Sent: Monday, January 13,
2003 3:57 AM
Subject: Chapter 4 Jom Tien, and Koh Samae San
The Saga continues,
Many thanks for the responses. I will be careful. Just ask Tony when he
gets back. I am much more careful than he would like.
I have been meaning to give some props to those generous gift givers at
my departure. Of Course my mother gave me lots of money and plenty of
good advice as well as a very useful medical encyclopedia, which gives
me the confidence to deal with emergencies more effectively.
Lisa Bravo, your head flashlight has been invaluable from repairs to late
night inspections of noises and possible dangers. I have worn it into
the tightest crevices under the deck of the boat and had the luxury of
two hands and a light. Thank you.
Brad Grim, Unfortunately we have not had the opportunity to test out the
anti pirate gear on real pirates but we have used it on unsuspecting drunk
friends with hilarious results.
Andre, thank you for all the invaluable advice and an enjoyable time on
Koh Sri Chang.
Marilyn, Thanks for the extra work and the nice gift.
The Sorensens, Thank you for the great lifejacket. I will feel safer in
those seas that make the nerves chatter. Hopefully not too soon though.
I suppose that's enough.
Maybe it is time to continue on with the narative.
So, I had a fabulous time rocking the night away. Pattaya Dance Clubs
are quite a scene. Luckily I met up with two friends from earlier on the
trip and I didn't get too reckless. . . . . Maybe not so lucky. Ah well.
Mook and Pai our Korean Barbee "Q" friends drove down the coast
to go out and spend some time on the town with me.
The next day, bloodshot early in the morning, we arose to find the "good"
anchor, which we left further up the beach on a rather rough point. It
was glassy and fairly clear so it was easy to spot the anchor buoy (another
idea of yours truly). Unfortunately the rope going down to the anchor
from the buoy was quite thin, a mistake. Otherwise, we would have been
able to just pick it up the day it was cut. Tony volunteered to dive for
the anchor at a depth of almost twenty feet at about 7:30 am. Good man!
I was still cross-eyed from the night before, so I drove.
Tony was able to pull up the anchor rope and tie another line to it and
we lugged the anchor aboard.
We motored back to our previous spot and spent about 2 hours trying to
anchor using the second (backup) anchor. Super annoying to throw and pick
up an anchor about 10 times. Tony got fed up with it altogether and I
continued on for another 4 or 5 tries. We finally got smart and attached
the "good" anchor to the backup line and tried it out. The First
time it dug in beautifully! So much for our "back-up" anchor.
It is good to know though that I will have to get another anchor for backup.
One that actually works.
That day we needed transportation for our activities so we went into Pattaya
to rent a motorcycle. We wanted a bigger vehicle but not a bloody chopper
so we were in dispute for a while which bike to rent until I asked if
they had a 250 cc version of the road bikes. They did! It was a beautiful
Honda "Phantom". Oh boy. I'm in love. It was a smooth powerful
ride but not some huge idiot chopper. Tony and I traded off driving and
I worry that I might want to buy something like that when I return to
I had it for the afternoon sunset drive and I took it all the way down
the JomTien Boulevard, right along the beach. Palm trees and sand sliding
by my field of vision. The sun slowly dropping down to the sea. The breeze
was cool and slightly balmy and the motor would roar as I pulled back
on the throttle. A good feeling, the power of a well tuned motorcycle.
It was, for the most part, a slow, dreamy ride.
At dusk I decided to go see Ocean Marina by bike as it was only a few
minutes down the main road and I wanted to see how fast the bike would
go. It took 15 minutes at 100 K/H. Oh the joy of riding.
Ocean Marina turned out to be very quiet and I strolled out to the end
of a kilometer long jetty sticking out into the ocean. It was fancy and
high class but the marina itself was simple and drab. It was a block of
cement sticking out into the sea with about 40 boats parked in it. The
Marina we were at in Bang Bakong was much more stylish and interesting.
Unfortunately it is hard to build a marina on this coast as it is mostly
a sandy river delta and either you use a lot of cement or you have locks
and lots of dredging to keep the entrance deep.
I was allowed into the marina easily but met few people and left fairly
soon. Not as interesting as other places we've been. I drove back to the
boat and was happy to be "Home."
That morning we also went to this go cart track. That was a blast. We
raced for ten minutes at 50 Miles/hour, sitting two inches off the ground,
around a small track. Those little carts go so bloody fast it rattles
your heart and lungs. Tony and I had it out most of the time but he went
spinning off into the grass and mud too many times. The tires were bald,
which made it even more exciting as you try not to spin out around the
corners. It was a radical and intense ten minutes and I am glad Tony was
there to push the envelope with me. He sort of pushed out of it and had
a slightly scary incident. The motor would not stop when he ran the cart
into the mud. The engine was running madly at full throttle because the
wheels spun in the mud. He jumped out of the cart as one of the cart engineers
told him and they pulled it out of the mud and killed the engine.
He jumped back into the cart and proceeded to run me down on the track.
It was a riot and more fun than I have had in a while.
Wait? What am I saying? It was intense, reckless, smashup fun which I
have not partaken in since this trip began. . . . accept for the cliff
jumping. . . . and the gun shooting.
Anyways. We latter went to the shooting range and I had a nice Thai gentleman
give me advice on how to shoot a handgun. It is always an intense experience
to fire a gun. It is empowering in some ways. But on the whole I think
guns should be banned in cities and only licensed in areas for hunting
as a means of living. At the same time I think everyone should have the
opportunity to shoot to understand what it is all about and the dangers
and safeguards involved.
Enough of my philosophy on guns. I enjoyed the shooting quite a bit but
was disappointed they didn't have shotguns or assault rifles. Some other
We put some effort into non-pleasure oriented things and restocked the
boat with water, ice and food.
We awoke the next morning to a stiff northeast wind and after pulling
up anchor and motoring for a bit we pulled up sails. We ripped along at
about 5 or 6 knots most of the morning and enjoyed the scenery as we passed
the major navy and commercial port of Sattahip. A few freighters whipped
past us and I realized that 7 knots is not really that fast. Just fast
for a 12 ton cement Sailboat.
sail was intensely enjoyable. That day, I think Tony learned a little
about the pleasures of sailing. The breeze was stiff enough to push the
boat over about 15 to 20 degrees. In this situation, with the sails full,
you can really feel the pulling force of the sails and wind. It is powerful
enough to propel 12 tons of cement boat at just under 7 Knots. What a
feeling. There were hardly any waves as the wind was coming off the land
and it was gusting enough to put the boat to a max of 25 degrees. Many
things in the boat fell off their shelves at this point but it was too
enjoyable to be out on deck to do anything about it. Whipping along, watching
the island studded coast move by.
Sattahip is a beautiful area with many islands and cliffs facing the sea.
We ended up on a little known island called Koh Samae San. We found a
perfect Catalina-esq cove with a small spit of land between us and the
other side of the island. The coral here was quite nice and the cove was
gorgeous. Needless to say we had it to ourselves and a few small fishing
boats that would cruise up and down the coast in the morning and late
I think it was the most beautiful spot we have been to date; beach, coral
We had an incident with a coral head at one point. The tide was dropping
out and I felt the boat jar during her usual rocking motion. She hit hard
and stopped. Then started rocking. I didn't think much of it accept that
it was unusual, until it happened again. Then I remembered seeing a coral
head or two that were taller than most and I knew the tide was going down.
By the third time I ran up to the front of the boat and pulled in about
25 feet of anchor line to move our position and then we talked about what
When the boat hit the coral head it was a powerful feeling of fear. Understanding
that the keel was hitting something like rock and could break up, put
a little icicle in my heart. "My baby!"
We decided to move to the other side of the island near a deep sandy spit.
We tried double anchoring, front and back, about 100 meters off shore.
It worked OK but then the tide dropped some more and we hit sand bottom.
I was ready for this as we anchored close to shore to try a Tahitian method.
Once we were anchored I inspected the bottom of the keel for any damage
from hitting the coral head. There was nothing! I could not find a single
scratch! At times I must say, "I am a proud owner of a Ferro-cement
boat." After talking with the Dutch ferro-cement boat builder, Andre,
and seeing his own work, I still think it is a bloody good way to make
Andre told us an entertaining story at one point, which I would like to
relate. He told us many great stories and I could write a book about him
but I will try to keep to the point.
Andre was living for a while on Koh Sri Chang. He was out on the pier
and noticed some clandestine activity. The perpetrators told him to get
the "F" out of there but he didn't. He refused to leave and
they were very angry with him but let it go for the time. There were a
few witnesses. Later on, one of the men proceeded to get drunk and still
in a rage about that "Fucking Farang," jumped into his high-speed
45,000 Baht motorboat (constructed of fiberglass and wood) and decided
to ram Andre's Ferro - cement sailboat, which was moored in the bay. He
reached proper ramming speed and smashed directly into the side of Andre's
boat with a huge explosion. Wood, fiberglass and pilot went flying everywhere
and the ferro-cement boat just had an indent a few feet wide and a couple
inches deep. The motorboat was completely destroyed and sank immediately
at great expense to the owner.
So, I am a proud owner of a ferro-cement boat.
As for Koh Samae San We found out from the Thai Navy on the other side
of the island that it was a protected reserve and that they were trying
to let the coral grow back. Oops. Boats were actually not allowed to anchor
there but we were allowed to stay that night as long as we left early
in the morning the next day. At about 3 am the wind shifted around to
the northeast. I was aware and had a hard time sleeping as it was blowing
hard again and there were substantial waves. At about 5:15 am I could
no longer sleep and went on deck. I had to actually put on a sweater.
The wind was cool. Five am is the coldest time of day here.
I woke Tony at 6 and we left at 6:30 in the morning with another stiff
offshore breeze to propel us on to Koh Samet. We tore across the sea at
6 knots again and had a wonderful trip. Just about on hour from the island
the wind stopped and we dropped down to about 1.5 knots. It was so slow
I could hardly steer. Tony was sleeping and after about 10 minutes of
this he awoke and we kicked on the engine and motored the rest of the
way. We arrived and circled the island and decided to anchor on the west
side on this stunning bay. The wind was offshore and the water was calm.
I will save Koh Samet for a later installment.
Amanda, Tony's friend, has arrived and she seems pretty stoked on the
I am wondering where my cousin Jeff is. He arrived in Thailand a few days
ago and is wandering around Bangkok having a bloody good time on his own
apparently. Hopefully he will find us on Koh Samet before we depart for
Koh Chang around the 15th or 16th of Jan. If so, we will have a full boat
I think I have written a long enough letter for most, so I will leave
it at that.
Much love to those at home,