Saturday, January 21, 2012

At sea 07 26.6 N 099 10.7 E southeast of Phuket, Thailand
We have been slowly making our way north to Thailand for the last 5 days.  The winds have been very light most days with a sea breeze of about 8 knots coming up in the afternoon, so the sailing has been lousy.  The scenery makes up for it though! We are in amoung the limestone karst islands that Thailand is famous for. If you ever saw the movie James Bond 007, The Man With the Golden Gun, it was filmed not too far from here.  The islands are monoliths that rise up out of the ocean for about 300 feet, straight up.  Their sides are usually striated cliffs, with crags and caves covering their sides.  We dropped anchor beside one and as we motored around in the dinghy we spotted ropes and rope ladders that are used to climb up and gather up the birds' nest for soup, a very dangerous undertaking. Yesterday we stopped at the Emerald Cave and swam through an 80 meter long cave, some in complete darkness that opened up into a small round inlet with a beach on one side.  There were towering cliffs around all sides, it was amazing, the area used to be used by pirates to stash their plunder. There were plenty of tourist boats around and the customers would get off the boats in life jackets and swim through the cave all holding on to one another, it looked like an fluorescent orange line dance in the water. On our way back we decided to go when we would be alone and we could not find our way through, we had gotten off to the right when we needed to go left.  Another group started back and we thankfully followed them.
Today we are headed halfway across an open stretch or water to Phuket and we should arrive there tomorrow night.  The next day in Chinese New Year and we hope to there are lots of festivities on the island.  We won't check into the country until Tues. as we have been told that we will pay an exorbitant amount if we check in on a holiday.