Friday, January 20, 2017

Ko Dam Khwan - 07° 52' 00" N 98° 43' 00" E

So Plan H was turned into Plan J by the weather, a howling easterly of 25-30kn.  This plan saw us seeking shelter at Ao Nang, a bay well protected from the east, with a lovely beach (a request from Keara) and a village offering restaurants, shopping and massages.  The one little hiccup was the 25nm of bashing into the wind we had to do to get there!

Ao Labu to Ao Nang
Cruising down the west coast of Ko Yao Yai was well protected.  Both girls had a turn at helming.  Elaina did a magnificent job, wonderful concentration and got the hang of the roll of the water.  Once we unfurled the heady, she even noted it was easier to steer.  We will use her as a helmsperson on a more permanent basis!
Captain Keara
Things changed dramatically once we left the protection of the island.  With the wind bang on the nose, we bashed into a big wind chop and were managing only about 4kns - a far cry from the 9kn we were doing in the lee of the island.  Rather than succumbing to seasickness, the girls reveled in it.  Keara was bouncing from one end of the salon to the other, swinging off things, giggling her head off.  She LOVES it when it is bumpy.  For everyone else, we were pleased when the seas flattened and we tucked into the protected bay. 

The next day, it literally rained all day.  We headed into the beach and whilst Sean played with the kids, Kate and Lynda enjoyed coffee, a spot of shopping and Happy Hour - at the local massage joint. Elaina had her hair braided, Keara had a snooze in the restaurant and we headed back to the boat in the dark.  A great way to spend a rainy day!

Rainy day activities - movie night!
Dingy adventures followed the next day as we explored the beaches around the headland. Well equipped with buckets, spades, snorkeling gear, snacks and drinks, we spent the day poking in and out of the beaches and coves between Ao Nang and Phra Nang Beach.  We snorkeled and swam and watch the climbers scale the limestone cliffs and fall into the water.
Exploration by dingy (fully equipped for fun!)
Duly noted...
The Crew at Phra Nang Beach


We explored the rather bizarre Phra Nang (Princess) Cave.  Apparently, since ancient times,  fishermen have made offerings to the symbolic Phallus of Shiva before going to sea to bring them 
success in their fishing and protect them from danger.  The bizarre bit is that it's filled with carved wooden phallic symbols!

On this beach, the beautiful Rayavadee Resort is located.  Accessible only by water, this five-star sanctuary offers pavilion-style accommodation starting at $700 per night up to a princely $6 000 for the really fancy-pants digs.  What the website fails to mention is the beach is jammed-packed with smoking, sunburnt Russian tourists to the soundtrack of the greasy, petrol drone of the long-tails running in and out.  (imagine, ALL your neighbours mowing their lawns at the same time.)  A few of these longtails are restaurants to feed the hoards.  So much for the serenity of a remote, private beach.  We would have been very disappointed if we were staying there.

Longtails on Phra Nang Beach
The Restaurant Longtail...
So we zipped back along the long-tail 'super highway' (so named due to the numbers of boats running backwards and forth from Ao Nang) to the serenity of Popeye.

Such suffering - lazing under the clothes line...
Still working to Plan J, we nipped across to Ko Dam Khwan the next morning and anchored in the bay protected by a sand bar the dries at low tide.  The day was filled with snorkeling, catching poor critters and exploring the beach.

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What is making Keara giggle?
The Sergeant Majors nibbling at her legs!

Beware of the monkeys
Front porch dance party

Ko Dam Khwan sunset

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