Tuesday, February 10, 2009

the world's foremost Proust scholar

11 February 2009 – Similan Islands, Thailand. We have been on the boat now for several days (since the 6th) but our first big day of sailing was just yesterday. The night of the 6th we motored south from Chalong Bay around the southern tip of Phuket and anchored at Hat Nai Harn. We slept there two nights then sailed a long day sail up to Thap Lamu, a tiny fishing village just south of the Burmese border. Penny would tell you it was awful – an ugly river with mossies biting, but I enjoyed seeing the colourful fishing boats and couple of small naval ships. Penny and I walked through town and indulged in cold cokes at the Navy Wives Club while John and Nat got more food and fuel and filled a diving tank. That must have been yesterday, the 10th, after which we set sail for the big trip to the Similans, 9 uninhabited islands due west of Thap Lamu. It was our first long sail and marked the official beginning of our journey. We lost sight of shore for several hours and arrived at the Similans in the dark. It was another new experience to find the mooring in the pitch blackness, with only a little direction from a small boat full of loud “Frenchies”. The darkness concealed the fact that we’d arrived in paradise, so this morning was quite a treat – sun coming up over the clear blue waters and fish visible in every direction. Nat made an amazing breakfast as usual and then we snorkeled for hours before eating yet another surprise for lunch – cucumber salad and mango on sweet sticky rice. She impressed us once again by catching a gigantic fish off the side of the boat (in about ten minutes) and cooking it for dinner. We’ll sleep here tonight and set sail for the Andamans on Friday the 13th. We expect to be in the Andamans by the 16th.

Okay, that was the boring logistical stuff…but I have no time for the scoop now. John has set up the DVD player on deck and we’re going to have our second movie night watching Benjamin Button, one of the many pirated DVDs I bought back in Phuket. Our first movie night we watched Little Miss Sunshine with Thai subtitles for Nat. Since I don’t have time to explain the craziness of this band of six random strangers on a giant weathered sailboat headed to India, I will simply say that Little Miss Sunshine was totally apropos.