What a long day today! Today was the first day I started feeling homesick (for things like fresh air and personal space). We set sail at 6:30 am and sailed for 10 hours until we reached ko pihpih. 10 hours on a boat in 90 degree weather is a long fucking time. The mornings are pleasant temp but after about 11 am its damn hot. And it stays hot until dusk. Sometimes we hose off with water to cool down; Today I didn’t but I probably should have. This is the 3rd day of sailing and I am still taking meclizine (half dose) because I am afraid of seasickness which from personal experience is complete hell. Tomorrow I will try without it.
Spending all that time with people in a cockpit you get to know them. I feel much more comfortable around Ken than I do Ed. Ed is very nice and certainly is no threat at all, but Ken just is easier for some reason. Perhaps because Ed is always in the role of instructor or guide, which is very nice, but then its hard to relax around. Maybe I am more self conscious with him because its his boat and everything needs to be done a certain way. I'm not sure exactly.
This is the longest I have gone in this current existence without touching the earth. After 3 full days on the boat I still feel ok about it, I don't feel trapped or cabin fever yet, but I am very much craving alone time and a shower. At night I go to bed around 7:30 so I can be alone in my drawer bed. My favorite times are in the morning when I wake up around 5am and in the evening when I get alone time to write and reflect.
On this day, Ken and Ed really wanted me to see Ko Phiphi (pronounced peepee) because its where the movie The Beach was filmed with Leonardo Dicaprio. Boy do I ever wish we hadn’t but I couldnt let that on to them because they were both so excited for me to see the beauty and I didn't want to hurt their feelings and I was assured that all the tourists boat would leave and we would have the place to ourselves. Such was not the case.
PhiPhi is a small beach maybe half a mile long surrounded by majestic island cliffs. And in addition to the majestic beauty, its one big fucking party beach filled with sunburned tourists, mostly naked women, lots of booze (there was even one boat called Bob’s Booze Cruise) and piss and shit. Let me tell you after 3 days sailing in the peace and quiet of the open sea and then to anchor at this ridiculous place with party boats everywhere was quite the culture shock. Several times I heard Ed and Ken discuss “picking up a boy” at Phiphi Island. I told them a few days back that I didn’t want to impose on their fun or whatever they usually do when they come to Thailand (this is their 4th time here) but I was hoping that two men in their mid 60’s picking up a boy wasn’t something I would have to witness or participate in. My fears were thankfully unfounded when I learned that picking up a boy means securing a mooring which is attaching the boat to a buoy (which the aussie’s pronounce as “boy”) instead of dropping the anchor. Ken and Ed were in near hysterics when I explained to them how Americans pronounce the word buoy. In fact we have enjoyed sharing many of the differences of American vs. Australian Culture.
Once anchored at PhiPhi, we had a couple beers and dinner and has been my custom I retired early to savor some alone time in my drawer. Ed stays on deck, as is his custom, enjoying some alone time which he usually spends drinking beer. (By the way, almost every single male I have seen in the sailing world here in Thailand, Malaysia and Florida has a fairly large pot belly.)
As Ed was lounging on deck, a dingy from a neighboring boat speeds by him telling him there has been been an earthquake off of the coast of Sumatra and there is a tsunami warning. Ed wakes both Ken and I up with this news. I think a gift I got from my mother is I tend to stay calm during what could be extreme panic and chaos. It is this mode I kick into when things get serious. Real serious. Ken was also calm and for the most part Ed was too but I could sense Ed’s burden of being the Captain and responsible for our lives. We discussed the options of taking the dingy to shore or sailing out to sea. Ed was optioning for the latter. What we couldn’t figure out though was why none of the other boats were doing anything and why we heard nothing on the radio. The other boats weren’t moving and the two other party boats were continuing on with their party. We had no cell connection and no way of getting any information. Ed was leaning towards us going out to sea and sailing to phuket through night but I had a feeling we were missing something. I suggested to Ed that he make radio contact with another boat on channel 16 and he objected since channel 16 is reserved only for distress calls. I told him that I think getting info about a tsunami probably qualifies and god knows how many boaters we hear using the emergency channel to discuss their next fucking tea time meetup, so he relented and made contact with the neighbor boat, the Calisto Austria. We were told 7.6 quake off the coast of sumatra, which was 900 nautical miles away and if a tsunami came at 20 nm/hour it wouldn’t arrive for 40 hours or so (I’m not sure about his calculations but thats what he told us). We were much relieved that at least we could go back to bed before the tsunami came and could deal with it all in the morning. Which is what we did.
Let me add, that my intuition didn’t feel like I was about to die, but I did think about it and my thoughts were of the people I love and how I would miss them. But then i quickly fell asleep and sorted of tried to pay attention to the waves of the boat while I slept. Upon waking we discovered that there was no tsunami, and at 6:30 we noticed the first tourist boats arriving which we were pretty sure wouldn’t happen if there was a tsunmami. We quickly took the dingy to the shore, took a few photos of the serene beauty before it got filled with crap, returned to the boat and set sail for phuket by 7:15 am.
I put the photos as a slide, click on the arrows. Let me know which format of photos is easiest for viewing.