The next day during our morning weather review, we spot something rather unpleasant in the forecast. “Andrew, have you seen the forecast?” I ask. He nods. Yeah. I start the 7 day rolling display over again and watch as some pink and red areas moosh together, start to spin in a circle then build to include blue and purple as well.
“That looks like a Typhoon forming.” I say.
“Yeah, but it’s on the other side of the peninsula, so it will probably break up when it hits land.”
I furrow my brow and watch as the 7-day forecast extends to 10-days and the swirling eyeball of unpleasantness skips right over the land and continues to strengthen as it blows toward the Indian Ocean and directly over where we are now. I zoom in and read the gust forecasts expected to be up to 60 or 70 knots. Nothing to laugh about, there! I think. “We need a plan. What’s our plan?”
“Don’t worry, we’ll get somewhere safe. It’s still a long way out and I really don’t think it will survive going over land. You know how these forecasts are. They often dissipate as you get closer in time.” Andrew tries to soothe me, and he’s right. Many times the forecasts show weather 7 days out that never comes to fruition. But if this does…it’s not just weather, but one of those spinning monsters that reap such havoc on sailors and sailboats. I shrug, for now the weather is fine.
The next morning, we scoot along to the next group of islands to anchor near one aptly named “Koh Hong.” This Hong had fallen to pieces more substantially than the others, leaving it more as a lagoon surrounded by tall cliff walls, but not requiring entry through a cave. Once the sailboats are securely anchored, Grin and Steel Steven escort us over to the Lagoon to poke around. We paddle in and among scores of tourists in kayaks, each following a tour guide with a little red or yellow flag in the lead: “Get a guide!” They yell at us occasionally.
“They are just sore they didn’t think to hire Grin Boat Adventure Tours to take them around, aren’t they Grin?” I ask. They don’t know what they are missing.
Soon, we see Sonrisa peeking her bow in through a gap in the cliffs. Looking rather picturesque, we decide to pause to coordinate some “family photos”.
We decide this would make an excellent spot for a Lagoon Cocktail (once all the tourists leave), so we go back to the boats, whip up cocktails and snacks, and return to tie the dinghies together for a floating bar. Steel Steven and his crew are more successful with the drone this time, and they are able to get an outrageously awesome photograph of the lagoon - all to ourselves!
Waive “hi” to Sonrisa anchored at the foot of cliffs!
After enough wine, we decide this rock really does start to look like a chicken.
“Have you guys seen the forecast?” Pete asks. We ponder this point over our cocktails, until it’s time to move to our second cocktail hour - we’ve been invited aboard another American boat for drinks and snacks.
“Have you guys seen the forecast?” The American Boat Crew asks.
When a storm is a-brewin’ it is always the talk of sailor-town.
We’d love to stay a few days in this anchorage. It’s so pretty and it isn’t as crowded with tourist long-tail boats as some others, but with this storm potential we decide we have to keep sailing and get to a more protected area. We sail through that strange Thailand sea and cliff landscape that only gets more and more intriguing the further we reach into the curl of Phang Na Bay, the eyebrow arch of Thailand.
We stop at the famous James Bond Island, and take the requisite photos along with six thousand of our closest tourist friends.
We fix a rather tasty fresh pan sauteed shrimp salad with a bowl fresh shrimp we bartered off a fisherman at the anchorage we left this morning, then up anchor and carry further on to our next stop. Koh Pan Yi.
Here, a colorful Muslim village built on the water atop stilts is nestled next to more of Thailand’s sheer, tall cliffs. The town glows in the low light of evening and we head in to explore and find dinner. New Year’s Eve is tomorrow. We need to settle on some epic plans. We put our heads together over some spicy red curry, and soon a plan is hatched.
To be continued…