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.