Sunday, 7/01/2007 – Ao Chalong, Phuket (N 07deg 49.41 : E 98deg 21.16)
Happy New Year! Hope you had a fantastic Christmas and saw the new year in safely with a bang! We spent Christmas with several other yachties at a beach restaurant at Nai Harn on the SW corner of Phuket. Terry had picked up some sort of tummy bug the night before which put a bit of a dampner on our evening, but we had a good time anyway. He wasn’t his normal self for about 10 days and he lost a couple of kilos, but don’t worry, it hasn’t taken him long to find them again, lol!
Our friend Michelle flew out from Oz and joined us Christmas night for three weeks. It’s been fantastic to see a face from home and to share Thailand with someone seeing it for the first time. We had new year’s eve at Railay Beach where we enjoyed the fireworks, fire dancers, love lanterns etc, etc. The love lanterns are hot air type balloons which are lit and sent off into the night sky around midnight with good wishes for the coming year. The lanterns looked like stars as they rose higher and higher into the night sky. It was quite magnificent. We came across a few dead lanterns on our way back to the boat in the dinghy. They’d fallen into the water after burning themselves out. Not too much thought is given to saving the environment on new year’s eve around here.
We’ve just spent a few days down at Phangna Bay showing Michelle the famous caves and hongs of the limestone islands. One particular cave is about 200 metres long, and for about 100 metres you are in complete darkness with the dank smells and strange sounds. Every now and then you’d feel something wet drip on your head and down the back of your neck. It was the bats peeing on us as we paddled under them! Once we got to the other end of the cave we had to duck our heads as we went through a narrow tunnel covered in oyster shells and out the other side into the open air into a brilliant hong. A hong is basically a room literally carved by nature out of the inside of a limestone mountain. They are open to the sky and are surrounded 360 degrees by sheer, smooth limestone walls. Hongs are only accessible by canoe or dinghy at certain tide heights through caves hidden in the walls of the mountain, that is, unless you can fly! They have trees growing out of the limestone walls at 90 degree angles and they are usually alive with birds and (sometimes) monkeys. Some hongs even have a small sandy beach. Photos can’t do them justice. They have to be personally experienced in order for their awesome natural beauty to be fully appreciated.
We have Frank and Jane coming to join us for a week when Michelle leaves in a few days time. They are sailing back to Langkawi with us on our visa run. Then we have Jim and Ann-Marie joining us for a few days, and then it’s back to Phuket for the Phangna Bay Sailing Regatta, which is one big party after another for whole 4 days. It’s all go, go, go, here at the moment. We will need a holiday before we leave the boat and fly back to Oz in late Feb for work, lol!
Before arriving in Phuket we had a wonderful 5 weeks around Langkawi. We caught up with several other yachties from back home, including Peter and Penny on our sister ship Innforapenny (a Lightwave 45), David and Jill on Sweet Chariot, who we met on the Over The Top Rally in 2002 and hadn’t seen since, both are headed off on a round the world trip. In Langkawi, I did some volunteer English teaching and participated in a 5km Fun Run for Charity. It was the first 5km run I’d ever done so I was a bit unsure about how I’d go. However, I’ve been working out every other day in our personal, on board gym (courtesy Lightwave Yachts, lol) so I was keen to see how fit I’d become. The workouts have been doing wonders. I had no problem completing the run and didn’t experience too many sore muscles the next day. In fact, the workouts have increased my energy levels to such a degree I’m almost dangerous, lol! I even managed to dance for about 3 hours one particular night, in bare feet (practically non stop with different partners – no, not with Terry). The only side effect from that night was several blisters on the soles of my feet! Problem is I can’t seem to get Terry motivated enough to use our ‘gym’. He used to get up and watch me in the mornings but now he even finds that too strenuous, lol.
Well that’s about it from us once again. Hope you are enjoying whatever it is you are doing and making the most of life. Until next time, take care. Jan and Terry.
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