Day 89, Year 4: Master and Commander
Date: Monday, January 19, 2009
Weather: Settling of the Northeast Monsoon
Latitude: 08 degrees 04.636 minutes N
Longitude: 098 degrees 40.805 minutes E
Location: Ko Hong, Krabi Province, Thailand

We had another incredible day. The weather has continued to be beautiful and the scenery is just beyond compare. And Windbird definitely has a new commander. The new commander is a two year-old named Sam. He still lets granddad be the master, but Sam is obviously charge. He gets in the dinghy and takes hold of motor handle and then points with this Napoleon-like look in the direction he would like to go. He helps launch the dinghy, steer Windbird when we are underway, and when he has had enough he simply commands, “Stop.” And he keeps us all smiling all day long with his antics on the beach. Today he ran in the water after schools of tiny little fish and would then just flop down on his tummy and crawl through the water. If the water is a little deep it doesn’t bother him. He’s not swimming on his own yet, but it won’t be long.

This morning we waited for the sun to warm the water and then took off in the dinghy for the beach at Ao Phra Nang, around the corner from Railay Beach. We arrived at the beach near low tide and decided to walk from the beach across to another small beach on a rock island that was accessible only by walking across the sandbar at low tide. There was no one else on the small island except us and a couple of rock climbers, so we enjoyed the solitude and the beauty. The small island we were on was really just a limestone cliff rising straight out of the sea with a little beach at low tide-very dramatic. As the tide started to rise, we took our things back across the narrow strait to the main island and Mark, Sam, and I took off for a beach explore while Heather and Jed headed out for a snorkel. Mark and I had a great time with Sam and Heather and Jed really enjoyed their snorkel. Sam played in the sand and in the water then we walked to the far end of the beach to Tham Phra Nang, also known as Princess Cave. This is where Buddist and Muslim fishermen have carved and left huge phalluses to assure their safe return from sea. Not sure I understand the concept, but it is certainly an “interesting” sight.

In the afternoon, Mark took Heather and Jed in the dinghy to Ao Nang to do their last bit of shopping while I stayed on the boat with a napping commander. When the shopping crew returned from town, we pulled up anchor and headed ten miles north to the island of Ko Hong, still in the Krabi Province. We arrived in the late afternoon and all got in the dinghy to visit the hong. “Hong” means “room” in Thai and they are just a little bay carved out of the island with a hidden entrance. The bay is completely surrounded by soaring cliffs. Sometimes there is only access by way of a cave. We enjoyed the solitude inside the hong and listened to the birds as the sun set behind the rock wall. Tomorrow we will have some beach, snorkel, and more hong time here and then we will move on to the Upper Phang Nga Bay. We only have two more days out here. Wednesday is Sam’s second birthday and we will spend that at another Ko Hong in the Phang Nga Province before returning to Ao Po Grand Marina on Wednesday evening. Sam’s birthday present from us is an elephant ride, so we will spend Thursday doing that before H, J, and S fly home. But let’s not think of that just yet.

090119 Day 89 Thailand–Railay Beach to Ko Hong Krabi
Day 90, Year 4: 007 and Counting
Day 88, Year 4: Breaking and Entering the Underworld