Posted by: powellpjc | September 12, 2012

Shakedown. Shaken, not Stirred.

Brekkie at the ‘Pick 5’ resto. Eggs, bacon, potatoes, tomatoes, toast or 7 other picks for $3.50.

After the additions and improvements to la Rosa here in Thailand we needed to test my so-called upgrades. So, with a couple of pals from Canada, Ulic and Toulouse, we let go from the Boat Lagoon marina on a 5 day cruise.

The plan was to head north into the islands in the Thai waters known as the Andaman Sea. Easy-peasy sailing/motoring with maybe 20 miles a day, getting up out of the sack pretty late, truth be told. Ok, Toulouse can’t sleep so he was up early.

We victualed with no concern for cost or blood pressure. Steaks, lamb chops, fresh (!?) Atlantic salmon slabs, fusilli Bolognese (Ulic’s signature dish), a Mexican night with tacos/burritos—we were in no danger of slimming down. All manner of libations and snacks, too.

First day was getting out of the marina, always nerve-wracking because of the 7 foot maximum depth. The marina provides a pilot to steer and we made it with no drama.

First night 8 miles away with a nice anchorage and great meal. We pulled out the BBQ and all other stops.

Heading out the channel from the marina. As you can see, or not, the water is murky.

A couple of handsome skippers. Coupla schmoes from Thunder Bay faking it in Thailand.

That stick out there is ‘James Bond Island’. Can’t swim, can’t touch, can’t climb. Give it a miss if you ever come here.

Next day we make for one of the flowerpot islands in the north. We poked around a bit, sailing and motoring and found an anchorage close to the famous (?) James Bond island. We’re talking about an movie—‘Man with the Golden Gun’—circa 1974, where the little flowerpot stick island was made famous. For what, I don’t know. It will fall down one day and you cannot climb it, swim to it or even get close to it. The Thai tourist board, however had made it a ‘must see’ spot on your tour.

Toulouse finds no problem holding the island up.

On the other hand, I struggle like Hercules. Of course, I am younger and less wise.

Our night at anchor was gusty, rainy and a losing proposition. Someone came round in the late night hours and relieved us of a solar light, a box of electrical parts and a dinghy box of useful goodies. A brave man he was, as we were all up at some time, checking lines and anchor set. Oh, and peeing. We are old guys.

Ulic is putting all he has into his ‘fusilli bolognese’ dish. Sweat here, sweat there. a swim, a fresh water shower and a candle light dinner. Oy vey.

The usual fish boxes were around (with flag markers) and needed to be avoided. We made for Ko Hong (the lagoon island) next day and had a beautiful anchorage. Toulouse did a circumnavigation of the island in the morning with the kayak and Ulic and I dinghy-ed into the lagoon later. Swimming is fine but the water is not clear. Too many rivers flowing in from mainland Thailand for snorkeleering or diving. Not unclean, just murky.

Toulouse in the kayak doing his circumnavigation.

I am trying out a new ‘Elvis’ look. I’ll have to work on my belly (no problem there) and get some proper sunglasses.

The entrance to the lagoon. Easy to miss.

Toulouse is on holiday.

The weather improved and we rounded Ko Yao Yai to the south and made a pleasant stop at Ko Khai Nai (try saying these names quickly) with clearer water. Dead coral and no real interest except for our meals. A hell of a lot of tourists. Most seem to be from China at this time of year.

As far as the shakedown went, I was happy. New mainsail, new jib, new lazy jacks and bag, watermaker, and especially the anchor chain/gypsy combination were put through their paces and all worked to satisfaction.

The only drama came when we returned to the marina. I called the marina via cell phone and told them we would be entering the 5 km-long  channel at 1:30 pm. They met us at the outer pylon at 1 pm. and away we went. Got slowed a few times by mud in the channel and then stopped. Hard. Much throttle, much maneuvering with dinghy from marina and then we were stuck, proper. Radio call from marina boys for assistance. The channel Sensei came out and we got under way again. For about 100 metres. Then we got stuck in the muck very, very hard. The Sensei suggested we spend the night until 4 a.m. when the tide would help us but I would have none of it. I did not want to be dead in the middle of the channel when the stinkpots returned at night, boozed up (like us) and at full throttle. We went for the mast-head halyard-to-dinghy technique with the dinghy pulling off to the side. At full power (la Rosa and the dinghy pulling us sideways) we were able to heel the boat over enough to get about a foot more clearance. All hands at the lee rail and we hammered both throttle pedals all the way back to the fuel dock in safe waters of the Boat Lagoon. Tense times but all well. Cash tips the order of the day.

Refueled with diesel for my Yanmar engine and gasoline for the outboard and then back to our slip. Nerves shot. Good shakedown.

I will be leaving in a week at MAXIMUM high tide, thank you.

Final report to follow before I hit the Big Indian.



  1. it’s all true! I was there!

  2. and I wish I had been too , Toulouse; especially for the halyard to dinghy haul off, ( well known to Swan River yachties).Oh and of coarse Ulic’s fusilli whatever. Tony

  3. the boat’s looking very sorted…the bits you added should provide some good value..Glad to see a successful shakedown with the Three Amigos..

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