Day 70, Year 4: Fifteen Magical Days in Thailand
Date: Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Weather: Mix of Sun and Clouds
Location: Ao Po Grand Marina, Phuket Island, Thailand

Kevin and Claire flew to Bangkok this morning and will be starting the trip home from Bangkok to Paris to Washington, DC at 11:30 tonight. They will be celebrating New Year’s in the air more than once as they move through the time zones. So Happy New Year to Kevin and Claire, to our families, and to everyone reading this log. The last fifteen days leading up to the New Year have been truly magical for us. Sailing in the Andaman Sea in Thailand is just totally fantastic and doing it with friends
made it even more fantastic. When Justin and Jo joined us in Bali and sailed with us to Borneo, it felt much the same. I think we just love sailing with people we love. But now we have a few days alone and it is time to settle down, do a little boat maintenance, and get ready for the arrival of Heather, Jed, and Sam. We can’t wait for that!

Once we dropped Kevin and Claire off at the airport, we took advantage of the rental car and went to each of the marinas on Phuket Island. We will stay here at Ao Po Grand for another day and half and then go back out to anchor. After our tour today, we decided that we will return here. Yacht Haven on the north side of the island is so far away from things and has nothing special to offer. The Boat Lagoon south of Ao Po is in a modern hotel/condo complex. There are lots of boat services and
a couple of hotels that people at the marina can use, but they have no openings until February or March. And even if they did, I don’t think I would choose that location over this one unless I needed to have the boat services. The Royal Phuket Yacht Club is just south of the Boat Lagoon and it is another modern hotel/shopping complex that has not been fully completed. It costs twice as much as the other marinas, has no pool, and nothing special to offer as far as we could see. So unfinished as it is, Ao Po Grand Marina will be our home base while we are in Thailand. The view of the islands in the upper Phang Nga Bay is beautiful, the nearby Chandara Resort offers a beautiful place to swim and eat, there is a tiny little Muslim restaurant nearby that serves great, and cheap, lunches, and rental cars are easy to come by. This location is less than 30 minutes from the airport, so this seems like the place to be. We will be here tomorrow (New Year’s Day) and leave mid-day the following day to go hang out at one of the nearby islands for a few days while we do our boat maintenance. We will then return a couple of days before Heather, Jed, and Sam arrive. Mark is loving the really great Wi-Fi internet here on the boat, so I am going to have a hard time pulling him away. I know I won’t have a hard time getting him to return here.

Just before I started writing the log tonight, we checked Heather and Jed’s Picassa website and got to see pictures of Sam on Christmas Day. What a kid! We got to see him opening his IKEA tunnel and crawling through it, opening his Lego fire station and putting that together, and riding his tricycle that was his present from us. And then we called H, J, & S on Skype and got to watch Sam playing and talking to us. He truly looks at the computer screen and seems to understand who we are and talks to us. Maybe I’m imagining this, but he definitely communicated with the people on the computer screen. Amazing.

After that Skype call, Mark called his brother Steve in Florida. Steve now has a webcam, so they got to see each other as well as talk. At the same time, Mark was chatting with Justin. He and Jo will be at a location tomorrow night where we can talk with them. As soon as I send this log, I hope to talk to my brother and my sister. So life is good.

Attached to this log, I hope to copy fifteen photos representing our last fifteen days of sailing in Thailand. Check back tomorrow for that. The picture you can’t see is Mark and me eating Hershey’s chocolate and drinking Bintang beer that I have been saving since Indonesia. This is our champagne toast to a wonderful sailing year in 2008. So picture this and have a very happy New Year.

081231 Day 70 Best of Thailand with Kevin and Claire
081231 Day 70 Thailand–Phuket Island Marinas