Chris and I finished our work sequences two days apart. At the time, we didn’t realize we would not see an airplane for a very, very long time. Luckily, we both had smooth last landings.
We spent the month of March checking the news on a nearly obsessive basis for updates about Thailand’s Covid entry procedures. Changes were happening daily and restrictions became stricter. Our fear was being denied entry to Thailand, leaving us unable to reach Skylark. Thankfully, we both entered Thailand before the border closed to foreigners. A few more days and we would have been locked out.
My flight to Bangkok had less than 50 passengers and the flight from Bangkok to Phuket on Thai Smile was surprisingly nearly full. I was finally able to relax when I arrived at Phuket Yacht Haven and Chris met me with a caipirinha. He met me in the parking lot as per my request. This is the sort of person you want to be on a boat with for an unknown amount of time. Weeks of worry and stress about whether we would make it to Skylark during a deteriorating Covid situation melted away as I stepped on board a clean and air conditioned boat, while rum and lime zipped through my fatigued body. We had an amazing Thai meal up at The Deck and went to bed early.
Unfortunately our plans of sailing Skylark to Singapore and returning to work a month later did not materialize. Malaysia had sealed their borders to foreigners and implemented an MCO (movement control order). Singapore wasn’t a viable option at this point so essentially we were stuck in Thailand. It is certainly a fabulous place to spend extended amounts of time when compared to the alternatives. Look at all the retirees who flock here from around the globe to spend their golden years! In no particular order: safe, friendly people, beautiful scenery, amazing food, major yacht services (including dealerships for Volvo, Onan, and Desallator), and low Covid numbers.
This was the first trip Chris and I would be alone. The biggest advantage of being only the two of us was that we each had our own toilet (which is not a bad thing when we request Thai-level spice at every meal) and we could walk around the boat in our birthday suits (even though we generally choose our bathing suits).
We were excited about the romantic excitement of a voyage just the two of us. However, we had such a great time with Justin and Nadia on our previous trip that we missed them already and wished they were with us. We somberly took down the South African crew flag and put it somewhere safe since surely they will come sail again with us!
We visited Laem Sak with our friend Kent a year earlier and had fond memories. It seemed all we had was memories of fun times with friends on our mind, but we were still going to have a fabulous time. Where there is beauty and great food, there is fun to be had. The anchorage in Laem Sak is protected 360 degrees and has spectacular rock formations. Theres also the chance to buy fresh lobster and prawns directly from the long-tail fishermen. Sounds like fun to me!
On the way, we waved over a local fishermen using hand movements and our loud hailer. “Swadekaa, fish????” Despite our lack of Thai language skills, we purchased a kilo of prawns for 500baht (16USD). It’s a prawn haven up there and they were so fresh they were moving still.
On a Ho Chi Minh layover back in January, I attended a Vietnamese cooking class and learned how to make spring rolls. We had all of the ingredients on board so I recreated what was taught to me by somebody who made them thousands of times. They were not as pretty as in Vietnam, but they were delicious, especially with a spicy chili dipping sauce.
Laem Sak was as beautiful as we remembered it. Thankfully this time there were no other boats so we had the place to ourselves! It was extremely calm, but unfortunately this means it can be a little hot. It's not our favorite place to swim. There is a fairly strong current at times so swimming must be done with caution and the water is a little murky.
We went on shore two days in a row for lunch at our favorite seafood restaurant in Thailand, Laem Sak Seafood. Fresh oysters, fried garlic squid, whole chili fish, and goa bean salad were some of the amazing delights we had. It was so good both times that we waddled out of the restaurant. Next time we must order less despite how delicious everything on the menu is! Or we need to go with more people so we can have the variety without eating too much or wasting food.
We ventured up the road to get gas for the dingy, and stumbled upon an elderly couple selling mangos. We bought five mangos that were unripe… a week later we would be in for a treat!
We were finally starting to wind down and get into island life after flying and being in city life for several weeks. We fly a lot of night flights, so our circadian rhythm is perpetually out of sync. We were beginning to settle into a routine and our bodies were becoming well rested.
A long-tail boat approached us selling rock lobster, and we happily purchased all three for 500THB (16USD) and cooked a romantic dinner for two on Skylark. We even splashed out on drinking our final bottle of prosecco rather than boxed wine. We have to maintain some sort of beverage standard to accompany a lobster dinner while on our yacht.
Phang Nga Bay is always a great experience and a place we keep returning to. This is just the start of our “self isolation” in Thailand.