Feb 24 - Refit Update

Unfortunately, a bit of a delay has occurred. There were severe thunderstorms over Boat Lagoon Marina the last two days and the protective awning over Infini was shredded. The sides of the tent were mostly intact, but the roof and some side seams were torn up and flogging. Another smaller awning of sorts was placed over the area of blue topsides that needs the final coat of paint, but it's been too humid and drizzly to spray. This morning the work crew scampered up the galvanized pipe tent frame and began the arduous task of replacing the top. Local weather forecast calls for more rain over the next 2-3 days....Picture shows the sky instead of visquine covering the top of the tent; the temporary 'hood' placed over the soon to be sprayed topsides is in the forefront of the picture; part of the pipe framework of the tent is behind the workman on deck.

Feb 17 - Refit Update

The first coat of Awlgrip Flag Blue has been sprayed on the topsides. Next comes more extra-fine sanding and then another coat will be applied.

Feb 14 - Happy Valentine's Day

We started the day off at the gym we joined last week located just inside Boat Lagoon Marina. Today, as on most mornings when we get there, we were the only ones there; no wait for the machines! After a quick check on the boat, we drove home, changed, and picked up our roomies, Stuart & Sheila, for a drive to the coast. This house we're renting is near Thalang and is a really convenient base to see a lot of the island. We didn't know this when we came up here looking for a place to live, but a lot of interesting places are a short drive away. Today, we started off heading towards Bang Tao, taking many of the side roads we had never been on to the beaches which follow each other up the west coast. We finally ended up back on familiar roads and stopped to eat a late lunch at palapa filled Nai Yang Beach. It wasn't crowded, the food was really good and served in bamboo pieces, a first for us. After, we stopped at a few roadside markets, buying fruits but passing on the crickets and insects piled up in mounds that some folks were buying. We wanted to take Stuart & Sheila to Nai Thon Beach as the ride there is one of our favorites, where we found a shaded table on the sand at one of the many restaurants and had a nice conversation with one of the people who worked there about the large Buddhist temple close by to where we live. We made arrangements to go there and have her give us a tour of the temple, something off the beaten track for most folks. Our evening wound down at the house playing a game of dominoes, only of interest to any of you who have ever played dominoes with a constantly changing set of rules....

Pics: A corner of Nai Yang Beach; a plane is coming into Phuket International Airport. The half dozen boats anchored in the bay need to know the boundary limits for anchoring near the airport.
Crunchy snacks anyone? We haven't yet ventured to taste the stir fried larva, crickets, or grasshoppers.

Feb 10 - Happy Chinese New Year!

A bunch of us decided to go to the Chinese New Year opening celebrations held in Phuket Town. The crews of Migration, Rhythm, Imagine, Liberte, Ocelot and Infini enjoyed a wonderful program of acrobats from Henan, China along with a magician, a performer doing the Chinese Mask Dance (the audience was really wowed with this dance, called bian lian, and I thought I'd add this description from Wikipedia: "Bian Lian; literally "Face-Changing" is an ancient Chinese dramatic art that is part of the more general Sichuan opera. Performers wear brightly colored costumes and move to quick, dramatic music. They also wear vividly colored masks, typically depicting well known characters from the opera, which they change from one face to another almost instantaneously with the swipe of a fan, a movement of the head, or wave of the hand.") The large audience was then treated to a most impressive fireworks display. Set up just outside the stage and seating area, food stalls served a delicious variety of foods at very affordable prices. Of note, it was also David's (sv Rhythm) birthday, which we duly noted and celebrated, so all in all, it was a very enjoyable evening and we think we greeted the Year of the Water Snake in appropriate fashion! (We didn't stay for the loud 'rap techno style' music after....it was past our bedtime!)

Feb 8 - Refit update

The deck has been completely prepped and the first coat of primer has been sprayed on today. Fortunately, the weather has cooperated; it's been hot and no appreciable rain. Sue's downloaded the first of our Thailand photo albums - enjoy!

Feb 3 - We've gone sailing!

Bruce and Alene invited us sailing aboard their trimaran Migration along with Jon, Sue and Amanda of sv Ocelot. What a wonderful day! The weather was beautiful, and Migration was doing 5-8 knots reaching in pretty flat seas. We took a mooring ball for a few hours at Ko Racha Yai, an island about 12 miles south of Phuket, and enjoyed snorkeling and the
delicious food everyone brought along. Conversation was lively, and it was getting late in the afternoon when we (reluctantly) headed back to Chalong. Our group decided on dinner at one of the restaurants lining the street leading down to the Chalong pier, and we enjoyed another fine traditional Thai meal before heading back to our place. We should also mention that the Hacking family (their son Chris was back working in Seattle) and Bruce and Alene work diligently to produce two of the most useful, as well as entertaining, websites about cruising that we've come across. They can be found at: http://HackingFamily.com and http://www.brucebalan.com/migrations. These folks are explorers, go way off the beaten track, and write with the ability to make distant peoples and places come alive in their websites for all of us to enjoy; what a treat! Of special note for anyone planning on coming this way, we referred to Ocelot's tracks many times while enroute to Thailand, and found them most useful. The tracks are in OpenCPN and MaxSea formats, and are spot on when the available electronic (yet alone paper!) charts are way off. Our special thanks go to both crews for taking the time to share such valuable information.
Pic: Photographer Michael- Sue, Jon, Sue, Amanda; Alene and Bruce, enjoying the day away from boat work!

Feb 2 - Refit update

While we were in Bangkok, two more coats of primer were sprayed on the topsides. On deck, sanding of the side decks and cabin sides was done, and areas were further taped off. The hatches and turtle hatch were removed to the shop for sanding and varnishing, as were many of the doors and drawers from down below. The stanchions are being removed and one small hole that housed an unused 12 volt plug on the starboard bulwarks in the bow area is being filled in. I didn't get to the cockpit as there's a lot of new visquine taped off for the over-spray, but will view the entire deck and cockpit areas next week with Mr. Gig before the first coat of primer is applied to them. Picture: the bottom of the teak turtle hatch was starting to rot on the underside(and impossible to repair properly without complete removal), and will be replaced with a new turtle of fiberglass covered marine plywood.

Jan 29 - 31 Bangkok

We flew to Bangkok for an appointment with the American Embassy to get some visa paperwork filled out and more pages in our passports. Our hotel was called Jim's Lodge which, although located in an upscale part of town, was an affordable alternative to the big name hotels that surrounded embassy row. After, we wondered at this most populous city in Thailand, at the constant traffic and population of over 8 million. The tortuous sidewalks were challenging, and jaywalking was precluded by the thousands of motorbikes crowding the narrow bike lane next to the curb. Street food was everywhere, and food stalls served up everything from breakfast to snacks and dinner. No wonder so few people cook in their homes (so we've been told); take home is everywhere and very affordable. We toured the Grand Palace and the Jade Buddha, and were suitably impressed by their grandeur. These are amongst the most visited and revered sites in Thailand, and the history of the many buildings and temples erected on the grounds of the previous Thai monarchs thru the centuries takes a while to take in. We also took time to go to Jim Thompson's house, a lovely example of Thai architecture and housing many examples of SE Asian antiques. He resurrected Thailand's silk industry, and demonstrated the beauty of the variety of Thai silk designs to the world. We managed to not get too lost on the BTS Skytrain, and found a few neighborhood restaurants and bistros as well as some gigantic malls that serve Bangkok's locals and visitors. It was a fast couple of days, and we return to Infini tomorrow.