Thursday, November 27, 2014

Back In The Saddle

Sunset on the South Chins Sea
It was a fantastic trip back to LA for the summer. We enjoyed the time with our family and friends. We miss you already and are overjoyed that some of you are coming for a visit. Arlen and Sandy will be here in a few days and we will sail to the Similan and Surin Islands, just on the boarder of Burmese waters. Expect lots of awesome photos and great food shots. Word is that the snorkeling and diving are world class. Also swim with Mantas and Whale Sharks. Our new captain Tim, is a dive master, so maybe I will get brave enough to finally give it a try.

Slow Dance has the best crew she has ever had. Sadly, Nikka is leaving us as she landed a job on a super yacht in Australia, We will really miss you darling but are happy we brought you here to Phuket to work on your first boat and that helped you move on to a bright future. Sister Vanessa remains and due to love we now have her boyfriend Tim as captain! Tim is not only a seasoned  sailor from Australia, but an awesome marine mechanic, and a wonderful guy. He loves surfing and brought his three boards along. Dennis, the retired fireman will be joining the crew as well in late December. Dennis is also an avid surfer so we will be stopping at some good spots where the surf is up! Also joining us is a new stewardess from the Philippines, Helen. She is due to arrive December 1st. 

Tim, Vanessa, Ron, and the cook. I have finally perfected the art of making great pizza!

Good Luck Nikka, we will miss that smile and it will be difficult to replace you.
Hello Helen, hope you can make it to Phuket to join us as new stewardess.
Slow Dance is in tip top shape and we tested our sea legs by sailing back to Phi Phi Island and then to Langkawi, Malaysia to get some duty free fuel and booze. We have been to Langkawi a few times but this trip we had some time to explore the island a bit more. It is beautiful and in late December Todd will join us for a trip around some of the many islands there. After Todd leaves we are headed to Borneo, "The land below the Wind". Then on to the Palawan Islands in the Philippines. Subic Bay will be our home for awhile and we do hope some of you will make the trip to sail with us to the many beautiful places the Philippines has to offer.. But NOT Mindanao!

Maya Beach on Koh Phi Phi Lee. This is the famous beach from the film with Leonardo Decapreo
On our route back to Phuket and hours from any land Slow Dance came to a grinding halt. Upon inspection we realized a huge tangle of netting had wrapped itself around the prop. Ron did not want to suit up in all the dive gear so he put a snorkel on and attached it to a length of garden hose, which we held on tightly to the air tank. Ron stayed in the water for over an hour cutting the net free with a boning knife! The netting was comprised of at least 25 different nets and rope and had probably been floating around for years. It was really smelly and we took it aboard to dispose of, least any other sailors have the same situation. Gotta hand it to Ron, at 70, the ole boy still has vigor and determination.

This mess was wrapped around the prop!

Phi Phi Island

Beach at Koh Yo Yai

Thats Slow Dance out there in the bay

Talaga Marina, Langkawi
Dinner on Slow Dance.
Cozy couch at Como's in Phuket
4 hour lunch at Como's in Phuket with Edan and Andrea. How did you ever discover this place? It's a long drive through the jungle and then appears on the cliffs overlooking the Bay. Amazing. See you both when you swim out for dinner next week! We are anchoring on your beach in route to the Surin Islands. Edan is a pilot for a private principal in Singapore and his lovely wife Andrea is a script writer who has a script in production for a film. It's about a serial killer! What's in that pretty little head of yours?

Well, that's the update and sorry its been months since the Blog had anything to report, however, the adventure continues so stay tuned for some good stuff! Cheers Mate.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Golden Triangle, New Crew, and Cruising the awesome islands of Krabi Provence.

High mountains in Mai Sai, near the boarder of China
The boarders between Thailand, Burma (Myanmar) and Laos form the legendary "Golden Triangle" Once upon a time, the opium poppy was the cash crop for the regions ethnic people. Tea, beans and other vegetable crops have replaced the poppy fields but the lawless areas of neighboring countries still produce heroin and opium.  There were check points along the mountain roads and police with guns, an apparent sign that drug runners were a real and present danger.

As soon as Ron returned from LA we decided to take a trip north to Bangkok and then on to the northern mountains of Thailand. Before leaving Bangkok we went down to the beach town of Pattaya, to check out the marina. Oceans Marina was still under construction and therefore, Ron determined it was not going to be a suitable dockage for Slow Dance. While in Pattaya we stumbled upon a cute outdoor bar called the Windy Inn, where we met Dennis, a retired Fireman from San Clemente. Dennis was a firemen for 28 years but also a surfer, who has traveled just about everywhere in the world where the surf is good. Dennis had sailed before in Costa Rica, and also drove the boat for the surf camps, so he knew his way around boats. Ron and Dennis hit it off and Ron invited him to come sailing with us for a few weeks around the  islands of Krabi. We made a plan for Dennis to meet up with us in a few weeks on Slow Dance. We spent a few more days in Pattaya and then headed to the mountains.

Chiang Mai is a cool place to kick back and relax. The streets of old town are full of monks, motorcycles, and local hangouts; bookshops are more abundant then sidewalk vending stalls, which was refreshing after the insane hype found in Thailand's larger cities. The town is bounded by a moat and the remnants of a med evil -style wall, built 700 years ago to keep the Burmese invaders out. Inside the walls, lies a quite world of family run guesthouses and leafy garden restaurants. A vibrant town of cooking classes, message, and meditation. There are several awesome temples and we toured a few of the best including the white temple, which was on the way to Chiang Rai in the Golden Triangle.

Inside the White Temple

After touring some temples we ventured into the high mountains to visit the hill tribes. The Hill Tribe people are a minority people, who migrated from Tibet and parts of China 200 years ago, and have settled in the mountainous frontier of South East Asia's mountain belt from Burma to Vietnam. There may be up to 20 different tribes in Thailand. Chao Khao literally  means mountain people in Thai.
We decided to take the mountain trek up to visit one of the villages. I thought the neck stretching was only found in African tribes, but now I see it is a popular tradition with the Hill-Tribe people as well. The brass neck rings weigh 9 pounds!

Hill-Tribe Village
The gold collar weighs 9 pounds and the girls start wearing a lighter version at age 4.

Morning Glory grows all over South East Asia. The Thai's saute it to perfection in oyster sauce with lots of garlic. I never missed eating spinach as this is delicious.

Ron enjoying a purple passion juice during lunch on the river Kwai. .

Weird ceramic heads hanging from a tree near the temple. What the significance is I do not know. It was very creepy.
Sign outside a forest cafe where the monks hang out. We had quite a nice chat and learned much about life inside the temple.

We went to the night zoo in Chang Mai, which is not like any zoo I've been to. The animals pretty much just show up on the road to eat the banana's and carrot's sold to the tourists.This giraffe, surprised me and got his head in my lap and ate my entire bowl of goodies. Then gave me a huge sloppy lick on the face!

He gave me a kiss with his 2 foot tongue. 

Ron and our driver, Poh.
We hopped a plane from Chang Rai back to Bangkok and then home to Phuket. Vanessa's sister Nikka, arrived a few day's later and a week later Dennis flew in from Pattaya. After taking a few day's to prepare the boat we set sail for a much needed cruising adventure to some of the beautiful islands in the Krabi region.
Lunch on the River Kawi
Dennis and Vanessa as we head toward the beach at Koh Roi

On route to Rai Lei Beach

Captain Ron with Vanessa, me, Dennis and Nikka at Same Same bar, Koh Lanta
Dennis, Vanessa, and sister Nikka at Koh Phi Phi Lee

Ferry port at Koh Lanta
Walk to Same Same bar

These Australian folks got married on the beach and invited us to the after party.

 It is impossible to capture the color of the water. So amazing, you can see 50 feet down to the sand and coral bed. Swimming was beyond divine and delicious.
We had a beach fire here one night. AWESOME!

The captain and the cook

That's the famous Maya beach behind me , where the movie "The Beach" was filmed.

Slow Dance at sunset as we returned in the dingy from beach on Koh Lanta.