03March '12' | SY Pollen Path

So back from work on the 9th March and headed straight up to Phuket to check on how the work was going on Pollen Path. Still a bit to do but we have a week. Dental appointment in Bangkok on the 12th  and then back to Pick a Ms Sharon Jordon up from Phuket Airport on the 13th. Shaon is from South Africa and is going to crew on the trip back down to Langkawi. Must say I'm a bit apprehensive as this is the first time I'm taking a stranger on as crew and also the first time I'll be "Capt' of the ship so to speak. Picked Sharon up ok and had 3 days getting ready to sail. 

17th: Left Yacth haven at 1100hrs heding for Ko Yao Yai via Ko-Ngam and Ko Wa Nok. Mostly motor sailing due to light wind but also had the head sail and Mizzen up for a few hours. The Engine does not sound too healthy. got very hot and we had to let it cool down a few times. I thought it was to do with the very hot weather but feeling alittle uneasy about it all. We dropped anchor at Ko Yao Yai at 17:30hrs. had a strong squall come thru at 1930hrs. no problem withthe anchor though.

18th: Up anchor at 0800hrs planning to head for Ko Rang Yai, didn't get very far as the Engine cut out again after 15 mins. Sharon took the Dingy and towed PP back to the anchoarage at Ko Yao Yai. We pulled the Motor and the cooling wate rintakes were all plugged and blocked with sea growth and shells. some Pics in the March folder. Cleaned the filters and decided to spend another night at Ko Yao Yai.

19th: Up anchor at 0900hrs heading for Ko Rang Yai, very light wind so all on motor. the engine seems ok. Drop anchor for lunch at 11;50hrs and decided to snorkel and check the anchor. We were to close to the reef, the tide had swung PP over the reef it's self so only 20cm's below the keel. take PP out to 9m water, clear of the reef, and re anchor. Went for a trip ashore after lunch. next time must ancor on the other side of the island were the beach is. When we returned to PP found that some drifting roap had fouled the prop so again a quick snorkle to clear that. no issues or problems doing that and we pulled anchor at 1450hrs. heading for Ko Naka Yai. The wind had got up to about 6-8knt so we raised the headsail and Mizzen, great sail making 5.2 knts at tiems and averaging 4 knots. Drop anchor at Ko Naga Yai at 1700hrs. Time for a swim , shower and cocktails ashore. MaiTai cocktails on the beach then back for dinner.  

20th: Up anchor at 0710hrs heading up for Ko Phing Kan (James Bond Island).  A mixture of Motor and sail. The Engine started to over heat again. Obviously something serious. Decided to head into AoPo marina and get the motor serviced. Wind was light and we could only make 2 knts withe the Jib and Mizzen. Tried to use the eng for the last 1/2nm to get into the marina but the eng failed and the tide was on the ebb forcing us down on to the reef off the small island to the south of AoPo. Dropped Anchor quickly and called for assisitance from the marina. They sent out a pwerfull dingy and 2 guys who helped us limp in to the marina. on the berth at 1230hrs. A very stress full morning!! I called The mechanic from Yacth Haven who came down and picked up the motor. ( 9.9HP 4 stroke). he needed 24hrs to service it and check the problem.

21st. Maintainece day at Ao Po. measure the Chain, Clean the Hull / Rudder/ Boat: Graham returned the Motor late afternoon. The Impellar only had 1 blade on it. I need to do some sort of engine maintainece course!!! I'm not very good with engines lol.

22nd: So up early to leave at 0830hrs. Had to wait to pay bill should off done it last night. Heading for James Bond island, a nice light wind so making 4.4 knots with the Jib/ Mizzen and motor. Motor is running a lot better, sounds much healthier. Arrived Ko Rang at 1130hrs- 14nms with no motor problems. After lunch we went ashore to look around Ko Rang then took the Dingy over to Ko Phing Kan. Going later in the afternoon meant we missed the main tourist rush. interesting visit. Back to PP by 1730, lovely sunset.So tranquil. 

23rd: And a lovely sunrise as well. Up anchor at 0700hrs, break fast under sail. We are heading for Ko Hung, small isalnd half way to Phi Phi. meant to be a very nice Hong there ( a big shallow shealtered bay inside the island). It was all Motor sailing. no wind but a lovely day. The sceanery is quite spectacular. made good time to Ko Hung. 17.5nm in 5 hrs. Dropped anchor at 1200hrs and after soem lunch took the dingy into the Hong. Up anchor at 1400hrs and heading for PhiPhi. More Motor sailing, this time 24NM in 5 1/2 hrs. We arrived in Phi Phi harbour at 1930hrs, a long day and the motor is working great. Quick change and ashore to do quick shop and eat.  

24th: A late start to the day. Shopping for fresh fruit act and up anchor at 1100hrs. A short hop out to PhiPhi Le ( The Beach Film). WE were on to a mooring bouy by 1230, did soem snorkling and relax, had lunch then took the dinghy on to the island for a walk about. In the foot steps of Dicaprio lol. When we returned to the beach it was an ebb tide and the wind had got up from the west. So there were some large swells going out to the boat. We were using the hard dinghy as I had binned the soft dingy due to perished rubber and leaks etc. Any way she is a little unstable at the best of times so what with the swell and the big wakes from the departing Long Tails we capzized the dinghy as we were coming along side PP. No major problem but the out board was running so it got a large dose of salt water. WE couldn't saty the night anyway due to the weather so back to PhiPhi harbor and get the small outboard serviced. We made 6kts on the way back under sail and that was fun. Return to PhiPhi took 45mins. 

25th: Up early to take the small outboard in for service. So a full day at PhiPhi but that was ok. Found a good freshwater shower, had a nice evening meal with Sharon. She is very undersanding and putting up with all this repair time very well. Picked up the motor late after noon and reprovisioned for the run to Rok Nok and the Butang islands.

26th:off the mooring at 0600hrs, going to be a long run to Rok Nok. Motor out of PhiPHi heading for Ko Hia Yai. No wind to start but we made good time , about 20Nm in 5 hrs, arriving at 1100hrs. Combination of Motor and sail. Ko hai Yai, a small group of small islands, was very busy with Divers and snorklers. We manged to get a small morring on the north island and had an hours snorkling. It was quite a strong current and we saw Barracuda. We left at 1310hrs heading for Rok Nok. Again, with a combination of Motor / sail we did 17 1/2 Nm in 5 hrs and then took an hour to get onto an anchorage.The weather got up at the end and we sailed in with the Jib half reefed and Mizzen reefed #2 We tried for a mooring bouy on Rok Nai but it was too shallow what with all the coral heads so we joined the end of a line of boats anchored in the deeper channel closer to Rok Nok. A long and stressful day.

27th: Rest day At Rok Nok:  

28th: Up early and away at 0630hrs. Along day motor sailing down tothe Butang Islands. The weather was OK but with very little wind. Supreised to be accompanied for about an hour by a small Pod off Dolphines. Even though we had the motor on the played in and out of the bow wave. lovely sight. Sharon and i took 10min turns at the helm or at the bow so we could both enjoy thier company.  We made the Butangs' late afternoon- early evening, found a good anchorage and spent the next 4 days in different anchorages snorkling or walking on the islands. I lost my notes for the rest off the trip so from here on down Sharon has tken over the story. 

28th: early start saw us off on the longest leg of the trip, about 40NM. We headed out for the highlight of our trip, the Butangs. We spent the next 10.5hours motorsailing and finally dropped anchor in Ko Lipe. What a culture shock it was when we went ashore. It was like finding myself in the middle of Splashy Fen during a music festival. Bongo drums, rap/reggae-ish live band, Coco doing the singing

We walked meandering paths into ‘town’ to Poohs restaurant which had wi-fi, connected with friends, ate a delicious meal and then realized we had no headlamps and didn’t know how to get’ home’. We caught a 'golf cart' taxi back to a path which hopefully led to Sunset Beach. We stumbled along in the dark until we hit the beach, then we were home free.

29th: A lazy morning followed by a wonderful snorkel. Then into the ‘town’ again to while away a pleasant hour in a wi-fi restaurant. We ate squid stuffed with sticky rice, coconut milk soup with seafood and had a drinking nut each. Then it was back to the boat with a load of ice and tonic water for our evening sundowners. It was so hot I couldn’t think so dived in and hung around the boat in the water. A dinghy drive later saw us snorkeling off a sandy beach littered with coral heads and quite a lot of soft coral, hiding cheeky clownfish. Back at Pollen path we showered and headed off for happy hour at Boom Booms bar and to listen to Coco and his band play music and sing. What a fabulous day!

30th: The wind howled during the night, the rain came pelting down, the swell rolled in …..and the Bruce anchor held. So we slept in and I only surfaced around 0800h. The dinghy had about 6 inches of rain in it and was wobbling precariously so I quickly bailed it out. After a general clean up of the boat, decanting water, making coffee and breakfast we upped anchor and heading for Ko Sawang. We were lucky to get a mooring and immediately dived overboard. The snorkeling was fabulous with a huge variety of multicoloured soft corals (the first we had seen), the fish and visibility were outstanding. At 1400 we motored to Ko Rawi and safely secured to a mooring at 1500. Another snorkel and then we went for a walk into the interior of the island looking for the waterfall we had heard about. We found the stream and the meandering path alongside and set off. Unfortunately dusk arrived and we ran out of time so simply jumped into the stream and had a refreshing rinse off under the forest canopy. Two delightful puppies from the Ranger Station accompanied us. The water from the stream had been piped back all the way to the beach so we were able to fill our jerry cans with water at the dinghy.

As had become our habit we finished off the day with a G & T sundowner below going below decks to cook the evening meal which we always ate with a glass of red wine.

31st: We walked to the waterfall which was an anticlimax…..nothing special at all. However Skipper thought he had left his hat behind at the previous nights ablution spot but we found mine instead!

The mooring line was cast off and we headed for Ko Bitsi. The weather and swell were coming directly at us, the sky looked ominous, we had no up to date weather information we decided to moor at the Ko Lipe south mooring instead. It was a bit rocky but not too bad. We dinghied in, downloaded a weather report, I had a Thai massage and met Skipper later at a restaurant – free wi-fi. As was the case before I couldn’t connect which was very frustrating. We meandered off to a local Thai restaurant and had grilled mackerel, grilled tiger prawns, sticky rice, Chinese kale and a watermelon shake each. It was a fantastic meal, thanks as always to Skipper. After that we reclined on low cushions at a beach bar and watched the fire dancing, setting free Chinese lanterns and listened to music while sipping Mai Tais.

1st April: Ice was needed so a quick nip into town and then once again we set off for Ko Bitsi. It was a horrible sail, pounding into the weather as best as Pollen Path could.  We ended up seeing Ko Bitsi’s anchorage but felt conditions were too dangerous to go in so we ended up completing a circumnavigation of Ko Adang  and mooring in Ko Rawi east. I snorkeled but after 3 stings got out the water and ambled along the beach. Further along was a Rangers Station and I had a welcome shower. We are heading for Rebak Island tomorrow.

Monday 2nd April: I threw off the mooring lines and Skipper started motoring to Ko Chuku which supposedly was a snorkellers dream with an abundance of fish and baby sharks. We passed Ko Bitsi, now serene in the windless conditions. As we approached Ko Chuku we were horrified to see 17 fishing boats as we immediately knew that the area would probably be fished out. We found a suitable spot to anchor and with great relief from the heat we snorkeled the little bay. There wasn’t much to see as it certainly appeared to be fished out but at least we cooled down a bit. Then it was on for the long haul to Rebak  Island which we never made. We ran out of time and anchored behind the 2 fake islands at Telaga, Langkawi. Telaga was lovely with beautiful old buildings and a variety of interesting restaurants on the waters edge. We ate a fabulous meal at a Japanese restaurant. 

Tuesday 3rd April: Anchor up and once again we motored. An hour and a half later we were moored snugly in the Rebak Marina, once again wi-fi, electricity and water on tap. Sadly the voyage was over – I was really getting used to the cruising life style and meeting all the cruising folk was tremendous. We spent the rest of the day doing all the end-of-journey chores. We caught a water taxi from Rebak to Langkawi, then a regular taxi to Kuah where we completed the immigration and signing in process. The rain had started on the water taxi ride in and was now pouring down. It cleared up in time for us to wander through the fascinating park which seemed to have mythological stories as it’s theme. Later at the marina we socialized with the other yachties at The Hard Dock Café and had supper there. The rain came back with a vengeance later and thrummed on the deck. I felt very cosy and safe in my little cabin.

Wednesday 4th April: Our last full day here was spent preparing the boat for a 2 month unattended stay so lots of work to be done.



© Michael JS Turner 2016