Keeping Busy in Phuket

Sorry for the long delay in writing posts. We have been doing lots of chores and trying to get things lined up to extend our visas in Thailand another month. We also finally picked up our new dinghy tube covering, and finally got my phone repaired. There were several unexpected twists to the processes which caused us to have delays to our moving the boat around. As a result, we only got two days in at Phang Gna – when we expected to get five.

We had more good sailing as we continued down the coast from the Navy Base. Tahina managed to pass up a couple of catamarans along the way, including a Schoning designed Australian cat. We were on a beam reach, and Tahina is definitely faster under those conditions. We managed to sail all the way to Nai Harn. That night, we took the dinghy ashore to our favorite little restaurant. While we were eating, we noticed ashes floating around. I went to check on the dinghy at the little beach, and suddenly realized the vegetation on the hill above was on fire! We quickly finished our dinner and left as the ashes were falling on the dink and the fire was headed for the restaurant. We watched from Tahina as the fire fortunately burned out before it reached any of the buildings.

We went around to Ao Chalong and went ashore to pick up our dinghy cover. Fortunately, I had them fit it and they realized there was a minor mistake. They took it back promising to have it in an hour, but Karen and I asked if they could add some wheels so we made arrangements to deliver the dinghy and they would finish it within a few hours the next day. We rented a motorbike after dropping off the dinghy the next day. We dropped my phone off at a repair shop and were told it would be back in a few days. Then we went back to Ao Chalong to pick up our dinghy with its new cover and wheels. The jury is still out on the wheels because our first test they didn’t work well, but the sand was really soft there. But, we really like the new covering, the dinghy looks like new again.

On Monday we rented a car to go to Phuket to do the paperwork to both extend our boat for another month, and to pay fees to allow us (as crew of the boat) to leave the country so we could go to Singapore (and thus extend our visas another 30 days). We were told to do immigration first. Turns out the fee was an extra 500 bahts higher per person (about $13 extra) than we had been told, but we got that done. The customs office was closed for lunch, so we went to a local restaurant ourselves. Afterwards, we went back to customs, and the guy said he couldn’t give us the extension because we didn’t have the new visa yet (even though we had a stamp and paperwork showing we were leaving and returning). He said we would have to come back to the office after our trip to extend the boat’s stay. And since it was on the last day, we would have to pay 1000 bahts ($21). This problem with extending the boat has been a real hassle. Until the start of this year, Phuket had always given 6 months for the boat to stay automatically upon arrival. Rumors are they intend to go back to that after experiencing lots of negative feedback from everyone.

We took the car after that to get some provisions. Unfortunately, I ate something bad during lunch and for the next couple of days was cooped up on the boat spending time on the toilet. Apparently, eating something bad is a high probability in Thailand. Nearly every cruiser we know has had at least one incident since we’ve been here. They need to put some tight health rules in place in Thailand on the eating establishments like Singapore has done.

So, a day late, I went back to pick up the phone by motorbike again. Only to arrive and find out they didn’t get the part they needed yet. They said in another day or two. I emphasized we were leaving the country on Sunday, so they promised it would be soon. It took over an hour to hire the bike and drive out there and back. So, annoying.

We decided to go ahead and leave for Phang Nga after that. Three days later than planned. More about that in the next post. I’ve uploaded some photos from the last couple of weeks. And added them to this earlier post at the bottom as a slideshow.

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