The snorkelling and diving in Pulau Weh, and the other islands of the Sabang area, was outstanding! We were truly astounded by the amount of fish, variety of marine life and the size of some of the fish we saw… We saw a manta ray, sharks, nudibranchs, frogmouth fish, ribbon eels and a gargantuan sweetlip. We also saw lionfish, scorpionfish, shrimpfish, long-horned cowfish, peacock manta shrimp, painted lobsters, sea snakes, and the entire star-studded cast of Finding Nemo!
The Sabang Marine Festival – 2016 – was extremely well organised, a lot of fun, and facilitated the healthy and happy mixing of many different cultures. 18 boats from all around the world participated and the visiting sailors included Australian, Swiss, French, American, Canadian, Malaysian, Thai, English, South African, Zambian, German, Italian, Czech, New Zealand, Swedish and New Caledonian. The participants, of which we were two, enjoyed many organised activities such as cultural performances, a tour of Banda Aceh and the Tsunami museum, as well as interactive games including tug-of-war, greasy pole climbing and canoe races.
When it was time to leave Koh Phayam we pulled up the anchor and pushed the accelerator lever into forward. Surprisingly we didn’t move forward; the motor just revved in neutral! We had no forward or reverse. While Dwayne fiddled with the accelerator lever we were, unbeknownst to Brian and Debra, slowly drifting over towards SV Chinook…..
Finally we were in Thailand in the right season. In fact since leaving Australian waters over a year ago, this was the first time we had been sailing in an area at the “right” time. What does the “right” time mean? Well it means it is dry season, therefore not so much rain and not as humid… and more tourists. But for sailors the “right” time, in Thailand, means you are able to explore the west coast of Thailand and visit islands such as Koh Phayam, Koh Surin and Koh Similan, because the prevailing wind is from the north east and you therefore have some protected anchorages to use on the west coast.
We spent a fabulous week snorkelling and diving in the Tarutao National Marine Park. Our favourite spots included Koh Chuku (aka Koh Khai), Koh Lipe and Koh Yang. The snorkelling was great! The corals and marine life were impressive and we spent hours exploring a number of the many snorkelling sites the Tarutao National Marine Park has to offer.
This picturesque gem, south of Phuket, held us captivated for the duration of our stay. What began as a one night stopover ended up being a five night stay. The crystal clear water, with its myriad of aquatic life, so enticed us that, between lazing in the hammock and barbecuing on the beach, we spent the majority of our time snorkelling through the coral gardens. The sea life was extraordinary. We saw a shark, sea snake, moray eels, large titan triggerfish, angelfish, pufferfish, moorish idols, large parrotfish, clownfish and so much more…
In part two of Cruising Phuket we explored the hongs of Phang Nga Bay. Now in part three we head south in search of crystal clear water, and snorkelling opportunities, before hitting Patong for some nightlife!… How does an inconvenient birthday celebration effect our joyous time?
One of the most stunning features of the Phang Nga Bay area is, undoubtedly, the limestone karsts which jut dramatically from the emerald green sea. The karsts give the area its complicated and mystical beauty. These karsts are often covered or partially covered with lush vegetation, and the bases of these karsts are honeycombed with astonishing caves and aquatic grottos known as hongs in Thai. Many hongs can be explored via kayak or canoe, and some, at low tide, can be traversed on foot. To my mind they are a must see. They are mystical, beautiful and wondrous…
Phi Phi Village is a touristy little place with masses of tourist-packed boats arriving and departing constantly. It can seem a little chaotic, especially around the wharf area – and this was low season! But, we found a nice little restaurant on the beach and had a very relaxing lunch before the guys decided to get massages, and us girls went shopping. We found Dwayne and Martin having a beer and a chuckle after their massage. Apparently Martin had been indecently propositioned. Well you can’t come to Thailand without at least the offer of a happy ending!
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