25th/26thNovember 2016-Koh Similan and on to Koh Miang

Despite the fact that it was a bit rolly during the night at our anchorage and Paul had to get up to reset the mooring rope, I had a long and undisturbed sleep at Koh Similan; the rocking actually helps me to sleep. We had our morning coffee in the cockpit enjoying the warmth of the sun and musing on the cause of all the activity on the rocks opposite. People were busy setting up tables and chairs to look like a cafe on the tiny beach below them. Looking through the binoculars, Paul concluded it was a movie set for a film of some kind judging by the cameras, microphones and a megaphone he could see. Later in the day, we watched what were probably stuntmen affecting some clumsy dives and jumps off the top of a high boulder while the director shouted instructions. Since we weren’t too far from the location of the island ‘The Beach’ was filmed on, I couldn’t help searching for famous faces when I looked through the binoculars. We found out later, however, that it was going to be nothing more than a commercial for a national bank.

The film crew viewed from Sister Midnight

The crew had relocated to the main beach by the time we dinghied over in the afternoon, and I was mortified to receive another soaking from a wave after my (admittedly) clumsy and ungainly exit as we reached the shallow water. It was in full view of the cameramen and extras on the shore so maybe I’ll be edited into the final cut if the camera was running. The water was so clear and calm, it was a perfect opportunity to test the new snorkels we’d bought in Patong. It had been some time since I had done any snorkelling and as I’m not a natural ‘water baby’, I was a bit apprehensive but it was definitely worth worth it. The water was warm but refreshingly cool after being in the hot sun and there were scores of beautiful fish swimming in and out of the rocks and coral. The coral was stunning in itself and it’s gratifying to know that it is all protected by law. The Similans were one of the first group of islands to be given a national park status. It’s prohibited to fish within a designated area around the islands, and boats are only permitted to anchor well away from the corralled parts. Furthermore, signs on the island inform visitors that it’s forbidden to take plants, wildlife, cuttings, rocks, broken coral or even leaves away from the island. During our second walk up to the clifftop, which we now knew was called ‘Sail Rock’, we noticed several varieties of plants and some gorgeous-looking colourful blossoms and flowers which had once undoubtedly tempted people to pluck for souvenirs.

Koh Similan Beach

The sun was about to set when we got to the top and Sister Midnight looked exquisite in the amber glow on the water. Other people up there were taking pictures so she will feature in quite a few holiday snaps I imagine. The only disadvantage of being out in this environment at twilight is the prevalence of mosquitoes. I get bitten a lot by these pesky insects, and judging by the distinctive smell of deet emanating from some of the other walkers we passed, I’m not alone in having delicious blood! We’d neglected to bring any repellent with us so we beat a hasty retreat back down the trail and dinghied back to the boat just as darkness fell. A couple of pics of the walk to Sail Rock and the view of Sister Midnight at her anchorage are below.

26th November 2016

Paul slept in the cockpit for most of the night. It was a dark, clear and starry night and it’s very cool and comfy up there, with the added benefit that he can react quickly to anything that needs sorting out, such as the mooring buoy banging against the bobstay. Waking at 3am I couldn’t resist walking out to the bow to sit and stare at the stars for a while before going back to the V-berth to be rocked back to sleep by the waves. Paul was up and about before me in the morning and told me he had been chatting to some Australian guys who had recommended a visit to Koh Miang because it was such a charming place. They also told him that none of the other Similan Islands matched up to Similan and Miang. After a coffee and a look at the route, we weighed anchor and set off for the two hour trip to Koh Miang. I wouldn’t have thought it possible after the sea at Similan, but the nearer we got to Koh Miang, the clearer the water became. I spotted some pretty blue fish, so close to the surface they looked as if they were swimming right underneath clear glass. The side of the island we approached had a lovely beach but there was already quite a crowd on it and several daytripper boats were taking up the moorings so we decided to check out the other side. I stood at the bow to check for obstacles and swimmers in the shallow water as we motored slowly round until we arrived on the other side. This side was even more appealing; it was smaller and less crowded, with a more secluded beach. We picked up a mooring buoy with no trouble and as it was very hot by then we both had a swim to cool off. After that it was time for a spot of lunch, and a bit of a rest before setting out to explore this new and inviting island.

Approaching Koh Miang


Day out

Wednesday, and up early to get some varnish on the new sprit. Below you can see just what a difference a primer and one coat makes, I want to get at least 5 more coats on before we leave.

Soon after this I headed over to another carpenter who has his shop down the road from here, he was cutting a few strips of teak for me that I can use to fix up the cockpit seating area. It’s a small repair, but I thought I would get the teak onboard now while it’s easy to find. The price was about half of what I would pay in the UK, I had expected a better saving, more importantly, I had hoped to work in a ‘doesn’t grow on trees’ kind of joke at this point but had to give up, as it kept turning out too crass.

We had a hire car today, so we headed off on a long provisioning trip, but first we took a coast road we hadn’t been down before and it was very pleasing, lots of foliage on the road and trees that had almost blown down, but some amazing views.

Phang Nga, our cruising destination in the distance


We looked at more dinghies, and after lifting a few, whilst imagining dragging said beast up the beach at Bora Bora or Fiji… (add other exotic destinations here ..), decided the one we had chosen would be way to heavy. In fact I tried to lift a 3m rib to look underneath and now I have a very sore back. A big dinghy is great for provisioning, but in reality a smaller one is more practical for most of our needs. So I’m now looking at aluminium floored 2.5m dinghies. I was also humbled by a local fisherman I watched with his home made canoe, he probably spent less on this than I spend on a diet coke each night at the bar, it’s about 6ft long. It even has a storage compartment for his fish. I have ordered a new yacht from him 😉

Off to Rolly Tasker next to hurry up my sail repairs, I spent 20 minutes there helping them find my sails, which were still not repaired. Hopefully they will be fixed by next week when the mainsail should be ready. I picked up 60 metres of 16mm 3 strand nylon rope to use to extend my anchor rode. I can now easily anchor in 20m of water.
Off to Yanui Beach for a swim, then dinner at a beach bar before heading to the supermarket and home.

Kathy checking out the rice

It was 1AM before we wheeled the last of our goods back to the boat.

Thursday morning and another early get up to put a coat of varnish on and get the rigging attached to the bowsprit. This took forever, the boat must have stretched as the forestay wouldn’t reach by just releasing the tension on the backstay. All sorted in the end and at last I can sleep knowing the mast is fully supported now.

It’s raining now, more flooding is reported for southern Thailand, Varnishing has come to a halt, inside jobs for me today.
Kathy’s posts have been delayed due to her getting a virus on her new windows laptop, I have been on  virus free mac for so many years now I had forgotten how horrible these things are. Still a system restore seems to have fixed it, for now, and she will finish her post shortly I hope.

Paul Collister.