Friday, March 30, 2012
Haul out—sounds simple and over the years we have been hauled out to antifoul the hull in various parts of the world—railroad tracks, slings on lifts, floated onto trailers and even beached ourselves—but nothing can compare to hauling in Krabi. A new marina has been built and to entice new customers were offering half price for the haul out and pressure wash. As it would cost us normally around US $700 we thought we would take advantage and do a quick haul out before we set off to East Malaysia for the season. The marina is located in a flat shallow area and we were advised to come in at 10am at high tide and they would haul us then. We duly arrived and met with the manager of the marina who is a former American backpacker who travelled overland in the ’70’s and never left. He was joined by the lift operator who does not speak English but told us through the manager that they would haul us at 1 30. The lift manager does not appear to be able to manage the lift operator and his bookings do not seem to have any priority. There was obviously a power struggle between the two men. 1 30 came and went as the tide was rapidly going out but no one seemed to be doing much. Finally they came at 2 30 and told us they would lift us with 4 straps which made Ken very nervous as 2 would be the norm for our boat—the extra straps may end up on the propeller shaft which would bend it. They assured us it would be fine and as we approached the lift told us to back in. This was also contrary to anything we had ever done before but now the English speaking manager had left in frustration so we were at the mercy of the Thai speaking lift operator. Under protest we backed into the slip where the workers proceeded to jump in the murky water and swim the straps under the boat—they are usually attached and as you float over them they raise them under you. Ken was still concerned about the extra straps so he also jumped in avoiding the jelly fish and although the visibility was zero ascertained that the shaft was OK. They now lifted us and when we were out of the water pressure washed the hull and took us to the somewhat unstable looking cylinders on which they had wanted to stand the boat. Our boat is made to be beached and this time Ken insisted that they put us on blocks of wood so we would be stable and low enough to reach the hull to paint the antifoul. They actually did not have any scaffolding which we would have needed if we were higher. Finally we were on the blocks and they were ready to back the lift out when we realised that our SSB and radio antennas were well above the height of the lift. These antennae have been in place for 6 years and as anyone who knows about salt and boats are not removed easily without risk of damage. Now a heated discussion where the manager who could not reason with the lift operator walked off and we refused to remove the antennae. It also came to light that a Canadian boat had been waiting to be moved to spray their hulls for 5 days and were meant to have been done earlier in the morning. As the lift operator had not showed early enough and the tide was rapidly dropping needed to get us out first but now the lift was held hostage by our boat!! The suggestion was made that we would be put back in the water the next day and turned to come in forwards—as we had originally requested. This would delay our painting yet one more day—it was now 6pm and we had thought that a 10am haul out would mean one coat of antifoul already. Fortunately the owner arrived and it was agreed that we leave the lift around the boat and would do the two coats the next day and go back in the water the following day at high tide after which they could move the Canadian boat. In the morning they gave us 2 workers who sanded the old antifoul and waxed under the boat. It was very hot and we needed to work very quickly to roll on the antifoul and did not trust anyone else to do that. We got the second coat later in the evening. We were now ready to go in the water as planned the following day and they had agreed to take off the extra 2 straps—they had been too lazy to do it before, it only took 15 minutes. There once again was a crosswind but the manager had decided to stay away to avoid conflict which left us trying to tell them to pull us away from the side of the slip with our ropes—they were not prepared at all and the language barrier made it stressful. Finally we were clear and thankfully sailed away from the “marina from hell”!!! The facilities were less than nothing—not even a shower even though they had built a fancy building and had paved the whole area. It is in a mangrove area—and although the tourist books “wax poetic” about the wonderful mangroves to cruisers they just mean mosquitoes!! We sailed back to Phi Phi Don and found a quite anchorage where we decompressed!! The next morning back in cruiser mode we headed back to Koh Lanta—we had enjoyed it on our way up from Malaysia. This time we anchored in the southern most bay and going into dinner at La Lanta which had been recommended by the Lonely Planet—for anyone wanting a land based Thai holiday Koh Lanta would be one of our favourites—a lot fewer tourists than further north. The dinner was lovely and we were happy we had chosen this lovely bay. The next day we sailed the 20 miles to Koh Rok Nai where we had a couple of great days. This also is far from the massive tourist run and other than a couple of snorkel boats and a few sailboats it was very quiet. The water was the clearest we had seen since the Komodo region in Indonesia and although the corals were unspectacular it was lovely to be snorkelling again in clear tropical water with the colourful fish. The island is a national park and has a number of tents available for campers who are brought out each day—also a lovely spot for those land based travellers. It was time to move on and do the 40 miles to the Butang Islands. There is no wind at this time of the year and is hot and steamy. We anchored along with a lot of other cruising boats at Koh Lipe and went ashore for supper. We realised we must be nearing Malaysia when my main course came out first then when I was half finished the spring rolls we had ordered for appetisers arrived. Finally Ken”s Ladna Noodle dish—whatever that may be—but with no noodles—maybe Ladna means no noodles??? The only reason we know we are in Thailand is that they had the bill ready when we asked for it—in Malaysia they would have come and asked us what we had so they could charge accordingly!!! We had a day hiking and snorkelling on one of the islands and will leave in the morning for Telaga Harbour where we will check back into Malaysia and wait for Kristen at Rebak. One last minute emergency was our fridge door—we had bought a new one in NZ in 2008 but they are not made to last and the plastic latching system snapped. Fortunately we were able to get one shipped from Auckland to Kristen in Wellington in time for her to bring it—They were travelling very light but now will have to be regular fliers travelling somewhat heavier—I recall Aaron had to bring a toilet pump to the Marquises years ago so beware those of you who plan to join us—you may be called on to transport more than you had planned for.