Back Out on the Water!

We enjoyed Christmas with friends aboard Furthur at the dock. Our quest for a turkey failed again so I baked a couple of stuffed ducks, this is may become the Asia holiday tradition. A fellow cruiser, a findacrew friend, a traveler and a Thai friend joined July and I for a feast. This is my fourth Christmas in shorts and Hawaiian shirts, reading the weather report back home I am so grateful to be here.

Christmas past and the last boat projects complete I collected all the spare filters and such I would need for the coming year. Sadly such items are spendy here in Thailand, an oil filter for the ZF gear box is $75 usd!!! Yikes. I am preparing for another season in Indonesia where parts and repairs are just not available so stocking up… many Furthur has allot of filters, fuel, air, oil for main and gen, hydraulic, 2 water makers, hard to find room for it all.

So with the commissary and parts bins full, fuel tanks full,bottom clean and spectacular new varnish off we went. One must leave Boat Lagoon at high tide and make the shallow passage through mangrove forest and tidal flats to open water. We passed the last marker and turned south for a close favorite Ko Raja Noi, home of the sunken elephants. 

We have picked up the latest Furthur crew member, a young Brit, Sam, who is doing a “test ride” before she joins us for a longer stay. She has that oh so pleasing “Hayley Mills” accent.

Under sunny skies and calm seas we make the short trip south and drop the newly galvanized chain and anchor into the 45 feet of water and watch the anchor hit the white sand. Sam is a new diver fresh from her open water/advanced course so I take her on a check dive under the boat and she does great. I am now able to spot divers that will excel and those that will have more challenges. I had heard this was possible from experienced dive pros and now I have picked up the knack of what to look for.

The girls go ashore and I stay and fill the tanks and water, I am still monitoring the amp draws with the new system. The dive compressor, water maker, water heater and battery chargers all work at one time with no strain on the gen. When the water maker or dive compressor is taken out of the equation the A/C can run too, a nice treat for the evening cooks as they hover in the galley.

All agree Raja is too crowded so we head a few miles south to the next island and have an anchorage all to ourselves. We do another dive and enjoy a “lovely” (wonderful word now heard often on Furthur from our very own POM) evening under a full moon and stars. We retreat to the salon for the evening movie, I have found another fan of old Broadway musicals!!!! We promised July she got the next pic as she took cover in her stateroom and Sam and I watched, laughed and sang along with Oliver!

A front must have pulled in up north as we got confused swells and a rough night at anchor. I got up, put on the coffee and we made a hasty retreat out of the bumpy place. The wind shift made for an opportunity and we headed to the usually windward side of Ko Raja to dive on a wreck I know about. We pulled up and picked up the mooring. My sailboat friends love to use moorings as opposed to anchoring, with Furthur it is the opposite, anchoring is easy as pushing a button but picking up a mooring from the tall bow can be a challenge.

All secured we don the dive gear and jump in the water. We descend to 20 meters and find the wreck. The first one was placed for diving near the second, an old timber fishing boat that is now just a pile of wood over an old hull frame. This is a fishes best dream and it is full of many types. We go back to the newer wreck, an old patrol steel patrol boat and swim in and out of the cabin. We also explore the other parts of the artificial reef made of metal square structures all home to many fish.

A commercial dive boat was dumping dozens of divers at the sight just as we surfaced, good timing! And we pulled away letting them have the mooring. We wanted to be very close to Patong Beach but not go there so we anchored in a very protected anchorage at the south of the Phuket island. Tomorrow we are off to the big party. Patong Beach boasts and I think with cause, the longest fireworks display in the world. We will see 5-6 hours and two miles of constant fireworks. Then about midnight, after a long nap and lots of coffee for me, we will hit the beach and party –as the song goes—all night long.