Sailing Yacht SEA BUNNY

New Year 2013 newsletter

2012 was dominated by a record 9 months on the hard at Boat Lagoon, Phuket while Sea Bunny underwent a major extenal facelift. Sailing was limited to a trip up towards the Myanmar border and visits to the Surin and Similan island groups.

We were not out busily shopping before Christmas but frantically stowing and chivvying up workmen on Sea Bunny after ten months in Boat Lagoon. The drive was to leave the marina on the highest latest daytime high tide before Christmas 16 December with all Thai workmen off the boat! This happened and for the last two weeks we have just been exhausted and relieved after all we have achieved on the boat. No dodgy contractors, nothing stolen, prices not prohibitive and able to live in air-conditioned accommodation during the process.

So full circle, Christmas 2011 was spent here in Nai Harn Bay at the SW of Phuket in the company of Australians ,when it was quite rolly and a challenge to surf the waves to the beach. This year the conditions are calmer and the company mostly English. The Christmas Eve buffet in the Ao Sane restaurant on the north of the bay was excellent as usual.

Main Street Koy Phayah

January saw Sea Bunny heading north as far as Koh Phayam, close to the Myanmar border. A very laid back place – probably like Phuket 30-40 years ago. From there we revisited the Surin and Similan islands. In the Surins the extent of coral bleaching on the reefs, since our previous visit in 2009, was very noticeable.

Back to the GRP

In early February Sea Bunny was lifted onto the hard at Boat Lagoon, Phuket. The plan was to have the topsides painted (quoted time 3 weeks), bottom antifouled (2-3 days) and a few other jobs including new galley worktop before leaving her out of the water while we returned to the UK for 7 weeks.

Plans were rapidly modified when it was discovered that the epoxy coating that had been applied to the hull in 1994 could be peeled off in sheets. This meant that the glassfibre had to be washed and dried out and all through-hull fittings and the rudder had to be removed before a new coating could be applied. The drying was achieved during our UK trip but by the time we returned in May the wet season had started, making work nearly impossible to schedule. Do not fear you will not be bored with technical data here - for those interested the entire project it will be written up elsewhere on the website at a later date.

At the zoo

Our UK visit was a great success – seeing how the grandchildren (and dogs) are developing and fitting in several visits to friends and more distant relatives. A trip to Edinburgh Zoo and the pandas was a highlight, even if we did lose Archie for a few panicky minutes. We also managed 5 days on Skye – cold but good weather while England was having the first (?) set of floods of the year- even though several areas still had an official drought and hosepipe bans. When leaving Scotland heading south, having left Oban in bright sunlight the rain started as we crossed the England/Scotland border at Gretna. We had first attempted to get to Skye in 1969 but were then thwarted by a blizzard. It was good to make it after 43 years.

A visit to James and family followed, during which Josh, Jake and Digger introduced us to Geocaching and we acquired a Travelbug (not infectious) which we transported to Thailand and left by a temple for someone else to pick up and move on.

As the boat work progressed we became proficient at writing specifications and supervising workers. The film ,”Lost in Translation” repeatedly came to mind. Our own work schedule was quite impressive 9 -5 with a break for lunch. Sunday lunch was special as Mamas, our usual lunch spot, was closed and spent in other people’s apartments or boats with Susan’s fall back contribution being salad and bread.

Birthday group

There were a few days off though. Susan’s 65th birthday in March saw a party of about 20 enjoying a excellent buffet Sunday brunch at the Indigo Pearl hotel. It was good that we even managed 3 guests from the 2001-3 Blue Water Rally – Barry (ex Coco de Mer) who lives in Phuket and John and Judy (Kalypso) who are still in the area - as well as other valued friends.

Chris and Cath at the Rabbit

This year there was not a wedding party on Sea Bunny but Chris and Cath came for a few days to sample the sights and tastes of Phuket while on their year’s honeymoon.

Being in Thailand for so long we also had to leave twice to reactivate visas, which allow a 3-month stay at a time. To renew you only have to leave Thailand, check in and out of another country and check back in.

Andaman Club pool

We opted to do this in August and November by driving to the border town of Ranong and taking a ferry across to the Andaman Club Resort, which although an apparently Thai 4-star resort, is actually geographically in Myanmar, staying overnight and returning the next day. As all bureaucracy is on site this is entirely painless. As an additional bonus we were able to stop over with relatives of relatives, Richard and Pauline at their house in Kokh Loi just north of the bridge back onto Phuket Island.

In May we took over the coordination of a list of boats crossing the Indian Ocean in 2012 and intending to cross in 2013. This involved monthly updating of positions for the 25 or so 2012 boats and the logging of plans for the nearly 50 boats thinking of crossing in 2013. Plus a lot of boat chat.

Lunch at Mamas

The time on the hard was made very pleasant by the numerous social meals and by the many friends both old and new who passed through Boat Lagoon during our extended stay with the remark “you still here?!”

We still have a pile of jobs outstanding which will be completed in the next few months before our trip to the UK and the start of our passage across the Indian Ocean.

On Christmas Day it was a treat to be able to sit in Sea Bunny’s saloon at anchor in Thailand and watch grandsons Archie and Max in Edinburgh open their Christmas presents from us and to talk to Josh and Jake, courtesy of free Skype video and voice connections.

We hope everyone had an enjoyable Christmas and wish you a Safe, Happy and Successful 2013



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Last Updated from Nai Harn Bay, Phuket on 29 December 2012

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