6 DAYS TRIP
PHI PHI, KO ROCK, K LANTA
The name of Phuket Island is translated from Thai as “jewel”. It really is. The island is small, only 55 kilometers from North to South and 25 kilometers from East to West. More than 10 million tourists from all over the world come here every year. And there is something to see here.
For yachtsmen and lovers of marine entertainment, here in Phuket there are all 365 days a year.
You can rent yourself any boat from a "Thai sawmill" to a mega-yacht and arrange a trip from one day to the round the world. Who is capable of what.
On the wonderful Island there are 5 modern marinas, many boat yards, parking lots, workshops, shops and other things related to Phuket Yachting.
In this article, as an example, I will tell and show you in one 6-day trip on the classic yacht Uhuru Bavaria 46 through the waters and islands surrounding Phuket Island. This trip took place at the end of July 2020.
Our journey will begin at the finest marina Ao Po Grand Marina. It is located in the North-East of the Island, recently built, protected from all winds, does not depend on the tides, is equipped with everything for yachting, there is a good restaurant, a swimming pool, a bar with a great view, SPA, gas station, boat yard, ATM, hotel, taxi , security, etc. People are working here, trained, work is in full swing, your things will be delivered to the boat. If you take a boat without a command, you will be helped to leave the Marina and enter, the channel is online - 69.
We arrived in the morning, boarded the yacht, checked the main engine, generator, water and fuel reserves, battery charge level, life-saving appliances, inspected the vessel, checked components and mechanisms, made notes in the logbook and made the ends.
The weather in Thailand is always warm. Is always! Eternal summer. A true Watchman needs to know weather forecasts from sources and follow 360-degree trends, trends and brands on the horizon. For, it is better to over-watch than not to-watch, but ... without fanaticism ...
From October to May it blows here from the East, the rest of the time it just happens, but more from the West. According to my feelings, the rainiest month is September, the most comfortable months are June, July, October, November. Because, it is not so hot, there are fewer tourists, prices are lower.
In the meantime, our boat Uhuru left for Phang Nga Bay. We set up the mainsail and genoa, got under the West Gulfwind and gained 6 knots. We are heading for the island of Phi Phi.
Phang Nga Bay is a wide area with islands between Phuket and the long coast of Krabi province. The most famous island is, of course, James Bond in the North. It's like McDonald's, there are "tastier" islands, but there is a queue there. Marketing….
You can walk along Phang-Nga Bay for a couple of weeks from island to island, gorgeous views, bizarre islands, coves, beaches, straits, lagoons, caves, flying dogs ... There is where to hide from the wind. Some islands have hotels and restaurants. Lots of beautiful and safe anchorages. A Ukrainian friend of mine called these quaint islands halva. In the bay, tides are of great importance, they create currents and often raise turbidity. The water from North to South becomes clearer and in the area of Koh Lip, which stands like a huge cruiser in the middle of the bay, becomes blue and transparent.
Our main destination is the Ko Rok Islands, 60 miles South of the Marina. We plan to walk in two days with an overnight stay in Phi Phi. We passed the bay and two hours later went out to sea, the Phi Phi Islands appeared on the horizon. In these places there is usually heavy traffic, a lot of sailing and motor yachts, ferries, "sawmills", fishermen. Many ships are moving in different directions. The entire water area is strewn with self-made landmarks and buoys, these are fishing tackle of all stripes. And now strange times have come, that sometimes, it seems that even a fish swims in a muzzle and is afraid of bacilli. There is such a sun that, unlike a bacillus, it turns sails into dust, if not looked after.
In just 5 hours we reached the legendary Phi Phi Island and moored in the southern bay. Phi Phi Island is always packed with tourists. A great place to stay. The film "The Beach" was shot here. This Island does not sleep at night. In a small area you can find everything: reggae, bars, restaurants, hotels, clubs, spa, fire shows, buckets with the Earth-Air cocktail, they drink straight from buckets, the smoke is a fagot, and people are in search of thrills. In the morning, all decorously and nobly disperse, who on what, along the beaches, bays, lagoons, swim, dive, fish, salute, sunbathe and enjoy this paradise on the edge of the Earth. The nature here is fabulously beautiful.
We walked around the island, ate fish, saw the sun over the horizon, and returned to the Uhuru yacht. The night in the southern bay of Phi Phi passed calmly, a light breeze, a smooth wave from the Ocean, a Muslim prayer from the shore, a sky full of stars. The boat is cozy, warm light, marine environment, hot tea and children's bedtime stories. Hang up ...
The morning greets us with coolness! 6.00., The sun is already shining, but it is not burning yet. In the morning, the southern bay of Phi Phi is painted in pastel colors, greens, blue, pink shades. It is completely calm, Thai boats begin to buzz, the earliest tourists rush to fishing and diving.
My girls are still asleep, I made an inspection of the ship, warmed up the main engine and gave the mooring. Next "station" Ko Rok, distance 35 NM, course 150.
With our movement we create a headwind, put two sticks on the fish, wobbler and squid. Closer to the Koh Ha Yai island, it began to "peck", full of ha-yi, around a strip of debris, it was brought from the Malak Strait by the South-East wind. The purest blue water, and kilometers of debris float on it. Basically, this is household waste and packaging, polyethylene and plastic. The lines had to be reeled up. We will see this garbage later on white beaches. I heard that somewhere in the Ocean there are already huge debris islands drifting, and the size of these islands is measured in square kilometers. Thai government services maintain cleanliness and order at the proper level.
Yacht UHURU is heading South. We approached and moored at Ko Ha Yai. Great place! Six small rocks stick out from the blue sea, covered with tropical vegetation and decorated with white sand on different sides. The stone lotus in the middle of the Indian Ocean is a green flower. Today the wave here is smooth and high, a lot of small seagulls and some other sea "sparrows" frolic in the sky, here any frame becomes a postcard. If right now a cherub flies out to meet you, don't be surprised ... We stayed here for a short time, took pictures, bathed, and went on. I am glad to think that we will return here again.
This time we did not see dolphins and manta rays. These animals are in these waters, even whales. It's so interesting to watch them. Imagine how a huge 2-3 square meter bun with a black top and a white belly, cut with gills, with a huge mouth, flies out to meet you. An elegant creature. Standing on watch, watching, remembering, breathing in the sea air, we reached our goal - the island of Ko Rok. Between the islands there is a strait with stones, coral reefs and a mooring camp. From the South, in the strait between the mooring, stones that are dangerous for boats and for divers also stick out under water. Citizens are vacationers! Don't swim behind the buoys! Never dive in unfamiliar places, first swim around, explore, then enjoy. A good trip is one that ends well. But sometimes, through human stupidity, rest turns into a rescue operation. Whatever happens, be careful and listen to experienced sailors from ZEA Sailing and Phuket Yachting.
According to the travel plan, we were going to stay here for a couple of days, however, a boat with local guards came up to us, and very politely, with a smile, in pure Thai they asked us: "uёben lass hier bitte", they say, please leave the territory of the National Park before tomorrow morning 7.00, because the park is closed until October to rest from tourists.
The islands of Ko Rok have not yet been gnawed by civilization, although the Eastern Island has been inhabited for a long time, and there is a hotel, a restaurant, communication towers, GSM, GPS, GPRS, OBHS…. There are fewer tourists coming here, the islands are further away, the water here is completely transparent blue, the sand on the beaches is white, and there are many corals, fish and other living creatures under the water. To fully enjoy this vacation spot, you need to live here for 2-3 days. We watched the sunset and sat down to dinner.
At night, the wind changed with gusts of up to 20 knots, a long smooth wave rolled from the South, the crew of the yacht Uhuru swayed like babies in a cradle.
As respectable Russian sailors, the next morning at 7.00 we left the mooring and headed east towards the island of Ko Lanta. Calm, sunny, warm. In the area of Koh Kradan island, we drifted and swam, then went to Koh Muk island and dropped anchor in a new bay for me with a sandy beach, tropical garden, fresh stream and magnificent landscape. I threw the dinghy into the water, the SUZUKI 6 engine started up with half a kick, after 5 minutes we landed on the beach. Gorgeous view! The whole beach is decorated with delicate filigree patterns, what is this ?! What kind of artist is weird here? It turns out that these are small crustaceans. They live here everywhere in small holes-holes. Artistic crustaceans roll out small identical balls from their minks and build patterns from them that look like lilac flowers. During high tides, the sea washes away their labors, but again and again, every day, these little creatures of God paint new pictures on the beach of Ko Muk. While my girls were walking along the beach and taking pictures, I swam, as far as I could, the shore, everywhere there is pure gray-yellow sand. At a depth of up to 3 meters, not a single pebble, the water is unclear. This bay impressed us, we decided to bypass the island from the South and, on the inhabited side from the East, approach the pier. I do not recommend doing this, very shallow, there is nothing to look at, at the smallest speed, looking at the echo sounder, we crawled out into the clear water, and our boat Uhuru headed north to the bay of Ko Lanta. The last time we were there was 4 years ago.
Before sunset we managed to arrive at the bay of Koh Lanta and anchor. Safe quiet place. The depth is on average 5 meters, at the bottom there is a gray-blue sticky silt, slippery, do not hesitate to empty the chain so that your anchor does not slip in a good wind.
And again a warm evening, ship atmosphere, cozy light, delicious dinner, tea and children's tales ...
The third day of our trip on the Uhuru yacht. The Germans, the Bavarians, are great, the 2008 Bavaria 46 Cruiser is a very successful model: a strong salable hull, convenient location of the premises, a powerful engine, powerful sailing equipment, cozy finishing and a complete set of everything necessary for a comfortable safe sailing. You can live and travel on a yacht Uhuru for a long time. And today we are met by the island of Ko Lanta. A high concrete pier, almost half a kilometer long, connects the boatmen to the island. For four years, the pier was decorated and equipped with stainless handrails, paws and a beautiful station for tourists was built, only, for some reason, the water supply for refueling boats was destroyed. The pier rests against a monument with toy cannons decorated with flowers. The monument stands on a ring, three roads diverge from the ring, one of them stretches along the coast to the North, and on it a street in the Western-Thai-Style style, and just look, Indians with cowboys will run out and start shooting, filming a cool film, scalp, pants ... .. It's fun to walk here, look at the sights, there are good restaurants with live fish, transport rental, a pharmacy, a taxi and more.
Here we had a good breakfast overlooking the bay. Beautiful morning, not yet hot, calm. They brought us a "limousine" in the same style, we were shocked by hummocks and red dust on a sightseeing tour "Do it yourself". Thais are building new roads everywhere. Koh Lanta is much easier than Phuket. The island of Ko Lanta is small 25 x 11 kilometers, in length from North to South, connected to the Indo-China Peninsula by a road bridge in the province of Krabi. The island is built up with hotels and related establishments. On the West side is a solid sandy beach overlooking the Indian Ocean. For a tourist - the very thing.
In the middle of the way, we moved to Halabuda a little worse, but with a turbocharger, and we were carried along a concrete serpentine to a magical place - National Park Mu Ko Lanta National Park.
This park is located in the very South of the island of Ko Lanta, there is a white lighthouse on the very edge, on a cliff, next to a clean sandy beach, a beautiful garden with a lawn and paths. If you need romantic pictures, then this is here. I walked around this lighthouse for 2 hours, admired and spent all the memory on my phone on photography. Then Mashulka and I tumbled for 2 hours in the sea wave. Everything in the park is arranged competently: toilets, showers, cafes. Every tree is well-groomed, the grass is trimmed, smiles are shoulder-width apart. We traveled all day and were very satisfied. In the evening we returned to the shore of the bay and sat down to dinner at the restaurant, where we had breakfast.
Live crayfish and fish swim in the tanks of the restaurant, I chose a grouper. Thais know how to fry fish. Crispy, white, juicy with sauces and spices, in the fresh air against the backdrop of a seascape. At such a moment, the body gets drunk without wine, languor pulls you back to the boat and fall into a clean white bed ... When you fall into a dream, a gentle one is heard from the shore: "Allahu-uuu akbar" ... Hang up.
The night passed quietly, in the evening I switched on the generator to charge the batteries. Morning calm. I chose an anchor. The chain was covered with a layer of sticky blue silt. We pass a mothballed yacht, birds similar to swifts live on it, they fly, shout, breed, also yachtsmen, probably ... for example, it will turn the sails into dust, rust will corrode a lot, in a word, this is a very aggressive environment for technology.
Yacht Uhuru passed the East side of Koh Lanta island and went to sea. Here we go round our yesterday's beacon in Mu Koh Lanta Park. From the side of the sea, it also looks great, a romantic place: “Farewell, White Beacon! I will come to you with people so that they rejoice when they look at you! "
The weather is excellent, calm, many fishermen scattered across the sea in Thai long tails. I jokingly call them - sawmills, for their characteristic sound and formidable screw, Thais call them - long tails. It also sounds funny in Russian. The sea is studded with landmarks, we maneuver between them. Heading north-west to Phi Phi Island, a stone lotus Ko Ha looms from the left, even more to the left of Ko Rok. You look around, you see the islands, and it seems like a stone's throw away, but it's still about 5 hours to go.
At noon, the yacht Uhuru moored from the East to the island of Ko Fraya Nak, this is not far from Phi Phi, it was here that the film "The Beach" was filmed, where the steep DiCaprio "bitten" a shark right under the water, having previously smoked what grew there according to the script films. Hollywood experts have not chosen this island for nothing, it is truly unique, especially that bay on the west side. Such advertising has ruined the poor little beach. In past years, they managed to bring 5000 tourists a day there! Now it is closed, and no one knows how many years it will take to restore, fortunately, everything is growing here very quickly.
We are on the other side of the island. The water here is clean and full of lured fish. Again the guards came up and got paid for visiting the National Park. For an overnight stay, we returned to the South Phi Phi Bay for the familiar mooring. In the evening at sunset, we landed for a walk around the island, to warm up. There are almost no tourists, there are several establishments. Locals play football and volleyball. The tide is high tonight, the water has gone so far that you can see stones that have never dried. We returned to the boat.
The last day of our trip. The night passed calmly, early in the morning we leave the Phi Phi Bay, set the Grotto and Genoa, make a turn and head for the Northwest. From the South, a wind of 15 knots drives a black beard of clouds and rain in our direction. "Mom dear, we will not have time, we will not." A fresh wind grabbed and our Uhuru went up to 8 knots. An hour later, a black beard hit the place where we spent the night in a tropical downpour. Left in time. Good luck. Whoever gets up early, God gives him. At such super speeds, I did not notice how we arrived at Phang Nga Bay. The wind died down, the sun came out and again it was completely calm. Vibration was felt on the propeller. Have fallen into a drift. A rope from fishing tackle was wound on the screw, noticed on time, without consequences. We cut the rope and move on. Boats full of jellyfish and garbage are rushing along the bay, Thais are cleaning the water area. At noon, the yacht Uhuru at a low speed entered Ao Po Grand Marina, made a turn and squeezed into her seat astern. Local sailors are always on duty, they help, they grab the end, knit. Many thanks to them for that. I have already said that this marina in Phuket is the best.