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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Bull Fighting in Krabi, Thailand

Sept. 22, 2013
All is good.  The boat is almost ready to be splashed back into the water.  We went to a Thai bullfight this week with our resort hosts Swang & Att.  It was nothing like the
Spanish version; no blood or "death to the bulls" just 2 bulls flexing their muscles and pushing one another around with their horns.  Alright, there was a little bit of blood.

We attended the fight with Swang, Att, Fred and Cha Cha, & Mike & Sue.
Of course, we began with lunch under a canopy before the show.  Nothing
is done here that does not include food.  It is a nation of skinny people who eat all the time.  The Thai's love to gamble and there was no exception here.  The spectators
Were standing or sitting in the bleacher section eagerly watching their brokers who were standing on chairs, at the ring, placing their bets using sign language only Thai's would understand.  Much of it reminded us of signals given by a catcher to a pitcher
During a baseball game.  It was an exciting day with many victorious bulls and bett-ies.  The end of a match was when one of the bulls had, had enough and simply ran away.  The winner was given a good wash and decorated with colorful ribbons and horn wraps then led off the field with much exhuberation and applause.   We were allowed to sit up in the announcers box so we could see well and take good photos.
all of the bet money was brought here and it appeared to be a massive amount.
The accountant prompted us to take photos of the takings.  Our host was very happy also and displayed a pocket full of baht!  Life is good in Krabi for the winners.




 O

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Back in Thailand

We arrived back in Thailand on September 2, 2013.  We stayed in Bangkok for 2 nights just to get over jet lag.  We had just survived a 22 hour flight from RDU to
Bangkok via Tokyo.  We flew JAL the Japanese Carrier business class which was
Much more pleasant but still draining.   Our stay in Bangkok was very nice as
We treated ourselves to a 5 star hotel.  Complete with an infinity pool on the 10th
Floor and 3 gourmet restaurants.  Sushi for lunch and duck for dinner.  Tasty!
On the 4th we flew from Bangkok to Krabi, Thailand where we had left our boat
For 4 months on the hard in Krabi Boat Lagoon Marina.
We found the boat in good shape as we had hired a local contractor, Ricardo,
To keep the de-humidifier running on her to protect from mold forming inside
The boat on wood and fabrics.  We decided to stay in a small resort just 8 minutes
Drive from the boat for comfort.  It is Sept. 13 and we are still here.
We have rented a car so are mobile too.  We eat out most nights.  We both are getting
Tired of that though.  We both yearn for some home cooking not just the Thai way.
I have an allergy to to something; Doctor knows not from, and either do I.  Started
This past Sunday with scratching of eyelids to eyes being swollen shut, rash on wrist
And behind left knee, right ear, nose, ugly stuff.  Owners of resort took me to clinic
Hospital and was prescribed eye drops, prednisone, and topical lotion for rash.  Am
Much better now.  Have not been back to Marina where it appears the allergy is
Coming from.  Possibly chemicals from boats being worked on in yard is what I think.
We drove to Pucket yesterday, Thursday, with friends on the boat Infini, Mike and
Sue.  Is about a 3 hour drive from Krabi.  We all enjoyed the trip as was very pretty
Scenery along the way like a National forest with mountains.  We did some shopping,
Ate lunch, met with Chris from the boat "Rumrunner"  then returned to Krabi with
A short stop at a grocery store and dinner at the food court located in the mall.
At these food courts there are many different vendors so you must buy a card from
The cashier with an amount of money you choose on it.  The vendors  run the card
Like a charge after you order your meal and drinks.   The card is good for one year
Or just one day (depends on the mall you are visiting) so we turn in the card to
The cashier each time to get our refund.  We assume food vendors work for the
Malls and that is why they don't handle the money themselves.  Our dinner last
Night was 45bht which amounts to about $1.50US and consisted of roasted chicken
Over rice with soup.  Was a small portion but fine for us.  You can always order more
Or  double the order if you want more.    
We stopped along the road yesterday and purchased a basket made locally.  Very detailed for 120bht or $4.00US.  I will try and include a photo of some of these things
I am speaking of.  I am dying to send out photos of items we find in the grocery stores
Here, so familiar but yet different like Lays potato chips.  Packaging is familiar to us
But lay is spelled lae' and chips are not quite the same as at home.  Different flavors.
One of their favorites is shrimp.  I once several bags of what I thought were plain
Cheetos, I was so thrilled, and found they were cheetos with a chicken flavor.  Not
So good for us.  We gave them to local boat workers.  We do allot of this utill we
Figure out what we like.  Oreos are packaged exactly like home but do not taste like
Our oreos.  More later.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Date April 9, 2011 Still in Paradise
We left the Tuomotus on June 14, 2010 to sail for Tahiti. It was a short and un-
eventful sail of 2 nights. We arrived on the 16th and checked in for the rally.
The first night of the rally on the 18th, we were told to meet in front of the
marina at Papeete at 5pm. We were met by the Lattitude 38 sponsers and a Tahitian ban
and walked behind the band to the Governor's mansion. There we enjoyed a lovely
spread of hordeuvers and a polynesian show put on by one of the top Tahitian
dance groups. The ladies were beautiful and the men very handsome. It ended
with fireworks around 10pm. We saw friends (fellow cruisers) we had not seen since
Panama. We had all shown up for the rally in Tahiti. The next morning, Saturday
April 19, we left the marina and lined up to race to the Island of Moorea. There
were about 30 of us who took part. We had removed our mainsail in Papeete to have
it repaired but intended on racing anyway with just our jib and staysail. We came
in the middle of the pack! Not bad, we thought. Loads of fun and lots of wind.
Upon arrival to Moorea we anchored and went to shore where we enjoyed a scrumptious
lunch of pork, chicken, and fresh roasted vegetables. Dessert was fresh fruits,
pineapple cake, and banana pudding. Delicious!! On Sunday we had canoe races (my
team rolled over right at the finish line) and we were beaten. We had tug of war races, banana stalk races (very heavy as were loaded with bananas), and after dinnner
another dance group put on a fire dance. Really cool! Only the men play with fire. Ha! Monday morning all the festivities were over and we rested. We stayed in
Moorea until the 24th then sailed back over to Papeete, Tahiti where we provisioned
again as we had decided to sail down to Iti, Tahiti which means "little Tahiti" as
is part of the big Island and reached by a narrow bridge or by boat. John, Cheryl,
and Ian on Sea Mist also came along. We had a great sail to Iti and were thrilled
to see that Steve and Helen from the catamaran Dignity were already anchored there.
We all met up for drinks and to chat about our past and future plans. One day while
there we visited the Gougain Museum. He was a French artist who made his home in
Tahiti for many years until the Tahitians deported him back to France. He was suspected of being a pedaphile. He later returned and lived for several more years
before he died. He is buried in Tahiti and they now claim him as one of their own. Figures, doesn't it? Become Famous after death and all's forgiven. More later...

New Zealand

Just checked the date of my last posting. May 19, 2010! Lots has happened since
then. I'll try and catch you up! We are now in New Zealand and it is a beautiful
country with lovely people. But wait, I need to tell you about Tahiti!
Tahiti is fabulous! Gorgeous scenery and even more gorgeous people!!!! The
surprising thing about Tahiti is that it was NOT very touristy! We tied up to the
quay in downtown Papette (the capitol) and it was very pleasant. We could take the
bus to the big box store Carrefoul in a matter of minutes right from the marina.
How great to once again buy the meats and fresh veggies we were longing
for since Panama City. Our first meal was lamb chops from New Zealand. A taste as
to what awaited us in a few months time in that wonderful country.
The main reason we had left the Marquesas when we did, as we hated to leave, is that we had joined a rally hosted by a magazine out of California "Lattitude 38" the
previous year. It was going to be held in Tahiti and Moorea the end of June so we
had to be there and we were. Our arrival was planned for June 20 into Papeete. But first we had to visit the Tuomotus. These are atolls that lie between the Marquesas
and Tahiti. We had some wonderful snorkel trips there. We swam with black tip
sharks who were docile but big. Still made you pucker up when they swam towards you.
One of the atolls had a resort on it owned by a Frenchman. He invited we cruisers
over for a potluck one night and gave a few of us a tour of his resort. Awesome!
I told Stu I want to go back there and stay when I am 80. He fed the sharks from
his dock as children waded thru the water. More later......

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May 18, 2010

We are still in the Marquesas on the Island of Nuku Hiva. It is one of the largest of the Islands with more people, grocery stores,
bakery (translation, baguettes), a laundry service. I have been doing our laundry by hand in a bucket with a plunger since Galapagos
so this is wonderful! The charge is reasonable for the Islands, $7US per washed load, I hang up on boat to dry. Not so easy as
anchorage is rolly so I make sure ladder is down just in case I go swimming. Ha! Have had some close calls.
We rented a car with Emily Grace and toured the Island. Stopped for a picnic lunch overlooking a valley; gorgeous. Cold up in the
mountains but was a nice change. Stopped and picked some bananas and mangoes growing wild alongside the road. Emily Grace (46' Nordhaven)
left yesterday afternoon for the Toamotus. We will meet up with them again in Tahiti.
When we arrived into the Marquesas we were told to check-in with the gendarmie (police) in Hiva Oa and we did. On the form you have to
declare how much wine, cigarettes, beer, guns and cartridges on board. Stu really did not know so put 2 dz btls. of wine and 24 btls. of
beer as we had already been told that the gendarmie did not come out to the anchorage and do a physical check. Wellllll, a week later
we were at Fatu Hiva, another Island, sitting one morning having our coffee when we noticed a large military looking boat steaming very
fast towards the anchorage. As he got closer we saw the red slash down the side and in VERY LARGE LETTERING, Douanes Frances which means
I'm sure you guessed it, French Customs. They came in and anchored, put their large orange dingy in the water and 3 of them started checking
boats. There were 28 boats in the anchorage and only 3 of us had checked in and we 3 were feeling rather smug thinking the other 25 were in
deep doo doo because they had not. WRONG!!!! The customs officials could care less if you checked in or not; they were more interested
in what we had on board as far as contraband so we 3 were in deeper doo than the new arrivals as we had already declared. So on Imagine we
were a little nervous as we had a bit more than Stu had nonchalantly declared to the gendarmie. The orange dingy comes to the side of our
boat and asks permission to board, of course, we grant it. 2 of the officials come on board wearing their black uniforms and leather gloves.
One goes downstairs with Stuart and the other stays in the cockpit with me. I hear him asking Stuart to show him the bottles of wine and
beer. Luckily, we had drank most of the beer so the wine figured in the final count. Whew!! Every time I heard a floorboard closed the
customs official said, "Have you shown me everything". Stu remembered, under my bottom drawer there are bottles of spirits he had forgotten
about. He shows them, Customs says something in French to the official upstairs with me and the guy turns to me and says, He didn't declare the
spirits. I said, he must have forgotten them as they have been there since we left Panama. Finally, they are finished with the search.
Tell's us everything is ok and leaves. 2 other boats in anchorage not so lucky. One fined, $200US, for having many more bottles of wine than declared
and the other made to bond all but a few bottles of wine. By bonding they had to drill holes in compartments under their table in cockpit (catamaran)
and customs threaded a yellow piece of line thru it and secured it. Told them it better still be secure when they reach Tahiti which is the
checkout point for the Marquesas. We were amazed that, with all the people we know who have transitted these Islands, no one mentioned that the
Customs officials have their own boat. Ha! Anyway, next morning they weigh anchor and leave as we are pulling up our anchor. As we looked back
to the anchorage we noted that out of the 28 boats there yesterday, only 8 were still at anchor. Boy, can French Customs clean out an anchorage!
Got to go; the crepe lady is on dock and Stu wants crepes! Later, 'goat fest' and Stu's birthday!

Saturday May 8, 2010

We are anchored at our 3rd Island since arriving into the Marquesas. Its' name is Tanatu. It is a deserted Island with many
fruit trees. We went up yesterday with a Dutch couple, Paul and Marietta, and picked limes, grapefruit, and mangoes. The
limes are small like kiwi fruit but very juicy. I squeezed 14 of them so Stuart could make himself a drink similar to using Rose's
Lime juice. The grapefruit are called pompa moose and are so naturally sweet. We said they could put Texas Ruby Red Grapefruit
out of business if they were imported to U.S. The mangoes are small but also sweet.
We have been watching manta ray's playing and feeding near the boat. They came this morning as we drank our coffee and put on
quite a show for the 2 of us. We are a good audience and appreciate them. We saw a small shark off of the beach yesterday as
we got into the dingy to come back to the boat. Don't think he would have given us any problems. There is quite
a surge to the surf and the beach is steep. We use the wheels on our dingy so we can push it up a ways from the water. The
water is cool blue in color and refreshing. We had a fun game of bocchi ball day before yesterday here with a Canadian couple and
Australian couple. I won my game! Is unusual for me to win and was a very close game.
We invited a couple over last night for snapper Stuart had caught yesterday morning right off of the boat. Nice size ones. He
pan fried them and Maria brough tuna shashimi for appetizer. They are a young couple living in Miami and they were part of our
SSB net coming across from the Galapagos. He is from Argentina and she is from Columbia. Esteban is a boat mechanic and Maria
holds a law degree from Columbia and also one from US. They hope to cruise for 2 years then go back to Miami and earn a living and have
children. They are only 34 so have plenty of time. We are ready to move on to another anchorage. Many here to choose from.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Marquesas

We are in the beautiful Marquesas Islands. We arrived from the Galapagos on April 24th to the Island of Hiva Oa where we
checked in as is the port of entry, visited the bank for Polynesian Francs, and bought 4 delicious baguettes from the local and
only bakery on the Island. Gorgeous place with many boats in a small anchorage. We had to put out a bow and stern anchor
which we had never done on this boat, but was accomplished. We stayed for 4 days then with the wind out of the north east took
off for the Island of Fatu Hiva. This is the Island everyone says, "Don't miss". It is absolutely gorgeous! It looks like
a small Hawaiian Island. The people are friendly and are artisans of tapas (printings using berry ink on paper made from
the bark of trees and gorgeous hand carved items such as masks, bowls, and paddles, etc. The anchorage is surrounded by high
pinnacle rock formations and there is a beautiful waterfall within walking distance with a swimming hole. On Friday the only
freighter which stops here once a month and brings supplies and tourists came and the villagers put on a festival for them which we
cruisers were invited to join. They had all their craft and art merchandise items showcased and put on a Polynesian dance.
There were about 8 different bongo drums, some taller than most men, and 12 lovely women dancers and 3 men. The women were
dressed in colorful sarong and wore crowns of flowers in their hair. The men were dressed as warriors with grass skirts and
feather and grass headbands, neck bands, and ankle bands. They performed a dance that told the story of the warriors winning
over the beautiful young maidens with their strength and boldness. The maidens had beautiful voices and the words were sang in
French but we were able to understand the story from the actions. Our friend Tom, on Emily Grace, took a video of the dance
and gave us a copy. Afterwards, we had 2 other boats over to Imagine for drinks and appetizers. Bubbles with Alex, Ross, and
Diego on board, and Emily Grace with Tom, Kim, and the boats namesake Emily Grace their 9 year old daughter. We relived the
wonderful day we had experienced on Fatu Hiva. Today, Sunday, we were invited back to the Island to eat with the villagers
in their homes (charge 1700 P.Francs) about $25US pp. We chose to eat with a couple who prepared their meal on the beach.
We had raw fish in coconut sauce (thought I would hate it and looooooved it), tuna shashimi, rice, breadfruit (more like a
boiled potato), shrimp, and goat in a wonderful white sauce???? so delicious. Afterwards, we watched the performers practicing
their dances, and some of our group joined the locals in a game of volley ball. These people are serious volley ball players. They
have a court down by the water and some age group is always playing. Even the small ladies can spike that ball! These Islands
are so different than anything we have experienced thus far. We had been told by Matt Hunter, former owner of our boat, that the
"Best is yet to come" and we now believe him. Can't wait for more!!!