We’re a “Stuck in the mud”

Not really, but we dried out last night and sunk into the mud a foot or so. No big deal, should have read the notes I later found that said the tidal range here is a metre higher than the tide tables say. Also the charts are not very accurate in this area.

So Friday morning, up early and a dinghy ride over to our first hong. We beached the dinghy, pulled it up the beech, and failing to find anything to tie it too, I dug an anchor into the shell like sand, better than nothing. The tide was rising and the beech itself would be gone in a couple of hours, so I felt I ought to make an effort.

The entrance to this hong is through a long tunnel, the water was up to our knees, but would be closer to our heads at high water. It wasn’t a long tunnel, but very dark and my torch wasn’t really up to the job. It was a lot better though once I took off my sunglasses Duh. we got half way in, it was very disorientating, as it twisted and turned, all the time the water got deeper. Kathy decided to go back, she’s not mad about walking in water in the dark towards an uncertain future. I waited until I could see her leave the tunnel and proceeded, it was only another 50 meters and I emerged into a lovely grotto like world. An inside out island, basically a cylinder cutout from the island with a small lagoon in the middle, prehistoric and quite enchanting.

Then we had a motor around the island in the dinghy, getting close to the overhanging stalactites. Back to The boat and off to Ko Hang, or Ko Hong as it’s sometimes called.

Here is a hong everyone visits, Kayaks constantly pour into and out of the caves, you can get in by dinghy, but it’s not recommended unless near low water, but what the hell, I gave it a go. It was close getting back, as we only just fitted into the tunnel, with the rising tide. You can see the gap below, thats just about the width of the dinghy and the only way out until the tide goes out in 6 hours time.

Above we returned to a lovely lagoon where we could see Sister Midnight happy at anchor in the distance.

From Phanak, we went up towards James Bond Island, as it has become known since it starred in “The man with the golden gun”, I can only vaguely remember the film, and have no great desire to go to the island, unlike half of the tourists who visit Phuket and Krabi, the day trip boats are constantly arriving here to drop people off.

By now, Saturday, the weather had got worse, the wind was gusting 20-25 knots from the north, and we had a few rainy squalls blow through. We took shelter that night behind an island that should have protected us from the north round to the east. The wind is meant to be in the east, but the wind backed to NNW so the wind blew hard on us, We dragged our anchor, which was fine, as these things will happen, and I thought it good practice to reset it in the dark at midnight with the wind blowing hard. There was a big rock in the water behind us, but I reckoned the wind would take us past it if the worst came to the worst then we had a good mile before the shallows. We re-anchored fine, except I went a little too close to the shore, and was woken at 5am by the distinct feeling I was going to roll off the bed, we had about a 20 deg list to starboard. I checked we hadn’t moved too much, and went to back to bed wondering how 5m minus 2m can equal 1.3m, still all was fine, when I woke up we were floating again. I cooked Sunday breakfast of poached eggs, and we then headed off to the North East for our next destination, near a fishing village built on sticks, but the wind was very strong, the sea a bit rough and there was no guarantee of any great shelter there, so we swung around and came back to anchor just behind a little island called Ko Yang, which is a lovely spot. However the wind is still strong, and little blasts keep hitting us and tipping the boat around. Not enough to spill any of Kathy’s wine fortunately.
By the way, it might seem like paradise out here, but you try finding a plumber in paradise who can come out to the boat and unblock the system! The problem is the usual calcification of the pipes and fittings, blockage removed, and all is good again, but there’s a bigger job there for sometime in the future.
We are going to stay here until this bad patch of weather passes, we will dinghy ashore in a moment to explore this lovely little island and take some pics.

Paul Collister


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