Sunday, January 25, 2015

My Mother's Sunset

It was with great sadness for family and friends when we paid farewell to my beautiful, talented, and caring Mother on January 25, 2015. It is indeed our loss, but I am sure for my Mom, she is now at peace in Heaven where she will even be able to see once again! Her last days had been difficult but now she is with other loved ones singing with angels and having a grand time up above.

Roses were always Mom's favourite flower and I believe she is still enjoying them...

Roses Grow In Heaven

I believe Lord,
that roses grow in Heaven.
Please pick a bunch for us,
place them in our Mother's arms
and tell her they're from us.

Tell her we love and miss her,
and when she turns to smile,
place a kiss upon her cheek
and hold her for awhile.

Because remembering her is easy,
we do it every day.
But there's an ache within our heart
that will never go away.

So as roses grow in Heaven Lord,
please pick a bunch for us,
and place them in Mom's arms
and tell her they're from us.

So now we must accept her fate and continue till we meet once again...

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Making repairs

We spent several days anchored at Patong Bay of Thailand and also doing a lot of errands ashore. We took our damaged spinnaker sail into Rolly Tasker Sails for repair and were quite surprised to discover that it was at the "thread bare" stage. It could be pulled apart with bare hands and was not able to be fixed.

We were offered the chance to choose from existing new stock - orders that had been made for other sailors but had never been picked up. We looked at the lot trying to find one that would fit our boat and were lucky enough to discover one that we snapped up at a greatly reduced price. It was a bit smaller than our old one but that was good because our old one had been a bit too big for Sea Turtle.

We had the sail loft also re-stitch our dodger and put in new zippers that had deteriorated over the last 5 years.

While still hanging out at Patong Beach, we also made arrangements for repairmen to come aboard and see if they could fix our refrigerator that had been acting up. Luckily, it was an easy fix for them and another problem solved for us.

The days were passing by and a rendezvous was planned at islands to the south for an old chum of Jordan's (who moved from Canada and is now living in China). I was receiving bad news from back home as my Mom's health was deteriorating and it came to a point where I decided to fly home and let Jordan host his friend.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Miang Island

Still at Miang Island (Thailand) and in search for more snorkel spots, we decided to take the dinghy around to the other side of the Island where hopefully there would be less people. On the side where we anchored, there were numerous dive boats all loaded with tourists coming for diving and snorkelling adventures.

And once around to the other side, there were no tourist boats, in fact, no boats at all - except us in our dinghy! We found a little tucked away cove where we anchored the dinghy and jumped in to check what was below the surface.

There was some nice cabbage patch coral spread out on the bottom that Jordan snorkelled down to as I tried to capture his photo...

Sunlight twinkling on Jordan and cabbage patch coral

And these beauties, all coming along in pairs...

2 by 2

There was also a sighting of beautiful soft coral, slowly swaying in the moving ocean current...

Soft coral of Miang

We left Miang Island early the next morning at 04:30 continuing back south where we anchored at Patong Bay of Phuket Island around 15:45 (N07°53.477' E098°17.075'). As expected at this tourist hot spot, there were noisy jet skis everywhere careening around large cruise ships, swimmers, and boat traffic. What a difference in ambiance!

Monday, January 05, 2015


Today we left the Surin Islands very early in the morning at 03:15 for an approximate 12-hour run south to the Similan Group of 9 marine park islands. Along the way, we briefly anchored by the Island of Tachai (N09°04.147' E097°49.141') for 2 hours for breakfast and a quick snorkel. A park boat came by asking us for a park fee, but relented when we assured them that we were making a short stop.

The brief visit was special as the water was so clear that it seemed as if we were floating in an emerald hued air. We indulged in the most pleasant aqua fauna display that we have seen in a long time, including a passing sea turtle with a remora fish hanging on for a free ride...

A sea turtle with a passenger

...and the patient photo pose of these normally shy angel fish.

2 angels (in background)

Swimming around, we looked back and saw our dinghy anchor just quietly sitting all alone in the sand and couldn't resist taking a quick shot of it...

Just waiting

Neither of us knew the name of this painted fish but it was sure hard to miss with its bright complementary colours of blue and gold! (We later found out it is a Powder-Blue Surgeonfish.)

No camouflage

After a great snorkel that made for the most pleasant serendipitous interlude to the long day's journey, we continued sailing to Miang Island, arriving at 15:00 (N08°34.154' E097°38.647'), 12 hours after leaving the Surins. The rocks ashore were very impressive where we were anchored and we soon jumped in the water for snorkelling around the Island and spotted colourful parrot fish. Do we ever get tired of snorkelling? NO WAY!

Sea Turtle

Parrot fish pose (on the left)

Later we met up again with Morning Glory. After sunset, we all went ashore and walked the interesting nature trail to the park facilities on the north shore and ate dinner in a beautiful natural setting. The late evening walk back along the trail revealed nocturnal frogs, and more interestingly, Pu Kai or "chicken crabs" that make a sound like a chicken!

Sunday, January 04, 2015


To begin the New Year of 2015, we sailed out of Ko Phayam (northwest Thailand), heading southwest.

We had heard good reports about the Surin Islands and with that destination in mind, it was a pleasant downwind sail in a light to moderate breeze, a natural for our spinnaker sail. But in the sudden deployment, a section blew out! However we left it up to complete the run and would get it repaired back at Rolly Tasker's sail loft in Phuket. We have had this seldom used lightweight sail since leaving Victoria BC Canada over 5 years ago.

The waters were busy and we counted 27 fishboats as we sailed past them before anchoring in the clear waters of Surin Nua (N09°26.420' E097°51.427') on January 2nd.

The next morning, we met up with our friends aboard Morning Glory (who were moored in the next channel by Surin Tai) and we drift snorkelled between the 2 islands of Surin Nua and Surin Tai. There were many colourful fish and some coral; unfortunately some of the coral was not in the best condition but there was enough of the more pristine that made the swim well worthwhile.

After snorkelling, Jordan and I beached our dinghy on a quiet secluded small beach on Surin Tai for our private picnic lunch under the shade of a tree.

Swells from the Andaman Sea were rolling in and was making the anchorage for us a little uncomfortable, so for our last night (January 4th) at these small group of islands, we moved around to the channel close to Morning Glory and picked up a mooring ball for a smoother lay (N09°25.722' E097°51.327').

Normally we take mooring balls with a certain amount of suspicion of its unseen lower strength and integrity, however in this case all doubt had evaporated as the day before we saw 9 large fishing boats all tied to the same mooring ball (and apparently a few days previous there had been 14!) holding securely against a wind and current. So little Sea Turtle had nothing to worry about

Gang of fishing boats

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Ko Phayam

We spent 6 nights anchored at the island of Phayam (northern Thailand) where we met new boaters and visited with old friends. Most of the folks we met were sailing with kids ranging from very young toddlers to older and wiser teenagers.

Throughout our days, it was interesting to watch the interaction of all the youngsters. We never saw any angry words, fighting, or sibling rivalry. In a setting like that, how could one not be in a happy mood?

An intriguing sight on Ko Phayam is the Hippy Bar. This unique bar is built entirely from floating debris collected after the terrible tsunami of 2004. Included are several adjacent buildings and even the front of a ship where one can relax overlooking the ocean sipping a relaxing juice or drink.

Several of the Hippy Bar structures viewed from dinghy

(Clicking on any photo will make it larger for better viewing if you wish.)

A close-up of Hippy Bar "ship" with Jordan onboard

On New Year's Eve, many of the boaters gathered onshore to watch the kids break open a pinata that many of them had helped to create. When it finally broke, there were gleeful exclamations as they all dove to retrieve the scattered treasure and share and trade their booty.

Sunset from Hippy Bar

After sunset, 6 hot air lanterns were lit on the beach and kids and adults watched them float high up into the night sky until they finally gave a few winks as their lights went out. It was very beautiful. The perfect night culminated over delicious meals at a beachside restaurant.

All in all, the days spent at Ko Phayam were a nice break from being in 1 spot at Phuket for so long.