Our first anchorage in Thailand was Koh Lipe. A beautiful small island with a bit of tourism but not too much. On the northwestern side where we anchored there were just a few small hotels. We went for a walk to explore the busier part of the island. It was wonderful to dive into another culture. We strolled through the village and really liked the vibe. It was early in the season and luckily not too crowded. We tasted delicious homemade icecream and in a restaurant Jaël could watch how a friendly lady painted the menu on a wooden board.
In the evening we enjoyed dinner in a small restaurant overlooking our anchorage. What a beautiful welcome in Thailand! This was just our first stop but actually Koh Lipe will be our favourite at the end.
The next day we continued our way to Phuket Yacht Haven Marina. We cleared in with the help of an agent as we had just little time before taking the flight to Switzerland. We wanted to be sure that there will be no issues with leaving the boat in Thailand and come back again afterwards. Everything went perfectly well and we just had enough time to pack our bags for Switzerland.
On the pictures above some impressions of our visit in Switzerland. What a change of temperature!!! It was so nice to see family and friends and we all enjoyed our stay to the full. Jaël and Amina were thrilled by the snow and the iceskating. And of course Jaël and Amina were thrilled by the snow and the iceskating :-).
When we got back to Thailand, ALDIVI was there with visiting family. We had some visitors too: Karsten who already chartered a sailing boat in Mallorca with his kids Lucia and Luca when we were there at the beginning of our trip. We had inspired them with our adventure and he and his wife Xiaolei were close to buy a catamaran to start their own sailing trip. They chartered the same type and size of catamaran they were planning to buy.
We stopped in Koh Dam Hok and celebrated Christmas with Karsten and his family. The following day we were heading towards Kho Phiphi with its stunning scenery and famous Maya bay. We were lucky and managed to grab a buoy. They closed the beach but there is a snorkelling area open to the public in the corner of the bay. It is absolutely crazy how many tourist boats there are. In the evening it gets quieter but early in the morning it starts all over again. You can not even swim from the buoys to the snorkling area because there is so much traffic… it was actually quite shocking.
Before going back to Yacht Haven Marina we stopped at the Island Koh Yao Yai and had dinner in a beautiful restaurant just by the beach. The following day Karsten and family had to return their boat to the charter company. It had been a fun week together. Maybe we would soon meet them with their own boat…
After Karsten and family had left we rented a car and drove to Kao Lak to celebrate New Years Eve. For André this was a very special trip as it was the first time he returned there after the Tsunami. Back in December 2004 he had been very lucky. Despite an ear infection he decided to go on the dive boat (without being able to dive). This decision saved his life. When he came back his bungalow was gone… Being there again after 15 years brought back the memories of the terrible devastation… walking on the same beach and reading the notes of families and friends who had lost their beloved ones was very moving. It felt like André had got a second life. If he would have stayed in his bungalow he certainly would not be among us today.
In the evening we sent together a lucky balloon to the sky. It was beautiful. A lot of people were on the beach and the sky was full of rising lucky baloons. The next day our friends from ALDIVI joined us and we spent a wonderful day at the beach and by the pool. In the evening we met up also with Jasmin, Jaël’s favourite supervisor from the daycare. She was on holidays with her boyfriend Cris. What a great coincidence!
Back in Yacht Haven Marina we started to get ready to move on. We waited for Martin from Singapore to fly in as he wanted to seize the chance and join us for the leg Thailand to Sri Lanka. After he had arrived we went one last time to our favourite small restaurant Papa Mama. It is a small family run restaurant within walking distance from the marina. The meals are authentic, delicious and extremly good value for money. We left Yacht Haven Marina on the 11th of January to anchor in Ko He.
Many of these beautiful small islands are really busy during the day. Tourists are shipped there by tour operators every day. Only around sunset they all leave and then you got the island to yourself. It was also that way on Ko He. The staff in the restaurant was just about to finish cleaning up and by the height of the stacks of plates we could imagine how busy this must have been during the day. Beautiful hornbill birds tried to find some left overs and we enjoyed watching them. After an overnight stop in Racha Yai where we met up with our friends from ALDIVI and ALKYONE we moved to Nai Han Bay which is a wide bay on the South Western Coast of Phuket.
We went on land for a stroll the beach and had dinner all together. The three captains organized a bus for all of us the next day to check out. So the following day we drove all together to check out of Thailand and everyone had a blast in this beautiful bus.
We left on the 15th of January for Sri Lanka with Martin on board with us. It was a perfect passage for him. We had nice sailing conditions almost all the way and no one got seasick. To tick also the box in the fishing department we even caught a delicious fish. On the 22nd lf January we arrived in Galle, Sri Lanka.