Sailing off


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Similan Islands

interesting jelly fish on the anchor chain.
It was quite a task to get them off (there were a few)with gloves on.

 Similan Islands still Thailand
12th February 2012 8 degrees 39.95N and 98 degrees 38.85E
Finally we have arrived at Similans after our unexpected delay/small changes of sailing plans as we got to call it. A day after living Phuket health issue slowed us down. Than our fridges stopped working and so did 40% of our shopping Apsara developed temperamental generator that did not want to start. Part solution - a portable fridge on loan made us happy to continue.
Robert fixing a sail that got a last minute rip.It takes 10 minutes to fix
 it and 1 hour of deciphering the instructions on how to do it.
The first thing one could see entering.Beautiful huge boulders.
 This one is caled the Duck. See all the people on its beak

Similan means 9 and indeed there are 9 islands in the group and they are named 1 to 9 as well. Quite distinctive in the way they look even from afar with their spectacular rock foundations and formations . Only 3 can be stopped at others are too small or "rocky"
The whole area is protected National Park. It is not allowed to fish or drop anchors as that could damage coral so the only option if one wants to stay the night is to take a morning if one is available and hope that it is a good one to hold your boat.
Entering the bay we chose to stay at I noticed (as I am always on the bow of Cognac to look out for danger and good spots to anchor while Robert is behind the wheel) a lot of small orange buoys and some bigger ones. Thinking noting of it as we got closer only few meters closer the little buoys were actually swimmers/snorkellers in orange life jackets...a bit of a heart stopper and totally unexpected. Catching our moring buoy the first time essential as the bay is rather small with not much room for maneuvering with all the bodies in the water. Luckily we did that.
The depth here 5 meters. You would not think that would you?

Our first spot was a turtle who came for a little look and all the varieties of fish followed. In the meantime our free floating swimmers were ordered back to their speed boats and left the bay just for us. What a variety and quite big fish too. Beautiful with incredibly clear water and perfect visibility which so much so that it is almost impossible to guess the depth.
Snorkeling was an experience. We saw turtles rather big coral fish in amazing array of colors even ones that seemed to have a nose like a " Pinocchio".
Fish at the back of Cognac.
Really we did not have to go snorkelling it was like a living aquarium.

Tinker hand feeding fish with bananas.

All very enjoyable until 10am when sometimes 10-15 boats come at once and each empty about 50 people in the water with all the screams bells and whistles. The truth is that they only stay 20 min each and than move on just to repeat the performance 2 more times during the day. Yes it does take away from the serene experience.
And the tourists pouring out of the speed boats that bring them
 50 at the time.

And the night-time divers.
Oh and than at night the diving boats come in to stay for the night and except for the oxygen noise they are usually rather quite. We moved to Island No 4 quite spectacular our buoy was a few short meters from the shore and water that seemed very shallow in fact we were in 5m.  This too was very busy in a different way. The water clarity made up for it oh and the fish. Spectacular and they loved bananas! We were told that turtles love bananas. No turtles and fish ate it from the hand.

Beautiful !

Bye Bye Similans

And what a view
 We snorkeled and observed the very interesting life underwater. There is a definite pecking order in their world. The small fish would "run" the reef and the big fish obeyed. Small fish syndrome ??? We watched how the coral eaters actually turn up side down to bite on coral making a really loud crunching noise and they "poo"something unbelievable...At night we would watch this something that first we thought to be sea snake as it was long maybe 3-5 meters and thin and no it was different. As soon as we shone light on it it disintegrated into fluorescent tube that disfigured and disappeared. It almost looked like a fluorescent digestive tube digesting food. There were many such creatures coming of the land-mysterious. Enjoyed Similans and decided to move to Surins which were supposed to be really quite with almost no tourists.

Huge granite boulders which line the shorelines and are jumbled beneath the waves to depths of 35m. Very impressive.


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