Saturday, 30 March 2013

SIGIRIYA- a fabulous rock.24mar2013

Another highlight.
This is a golden rock,380 mters high,sticking out above surrounding forest and the 5th century,buidings and terraces were made on its 1.6 acre summit.below were lovely terraced gardens.surrounding these were a high earth rampart with stone terracing,then a moat,then another outer wall,all still in great condition.steep steps start going up the rock face,then a modern steel stairs,then a circular caged staircase,hanging off side of vertical cliff,to get to the ancient frescoes of apsaras,=buxom an original walkway to lion terrace,about halfway up,so called because of the 2 massive lions paws.priginally this end of the rock had a was covered bt a huge lion made of a steep steel staircase leads to surviving buildings- just lots of brick foundations and terraces,accentuated by green grass,slightly reminisent of machou pichu.some said fort,or palace- consensus says monastery.great views.
Brehfast at chooty,we had hoppers.sort of crispy pancake in half ball shape with elephant went slowly past with some japanese tourists.4

KANDY 24-3-2013

KANDY is described as the cultural capitol of sri lanka,and is in the highlands,in the middle of country.In the middle is kandy lake,made by last king,before british conquered in 1800s.we went for early morning walk around lake.huge beautiful trees.we went past royal bathing pavilion and tooth relic
After breakfast we drove to the temple,the most famous as houses a buddhist tooth
After buying our tickets we crossed the moat into temple.I think the temple must have initially been the last kings palace.
It was puja time and the temple was packed with locals in white ,bearing offerings,maimly flowers- lotus or purple lily,with loud religious band all got a bit crowded upstairs where offerings were made--but I found it very moving.after that we strolled around the rest of temple complex,which is quite large,lots of other buildings and tlittle temples.
In the pm we drove to Sigiriya,where we plan to climb the rock tomorrow.booked into guesthouse,then walked to little village.a few backpacker places and cafes.chooty cafe had great food which we enjoyed at our roadside seats under a colourful umbrella watching the world go by,and talking to some young backpackers

ADAMS PEAK 23 march 2013 sri lanka

Probably our sri lankan highlight.
Departed our guesthouse 0230 and were soon on climbing up the 1800 steps.we were amazed  at the constant stream of local pilgrims going up and down.those coming down had obviously had a long night,.many were elderly.many carried childeren.the women were all dresed in white.most of the ascent is well lit.there were many teahouses,so we went steadily up,stopping several times for a cup of refresnhing tea.
The higher we got ,the steeper the steps,and narrower.
0530 we were at last teahouse,50 meters from summit.then we we on top.lots of people.BEfore dawn the sky started turning red,and as sun rose there was a gasp from crowd,cameras aloft,buddhist flags aflutter,a drum started beating slowly,then buddhist ceremony music started playing.all rather special.
Looking west,the shadow of adams peak was clearly visible.
The band did a procession around the temple,and a monk led a service.lots of buddhist believers.seems to be an active religion ,for all agegroups.
Then the big descent.nice to see in daytime now.lots of colourful prayerflags.
Breakfast,shower,and drive to Kandy.


Kerry and sophie left early with driver to do the Worlds End Walk.they said it was great,.
I decided to do a train trip.Hapatule to Hatton,leaving at took 3 hours.a 2nd class ticket was 130 rupees(A1$).most of the local went 3rd class.2nd class was bery nice,modern and clean.I had frequent visits to the buffet cat for vege rotis and cups of tea,and spent most of trip hanging out an open doorway ,enjoying the spectacular scenary of this altitude train trip.presumably the track was built by the british.lots of tunnels and bridges to get through the high hills.some forests of tall pines,and of huge gumtrees,and neat vege gardens,but mainly neverending tea plantations.many have neat green and white signs giving name- often sounding very british.
In the pm we drove to Dalhousie,as we plan to climb Adams Peak,sri lankas holiest mountain,tomorrow.nice guest house and our balcony has a great view of adams peak,a tall pointy peak,looming above us,.can just make out the monastery building on top.we walked into the little village.we got some headtorch batteries,as plan to start walking 0230 to be there by sunrise.then we bought some fruit.walking further ,we went past numerous colourful stalls selling offerings for the pilgrims,and found the starting point of walk proper,.later we returned for a meal of khottu-made by frying noodles and veges,then chopping on hotplate with huge cacophony of sound.


Up 0430'for 0500 pickup by our safari jeep,then drive before dawn to park which opened at 0600'.this park is in south east sri lanka,with an some border being is famous for its LEOPARDS.however after 4 hours of intense watching we saw none.we did some footprints.but it was fun driving around.the waterbuffalo silohetted by rising sun were terrific.lots of birdlife ,especially in the lagoons- but best was the little green bee eater.we also saw mongooses,distant jackels,elusive spotted deer,wildboar,and one elephant  up close,who came up to our jeep and put his trunk inside looking for food.
In the pm we headed  north to the tea country.the scenary climbing steadily upwards was fabulous- little narrow tar road,green grass and trees.then we were driving between tea plantations.more beautiful scenary.lots of neat rock terracing,neat little dirt roads to neat little villages.we arrived at Hapatule,set on a ridge,with great views.reminded me of nepal.checked into our guesthouse,then out walking- fruitshop,cafe for vege rotis and teas,a shop to buy knife and plates for our yoghurt and oats and fruit breakfasts,then a stroll out amongdt the tea plantations,.


Up early for one hour drive to Mirissa for 0700 departure for whalewatching.Little harbour beautiful in early morning sunlight on still water with many colourful fishing boats,and whalewatching boats.
We were out for 4 hours.we saw 6 whales.whenever one was spotted all the boats would speed towards it.the whale would the promptly dive and disappear!so we saw 4 spouts + 2 distant whales in part.
Tomorrow is safari park so we drove to Kavina,checking into a cute little guesthouse.time for a beachwalk & climb to a Buddhist temple set on huge boulders overlooking sea.
Very good food at our guesthouse,sitting in a little pavilion.sleep under mosquito nets- every night.

SRI LANKA-GALLE 18-19mar2013

We flew into Sri Lanka for a 12 day the airport we met by our driver,Chintatah.we had prebooked vehicle and driver.for same cost as cheapest car,we booked a 6 seater van,so plenty of traffic and roads are chaotic,we also got a driver.nonlocals rarely drive in sri lanka.-
After paperwork,phone card and ipad topup,we were off ,south to Galle.there we drove into the old dutch fort &founf a cheap quaint hotel in an old dutch building.we had time for a late afternoon walk along the 400 year old massive walls along ocean edge- most impressive.watched a film being made on bastion rampart,then found a cafe with views over walls,terracotta rooves,old white mosque and thw white lighthouse- sri lankan curry and lion lager,the sri lankan beer- all very nice.we are impresed with sri lanka already.
Up at sunset for early morning walk,along more fort walls,then out of fort,along foreshore,to fishing many really colourful fishing boats.had breakfast and teas at their canteen with a friendlly local.
After lunch we went to maritime museum-in a large old dutch warehouse with massivee walls...Enjoyable strolling around inside fort- good atmosphere- 400 buidings- houses,hotels,galleries,shops,schools,businesses,churches,restaurants,cafes.

SINGAPORE 16-17mar2013

We had a lovely weekend in Singapore with Tom and Barb,staying on their immaculate yacht Gosi in one degree 15 marina,on Sentosa Island. Sophie recieved a great overview of Singopore.
On Saturday we all got the MRT to chinatown,going to the terrific new Tooth Relic Buddhist Temple.Then at 4.30 joined a free walking tour of CBD Sophie found on line.started at Raffles place,then the posh riverfront Fullerton hotel,past pineapple convention centre,massive new cbd towers,colonial cricket ground,Armenian church and Hindu temple with vibrant service.So it was appropriate to have dinner in Little India.
Sunday kerry and Sophie went for early bike ride.We then caught Mrt to racecourse road,to see 3 temples- the buddhist yellow tiger,being the best.time for lunch at roadside cafe while the heavens opened- the abalone soup and the salted chicken were the specialties and were excellent.Heading for the majestic Museum of Asian Civilisations on riverfront,we came across coplourful St Patricks day celebrations with balloons,marching and bagpipes.the museum had 2 special Buddhism
 exhibitions .for dinner we went to a very local area of government highrise flats,to the Two Chefs retaurant,joined the queue,and then had a very lively meal.
Thanks for a great weekend Tom & Barb

Saturday, 16 March 2013

MALACCA STRAIT passage,phuket to JOHOR BARU.march 2013

4 days and nights,540 nm.
Departed au chalong 0700'and arrived puteri marina,about 9am,so 98 hours.only sailed about 7 hours .
,as not enough wind,so motor/motorsailed the rest.
We stayed way off fishtraps.lots of big ships,especially south of port klang.we then went along edge of shipping lane. The AIS on cockpit chartplotter was fabulous,with an alarm when any big ship too near.some fishing boats but not a problem.
Sophie cooked dinner every night and the meals were fabulous
She also did active aerobics daily and got kerry involved.the captain did stepups  and situps in the cockpit.
After we arrived at marina,we did immigration,then boatjobs to leave boat for 2 months.
We plan to have weekend in singapore with tom and barb on gosi at one .15.hen fly to sri lanka with sophie for 2 weeks

Sunday, 10 March 2013


Busy day doing boat jobs.nice dinghy dock at end of long au chalong pier.lots of cruising boats at anchor and on moorings.lots of tourist boats-big speedboats with 3-4 big outboards,longtails,diveboats.
picked up brents suzuki 4x4 ,dropped off laundry,collected our new genoa from rolly tasker-looks good.then diesel and boat lagoon mick from octapus was great with chartplotter fix.
final meal at mamas-the cheap eatery at marina with great food.sophie asked if we had ever had a bad thai meal-answer=no.san
reprovision at supermarket near au chalong=very good .sophie has planned dinners all the way to singapore,so trolley was full,and we should eat well.
picked up laundry and back to Haven.the wind had dropped,so put up our new genoa.kerry retuned the chartplotter.we tied jerry cans on and did engine all ready to leave tomorrow.
lovely evening on boat,watching sunset over the big buddha,having baguettes with cheese and ham for dinner
SAT9Mar-got awat about 7.initially sailing at 7+ knots,with new genoa nicely filled.then wind went and we motorsailed on a glassy sea.sophie cooked SAN CHOY BOW for dinner=scrumptious.
SUN10March-a few showers midmorning and sailing along nicely
we plan to go nonstop to puteri marina,johor baru,at bottom of malaysia,opposite singapore,wind permitting.

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Saturday, 9 March 2013


MON4March-up anchor and over to KOH YANG,more gorgeous limestone stack scenary.Dinghied over to KOH PING KAN,better known as James Bond island,made famous by 1974 film,the man with the golden gun.smallsland,big cliffs,small beach,tall thin pillar of rock in water in front of beach.
KOH PAN YI was our next dinghy is a muslim village set below soaring cliffs with houses built on stilts over very touristy with lots of daytrippers who come in speedboats and loud longtails,lined up in front of 8 large waterfront restaurants.we had a nice lunch,strolled allround village,and had some nice coffees.back to Haven.
then sailed over to KOH HONG(phang nga bay).Lots of kayakers.after they left we took dinghy around to n w entrance to lovely lagoon.then swim thru to two hongs.left lagoon via another beautiful small hong,exiting on south side.

TUE5Mar2013-a loval fishing couple in a small longtail came over and we bought some large fresh green prawns.then we went to KOH HONG ARCHIPELAGO,near Krabi.took dinghy into large internal lagoon.another scenic spectacle with steep walls,stalactites,several longtails and mangroves.then dinghied around to south side beach for sophies geocache.we wenrt on the tsunami trail and found it with help of handheld GPS.big tsunami warning signs everywhere.had a swim at a most impressive beach-small curved sandy beach,with big rock on end and huge cliff other end.very popular with many daytrippers.
put dinghy on deck and motorsailed over to RAI LEI BEACH.dropped anchor just before sunset,with the huge expanse of cliffs looking most impressive.
we had the prawns for dinner-cooked with garlic,ginger and soy sauce,they were the best ever.

WEDNESDAY6March,2013-dinghy over to rai lei west beach.already lots of longtails.there are resorts and restaurants,but no road access-all by boat.
did a geocache with sophie.
we walked over to east beach,and watched the rock climbers on the steep cliffs-fascinating.we found a the cute path towards pra nang beach-it follows clifvf face ,with lots of overhanging s,tites.detoured to lookout-very steep climb,grat view.then very steep climb down to SA PHRA NANG lagoon-lots of ropes.nice at lagoon,then only way out =back up steep climg to top,then down to path,and on to PRA NANG BEACH & CAVE.cave has colourful offerings.another very popular beach.huge cliff at one end,so beatiful.lots of longtails tied up outside swimming section,some selling cooked meals,so tsty lunch on the sand.
a big climb to lookout,via a cave,with dark caverns and steep ladders-all a bit indiana the top some russian tourists were preparing to take he short route down=abseiling.we walked back,had a cooling swim,more late longtail lunch,walk back via east beach,to west beach to dinghy ,to next geocache.
we went around south headland,where there was a small rocky island below a tall thin stack-scenary so good.sophie found the geocache.a lot of swell ,so she jumped off rock into sea,then into dinghy!
back to haven for showers,and then over to beach over from rai lei for dinner.magic evening,looking west to sunset,and north and south to the big cliffs

THUR7March2013-back to AU chalong.arranged car hire and had a beer at phuket cruising yacht club,then went up street for chalong does have a seedy ambience.
Boat jobs tomorrow,and depart next day

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Friday, 8 March 2013

Phang nga bay ,thailand,march,2013

We had a fabulous week in noth phang nga bay with the beautiful limestone cliff scenary,the lagoons and hongs,james bond island,muslim stilt village,geocaching, and finally rai lei beach for a great finish
Sun 6 mar.departed nai yarn bay,nice sail south ,down west coast of phuket,past patong beach,past naiharn bay,around prothep cape and lighthouse,then up east coast,then into north phang nga,anchoring at Koh Phanak.staggering scenary with islands with huge vertical cliffs.took dinghy into hong,via long tunnel,so torch and paddles,and very nice in hong.on way back to haven,stopped and chatted to lovel old yacht called was the 1st australian yacht to sail around the world,in 1935, and the grandson ,our age,had just got married on it and was honeymooning.

FW: NAI YARN BAY,west phuket,25feb,3mar,2013

Subject: NAI YARN BAY,west phuket,25feb,3mar,2013
Date: Thu, 7 Mar 2013 18:35:32 +1100

mon 25 feb-sailed into this lovely bay late afternoon.calm water,.several yachts and cats at anchor,including endangered species.had a lovely meal with rick and robyn on board their beautiful catamaran,with lots of discussion about shipping to the Med.
tue26feb-hired a car and took torn genoa in to be repaired,plus get quotes on making a new one.
got a quote on shipping to the med
that evening went ahore for dinner at beachfront restaurant with rick and robyn and long tall sally
wed27febpaid deposit on new genoa
-out to dinnerin old phuket town at very nice upmarket restaurant- put on  by sevenstar yacht shipping company.about 60 guests-all shipping to the med.nice team and briefing
thur28feb-we decided not to ship.we will continue with our plan to sail to south africa this year.
we will catchn up with endangered species in the c'bean in 2 years.
collected our repaired genoa.
went out to Promthep cape for sunset-very pretty and sophie geocache
then to Patong beach,for outdoor dinner,then a wander-fascinating sleaze.found a 2nd hand bookshop and bought a dozen
fri 1mar-hired a car-get 2 hp yamaha fixed,do 2 diesel runs,provision,and visit the BIG is big,and impressive,sitting on top of big hill.nice lunch up there overlooking yachts anchored off au chalong.another sucessful sophie geocache.
party night on endangered species-thanks r & r.also there were soul,scallywag and nuko'alofa.
sat2mar-long morning coffee with michael and ger from simanderal-great to catch up
dinner out again,next bay down,organised by lynn and dick.their cat ,windpony was only boat at anchor.lovely bay and beachfront eating.said goodbyes as we leave early tomorrow for Phang Nga Bay


Date: Thu, 7 Mar 2013 18:07:29 +1100

on the wy back we got a big rip in genoa in night squall.stopped at SIMILAN ISLANDS,at koh similan,picking up one of the 4 red mooring buoys.very pretty protected bay huge round boulders on headland ,which we climbed,afforfing great view over haven,other boats and bay..lovely snorkelling,with the same huge boulders now underwater,good viz and very vividly coloured tropical fish-good size and tame.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013


while sailing back from the Andamans we got a sailmail from Rick & Robyn on Endangered Species that they had decided ti ship to the Med rather than sail to South Africa.that made us also reconsider.we sailed into Nai Yarn Bay,west phuket,on mon 25 feb,and had a lovel dinner and evening on endangered species and discussed sevenstar shipping.
the next day we rang sevenstar in holland and got a good quote to ship in April,Phuket to Marmaris in Turkey
.so the next night we were at the sevenstar dinner in old phuket town at a lovely restaurant for briefing wiith 50 other cruisers who were shipping to the Med
except us.we were there as possibles-and decided we would rather go with our original plan-travelling to south africa this year via cocos keeling,rodriuges,mauritius,reunionand possibly madagascar