Nov 25 - Jan 5

We're off to Florida and won't be posting for a bit. Here's to Happy Holidays; good health, prosperity and peace to everyone! Please check back with us during the first week of January.

Nov 18 - Tiger Cave Temple, Krabi

David, Peggie, Sue and myself decided to see the Tiger Cave Temple nearby. This Buddhist temple (Wat Tham Suea) is quite revered and has 1272 stairs to reach the summit at 600 meters. The Buddha statue is 278 meters tall at the top, and the views over Krabi and the surrounding areas are beautiful. Did I mention those 1272 stairs...they're varied in height and very steep. Monkeys were everywhere, one swiping David's water bottle. Peggy gallavanted right up, I about died. It was like taking a cardiac stress test to the extreme. Sweaty with legs of jello, I figured it was a win for many reasons: 1. I didn't need cardiac resuscitation 2. I didn't get bit by any monkeys 3. Some of the much younger folks were panting, sweating and complaining at their rest stops along the way...kind of felt right to offer them I said, the views were amazing, so getting there was worth it.
Pic: So happy to have made it to the top. 1968 ft. In the heat of the smart is that?

Nov 17 - Loi Krathong

We rented a car with David & Peggy (sv Rhthym) to go to Krabi town and find the Loi Krathong festivities. In researching the holiday, I came across this blog entry from Justine at, and thought I'd quote part of the wonderful description entered (Nov 2007): "Loy Krathong falls on the night of the full moon of the twelfth lunar month, after the rainy season has ended, when the tides are strong and the rivers full. The tradition is to float a krathong -- a lotus-shaped raft woven of banana leaf and decorated with flowers, a candle and 3 incense sticks, resembling a birthday cake -- on the river or sea, and to send it off with a wish. It seems to have many meanings. The most important is to give thanks to the goddess of water, to apologize for polluting her waters and to ask for forgiveness for taking water from the rivers all year long. It’s also considered the festival of light, and many suggest that it is related to the Hindu celebration of Diwali, adopted back when the region was Hindu and then transformed and blended with animist beliefs over the centuries. The celebration is supposed to be most beautiful in towns and cities on rivers, like Bangkok, Ayutthaya, and Sukkothai, at least according to the guidebooks. Thankfully they don't mention Krabi town, which also has a river running though it, and fewer tourists and more manageable crowds than the more popular destinations. Krabi is a small town, the provincial capital, and sits along the Krabi River. Most people just pass through on the way to Railay and the islands of the Andaman Sea... In the afternoon, people began setting up card tables along the river to sell the krathongs. Next to the tables, spread out on cloths, sat more people weaving the little baskets, or rafts. The base is a slice of banana tree, and banana leaves are woven around to make the lotus flower shape. Inside, flowers are arranged around a candle and three sticks of incense. No krathong is alike, and I greatly enjoyed walking along the river and admiring the different interpretations. The greatest variation was in the kinds of flowers used to decorate the krathongs. Orchids of all colors were most common, but also marigold, chrysanthemum, sunflowers, many kinds of wildflowers, and even some colorful tropical foliage. Some were very large, like birthday cakes (for those who take very long showers and need to ask for extra forgiveness). Some were made of bread, and I later read that this is the ubher-environmental krathong, since it will degrade fastest. Apparently not too long ago, krathongs were made of styrofoam until the environmentalists put a halt to that." We walked thru the carnival atmosphere and ate delicious street food from the abundance offered. We also met up with George of sv Australis, who had anchored nearby the main dock and dinghied in to enjoy the happenings. I purchased a krathong, lit the candle (which refused to stay lit in the wind) and incense, placed a coin on the top, said a prayer of forgiveness and thanks, and launched it down river, along with many others. After our ceremony, we walked a bit more and had a beer with George at one of the riverfront bars. Lanterns with lit candles are set off also, but we never did find out what time that was supposed to happen; we think midnight. We were tucked in bed and out for the night by then....
Pic: George, David, M & Peggie. It's launch time.

Nov 15 - Krabi Boat Lagoon Marina

Pos:N08deg00.676/ E098deg57.665 We had a lazy afternoon, used the grill to BBQ chicken for dinner, and had a restful evening. This morning we motored back to Krabi Boat Lagoon Marina, where Infini will berth as we travel back to the States for the holidays. I went up to the masthead for a routine check, and we're cleaning the deck and storing gear. Not much else to report until we return after New Year's. Sue's posted a few new photo albums, with more to come. Happy Holidays everyone!
Pic: Looking back as we motor to Krabi Boat Lagoon. We're well protected amongst the mangroves.

Nov 13 - Ko Dam Khwan

Pos: N07deg57.324/E098deg48.725 We had a good day at Ko Pu yesterday. After walking the beach, we had fruit shakes at the Bodaeng Restaurant, meeting Dela, a Sea Gypsy, who was born and raised in Ko Pu. She spoke very good English, and told us she was a school teacher until the tsunami (2009), after which she returned to the island to teach the locals farming methods. She was delightful to talk to, and we recommend you stop here for very affordable food and drinks (fruit shakes - 30 baht). Walking further down the beach, we stopped at the Joy Bungalows Restaurant for a delicious lunch before returning to the boat. By late afternoon thunder was heard and the sky was darkening. Being on the SW corner of the island, we figured we were protected from the NE thunderstorms. Righto. Except, the storms all came from the SW, making for a very uncomfortable few hours as the lightening flashed, the thunder rumbled, and the rain poured down. Infini rode out the squalls with her typical aplomb, although having the dinghy hipped didn't help matters as we bucked in the small chop that came on the nose. After a few hours (about 0130 in the morning), conditions eased and we got a bit of rest. In the morning, we prepared the dinghy for towing, and sailed, yes, that's right...actually sailed....without the engine...for a few hours to Ko Dam Khwan (Chicken Island), where we anchored in 47 feet and feel better protected from SW winds than we were last night. The usual flotilla of longtail tourist boats are here, but we snorkeled to the beach (lots of fish), and enjoyed the late afternoon solitude when all the boats left. We ate New Zealand green lipped mussels for dinner (so very thankful for our freezer!) good can it get?
Pic: This squid boat was anchored nearby and is raising the anchor to go off fishing (at night, bright green lights are on the outriggers...kind of surreal) Upon going past us, the captain took pictures of Infini with his iPad!

Nov 12 - Ko Pu (Ko Jum)

Pos: N07deg47.153/E098deg58.760 We're anchored in front of a beautiful beach in the SW corner of Ko Pu, also known as Ko Jum. This small island is the antithesis of Ko Phi Phi Don; that is, there's not many tourists, things are quiet, the lights go out before midnight, there's no loud music or get the idea. We walked the beach and did some shelling, then had a nice lunch at one of the beachfront bungalow resorts. Last evening brought the expected thunderstorms, but we rode things out nicely and the air cooled off as well.
Pic: It's nice to find special places that aren't overrun with tour boats and big resorts....what Thailand was like 20 years ago, we're told.

Nov 10 - Klong Dao, Ko Lanta Yai

Pos: N07deg38.040/E099deg01.270 We went to the Emerald Cave yesterday morning on Ko Muk, before the tourists arrived. To get to the hong, you have to paddle the dinghy or kayak thru a tunnel about 80 meters long, with a few areas that you have to duck so as to not hit your head. A flashlight is mandatory; also, it's best to do it at low to mid-high tide. Once at the hong, a sandy beach and large area awaits. We didn't see any bats or wildlife, but the cliffs were quite high and it was very beautiful. This morning, we motorsailed (are you seeing a trend here?) up to the NW corner of Ko Lanta, anchoring in 20 feet in the midst of many fish flags. It's a bit rolly, but well protected from the NE winds.
Pic: We are inside the hong: Tham Morakot (Emarald Cave). The dinghy's are at the tunnel entrance.

Nov 8 - Ko Muk

Pos: N07deg21.618/ E099deg17.442 We finally departed Ko Lanta, motorsailing the 15 miles to Ko Muk along with Imagine and Keris. Rumrunner II left for Ko Phi Phi Don and points NW; we won't see them again until January. (Good luck to them in the King's Cup Regatta!) Arriving just after noon, we anchored in front of a beautiful beach at the SW corner of the island and dinghied in to go exploring. The shallow water was warm and crystal clear, the sand smooth and fine, and there were a few resorts on the beach to get cold beer and smoothies. It had been so long since we all had been able to get in the water and enjoy a peaceful setting. In the late afternoon, we had a cheeseburger at Hat Farang (aka Hat Sai Yao, or Charlie's Beach); not that gourmet, but a nice change from our typical Thai fare. Our evening entertainment was watching the movie "Paint Your Wagon" aboard Keris. An enjoyable time was had by all!
Pic: Past Charlie's Resort are other restaurants/bars. The many rubber trees make great shade. These latex slabs, processed from the rubber tree, are in different stages of drying.

Nov 6 - Ko Lanta

Rumrunner II came in yesterday and we had a great reunion in their cockpit. This morning, the crews of Rumrunner II, Imagine, Keris and Infini rented a car and two motorbikes (8 of us wouldn't fit in the car) and toured Ko Lanta. From Old Town, we drove to Saladan at the north tip of the island, having coffee and smoothies at the Catfish Restaurant, a book store/artsy place that was a nice find. Saladan is where the pier is for the car ferry from the mainland (via Ko Lanta Noi). What a lovely island. Ko Lanta's not too big, but has enough going on that you can see some interesting areas, or pick up some groceries, internet top-ups or ATM cash as well. We ate a really good lunch at the Klapa Klum Bar & Restaurant; highly recommended. After, we continued our tour, stopping at the Treetop Bungalows to see their unusual layout and walking around town a bit, returning to our boats about 5PM. A full day; good company, nice place, good food....
Pic: At Klapa Klum Bar where we enjoyed a nice lunch.

Nov 4 - We're mobile again

Ah-- we get by with a little help from our friends....a great Beatles song. Keris and Imagine arrived this afternoon. Mike from sv Keris was kind enough to lend some fuel, and Stuart, sv Imagine, helped me dismantle and clean the carb again. Yes, I really did forget to clean a couple of the jets; they're clean now, though! The Yamaha runs fine; we're mobile. Yea! We had happy hour aboard Keris with Mike & Juanita, along with Stuart & Sheila, and it was great being able to socialize again. Our time here, however, has been put to good use. Sue's posted a bunch of new photo albums, with more to come, and I've been busy with a few smaller projects and a bunch of reading. We're ready to get off the boat and go exploring.
Pic: Keris' ship's cat Snoopy checking out the dinghy scene. Infini in the background.

Oct 31 - Ko Lanta

We're batting 1.000 in the dinghy outboard game. This time the Yamaha crapped out. After taking apart and cleaning the carb, changing the spark plugs, and generally giving it lots of TLC, it still won't start. Latest thought: it's got to be bad fuel. Unfortunately, I sold my last and latest, freshest batch of gasoline to a friend, so we'll have to track some down in town; shouldn't be a problem. This afternoon brought some impressive thundershowers, which cooled off the area. It's like a steam box around here; do 5 minutes of work and you're sweating, a lot. We both hurried out in the driving rain and took cooling showers...nice. By late afternoon, we hatched a plan to flag down one of the long-tail water taxis. They usually are running workers from a nearby island back and forth to here, or tourists elsewhere. We just wanted to go into town to pick up our laundry (35 bahts/kg) and eat dinner. The driver maneuvered his boat beautifully within inches of us, and we stepped on for the 2 minute ride to the town pier. The Fresh Restaurant had a nice selection, and we got back to the pier where our water taxi guy was waiting. We had no idea what the cost of his service was, so we paid 20 bahts/per person each way (note: language barrier...); a bargain by any measure. We got back at 6:15PM in time for a beautiful sunset. Another day gone by.
Pic: Our neighbor Rawi warin Grand I, in front of Old Town, Ko Lanta

Oct 29 - Ko Lanta Yai

Pos: N07deg32.16/E099deg06.308 We re-anchored at Monkey Beach (Yangkasem Beach) at Ko Phi Phi Don and had a very rolly evening. On top of that, five of the tourist boats, you know, the kind with 3-4 big engines on the back, rafted up about 20' away from us to party! Rather than re-anchor, we kept an eye on things and figured one of them had thrown his anchor line on top of our chain anyway. At least it was a lot quieter than the main anchorage, as the many guys on those 5 boats didn't party into the wee hours! We left early this morning and only found one line fouling our anchor, and it was easy enough to get off. We then motor sailed in a nice SE breeze directly SE to Ko Lanta. Here, we've anchored in 17' directly in front of the pier about 1/4 mile off (anchorage 3 of the Sunsail Guide).
Pic: Anchored in Lon Dalum Bay at Ko Phi Phi Don. Have you noticed...we have no neighbors; we're out in 'transitional season'.

Oct 27 - Ko Phi Phi Don

Pos: N07deg45.010/ E098deg46.042 All week there's been a northerly wind blowing in the mornings. Until, of course, today, when we had to motor sail into a gentle 5-8 knot SE wind to go SE to Ko Phi Phi Don. We've been here before, last Dec. when we came up here from Malaysia. This is a party island, with loud music blaring until the early morning hours, even in this, the very beginning of the high tourist season. There are plenty of kayakers around and we were the only sailboat here in Lon Dalum Bay until a 32' charter boat decided to come in, anchor up close to the beach, decide better of it, and figured their chances of surviving the music were much better anchoring just a couple of boat lengths away from Infini. Here we go again; a large bay with room for an armada, and someone anchors on top of us! All part of cruising. We've had pretty good intermittent thunderstorms these last few days but Lon Dalum Bay offers good protection in 40'-45' depths.
Pic: One of the many beach bars in Ko Phi Phi Don

Oct 25 - Ko Roi

Position: N08deg11.533/E098deg36.624 Our anchorage last evening at Ko Kuda Yai was between two cliffs in 25' of thick heavy gray mud. At dusk we watched the fruit bats take off for the mainland. We needed binoculars as they were soaring high over the ridges and couldn't be seen by naked eye. This morning, we motored the 1.5 nm to Ko Roi and are, so far, the only boat here. There's a beautiful beach to land at, and we hiked into a large hong where we disturbed a colony of flying foxes (giant bats). What a raucous noise they made as they flitted around the mangroves. It's 1200 noon here and already the thunderheads are forming and there's lots of thunder; looks like another one of those nights...We're anchored on the west side of the high cliff walls of the island, so hope for good protection from the prevailing NE cells that go by.
Pic: One of the many trees with flying foxes; we're glad we had our big sun hats on!

Oct 24 - Ko Kuda Yai

Pos: N08deg11.788/ E098deg38.074 We spent two quiet evenings at Ko Pak Bia. Even in the late afternoon thunderstorms from the N-NE, we felt protected and hardly moved around. This morning, we motored to Ko Kuda Yai, which has lovely scenery and, although we haven't seen them yet, a colony of giant fruit bats. We have noted colorful kingfishers and a sea eagle.
Pic: Our anchor spot at Ko Kuda Yai

Oct 22 - An interesting day

We motored to Ko Hong Krabi, arriving 12:15pm. We passed the Royal Summer Palace along the way, roofed in gold color. We anchored nearby the buoy at the entry to the large hong (room) that gave the island its name (N08deg04.910/ E098deg40.651). Unfortunately, the Tohatsu outboard motor decided to act cranky and not start, so we ended up rowing in to see a most beautiful hong. About an hour later a squall hit and we dragged anchor. From an anchoring depth of 42', within seconds we fell back to 11 feet, just a few boat lengths in front of the beach. Quickly retrieving the anchor and starting the engine, we hurried out to deep water. Amazing how fast stuff happens; if we had still been in the hong, Infini would have been aground. It was raining hard and the wind was blowing, so we jigged back and forth in the lee of the island; thank goodness the cliffs were high enough to provide shelter. Finally, we headed north full speed ahead as it was about 5:30 and sunset was just after 6pm. We saw a double rainbow with such vibrant colors that neither of us recalled ever having seen. Ahead, Ko Pak Bia was a small island surrounded by reef, rocks and other small islands. Unfortunately, the Navionics and Open CPN charts (CM93), as well the guidebook we carry, all conflicted in their data. None of them said the same thing, the sun had just set, and we were trying to find the decent anchoring depths that the charts and guidebook stated. Lol! No go...we dropped in 50' (N0806.997/ E098deg40.426);, felt we got a really good bite, backed down hard, and tried to stay dry in the light drizzle. At that point we decided to really tempt Fate and use our Magma grill for the first time in years, and proceeded to set things up for a well deserved special dinner. A few hours in, there's lightening in the northern skies but we haven't moved around much. No roll? We must have done something right...
Pic: Our peaceful anchorage at Ko Pak Bia

Oct 21 - Drunken Water Bay

Pos: N08deg00.463/E098deg50.913 We started the day by motoring to Rai Le Beach. This is rock climber nirvana, and is only accessible by boat. Hence, it's pretty expensive. We did spot a few climbers on the cliff faces, which soar majestically vertical from our perspective. It was pretty rolly with lots of longtail traffic, so we went around the corner to Drunken Water Bay (Laem Nang). Isn't that a great name? It has nothing to do with alcohol, and everything to do with the motion of the boat! We be rolling, mon! In spite of that, it's a pretty place surrounded by rock walls and expensive resorts, and we did manage to accomplish a significant piece of work - the water maker is now back in service, and it certainly felt good to shower with FW again. The rain came in the afternoon and it's been cloudy and lumpy ever since. Sue reminded me, "It's not as bad as Pitcairn...." Yah, there, we rolled gunwale to gunwale, but here it's a bit better and just something you tolerate.

Oct 20 - Ko Dam Khwan

Pos: N07deg57.116/E098deg48.638 We departed Krabi Boat Lagoon Marina at 1030 hours and motored over to "Chicken Island," anchoring in 40 feet in front of the line of longtail tourist boats. Weather is overcast with a few squalls in the distance. We seem to be in the transitional weather time of year, and the SSW winds are swinging around to S, SSE. We'll be out testing systems and relaxing, and are planning to be out about three weeks before returning to the marina where Infini will stay during our trip back to the States.
Pic: Sharing the channel out of KBL with a towed vessel.

Oct 15 - We're back aboard!

Stuart & Sheila picked us up at the airport and after a quick run to the Big C grocery store, we returned to the marina. Their boat had just been launched late afternoon on the 14th and they hadn't even organized, but were kind enough to come get us and run around a bit. It was wonderful getting back to Infini, and all systems appear to be working properly. We had kept the refrigerator on, along with the solar panels for charging, and the fridge temp and house battery voltage were spot on. We barely had time to unpack when Mike & Juanita (sv Keris), Fred & Cha Cha (sv Manufactum), Stuart & Sheila (sv Imagine) and ourselves went out to Krabi town to an Italian restaurant for supper. It was good food and company, and an enjoyable way to catch up with friends.
Pic: a snake visit in the empty slip next to us. We believe it's of the Krait species.

Oct 14 - Chiang Rai; Wat Phra Kaew and bus travel

Wat Phra Kaew is the original home of the famous Emerald Buddha, which now resides in Bangkok. Alongside the wat is a small museum well worth visiting. There are many historical artifacts as well as examples of Lanna art within. Late afternoon, Mr Pon dropped us off to Bus Station 2 for the  Chiang Rai to Bangkok bus. The 11 hour ride went smoothly enough and we then took a taxi (350 baht) to the Don Mueang Airport, where we are awaiting our flight back to Krabi and Infini. 

Oct 13 - The Golden Triangle loop

We hooked up with a tour guide nearby the hotel. Tour prices at this hotel were 2000 each; our guide charged 1000 baht each. Mr Pon (085-5461945 or 081-2874615) is a retired educator, and we were driven in a new Isuzu extended cab Hilander; very comfortable and quiet. We chose our route, wanting to see Mae Chan, Mae Sai, and Chiang Saen. These three villages represent the three points of the Golden Triangle. Anyone wanting to get their passports stamped in those countries can easily cross borders and do so, crossing back into Thailand and getting a new entry stamp into their passports. The drive out from Chiang Rai went to the foothills of the mountains, with rice and pineapple fields everywhere. We just drove thru Mae Chan, not stopping, in order to spend more time in Mae Sai. There, you can walk across a foot bridge into Myanmar if you'd like. The immediate surrounding areas are all shops, hundreds of them, all selling the same things. We stood under the sign that said "The Northern Most Point In Thailand", took some pictures, bought some roasted chestnuts, and walked around for 30 minutes before meeting Mr Pon again. It was crowded; daily workers from Myanmar that come over for the day and return, lots of tourists, and lots of shopkeepers. Back on the highway, we then drove to The Hall of Opium which was built by Royal decree and depicted the history of opium production and use thru the ages. This was a first class museum and very informative (300 baht). After time spent there, we went on a Mae Kong River trip (300 baht) which is boarded at Sop Ruak, the official center of the Golden Triangle, which is at the confluence of the Nam Ruak and the Mae Kong rivers. From our long-tail, we saw the Myanmar Paradise Casino, then went across river to Laos to Donesao Island. Although part of Laos, tourists are allowed to land there, pay the 30 baht entry fee, and walk around their shops; no visas or passport stamps are required at this special economic zone. Although it was a lot of money for the river trip and Donesao Island visit, we felt being upon the river offered something special, and more so than just standing under a "Golden Triangle" sign to take a few photos. Upon our return, we had a cappuchino (have I mentioned that Thai coffee is some of the world's best, and that a cup is about 30-45 baht depending where you buy it?), then went for a late lunch/early dinner before going to to the ancient city of Chiang Saen. There, walls of this 7th century empire can still be seen. The nearby Wat Chedi Luang dates from the 12th-14th centuries, and is built in classic Lanna style architecture. We returned to our hotel at about 1800, and would recommend Mr Pon as tour guide if you're making a visit to the Golden Triangle or anywhere nearby.

Oct 12 - Chiang Rai; the Hilltribe Museum

We walked to the Hilltribe Museum & Education Center, getting there at their 1000 opening. Although small, it's very informative about the tribal peoples of northern Thailand. There are numerous plaques (in English) that explain about the tribes, opium production, and hunting and agricultural activities. A short film was also shown that detailed the native tribal populations as well as some of their customs. This was a worthwhile stop. We ate lunch next door at Cabbages & Condoms, which is a restaurant dedicated to getting the message out about HIV/AIDS prevention as well as donating to the PDA (Population and Community Development Association),  an NGO involved in all sorts of community based initiatives thoughout Thailand. We then walked to the statue of King Meng Rai a few blocks away and in the evening took a tuk-tuk to the Saturday market for dinner and a bit more market atmosphere. 

Oct 11 - Chiang Rai; the White Temple

We felt that the cost of the taxi from the public boat landing to the Laluna Hotel was way too much (200 baht), but we didn't know where we were, certainly couldn't walk the distance to the hotel, and just had to smile and pay the fare. Agoda was having this crazy sale on this resort, and we booked our room not realizing we were "stepping it up", a lot! At any rate, the next morning we took a tuk-tuk to bus station #2, bought our Chiang Rai to Bangkok VIP bus tickets via The Transport Company (980 baht), then took a tuk-tuk to Wat Rong Khun, known as the White Temple. Do not see this wat if you happen to be tripping on any mind-altering substance. It's all white with mirrored chips everywhere, and is unlike any wat you're likely to see elsehere. The architect is Chalermchai Kositpipat, and his gallery is adjacent to the wat. This guy is a national treasure, and to say he's incredibly talented and inspired is a vast understatement. You simply must see his works, and we think you'll agree with our enthusiastic opinion. On our return to town, we relaxed a bit then walked to the night market. Chiang Rai has a number of night markets; their traditional ones, the Saturday night market and the Sunday walking street market. All of them have an incredible variety of food stalls, crafts and woven goods, as well as the typical tourist crap you see everywhere. Live music, dancing, singing, and shows are also going on, and there's a carnival atmosphere. Bargaining is taken for granted, so practice up. 

Oct 10 - Chiang Rai

We decided to take the public boat from Thaton to Chiang Mai. Although the boat is packed during high season, we were the only two passengers aboard today. Departure is once daily and cost is 350 baht. It travels down the swift flowing Mae Kok river, and what a trip it is. The first two thirds of the trip were thru the mountains and the scenery was spectacular. Much of the area is agriculture, with crops planted up steep hills and down to the river. We passed several small villages and towns and everyone waved. The water buffalo were cooling off in the river; at times only their heads and shoulders were visible. Along many areas of the river the depth was so shallow that rapids and over runs were common, but the flat bottomed longtail took them in stride. It was surprisingly quiet too; we could hold a conversation the entire trip. Although we thought it would take 3.5 hours, we arrived at the dock in Chiang Rai in 2.5 hours. The last little bit was thru much flatter areas, with some of the houses on the river looking pretty grand. The best comparison we could make was that today was like being on a 2.5 hour Disney boat ride! This is something we are so happy to have experienced, and recommend you take the ride if you're in these parts.

Oct 8 - Thaton

It was an interesting day going from Pai to Thaton yesterday. We took the public van-bus from Pai (80 baht) to Mae Malai, getting off and changing to the bus that went to Fang (65 baht). The only way to go direct to Thaton was to backtrack from Pai to Chiang Mai (remember those 764 curves?) for the direct Chiang Mai to Thaton bus. We took the road less traveled. The country is basically jungle, broken up by agricultural areas and small towns. This is a very beautiful part of Thailand, and we were happy not to be driving so we could look around. At Fang, we got on a local yellow song-taew (20 baht) that went to Thalon. All told, we spent about 6 hours transit time, but were happy to get out at our destination in daylight. We had booked at the Old Trees House Resort in Thalon ( and Paulo picked us up for the 5 minute ride to the resort. What a beautiful place! He and his wife, Nid, built 6 bungalows just outside town. There's a view of the Mae Kok river, as well as mountains and rice fields. The private bungalow with king-sized bed, free wifi, satellite TV, free stocked mini-bar, and pool all helped relax us after the drive. Breakfast is also included, and this morning, Paulo mapped out a trekking route for us, then dropped us off about 8 km (?) up the mountain side out of town. We walked the back trails thru the Kentung village, and eventually reached the beautiful chedi (Wat Thaton) that sits high atop one of the hills overlooking Thaton. The views over the valley, river and town were broken up a bit by the haze, but the sun was shining and we took our time walking back to town for a late lunch. After getting back to the resort at 3:30, we arranged an oil massage for both of us (250 baht/hr); a very nice way to wind down the day. 

Oct 7 - Pai

We took the van-bus from Chiang Mai to Pai (pronounced "pie"; prices ranged from 180-250 bahts at this time) and were picked up at the bus station by Aad, our host along with his wife Noi from the Pura Vida Resort Hotel. After the van-bus negotiated the 764 curves along the route (yes, someone must have counted them all; the 764 number is on T-shirts sold in town, so...) just getting off the bus was nice. We met one guy who took Dramamine before the ride; another hitchiker wasn't so keen on the never-ending curves either. At any rate, sailors know motion, right? The Pura Vida Resort is a quiet sea of tranquility about 6 km outside Pai. The gardens and pond with connecting canals reminds one of the Netherlands, where Aad is from. This was just the quiet we were seeking. The area of Pai and its surrounds have about 24000 people. There's a lot of New Age stuff around, and the farangs are plentiful. It reminded Sue and myself of Port Townsend, Wa. in the late 1970's; talk about a flashback!  Pai itself is in a valley surrounded by beautiful mountains. It's Vegetarian Festival thruout many parts of Thailand this week, so finding veggie dishes was easy. We, on the other hand, had a wonderful hamburger at the Hamburger House. Heathen, right? After walking around town the next day, we walked back to the hotel to get  some exercise, arriving in the late afternoon. We made arrangements to go to Thaton, and basically just chilled. Aad and Noi's hospitality is lovely, and we highly recommend you check them out if you come this way ( 

Oct 4 - Ran-Tong Elephant Center

At about 9:30 pm last night we finally decided on which elephant encounter experience we wanted. 
E-mailing Ran-Tong, I received an immediate response asking me to reconfirm, and by 10:00 pm our reservations and hotel pick-up were arranged. The trip out to the center took 1 1/4 hours, and we saw some countryside that was how things must have looked before cities and urban development happened.  When we arrived at the Center, the eleven of us in the van got out and were introduced to a few of the elephants by feeding them bananas.  We were then instructed as to the five most common commands (in Thai) we'd use that day; stop, go, left, right and lie down.  We were given a change of clothes to wear; Karen tribe shirts, then learned how to get up on one (bareback), and keep our balance while she (in this case) followed our, but mostly the mahouts (trainers) commands. Not so easy for a few of us...We then followed a jungle trail, sometimes muddy and boulder strewn, for about a one mile circuit; most of us two to an elephant, one fellow by himself. What fun! We got back strained a bit, dirty a bit, but willing to do more.  The scenery on the side of the hill with the valley below was spectacular. Lunch followed; pretty good.  After lunch we rested a bit before mounting up again for the long ride to the river. It was funny to have some of the animals listen, some refuse to go forward, most all stop off to grab a branch of bamboo to eat or take a small drink of took a while to get to the river. The mahouts treated the animals well, and no animal was mistreated in our presence. At the river, we all got in and helped bathe the elephants, inbetween water fights and general frolicking around. The elephants seemed to really enjoy the water, certainly enjoyed the bath, and the baby elephant (was he adorable, or what...) had been trained to spray everyone with water, so it didn't take long for us all to be soaking wet. Lots of pictures were taken, we all got elephant kisses and hugs (OK, let me hear you all say "ahhh") and it was then time to mount up and head back. Our butts and inner thighs are just a bit sore, but the slight rolling motion didn't take long to adjust to. (At first, most of us held on for dear life, then relaxed as familiarity set in.) After changing out of our wet clothes, we got back in the van for the trip back to Chiang Mai. Our pictures will get sorted into an album later, but the memories of the experience will be with us forever. Riding an elephant in Chiang Mai, Thailand...whodathunk?

Oct 3 - Doi Suthep

After a short 20 baht song-taew (this is a public truck taxi; it's a pickup truck with two facing bench seats in the back bed; fares are usually published, but if not, can be negotiated) ride, we transferred to another song-taew going up the mountain (doi) to Wat Phrase That (known as Wat Suthep), a 40 baht fare each way. The road wound 15 kms up the mountain, eventually coming to a large car park near the temple complex. The original temple was built around 1380. There are 300 steps going up the Naga Serpent Staircase, ending at the golden spire and various temples and shrines. The White Elephant shrine and Emerald Buddha statue are found there, as well as numerous plaques and offering sites. Folks taken up round-trip by the red song-taew were given 1.5 hours to view the area, which we felt was just long enough. There are other paid rides to several waterfalls, the Royal Palace at Phra Tamank Phu Ping (the winter palace with it's surrounding gardens) and other trekking trails. You could spend an entire day thruout the National Park and enjoy the beauty. We returned to the Chang Puak Gate (the north gate), and walked around the perimeter of the old city, an area we hadn't explored before. We ended up eating lunch at a...are you sitting down?....Mexican food restaurant. That's right...come to Chiang Mai and eat Mexican food? It sounds a bit incongruous, but the city is known for its diverse culinary delights and incredible number of international restaurants. The one we chose was, to be kind, OK...but we wouldn't recommend it to anyone. We've picked up our mini-van tickets to Pai, and leave Saturday morning for the more remote areas of the country.

Oct 2- Immigration & a change of hotels

Our long-term visas require us to report in to the Immigration office every 90 days. We arrived at the local Chiang Mai office at 0735, and there was already a long line snaking around the entrance. Although office hours were from 0800, we were given ticket number 46, and those folks who had tickets higher than number 55 were instructed to return at 1300. It pays to arrive early to any Immigration office early! When we got back to our hotel we checked out and rolled our bags a few hundred meters down the street to the Chiang Mai Gate Hotel for a change of scenery and rooms. After, we had coffee at Baan Bakery just down the street from the hotel. The owner mixes his own brew of coffee beans that he gets from northern Thailand and bakes all the goodies. It is one of the best coffees we've had, and I arranged to buy a half kilo of beans from him. The rest of the day was essentially spent planning our trip northwards and walking around the old city. In the early evening we walked in the rain to a small bar/restaurant called My Place for spinach panini sandwiches; lots of garlic  on those!

Oct 1 - Cooking school

There are a plethora of schools teaching Thai cooking in Chiang Mai. Half day, whole day, menu variety, price range differences; all these considerations need be taken into account. We chose to attend Basil Healthy Thai Cookery School. The price was right, it was considered a "whole day" class, included a trip to the market, included pick-up and drop-off, class size was a manageable 8 aspiring chefs, and we could all choose our own menus to prepare. Pick up was right on time, and the explanation of veggies and herbs by our group leader, Benz, was really informative when we got to the market. Getting to the school only took a few minutes, and we immediately donned chef's aprons and got down to business. I won't describe each course as they may be found at I will, however, vouch for the fact that all 8 of us were stuffed, the instructional guidance was very good, and the food was delicious. We'd highly recommend Basil Cookery to all.

Sept 29 - Doi Inthanon

We booked a tour by van to the Doi Inthanon National Park. What a great day! The tour included two waterfalls, two native craft and produce markets where we visited the Hmong Village and the white Karen town people. After, there were visits to the Royal Chedi's, beautiful pagoda monuments built to honor the King & Queen. After a filling lunch, we then went into the rain forest and stood on the highest peak in Thailand at 2565 meters above sea level. Fortunately, the rain held off and we had a wonderful visit to the park, returning to our hotel at about 1630 hours. For dinner, we found this funky Indian restaurant which served good food at good prices, with the added benefit of the owner who besides selling bus tickets to anywhere in Thailand also is a Henny Youngman protégée, telling non-stop one liners thru out our dinner. Dinner and entertainment!
Pic: This chedi at the top is dedicated to one of the last Lanna kings (Inthawichayanon). 

Sept 28 - Chiang Mai

Our VIP bus tickets cost a bit more, but the reclining seats on an air conditioned bus for the 9 hour trip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai made the cost of the tickets worthwhile. The train between these two cities is temporarily shut down for repairs, so air or bus travel is the only way to go. We arrived at the Tadkham Hotel at about 0630, and were immediately checked into our room! Nice! We took a short rest and went exploring the Old City. Chiang Mai was established around the 13th century, and there are many historical places to see, wats to visit and, of course, innumerable restaurants. We took the Night Safari tour to get out and see some of the sights, as we had walked the Saturday street market and wanted to get out some. There were tiger and lady-boy dance shows, then a couple of tram rides thru the park to see the game animals. After, we got dropped off at the Night Bazaar, more walking and shopping...Pic: one of many wats in the old city.

Sept 24 - 27; Bangkok

Our taxi picked us up at Krabi Boat Lagoon Marina at 0700 for the short ride to Krabi International Airport. The Air Asia flight into Don Muang Airport landed 20 minutes early and after a 30 minute taxi ride we checked into the Skyy Hotel in the Sukhumvit section of Bangkok. This is a city of around 10 million people; anything you want or need can be found here. I had a general health check up at Bumrungrad International Hospital, which is well set up for international medical tourism. Our hotel was about 200 meters away from the hospital, so transportation wasn't an issue. Anyone interested in health check-ups or medical procedures can check them out at Later, we met up with Stuart & Sheila (sv Imagine) for a great hamburger at the Firehouse Pub & Restaurant. After, we went to the Above Eleven Bar and Restaurant on top of the Frazier Suites, which afforded a stunning view of downtown Bangkok. The morning of the 25th was my check-up; we later went out to Limoncello's, a wonderful Italian restaurant we stumbled across. The next few days were spent sight seeing. One of the highlights was a Chao Phraya River trip; we bought a ticket and stayed on all the way up to station 30; total time was about an hour each way. We've seen our share of wats (temples) and National monuments! It was time to get to Chiang Mai. Pic: Beautiful scenery along the river. Long-tail water taxis are plentiful.

Sept 17 - Bull fighting, Thai style

Today we went to the bull fights held in an arena in nearby Nuah Klong. Entry was 300 bahts, kindly paid for by Stuart & Sheila's hotel hosts. Entering thru a kind of barricade, we immediately sat down to a late breakfast (early lunch?) of fried chicken and spicy noodle soup with fresh vegetables. Thai bull fighting, known as wua chon, is much different than the traditional European bull fighting as seen in Spain and other regions. There are no matadors; it's bull vs bull. After a brief introduction to the crowd, the horn protectors come off and the bulls are left to see which one dominates the other. The arena is caked mud and dirt, and the bulls lock horns and try to push each other around. Meanwhile, the crowd is betting on the outcome, and the bookies take bets from the crowd yelling and signalling to them with hand signals. Purses can be quite high. Today, eight matches were scheduled, with a total purse value of 800,000 bahts (over $25,000USD). No telling the amount of betting going on. Eventually, one bull tires or gives up, literally running away from the other bull; thus, the winner is usually evident to even us farangs. There's very little gore; today, a few bulls will need some minor wounds attended to before their next bout, but this is bull fighting that is tolerable to the's a test of strength and stamina and both bulls go home, no ears are lopped off, and the crowds shout their encouragement and enthusiasm with each move of the bull's horns.

Sept 14 - Krabi night market

This morning we completed installation of the port side Harken cheek block; scratch that one off the punch list. We also finished a few other small projects, leaving the afternoon and evening to play. Krabi has a "walking street market" Fri-Sat-Sun evenings, and it was great to see an amazing choice of local foods and lots of crafts. Anyone coming this way should make an effort to come to this market; you'll be amply rewarded by the inexpensive local food and carnival atmosphere. We also enjoyed the entertainment; children playing their string and woodwind instruments; the karaoke singers on stage couldn't compete! We've booked our flights to Bangkok and will be seeing Chiang Mai and other parts of Thailand in a few weeks. Can't wait; it's time to hit the road.
Pic: We enjoy seeing local artists in action. This one is carving flowers out of soap, which she then dyes and puts in a lacquered or coconut box.

Sept 12 - Road trip

Stuart & Sheila (sv Imagine) picked us up at the marina and we were on the road to Phuket by 0830. We were surprised what a nice drive ensued; going thru the mountains of Phang Nga was beautiful. It had rained for the last two days, but the skies were blue and traffic was light. Our first stop was Boat Lagoon Marina to go to the chandlery. There's just not a lot here at KBL, so it was good to have supplies available. Of course, paying $7USD for a 5" 8 mm SS bolt seemed a bit unreal. $7USD ?? For anyone coming this way, bring your parts from back home or be prepared to pay top dollar. After a quick visit with Chris (sv Rumrunner II), we drove over to Patong to go to Jungceylon Mall to find a few items. On the way back to Krabi we were wide-eyed as we watched a rally of about 10 Maserati's, a Ferrari, a big Audi, and a Nissan GTR zoom past us on the other side of the road. We thought we had a mass hallucination. After a stop at the Tesco in Krabi, we got back about 8 pm. This morning, we installed the new starboard side Harken cheek block. Progress.

Sept 2 - Krabi Boat Lagoon Marina

N08deg00.67min/ E098deg57.66min We're keeping Infini at KBL Marina as it's much more affordable (50% of the cost) than marinas in Phuket and surrounds. The entrance in is, once again, tide dependent, but we had no drama using the waypoints the marina provides and docked easily. Many of our friends have stored their boats on the hardstand for prolonged periods here, again for financial and safety considerations. Our plans are to complete some boat projects and go walkabout (land travel) in the very near future.
Pic: Following our dinghy escort into our slip.

Aug 31 - Ko Dam Khwan

No7deg57.30min/ E098deg48.68min We anchored in 48', certainly deep for us, but the drop off to get to 30' was too close to shore for my liking and we were planning on spending two nights here. The longtail boats flocked in and out taking tourists snorkeling, and it was pretty busy until late afternoon when all the tour boats had departed. This island is known as "chicken" island due to the rock formation at it's southern end that resembles a chicken neck. It's quite near Ko Dam Hok to the north. Between the two islands is another very small island with a sandbar that is only walkable at low tide that separates that small island and Ko Dam Khwan; it all sounds a bit confusing but is very picturesque. After loading the dinghy with extra fuel, we drove around both islands, stopping at one of the tourist spots on the north side of Ko Dam Hok for a fresh ear of corn hot off the BBQ and a cheap beer. The reef didn't appear that healthy but the fish population certainly is. We figured the tour guides must feed the fish, as they came right up to our masks, seemingly unafraid, and gathered in the hundreds, if not thousands, presumably looking for handouts. After enjoying the snorkeling each day, we relaxed in the overcast afternoon. By early evening of yesterday, it was blowing 16 knots from the NE, putting us on a lee shore, and the GPS anchor alarm was going off. Hmm. We reset the alarm distance and waited out the squalls, which were short lived and brought some needed rain. The dinghy had been placed on the foredeck in anticipation of an early morning departure, so we were set for whatever the rest of the evening would bring.

Aug 30 - You need lots of diesel...

or infinite amounts of time and patience. We do a lot of motoring around here. The currents are strong and the winds not always dependable. We motor sailed to Ko Yao Yai, and anchored at N07deg58.20min/ E098deg37.00min in front of a beautiful beach. A small fresh water river flowed down to the beach and we got to do a bit of beachcombing before heading back to Infini with a large storm cell in the distance tracking our way. It never did hit us, but we did get some afternoon light rain. Our anchoring spot was so peaceful; isolated beauty and cool breezes. The squid fleet's bright lights were in the distance about 10 miles away. The only sounds were birds and insects, and an occasional airplane going to the Phuket or Krabi airports. A heavy rain around midnight had us doing the "close the hatches" shuffle, but it didn't last long.
Pic: On the beach- Ko Yao Yai.

Aug 29 - We be hongin' it...

A "hong" is a room or cave in the Thai language. For her birthday, Sue decided she'd like to go exploring, so we departed early for the motor sail to Ko Phanak. We took extra gas for the dinghy, and stopped at every beach and cave we could find on the east side. One spot even had a ladder to climb up into the cave, no doubt for the many tourists who visit daily. The limestone overhangs and coloring were amazing. Turning the corner to go around the north side of the island, we encountered a strong chop, so decided exploring the north and west sides of Ko Phanak would have to wait until NE monsoon season. By late morning we had seen quite a lot and the tour boats began piling in. Time to go. We motor sailed back to a mooring in Ao Po and after a nice swim, had a wonderful dinner with Bruce & Alene (Migration) at their condo (named Sumptuous Villa). The autopilot got a good workout, but I needed to bleed a bit of air out of the system, otherwise it was good to push a button and have dependable Otto steer. It was a great way to spend the day, and Sue was smiling...a lot.
Pic: Sue with headlamp on ready to explore.

Aug 28 - we're on auto...

We seem to be sorted out on the autopilot issues, at least for now. It's required a new pump to be installed and a lot of labor charges, but things seem to be working as they should. (For those interested, I bought an Octopus model 1012 linear drive unit. The new electric pump with solenoid was then taken off that unit, securely attached to our existing hydraulic ram unit, wired to the Simrad processor and the system hydraulics were hooked up. Everything checked out properly at sea trials. Time to repack that lazarette!) We're planning on staying around Ao Po and Naka Yai for a couple more nights as the tides east at Krabi aren't deep enough to allow us to enter the channel to the marina until Sept 2nd, so we've planned on dinner with friends tomorrow evening, then off we go on the 30th to explore new regions.
Pic: M & Bao sorting out the autopilot. Second worker is in the lazarette too!

Aug 25 - Sailing with friends

Our sea trials with the autopilot didn't go so well. It seems the previously diagnosed "healthy" motor and solenoid have packed it in, so now we're back to looking at an entirely new pump unit as finding a new replacement solenoid and fixing the pump itself just wouldn't be cost effective. After spending another night at Ko Naka Yai, we picked up Bruce & Alene (Migration) and John & Sue (Ocelot) and had a delightful sail up to Ko Phanak, dropped the hook to enjoy the scenery and go for a short swim (very strong current) and sail back to Ao Po. With a favorable current, Infini was doing 7-8+ knots in her inaugural sail after refit and romped along just loving the conditions. What a great afternoon! We took a mooring just outside Ao Po Marina for the night, and I have a 0800 meeting with our Simrad rep tomorrow morning.
Top Pic: M, Jon & Sue. Bottom: M & Alene at the bow.

Aug 22 - Color us....gone

Not far, mind you, but out of the marina. The last few days have been hectic. Our refrig compressor decided to cut in and out continuously....running full time and eating up amps. Plus, the noise of the compressor doing that was enough to drive anyone batty. At any rate, after a lot of diagnostics, it was finally determined that a resistor had gone bad. I mean, how often does a resistor go bad? I have no idea the answer to that somewhat rhetorical question, but it's now fixed by putting in a variable resistor board, which will save amperes and be more efficient. We chose the rpm to run the compressor at, and will just have to monitor the system and see how things go. Our autopilot passed its dockside testing, so we're now planning "on the water" testing, which will be discussed shortly. We picked up our last minute laundry (30 baht/kg), Sue did a bit of last minute provisioning, and we had fresh water delivered to the boat (20 baht/20 liter bottle). Boat Lagoon Marina is tide dependent, meaning deep draft vessels have to come and go at high tide. We arranged to pick up diesel at the fuel dock, paid our final marina bill, and headed out, destination Ao Po Marina....nine miles away. We were to pick up the Simrad fellow and have our final check out, so out the long, winding channel we went. No drama. Gotta tell you, it felt so good to be back aboard and going somewhere...anywhere...even if it was only nine miles away! We reached Ao Po and it was blowing 15-18 knots and choppy, not ideal conditions for picking people up by dinghy or testing the autopilot, so arrangements were made for pick up tomorrow morning. We re-anchored two miles away at Ko Naka Yai (N08deg 03.123min; E098deg,28.30min), and enjoyed a swim, happy hour nibbles and calm conditions. Meanwhile, we have about two million system items to check (Westsails...those simple boats....), and are smiling about it...It's been about seven months since we've been out at anchor....way too long, but Infini is back in her element and looking good.
Pic: Looking toward Phang Nga Bay from our anchorage at Naka Yai.

Aug 16 - Dockside

We're enjoying being back aboard. Of course, we're still sorting stuff out (we tend to do that full time), but overall, things are good. I changed out the old engine room insulation for new, high tech stuff. The emergency tiller was fixed and has been stored back in the lazarette. One leaky dorade box aft is being addressed, and the autopilot pump has been repaired and should be back first of next week. The reefer/freezer systems are working fine so far, and there's been enough sun to keep the batteries happy. So, overall, things are good and we're looking forward to leaving the marina next week for a bit of cruising; it has certainly been a while. Tonight, we ate at the Hardstand Cafe at their Friday night BBQ. The menu is all you can eat ribs, chicken, sausage, shrimp, Thai salad, pumpkin soup, regular salad, spring rolls, garlic bread, watermelon and pineapple for 250 Baht (about $8.00 USD); highly recommended. Restraint is also recommended.
Pic: Our cockpit view of the marina office (lighthouse) and fuel dock just below it; the entry/exit channel into/from the marina complex goes right past it.

Aug 13 - We've moved aboard!

After many trips from the condo to the boat, we're back aboard. Still have a bit of organizing to do (lol), but things are coming together. The A/C is working fine and now we just need to find space for everything....

Aug 11 - "Ya can't live the dream every day...." (Thanks, Liz)

Today just sucked...I mean, really sucked. If you don't want to hear me gripe and groan, turn the page, close your eyes or come back whenever. You know, many of our friends think we're in daily nirvana land. Well, the reality is that often times it is, but frequently it's not. The work goes on, and if the work doesn't go on, the boat breaks down and nothing goes on. Not much of a choice, huh? Well, to get organized to do whatever work needs to get done encompasses a lot of things. Often times, it's chasing parts in other areas of town, getting there by bus or whatever transport is available; getting lost is just part of the day. Often, it's gathering the tools and clearing out an area to get to the item that has the "fix me" sign attached to it. Today was like that. I had to clear out the lazarette to get to the nuts that were attached to the bolts that held down the cheek blocks (foot blocks) for the jib. The blocks were frozen (and in my defense for anyone who's thinking I didn't do proper upkeep) and were 1970's technology with a bronze sheave that turned around something...but I had to get to that something to determine why it didn't work. The starboard side was, I thought, no problem, as I took out a small mountain of rope, a lot of oversize poles and such, and even found an area of our emergency tiller which needed attention. The two part tiller, made of aluminum, was bolted together with a 1/2" SS bolt, and the electrolysis which followed essentially damaged the aluminum plate to the point where a replacement plate is now necessary. Put that on the list. At any rate, I climbed over a partial bulkhead in the lazarette, squeezed in with a flash light, looked up at where the caprail was thru bolted, and had Sue turn the bolt head of the block....No matter, I couldn't locate the bolt. The good thing was that when Sue tried to turn the bolt, the sheave freed up and now turns. That sounded good and I then realized that the port block was in an area that would necessitate me taking out the hot water heater to get to the underside of the caprail where I thought the nuts were for the port block. By this point, I'm a sweaty mess, so figured I'd measure some distances from a fixed point to try to better determine where the damn bolts were to begin with. Sure enough, the port side appeared to be above the quarter berth, not in the lazarette. No problem. That just meant taking every damn thing out of the quarter berth and dropping the head liner to confirm my suspicions. Of course, you guessed it...that didn't go so smoothly either. At any rate, I finally did manage to get the overhead down, had Sue turn the bolts, and, Eureka!, the nuts were, indeed, visible, We worked to get the nuts off, and the sheave turned out to turn around a solid SS bearing thru which a 3/8" bolt went thru, and the base of the block had another 3/8" bolt which helped attach the cheek (foot) block thru the shaped teak platform and caprail. Nuts off...two 5" bolts removed...sheave still frozen....what the ?? The bronze sheave had essentially welded itself to the SS inner bearing, and in attempting to gently remove the sheave, the bearing broke off the platform, no doubt from crevice corrosion and crappy design, although I must admit that it had lasted for 35 years...not a bad thing. The teak support pad decided to fly off and come along too, so we now had a broken cheek block, a caprail with holes in it, a torn up quarter berth, a ripped apart lazarette, a dirty, tired man, and rain pouring down. This extravaganza took about five hours, and now we had to put stuff back where it belonged. Not to mention, the cost of repair of the block is probably not worth it as modern blocks have bearings that take higher load and perform better than these older blocks do. Not to mention, this means we have to tear down the main stateroom overhead, get to the nuts of the starboard block, and remove that block as well. It may be turning now, but doubt it will last long, seeing what the port block looked like. So, that about sums up how the better part of the day went. Living the dream. Ya.
Pic: Pieces of the broken foot block

Aug 10 - More progress...

We've done a lot of little stuff these last few days. The motor to the autopilot, along with its hydraulic resevoir and hoses, was taken off to the shop for R/R. I haven't heard anything back yet, so that may be a good thing or it may not if needed parts aren't to be found here; we'll have to wait on that outcome. One of our reaching poles needed a few rivets replaced on a small padeye; cross that one off. The Perkins motor has been started every day; all good there. The yankee jib sheet and furling lines have all been led aft now and seven winches have been serviced. The refrigerator guy finally pulled his gauges off this afternoon, announced "all good" (the gauges have been there for days) and we're ready to fill up the freezer and fridge. (If you're stopping by, bring the beer....) A couple of small blocks have been put back in their places; the standoff tubing for the SSB antennae has been attended to, and we continue to stuff more stuff back aboard. The thermometer read 87F earlier this afternoon down below, so I'd think we'll be hooking up our A/C while we're at dockside for the next week or so. The rain has been intermittant and our solar panels have been putting in over 30A during the sunny periods. Nice. We cut off work early today and are going to see the movie "2 Guns" at Central Festival; all work and no play....

Aug 8 - Progress...

The rain spared us and it was another hot and muggy day. The thermostat finally arrived and installation was completed at 5:00 PM, a late day for the refrigeration lads. Final system check-out is tomorrow morning. After Sue chased for a 1m Simrad cable, it took me a while but I finally hooked up the GPS NMEA 0183 data stream to the autopilot. What should have been about a 15 min project turned into a two hour one as the wire colors for the two input/output signals had been changed during the GPS install many years ago back in Tarpon Springs and it took a while to figure. Things seem to be working but the fellow commissioning the unit will have to check it all out. In the cockpit, the bimini sun shade curtain retrofit had their final measurement and install in the afternoon, so all’s good. Clothes and food continue to be moved aboard; we’re almost there. And finally, we went to dinner with our friends Chris, Liz and Alene (Bruce was sick) to a new seafood restaurant in Ao Po and toasted to our wedding anniversary in style. Love you babe; may we celebrate many more in exotic locales!

Aug 6 - Chaos

The last few days have been chaotic. There have been way too many things happening at the same time, so I'll try to give a rundown of what I mean. With help from Chris (Rumrunner II), the liferaft and portable A/C units are now on the deck in their proper places. Down below, when I turned on the fridge and freezer, nothing happened. The thermostats were both toast, apparently having gotten water on their circuit boards at some time during the refit. I called one of the local refrigeration repair vendors, and both systems have been undergoing testing, one new thermostat has already been installed, and the other is being shipped from Bangkok and should arrive in the next day or so. OK then....The engine, which had taken us from the slipway to our berth when we were launched, decided to not start. Diesels are, essentially, simple creatures. They need clean fuel and an air supply; that's about it. In our case, we also need a source of current to the starter and solenoid, which originates in the starting battery. Our battery was pushing on in age, and its resting voltage was only 12.2V, so the first thing done after checking the fuel filters and making sure diesel was being delivered to the injector pump was to search out a local battery distributor and purchase a new starting battery with similar specs to the original. Done....The engine still wouldn't start. At first, there was a slight sound coming from the solenoid, but that stopped and the sound of silence ensued when the start button was pushed. Hmmm. Well, they say most solutions are simple ones, so I decided to go over (again) all the wires, traced and cleaned the connections, and found one loose wire at the back of the push button (to the starter) and one wire that had fallen off the relay that goes to the starter/solenoid. Ya think? The engine fired right up and ran just fine. It's been pretty rainy and cloudy these last few days and half our solar capacity was keeping up with the 12V refridge and freezer systems, but it sure was good to see 90 amps coming into the house battery. By way of saying thanks, I changed the oil and oil filter and continued to clean up the engine and wiring. What of the local Thai guys has been helping us; his assignment was to polish all the stainless on deck, sand the teak at the bow platform, and sand and put two coats of Interlux Brightside LPU paint on our caprail. Done. I've wired up the new Simrad autopilot but had to wait for the local distributor to return to Phuket (today) to arrange for him to commission the unit (tomorrow). Another local guy is resewing our old bimini sun awnings to make them fit the new boltrope track that has now been fitted on the very outside of the hard bimini all around the cockpit. That project should be done this week....As should our moving out of this rental condo....As should the return of our rental car....We've also visited our friends in Ao Po and had another wonderful dinner with a small crowd of folks there as well as sharing Chris' birthday dinner with him here at Boat Lagoon. We're going to have to go anchor someplace just to chill out. Unfortunately, the forecast is for more heavy rain, strong winds, and flash flooding (in town) most of this week, so we and everyone else just have to accommodate and do what we can when we can in spite of the downpours.

July 30 - All the little things add up

We've spent the last few days doing a bunch of little stuff that was on our "to do" list. The storage locker has been emptied - yea! My mate Chris (Rumrunner II) helped me load the Yamaha 15, the Sailomat vane, and a large bag of spare lines (like about 40 pounds of spare lines....) into the bed of his rented mini pickup. After dropping off the Yamaha to the shop and picking up the Tohatsus 9.8, we then transferred everything to a dock cart and took it down the ramp and dock to Infini. I should mention that there are a lot of workers and two jackhammers presently breaking up the concrete right in front of our dock. The noise all day is terrible, and walking around and thru the rubble isn't much fun. At any rate, we hooked up the block and tackle for the outboard and it now sits on its rail mount. The vane is sitting on the side deck, as we'll have to launch the dinghy to mount it on the stern. The spare lines joined two other (smaller) spare line bags in the cockpit (temporarily). What else....the loose lazarette lid support studs were re-bedded and everything was placed back in the lazarette. Our spare set of oars was dropped off so the grips could be shaped to fit our hands; the oars are a larger diameter than our present ones and had never been worked on. The liner for one of our salon cabinets was reinstalled, as was the V-berth overhead as well. The 3/4" saltwater intake hose for the water maker and sink was rerouted to accommodate a better angle. Two broken stainless screws were drilled out (what fun...) and a ventilation plate attached properly. A new anchor snubber was made (remember all that spare line I carry?...) And lastly, today we installed one of our two new line clutches, this one on the mast for the jib halyard as its winch is not self-tailing. We've also gone swimming in the hotel pool the other day (nice)...and have had happy hours and dinners with Chris & Liz (Rumrunner II). You can still find us eating lunch at the food stalls.
Pic: The obstacle course to our dock.

July 25 - Unpacking and sorting

We've made great progress with stuff in our storage area. Each item is checked and cleaned before being put away. There's been a little bit of a musty smell in a few things, but not bad after 6 months. Tuesday saw the completion of our boat survey. Every 5-6 years most marine insurance companies require an out of the water survey, and we were due as a routine matter for reinsurance with our new company, Topsail Insurance. The cushions are now back aboard with their new slip covers (upholstery by Mr. Pey), and the cabin looks bright and cheerful with the new varnish and fabrics. Our friends Bruce & Alene (sv Migration) stopped by Tuesday afternoon for a visit; after an enjoyable dinner at Chili's (a local place here, not the restaurant chain in the USA), Sue & Alene went to yoga after. This afternoon we went for a massage here at the Waree Spa on campus. A one hour oil massage was 500 baht (about $16USD); our bodies really needed it after all the lifting and work we've been doing. I figure another 3-4 carloads (think Toyota Yaris) of stuff from storage and we'll have it all back aboard.
Pic: We're in the rainy season, and glad to have the condo unit for another week!

July 23 - Splash, no problems

The rain came down hard all night but finally let up about 0730 and the travel lift picked us up at 0800. Sue & I were aboard and took the ride to the slipway where Infini was gently lowered into the water. All systems checked out, the motor starting battery did its thing after not being used for over 6 months, and we motored to our slip and were secured by 0840. Two of the work crew are on the deck doing a wash down, so we're taking a bit of time off and eating a late breakfast. Another milestone reached: haul out was January 14th and it's always good to be back in the water with no drama. We're giving thanks. Pictures: Above: we're aboard as the travel lift slowly goes to the slip way; we're about half way there. Below: Infini at her slip at Boat Lagoon Marina.

July 22 - We're in cleaning mode

The vacuum's out; also lots of rags and water; every cabinet and bin is getting a going over. We've pulled out stuff I haven't seen in years; we even threw some of it away! We haven't even begun to unload the storage area; that should begin in a few days. Tomorrow morning is launch, but the rain is coming down hard and monsoon weather is predicted, so we hope there's enough slack in the rain and wind to allow us a weather window for the travel lift to get us in the water, after which we'll motor a few minutes into a slip. As to more mundane stuff, we switched cars to a Toyota Yaris, one we find a lot more responsive to our needs. We also went back to Jungcelon Mall in Patong where I gave back my S4 phone and got an S3 instead; wasn't impressed with the S4 at all. We continue to eat and enjoy lunch at the local food stalls here at Boat Lagoon where both of us eat for about $3USD; good stuff.

July 20 - We're in the slings and ready for launch

The bottom job is complete. Earlier, the travel-lift arrived to pick up the boat so the areas that she had been sitting on were able to be Interprotect epoxy primed and painted. For those interested, we used Chugoku ablative anti-foul paint, colors red-black-red. The sharp eyed-reader will have noticed that the bottom paint went on with only a 1" strip of 3M blue tape on the boot stripe to paint to. No bottom paint touched the white paint, no doubt due to the care the crew took using the 3" rollers. It's always exciting to be ready to go back in the water. Infini is really looking good. The deck and hull need a good washdown, and the interior needs a good clean-up, but overall, we're quite pleased. Monday is a Buddhist holiday here and the boatyard is closed, so splash is scheduled for Tuesday morning.

July 18 - Update

Two coats of black anti-fouling were applied today. We've decided to go back to the red for our final coats; finish color will probably be a dark red/dark brown kind of thing....