The anchor went down in Chalong Bay at 07:30 on 2 March. We slowed down the last 24 hours, because we don't like to enter a harbor for the first time in the dark. The last night underway was a long one, neither of us got any sleep, there were fishing boats everywhere. At times it seemed they were shoulder to shoulder across the horizon, of course this was an illusion, but it kept us up and on our toes all night. We remained at anchor in Chalong for the next nine days while we cleared customs and immigration, talked to the insurance company, found a surveyor, arranged to be hauled out, waited for the tide, groceries, etc. The day before the scheduled arrival at Boat Lagoon we anchored off Rang Yai Island, otherwise an oh-dark-thirty departure from Chalong would be required to make the tide. We can only navigate the channel into Boat Lagoon two days either side of the spring tides and then only an hour either side of high water.
A first look at Thailand as we rounded the southern point of Phuket Island.
Boat Lagoon is completely landlocked, built in an old tin mine in the middle of the mangroves on the east coast of Phuket Island. It is accessible via a serpentine channel over coral beds and through the mangroves. Sailing boats with deep keels can only negotiate the channel at high water springs. Many cruisers complain that they feel marooned here, but few would deny that it is an attractive setting. It would be our home for the next seven months while Callisto was being repaired.
Callisto was not the only boat damaged during the tsunami nor were her damages the worst. Yacht repair facilities were heavily booked and hard-standing space was at a premium. The surveyor recommended by our insurance company was in Langkawi, Malaysia, where boaters faced a more harrowing and damaging time than did we in Galle. Luckily for us, Richard on the Mobile Maritime Net again came through and put us in touch with Jim Beck a surveyor/cruiser on the yacht Ptarmigan. Not only was Jim a great surveyor, he had spent 18 years in the area and knew who could do what and how well. His advise was invaluable. Callisto's repairs were done by Scott Bradley at Precision Shipwright Services. He met his estimates in both time and cost and the work was excellent. We could not have been happier.
The west coast of Phuket faces the Andaman Sea and suffered considerable damage during the tsunami. Phuket Town is on the east coast and only experienced local flooding and very little damage. Here fishing boats are being repaired on Karon Beach on the west coast.
Phuket is a popular tourist destination and the beaches are a big draw. The clouds in the sky and empty beaches make it obvious that this picture was taken during the southwest monsoon, when the winds drive the waves across the Bay of Bengal, pile them up on the west coast of Thailand and often create a fierce undertow. During the northeast monsoon, October to April, the skies are clear and the beaches teeming.
Wat Chalong is an attractive site on Phuket when one wearies of the beach.
Thailand is predominately Buddhist, while not the nation's official religion it is the religion of the king and a majority of the people. Their wats or temples are elaborate works of art.
Our daughter Lisette's visit from Washington, DC gives Jane an excuse for gold shopping, even though she doesn't ever need an excuse.
Still more shopping
Nothing can revive the tired spirits after a long day shopping like a Thai foot massage.
We never miss an opportunity to visit the local markets. There are many in Phuket. Fresh fruit and vegetables, seen here in the central market of Phuket Town, are available in an abundance that we haven't seen since we left Turkey.
Fresh food is available prepared or ready to prepare as you wish.
A visit to the butterfly farm offers close up views of the butterflies and the local flora.
Phang Nga Bay lies on the east side of Phuket Island and has many karst islets and outcrops that have been carved by the elements over the millennia into other worldly structures. This beach was made famous by the James Bond movie “The Man with the Golden Gun” and is now popularly known James Bond Island. Its real name is Ko Phing Kan which means Leaning on itself Island.
Panyee village sits on stilts next to one of the karst outcrops in Phang Nga Bay. A great place for a fish dinner.
Fishing villages with the moorings for their long-tail boats nestle on the banks of Phang Nga's upper reaches.
Along the northeastern shore of the bay is a reef consisting of 75 million year old fossils.
On 5 September, after 175 days on the hard-standing Callisto is afloat and the dinghy has a shinny new paint job.