Ko Muk - 07° 19' 37" N 91° 16' 01" E

the lovely Kokomo
On the last night we were in Langkawi, we met an Australian couple sailing a boat with a Canadian flag and got to chatting with them.  Mark is a master mariner and has spent most of his life on large container and cargo vessels.  Julie, his wife, is new to the cruising life but game to join Mark to live aboard Kokomo, a 60 foot Cooper sloop that they bought in Vancouver.  They started living aboard in June and are now retired and exploring the Singapore/Malaysia/Thailand area.  They let us tour their lovely boat, fitted with Canadian maple and many luxuries that would make life aboard very pleasant.  How excited do you think we were when they asked us if we wanted to sail with them from Langkawi to Phuket?

This is the absolute BEST Immigration line I've ever been in.
We needed to get Popeye up to Kata Beach (on Phuket) for Craig and his charter group first, so having done that and spent some time on the island, we then needed to get back to Langkawi.  The milk-run island ferry seemed like the best solution, so we packed up four days ago and started back.  The ferry stopped at many different islands, but we didn’t disembark.  The ferry went as far as Ko Lipe, where we had to overnight and catch the Malaysian speedboat the next morning.  Ko Lipe is a National Park, but with all the hotels, longboats, dive shops and restaurants along the beach and on the island, we couldn’t figure out what benefit the National Park designation was providing the island.  Hopefully, the 200 Baht each we had to pay to come ashore was going towards park rangers who were keeping the coral in better shape than it would normally be.

Mark and Julie Board
We were a bit nervous upon going to spend five days with a couple that we had only met very briefly before.  It turns out that there was not need for worry.  Mark and Julie are marvelous, generous, interesting people.  Mark was filled with stories from his merchant mariner days, having travelled much of the world and had some great experiences.  Julie had some stories to tell about being an ex-pat in Singapore.  Both were great hosts and Kate and I were suitably impressed by our accommodations.  They have done a great job of setting themselves up with a new home on the water, having sold their land-based house and fully moved onto the boat.  Mark and Julie are justifiably proud of Kokomo and have been very patient with all my questions about systems on the boat and the hows and whys of the systems.  They have been giving us insight on the good and the bad parts of living aboard – I am finding this invaluable for assuring me that Kate and I can do this successfully. 

We spent a day settling into the boat in Langkawi before setting out.  We brought out both main and jib sail and even brought out a seldom-used gennaker, but the winds were a bit too light to really get Kokomo going properly.  We ended up relying on the iron sail (engine) to get us to Taranto, our first stop.  Mark and Julie prefer to just day sail, so we were going to be hopping from one anchorage to the next.  During the day passages, we find ourselves in the cockpit, under cover of a wide biminy behind the generous wheelhouse, chatting about our working days, friends, places we’ve been to or would like to go someday. 

a.k.a. Emerald Beach!

Last night we made it to Ko Muk and decided to go to Emerald Beach on the island.  What makes this beach unique is it can only be accessed through a dark, 80 metre-long tunnel that is wide enough for swimmers, kayaks or very small dinghies.  Flashlights in hand and Kate and I in the water towing the dinghy (Julie wasn’t quite brave enough to get out and swim through an unknown cave), we felt very much like we were in an Indiana Jones movie as we made our way through the twisty, dark tunnel.  We managed to find the pathway through and were treated to a secluded wander around the beach.  As we were making our way out through the tunnel, there was the traffic of a tour group, all lifejacketed up and paddling nervously through the water the way we had just came.  Thank goodness we went in before breakfast and had the place to ourselves – the rest of the day was likely to be busy in there!

We are now underway to Ko Phi Phi Don, where we will anchor tonight and likely go ashore for a look around.  Cruising life is very much suiting Kate and me.

3 kms? When the tsunami comes, you better be fit!
Lots of Kings Cup tenders ashore on Kata Beach

Dinner on Ko Lipe after a long ferry ride

Mile Zero of the Andaman Highway on Ko Lipe

Beach at Ko Lipe
Kokomo's salon
Wheelhouse - snug place in a storm!
Kokomo's galley

real portholes!
Proper bathroom - shower to the right
Alcohol leads to dance parties
properly sheltered cockpit
exploring Emerald Beach
Indiana and his sidekick get towed through the tunnel
out of the tunnel from Emerald Beach
On watch

Julie and Mark look out to Kokomo


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