Thursday, 8 March 2007

SURINS March 2007

 We arrived in Thailand in late January and spent a month cruising in Phang Nga Bay then travelled north up the west coast. A brief visit to the Surin Islands and the Similans We travelled in company with Chris and Daun on Magic. After leaving Nai Yang we did a day hop to Thap Lamu. There is a large fleet of very big Thai Fishing boats working out of here. Theres also a naval base near the entrance to a very sheltered river anchorage..
The next day we sailed 26nm north to Chong Phra Thong entrance to an extensive waterway. We found good holding just inside the mouth on the port side and settled there for the next night. There isn't anything much there but we took the dingy ashore and walked along the beach.

The following morning we headed north in the waterway until we found some interesting looking hive shaped structures on the port side. Here we anchored and decided to go ashore to explore. They turned you to be brick kilns in pretty fair condition. It was very overgrown though and there was a snake alert out!. Bashing grass and making as much noise as possible we managed to scare all the cobras off. We stayed the night here and headed on next morning.

The island seaward of our track was severely hit by the disasters tsunami in 2004 and there are many shrines and sites dedicated to those lost. Whole communities here were wiped out.
At the northern end of the waterway there is a small village. We anchored nearby and went ashore for some shopping and a walk around. They don't get many tourists here but it was friendly as everywhere in Thailand seems to be. With a fresh lot of vegies aboard we headed west out the well marked channel the following morning. The Surin Islands lie just 30nm away towards the Myanmar border.

Anchorages are fairly plentiful and there are even some National Park moorings. Not recommended. We anchored in quite deep water in a lovely bay on the south side of the north island. We had it to ourselves. During the next few days we spent hours snorklling on the tip and along the shores here. The snorkelling is amazing. We B B Q'd on the beach and had a fabulous time.

The southern island has a community of sea gypsies. They have taken up semi permanent residence on the island and although they have no nationality having been rejected as Burmese and Thai they seem to be tolerated here for the time being. We visited and were shown their small village including their school. They have an reverse osmosis water-maker to supply water supplied by an NGO. We were occasionally approached by people living in boats asking for anything useful. We usually supplied sugar flour and the odd cans. Mostly the boat people were very old. Probably been at sea all their lives.
There are great walking trails on the island and a National Park Camp Ground. The restaurant there provides a reasonable meal and there are ferries to the mainland from the jetty.


Eventually we had to leave paradise and so headed south for a quick stop at the Simelan Islands an then into the pen at Yacht Haven for a refit. David dashed back to WA for a medical check-up after having an unusual result from a stress test. Thankfully that was a false alarm and he returned to commence work on Taipan.