Thailand aka The Land of Conditional Smiles
SY "Kamu II" anchoring off, at 4 m depth, on mud.Click below for an interactive satellite view of our safe and protected mud anchorage:
Experiencing the squalliest sea passage ever and learning to distinguish between two types of squalls: (i) regular SW monsoon squalls and (ii) “propeller squalls” - the latter ones had the 50 plus knot force to spin the propeller of our out-boarder, when in neutral, which is attached to our push pit.
Meeting brave fishermen from
in heavy seas at about N 04° 25.00' E 078° 08.00', and establishing friendly rapport with them over a distance of a couple of dozen metres. Sri Lanka,
Finishing the very last of the seemingly everlasting red Indian onions, which we had bought at Mapusa in March 2008, almost six months ago, on 25 August 2008 at
Crossing at night-time and under sails in very light winds the busy shipping highway between Singapore and Port Said at about with a speed over ground of barely 1 - 2 knots, lighting up our sails with a powerful searchlight and thus "forcing" all these fast container vessels, supertankers and roll-on/roll-off-ships to give teeth-gnashingly way to our SY "Kamu II"; luckily, we never heard their masters' curses...
"Two ships converge upon a clear, sunlit, empty sea. There is nothing in sight except these two vessels and the blue sky, a bluer sea, and a horizon of absolute clarity within whose arena this perverse little game of the gods is being determined. It is a game best played without distractions, upon a flat and unoccupied sea and with total visibility, so that only the essentials, the two ships and their ordained occupants, are involved. Will they or won't they?"
Missing the opportunity of a hot shower and a free late-night dinner at the captain’s table of one of the many big ships in our vicinity when we, but only for a few minutes, considered the option of a pan-pan call, since we had found plenty of saltwater in the bilges and assumed a leaking welding seam, but were both very relieved when Konni eventually confessed that she had only forgotten to close a sea cock before we heeled over in one of these nasty squalls which hit us quite hard in this sleepless night.
Matt: Hallucinating typical cyclone indicators for the Bay of Bengal at least three times a day, until he was running out of Scotch: (i) sudden barometer drops of 3 - 5 mill bars below the mean pressure for this time of year, (ii) abrupt changes in wind direction and strength, (iii) long, low swell, with a long period, contrary to the perceived prevailing swell, and (iv) solid amounts of cirrus clouds followed by altostratus clouds and broken cumulus clouds.
Being becalmed for days on end, browsing through a few old German mail-order catalogues and learning how dearly our German fellow sailors have to pay for their ganz korrekt fulfilment of their cruising desires of the perfect weltumsegelung: amongst others, they pay (i) € 225.90 or US$ 340.- for a fancy anchor hook “Teufelskralle” with a 4-m nylon rope (on SY “Kamu II” we used an old piece of 16 mm mooring line as snapper attached to the anchor chain by means of a convenient rolling hitch for less than € 10.-), (ii) € 129.90 or almost US$ 200.- for a stylish and up-market fender board 1200 x 250 mm made from Kambala wood (on SY “Kamu II” we used a rugged pine plank 2500 x 300 mm for less than € 5.-) or (iii) even € 34.80 or over US$ 50.- for just one little courtesy flag of 30 x 45 cm.
Sailing from the Bay of Bengal into the Andaman Sea through the Great Channel and passing Indira Point by only about 2 nm off the southern tip of the Great Nicobar Island where Shompen people, stone-age hunter-gatherers who have resisted "integration", live in the vicinity of an Indian naval base.
Travelling the distance of 1,688 nm in almost 24 days (an average daily run of only 70 nm), a roller-coaster ride of having to hove-to in squalls with winds up to 60 knots (and almost knocked down flat) and with calms for up to five consecutive days, between Gan and Ao Chalong, thus entering Alfred Russel Wallace’s Malay Archipelago: “Situated upon the Equator, and bathed by the tepid water of the great tropical oceans, this region enjoys a climate more uniformly hot and moist than almost any other part of the globe, and teems with natural productions which are elsewhere unknown. The richest of fruits and the most precious of spices are here indigenous. It produces the giant flowers of the Rafflesia, the great green-winged Ornithoptera (princes among the butterfly tribes), the man-like Orang-Utan, and the gorgeous Birds of Paradise. It is inhabited by a peculiar and interesting race of mankind – the Malay, found nowhere beyond the limits of this insular tract, which has hence been named the
Malay Archipelago...” - Southeast Asia, here we come!
Clearing in at Ao Chalong's one-stop service centre (immigration: issuing a marine-transit permit on arrival for “skipper” Matt and a tourist-visit permit on arrival for “passenger” Konni, both valid for 30 days; customs: importing temporarily SY “Kamu II” for a period of up six months, extendable up to 2 years; harbourmaster: filling in some meaningless forms that put SY “Kamu II” in the same class as huge supertankers), all free of charge, fast, friendly and painless on our side.
Click below for more blog posts about long sea passages
19 Jul - 18 Aug 2008 Gan: Chagos to Maldives
14 Apr - 15 Apr 2008 Chagos: Gan to Chagos
15 Mar - 16 Mar 2008 Uligamu: Goa to Maldives
02 Feb - 12 Feb 2008 Bombay: Fujairah to India
25 Sep - 27 Sep 2007 Sur: Gulf of Aden
Click below for a summary of this year's travels
2008 Map Konni & Matt
Recommended books - click below for your Amazon order from the United States: