Posts Tagged ‘Ton Sai’

Spent a week onboard with my two boys cruising around Phuket & Krabi. Stopped at some very different anchorages including the drying sandy spit at Ko Yao Yai, which was a fun and interesting spot to explore at low tide. The place is covered in a variety of crabs with Ghost crabs being in the majority. Two local guys were out fishing for them with a rod and line when we first arrived at high tide, and it is only at low tide do you realise just how many of them there are and what a huge area of the waterway dries out.

The depths in the channel are different from the charts I had, (1.8m where there should be 8.2m !) but if you stay close to the north shore you should have 6m to 8m at most places apart from 3m to4m close to the entrance. Certainly sufficient to work your way into a nice spot to anchor. I anchored just to the north, off the main channel, and about 1100m to the East of the the light marking the rocks, and had around 6m even at low water.

We had an easy night at anchor there with negligible wind with the boat swinging gently with the tide.

In daylight you can watch speedboats and even some fairly big sized sport cruisers taking the channel as a short cut on the Krabi-Phuket route, but the Andaman Sea Pilot guide book warns against it unless you have someone with good local knowledge onboard.

We took a slow cruise over to Ao Nang and Rai Lei Beach. The weather when we started out was beautiful, sunny and clear. When we were in about 20m water depth, we cranked up the water maker and filled the tanks, with fresh clean and pure H2O (as opposed to what the Marina has to offer !)

On the way we took a quick looksie at Koh Hong – Krabi. Unfortunately it looked busy with a number of yachts there and a host of speedboats coming and going so we deferred stopping there for another day and kept on moving, dodging purse netters when we were out of the ‘deep’ waters and closer to Ao Nang. Pointing the Bow towards the “Phallic” rock we crept into 4-5m at Rai Le beach and dropped anchor in the sandy bottom.

It was a beautiful spot, but it is the equivalent to being anchored in the middle of the motorway or expressway with all manner of longtail boats, speedboats, ferry’s and anything on the water blasting past us at speed with sometimes just metres to spare from our Bow or Stern.

In any case we made it to shore and explored around the shallows and followed the kayak-ers on their paddle around the island. On the beach you could hear just about all 27 languages of the European Union. Seemed everyone was just interested in soaking up the sun’s rays and forgetting about the chilly Northern winter.

Some of the limestone rocks/cliffs there look ready to give way and go for a swim but thankfully none gave way during our snorkeling swims around there. Along the way a stingray got friendly with us but look don’t touch as always is the best policy.

Back on the boat, come the magic hour of around 5pm and the beaches get deserted and the boat traffic thins out to zero. Peace at last.

That is until some dirty black clouds started forming to the South, just around dusk. Why does the sea always pick up around the time I need to ‘cook’

It’s a story for another time but suffice to say we would see just a smidgen under 30knots of wind more than once that night. With wind and seas opposing it made for an ‘interesting’ night on the anchor. When daylight came around we still had occasional gusts over 20 knots, but I’m glad to say still with an anchor well buried in the sand !

We had no regrets picking up the anchor the next morning and heading south to visit the sheltered Ton Sai bay at Phi Phi Don Island.

We chose to drop the anchor at PhiPhi rather than try to pick up a mooring. Why not after the previous night, my Bruce anchor and all 80m of chain  has my absolute undivided trust !

That said it did make it interesting swinging at anchor inside the pattern of moorings. Mostly so after a 30ft boat was replaced by an 80 ft ferry during one of my snorkeling trips. It didn’t stay; just as well as it looked like I could have just about shook hands with it’s captain at one stage.

The water at PhiPhi is beautiful and clear, and it is great fun to take a swim off the stern if you can keep a watch out for the speed boats blasting through the anchorage ! It gets interesting when there are two or three that seem to be ‘racing’ to get to the beach first. Keeping a good lookout and caution is the order of the day.

We could have spent longer at PhiPhi; we never made it over to PhiPhi Lei, but we still enjoyed our time there and explored all we could of Ton Sai Bay and the snorkeling spots along the sheer rock face.

Going on land was a mind blowing experience to see the built up Hotels, Shops & Banks (?) there, if I compare it to my last visit some twenty years ago, with mostly just beach huts and ‘shacks’. Now I feel really old !

We saw the monkey that likes to smell your money, and then give you a hug, but gave that a miss. We went forth on a re-supply mission and found Two Seven Eleven Stores, and there must be more. We got all that we needed with the exception of butter ! Guess Thai people don’t like butter on their sani’s.

After a fun three days we lifted the anchor and took a slow cruise North back to AoPo Grand Marina, through some rain and snotty weather.

Back in the Marina it was time to head off to find a Fuji Japanese Restaurant, get some doughnuts and let the kids try to get their ‘land legs’ after having their sea legs tested with everything that mother nature could throw at us the past week. They both came through with flying colours !

Post Script; Only after being back in the Marina did I find out that our ‘eventful’ stormy night had also made it’s prescence felt across all of Phuket and in particular one Phuket Kings Cup competitor “IchiBan” (from Australia) had been blown onto the beach…. surprisingly for the second year running. Seems these southerly storms that “dont” happen this time of year are now Two for Two.

To IchiBan I can only say; Mate get a BIG Bruce anchor ! I can swear by it !


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