot hydraulic drive!

Camomile on the Mend week 3

Palm trees at Puteri harbour

Palm trees at Puteri harbour

 

Life continues in Puteri harbour, it’s 32C most days and over 80% humidity so we are lucky to have out little air conditioning unit. It’s over a month now since the lightening strike but we don’t seem to have got very far. Everything is on order and we just have to wait.

 

Housing for the mystery object

Housing for the mystery object

 

Bill has been doing some more fibre glassing over the weekend.  This is where the mystery object sits; it’s under one of the lockers in our bedroom.  Maybe a clue.

 

Monday afternoon we went to the dentist, it was amazingly cheap. I had a check up and small filling, Bill had a check up, x-ray and fairly big filling with an injection plus they gave Bill about 3 lots of drugs in case of infection, pain killers, etc and the whole lot came to £86, we couldn’t believe it.   Bill said his filling was painless too.   Geoff the surveyor came in the late afternoon to see how things were going, and probably to check that we had spent the insurance money properly!

Our box arrived from the UK

Our box arrived from the UK

Tuesday was delivery day. Firstly a delivery came from Singapore with the first of the new instruments. We were just sorting that out when a knock on the side came from the marina boys with our UK parcel that my brother-in-law Alan had sent over for us. It was like Christmas opening all the boxes. Bill certainly has some work to do now.

Lots of goodies inside

Lots of goodies inside

All stacked in the fore peak ready for fitting

All stacked in the fore peak ready for fitting

 

 

I stacked all the boxes in the forepeak along with the cupboards that have been taken out of our cabin.

 

 

 

 

Nice new chartplotter

Nice new chartplotter

Not connected yet.

Not connected yet.

The LED’s were fitted first in the saloon; they were an easy job. Then Bill spent the rest of the day fitting the new C95 chart plotter and AIS. The chart plotter looks smaller than our old one but in fact the screen is the same size.

 

 

 

The circuit breaker panel with it's red lights all repaired

The circuit breaker panel with it’s red lights all repaired

Wednesday saw Bill starting with a couple of little things, the water gauge and configuring the new anchor windless hand control, both of which had stopped working. The rest of the day was spent working on the circuit breaker panel fitting new red LED’s and replacing the circuit breakers that had blown when the lightening struck. Bill is starting to realise that the wiring is going to take the most time to replace.   Everything seems to be bigger, fatter wire, bigger connections, and bigger breakers’; trying to put things in the same place is proving difficult.

Shiny new alternator

Shiny new alternator

Thursday I went off in the marina mini bus to the supermarket for the weekly shop and came back to find Bill had fitted a shiny new alternator. It was finished off on Friday morning along with the replacement smart charger.

 

 

Mystery object in place with wires just waiting for new hydralic ram

Mystery object in place with wires just waiting for new hydralic ram

The rest of Friday, with the boat in chaos, was spent running wires for the new autohelm – which is what the mystery object is for. It’s the base for the new autopilot ram although he can’t go any further until the new unit arrives.

 

 

 

Base of a lock top box

Base of a lock top box

 

 

Bill had the fibreglass out again in the afternoon and I discovered one of my lock-top boxes had disappeared!

 

 

 

 

Making a mould

Making a mould

17

 

 

 

Saturday morning the housing unit for the new autopilot controls came out of it’s mould.

 

 

It was trimmed up

It was trimmed up

filed and rubbed down

filed and rubbed down

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Given an undercoat

Given an undercoat

The contents of the deck locker spread around the deck

The contents of the deck locker spread around the deck

While it was drying we emptied the deck locker, I swear there seems to be more in there each time we do it, so that Bill could spend the day replacing the eberspächer diesel heater. Now I know you’re all going to say what do we need a heater for? Well one day we will return to colder climates when we’ll need it and as it was zapped by the lightening, to be covered by the insurance, it has to be fitted now. The gas alarm was zapped too and the wires for that have to go through the deck locker so Bill lost several pounds in his own personal sauna that day!

The re-wiring starts

The re-wiring starts

No peace for the wicked so Sunday we were busy again firstly reloading the deck locker then Bill spent the day working on wires behind the circuit breaker panel inside Camomile with the air conditioning on which meant various lockers being unloaded and reloaded again as the wires make their way through the boat. The good news this week was that we heard our son James had made it safely down from Mera peak in the Himalayas.

Camomile on the Mend week 2

Monday 19th we took a taxi to the JB area to get some fibreglass. We had been given an address, which we gave to the taxi driver. He dropped us in the middle of an industrial area with the comment ‘will you be ok?’ which was a bit unnerving but everything was fine.   We stepped through the gates of the fibreglass company to be faced with half a dozen barking dogs that were quickly pushed to one side and we were ushered inside. Two odd chairs were placed in front of a very elderly Chinese man who spoke fairly good English and whose sons produced what Bill was looking for at a fraction of the price he had expected to pay. The entire time we were sitting there we were scratching our legs, I think it was mossies and sandflies biting us although I’m not sure but I was really glad to get out of there. The fibreglass would not be allowed onto the boat until it was fumigated.   We walked to the bus stop pointed out by the son but as the neighbourhood felt more like Beirut than Malaysia we decided to take the taxi into town that was sitting there instead.

Radios are more complicated these days

Radios are more complicated these days

Our next stop was the big mall that sold electronics to see if we could replace the TV or the music radio but all they sold were computers. No one had even heard of a 12v television. We got in the taxi to come home and I pointed to his car radio and asked him if he knew where to get one from, despite the language barrier he seemed to understand what we were after and whisked us off to a car accessory shop which sold just what we wanted. The taxi driver even managed to negotiate a further MYR50 off (about £10) before taking us back to the boat and receiving a good tip, it really pays to get help.

Posh new radio with bluetooth

Posh new radio with bluetooth

 

 

 

Bill spent the afternoon fitting the radio even though all the wiring looked very complicated. At least we don’t sit in silence now.

 

 

It needed a large hammer to bash it into shape

It needed a large hammer to bash it into shape

These were added to a wooden frame

These were added to a wooden frame

 

 

 

The next day Bill started working on a mystery object.

Any ideas?

 

 

 

2d

 

Covered in a layer of fibre glass

Covered in a layer of fibre glass

 

 

Wednesday 21st we were ready to accept Aquila’s quote and pay over a sizable amount of money for the supply of all the new instruments. The easiest way to do this was to go to their offices in Singapore. In the morning we took a taxi to downtown JB and joined the throng on their way to Singapore on the bus, stopping to get 2 stamps in our passports on the way. We had a good day in Singapore apart from visa putting a stop on our Nationwide credit card. We discovered this after 2 phone calls to Nationwide, several calls to Aquila’s CC company and having to wait for the visa offices to open at 8am UK time (3pm Singapore time) all of which took no less than 3 hours. Eventually they released OUR money and the order was processed so now we wait for delivery in about a week.

We got this into 2 backpacks plus the head unit

Meanwhile they had an SSB radio set in stock so we bought it

but another 2 stamps in our passports.

 

 

 

Our old faithful SSB set

Our old faithful SSB set

Our posh new one

Our posh new one

 

Our old faithful but unusable SSB set was removed the next day and Bill rewired and fitted all the parts for the new one over the next 2 days. All we have to do now is work out how to programme it!

 

 

 

I try to do what I can to help, I pass tools to him like an operation theatre assistant, and tidy up behind him, along with finding things like his glasses, screwdrivers, etc that he’s always putting down and forgetting where.   It’s nice to be based in the same place for a while because I’ve been able to catch up with washing, stocking up the boat and getting on with my writing. We tend to eat on board so I support Bill with cooking nice meals and of course making numerous cups of tea and coffee.

Beautiful pool at Ledang

Beautiful pool at Ledang

 

 

Friday morning I joined Jackie of Hokele’a at the lovely gym that’s 5 minutes drive away while leaving Bill to carry on with jobs. It might seem a bit mean but I think he likes a bit of peace.

30 Days in Thailand

Leaving Pangkor

Leaving Pangkor

This is our blog for Thailand but it takes quite a while to load so I’ve broken it into two parts.

Part 1

After our land travel and Bill doing more boat jobs, it was finally time to leave Pangkor marina on 15th February, Camomile having spent the best part of 4 months there.

 

Tim and Rebekah with Ophelia on the left and Willow on the right

Tim and Rebekah with Ophelia on the left and Willow on the right

We sailed gently up the coast stopping in anchorages overnight and then had a few nights in Rebak marina. Here we caught up with our sailing friends Tim and Rebekah, fellow Westerly owners on their Ocean 49, and their lovely twin daughters Ophelia and Willow. We enjoyed some baby squeezing time between lovely languid swims in the resort pool.

After stocking up the boat on the duty free island of Langkawi we checked out of Malaysia on 28th February but will be back here for the start of the Sail Malaysia East rally on 2nd April giving us 30 days for a whistle stop cruise around the Andaman coast of Thailand.

Bill raises the Thailand courtesy flag

Bill raises the Thailand courtesy flag

 

 

Our first anchorage was off Ko Adang in the Ko Tarutao national park. As is our tradition Bill hoisted the Thailand courtesy flag on arrival.

 

 

 

 

Beautiful anchorage

Beautiful anchorage

 

 

The island was uninhabited and a great place for picnics on the beach and snorkelling. This was what we had imagined Thailand to be. As I’d bought a new waterproof camera in Langkawi I was anxious to try it out.   It felt strange putting it under the water but I managed to get some interesting shots.

Crown of Thorns starfish

Crown of Thorns starfish

Beautiful clams

Beautiful clams

This starfish, beautiful as it is, is a member of the crown of thorns variety, which destroys the coral. Luckily this was the only one we saw, but it reminded us of reefs visited on our voyage that have been devastated by these creatures. It was a striking specimen.

There were lots of lovely clams, which draw themselves in as you swim near them; the colours were stunning. Difficult to photograph though so I probably need to play around with the cameras settings.

We watched the sun go behind the tiny island

We watched the sun go behind the tiny island

We took pleasure in spending a couple of days there while enjoying sundowners and watching the stunning sunsets before stopping off at Ko Rok Nai for 24 hours to do some more snorkelling. By this point we were getting pressed for time as we needed to get to Phuket to meet James again.

 

James on board

James on board

The official port of entry for Phuket is Chalong bay. We only stopped there long enough to check in, do some shopping and washing and pick up James. Chalong is full of bars with white men of the age 60+ being entertained by girls of between 16 and 25. Some people think it’s ok but I think it’s awful. Some of the older women offer ‘masssssaggge’ but they all looked like Ping Pong from the TV programme ‘Little Britain.’ You had to run the gauntlet trying to get past them walking to and from the boat jetty.

We left Chalong and sailed to a bay on the south west corner of Phuket island called Hat Nai Han and anchored off of the Royal Phuket yacht club only to discover it wasn’t a club but an upmarket hotel and they didn’t have any yacht facilities.

Sailing on up the west coast of Phuket we anchored in Karon bay. Within 10 minutes Camomile became victim to the jet ski brigade. As there wasn’t anyone else anchored in the bay the jet skiers thought it would be good fun to come and have a look at us. After about the 10th jet ski that came whizzing passed us in half an hour it was time to move on again! We continued past Patong bay and Surin bay because through the binoculars all that could be seen were rows and rows of deck chairs literally right across the beach and yet more jet skiers.

Took the dinghy into the waterways

Took the dinghy into the waterways

Refuge was finally found at the northern end of Ao Bang Thao, the deckchairs being at the southern end. With only half a dozen boats anchored in the bay we got a peaceful night. At the northern end of the bay a channel led to a very interesting waterway, which was great fun to explore in the dinghy.

This old girl won't be going very far.

This old girl won’t be going very far.

Lovely sunsets

Lovely sunsets

 

It was very calm with lots of local ‘long tail’ boats up on the side; some wouldn’t be going anywhere any time soon.   We all went ashore for a nice beach side meal that evening and watched the sun setting again.

 

 

The fishing port of Ngan Yong

The fishing port of Ngan Yong

The 10th and 11th March found us doing a couple of long hops up the coast to Ngan Yong so that James could spend the day ashore renewing his visa. It’s possible to get a 30 day visa-on-arrival but it can’t be renewed inside the country so then it’s necessary to do a ‘visa run’ to Myanmar (Burma) or Langkawi. If you want to stay longer it’s best to get a 60 day visa before you arrive but James hadn’t and he’d already been in the country 3 weeks. Bill dropped him off at the fishing port where he managed to catch a bus to the border town of Ranong then he took a boat to Kawthoung in Myanmar to get his passport re-stamped.

Sailing out to the Surin islands

Sailing out to the Surin islands

Thursday 13th was a lovely sail out to the Surin islands, a group of islands with pockets of white sand beaches and rocky granite headlands creating some nice little anchorages. The water was really clear enabling us to see the wonderful marine life. We picked up a buoy under a headland on the northern island of Ko Surin Neua and joined a group of cruisers on the beach for sundowners.

A beautiful scene .......

A beautiful scene …….

 

 

 

The next day started with a dinghy ride around to the Park Headquarters where there’s a café with basic but nicely cooked food.

 

 

 

..... until someone stuck their face in it!!

….. until someone stuck their face in it!!

Bill loves Magnums

Bill loves Magnums

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stunning views

Stunning views

 

 

 

 

 

After lunch we walked around the bay while looking out at some stunning views; more real Thailand.

 

Panorama of the bay

Panorama of the bay

 

James with his Mum

James with his Mum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More coral

More coral

 

James free diving

James free diving

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and Bill

and Bill

 

2 metre Moral eel

2 metre Moral eel

 

 

 

We got in the water for a snorkel and found lots and lots of fish including a 2 metre long Moray Eel.

 

 

'Long tails' anchored

‘Long tails’ anchored

That night the wind got up and was licking round the headland making us roll really badly. As none of us could sleep Bill decided to drop the buoy and make a night sail to the Similian islands some 55 miles south. It was a slow sail through the night under main and genoa and once everyone was up in the morning the cruising chute went up. Camomile made good time and by midday had picked up another buoy this time off of island No 4 Ko Miang. It was packed with tourists but fortunately by 3 or 4pm most of them have gone leaving just a handful of campers and the yachties.

Camomile in the beautiful azure water

Camomile in the beautiful azure water

 

 

The island has a very good trail to follow to the top of the hill that afforded stunning views. Camomile looks very comfortable on her buoy in the beautiful blue water.

 

 

More islands

More islands

 

 

Looking to the north you could see the little group of islands that we snorkelled that afternoon.

 

 

 

 

Climbing back down the hill

Climbing back down the hill

That evening a very unseasonable storm blew up from the east with lashing rain and high winds putting us on a lee shore on a very bouncy buoy giving us a nervous night. Fortunately everything held ok but the next morning we decided to leave and motor sailed back to Ao Bang Thao, some 51 miles; not pleasant with wind on the nose most of the way but it felt more secure back at anchor with an off shore wind.

Tuesday 18th we were back in Chalong for more shopping and washing again before leaving to tour Phang Na bay between Phuket island and the mainland but that’s for the next blog.

Arriving safely in Kupang

Our position at 9.00 Tuesday 30th July

10º 09.6 south

123º 34.2 east

Kupang harbour

 

A rickety Indonesian fishing boat

A rickety Indonesian fishing boat

Our 4th day at sea had seen some wind and we sailed with the twizzle rig up all day.  Now we had a dilemma because as the passage had been slow our predicted time of arrival was going to be after dark.  We could motor, but probably still wouldn’t get there in time, or we could slow the boat down.  We opted for the latter.  I hate doing that, it seemed crazy to slow ourselves down but the approach to Kupang is through a fairly narrow channel and travelling through after dark would be difficult.  We were 20 miles from the entrance at 22.00 with 5 other boats around us.  After communicating on the vhf radio we all decided to hove-to for the night.  We didn’t have the main up so we just winced the gennies in and let the boat drift.  We were still travelling at 1½ kts towards the entrance.  Bill had 4 hours sleep then let a bit more sail out.  At 6am we proceeded into the channel.  There were lots of fishing boats on their way back in with their catch plus lobster pot buoys everywhere so I think we had made a wise decision.

Our first sight of Indonesians was in a fishing boat coming towards us on its way out of the channel to go fishing.  It looked very rickety with a tatty sail; I don’t think I would have liked to sail in it.

The Kupang fishing fleet

The Kupang fishing fleet

 

 

This is the local fishing fleet a little way away from Kupang.

 

 

 

 

 

Bill hoisting the Indonesian courtesy flag plus the 'Q' flag

Bill hoisting the Indonesian courtesy flag plus the ‘Q’ flag

 

 

When we arrived Bill hoisted our Indonesian courtesy flag along with our yellow ‘Q’ flag to await the customs.  During the day the last of the fleet arrived, mostly under their own steam.

 

 

Tiare Tiporo III being brought in by the dinghies

Tiare Tiporo III being brought in by the dinghies

 

This boat’s engine had broken down on the third day and they had sailed with whatever wind they could find.  When they arrived at the anchorage I put a call out on the net to ask for dinghies to help tow them in the last bit.  The camaraderie of the rally is starting to show.

%d bloggers like this: