Saturday, 27 February 2010

PHUKET THAILAND Xmas 09

Phuket again. Such an enchanting place and lovely people so we are back.
Jo, Patrick and Genevieve from Sydney flew in to join us in early December. They gained a foothold in the condo on the hill overlooking the Yacht Haven Marina to catch their breath after a hectic work schedule back home. Some adventures were there to be had so Jo and Gen, a hard pair to keep still, set out enthusiastically to conquer all the treetops and waterways.
A week into the visit we set out to see the sights of Phang Nga Bay aboard Taipan. The spectacular limestone kast scenery did not fail, yet again, to draw gasps of awe and delight. No one got ill, we had good breezes and found some nice snorkeling. Ko Pan Yi the stilt village at the north of the bay and Phi Phi Don in the south were stops en route to destination Ko Lanta, the Xmas venue.
Arriving into the anchorage a foray ashore revealed a Xmas feast was to be held at Lanta Resort on the waterfront so we duly reserved seats for Xmas Eve.
Jo, Paddy and Gen booked into a resort at the northern end of the bay and spent 4 days reveling in the pool and enjoyed their daily massage. Taipan resting just of shore we joined them during the day for various excursions or just to sit and partake.
On the 29th Taipan, again loaded up with goodies from Xmas (fabulous Egyptian cotton sheets and fluffy new towels thank you, thank you), and provisions set sail for the west coast of Phuket Island. We caught a good Mackerel which, sadly, was the only fish we caught during their entire visit. At Patong beach anchorage 2 days later and J,o Paddy and Gen headed for the luxurious Adamaus Resort in Nai Yang for more luxury.
We headed to Nai Yang for New Year festivities and joined them there for the evening. Spectacular fireworks and Moet!
The next night we went to the Fantasea Spectacular. Its a really great night out which we had been promising ourselves we would do. Thank you again Jo and Crew.
Next stop was Surin islands. We set off via Thap Lamu for the islands and arranged to meet the others there after their fill of adventures, including jungle camping, white water rafting and elephant riding. On the 4th of Jan, suitably worn out, they arrived by fast speed boat from the mainland to set up residence aboard again. Unfortunately poor Gen picked up the inevitable tummy wog, probably from drinking tap water at the jungle camp, and spent an uncomfortable day the next day.
The Surin Islands is our favorite place in Asia so far. It is very quiet and unspoiled with spectacular white beaches and wonderful reef and fish. Its also very easy, without the strong current of some other places and with very clear water. Everyone had a turn or two with the Power Snorkel Hookah. Voted a big success by Paddy. Gen is a fish and its a miracle she didn't grow gills, so she was pretty happy just free diving.
We had a bit of excitement one afternoon when a big blow came straight into the anchorage at 30+kn from the south east . There was some frantic footwork by everyone readying the boat for sea and we made it out of the anchorage and round the corner to calmer water without incident. There are a number of good sheltered anchorages and plenty of moorings.
On the 10th we had to leave to get to Nai Yang, preparatory to Jo Paddy and Gens departure so we headed to Thap Lamu for an overnight stop then into Nai yang on the 11th whereupon the crew departed for some more luxury at Indigo Pearl Resort.
We all went to the Black Ginger restaurant at Indigo Pearl for a wonderful dining experience on their last evening. Definitely recommend that one. Thanks again.
On the 12th Andrew, Christine and Sarah arrived into Phuket from Perth via K. L. It was a long day and a bit of a food culture shock at KL. Their first night aboard at Nai Yang was very rolly, however despite some misgivings they all handled it very well.
On the 13th we all fare-welled the Sydney crew at Mama Mias and sadly waved them off.
Taipan with new crew now departed to Patong on the 14th for a shopping extravaganza at Jung Ceylon and to re provision for the next leg to Penang.
Nai Harn beach stop provided excellent night markets so the gourmets sampled many local treats. The one voted most favorite is a potato on a skewer, which is spiral cut then deep fried...like a big chip! We hired a car and did a drive around the southern end of the Island and also cleared out with authorities.
Several days were spent touring Phang Nga Bay again then Phi Phi Don, Ko Lanta, Ko Muk to see the Emerald Hong and south to Langkawi to clear into Malaysia. Onward to Penang and into the Tanjong City Marina for several days to explore Georgetown. Andrew Christine and Sarah set off on a number of excursions of their own and we all enjoyed various culinary delights on offer including a breakfast at the Eastern and Oriental Hotel.
On the 30th Jan it was all over and the holiday had come to an end for the crew from Perth so it was farewell, all aboard the train from Butterworth to KL and a flight home to work!
So long and thank you all for a great few weeks.