nic the brit
19 April 2011 | patang beach, Thailand
So we are drifting, no engine as Bubbles is still recovering from her frew (Chinese for flu), so she is running a temperature and it’s no longer fair to make her sweat it out. Once again we are without wind and after 5 days on the clear blue Andaman Sea we are stranded with the current pushing us back. As you can imagine we all have cabin fever so our minds turn to various activities to keep us entertained (Not those “activities” get your minds out of the gutter). We rummage about bubbles looking for entertainment and resourcefully rustle up a beer bong. I have never done one of these but I can assure you all that I was a natural. I was not so natural at the cigar. Generally we just lark about as for once we are all free, no one has to be on watch and the general mood of the boat regresses and the play ground antics ensue (yes it does rise above playground sometimes).
We eventually arrive at 3am to Phi Phi, with the help from Mother Nature providing us with some much needed wind. Phi Phi makes us realize how lucky we are to be on Bubbles. The island is over loaded with backpackers and without Bubbles we would also have arrived on the ferry with all the other tourists being herded like cattle up the narrow streets to their lodgings. Phi Phi is still scarred from the tsunami, above your head are the signs that highlight the evacuation route. In your heart of heart you know that with the volume of people and the narrow streets you wouldn’t stand a chance and the view from the top of the island shows how vulnerable this small strip of land is. We ditch the sarong laden shops and English restaurants of Phi Phi to go in search of Ko Phi Phi Lay an island just off Phi Phi where they filmed the Leonardo DiCaprio blockbuster hit “The Beach”. We hit the cliff on the way into the cove, Kirk was driving, with screams of “reverse” we scuffed past the cliff face with rocks falling and mast steps breaking, we eventually managed to edge away. This is of course not Kirk’s fault as it was Alex who decided he wanted to touch the cliff from the top of the mast. After testing our blood pressure we moor up for a snorkel and to stroll along the beach, which really is spectacular, soft white sand framed by high cliffs and blue waters. Night fell and the other tourists left, we rig the 10″ screen up and squint (it was like a free eye test) to watch The Beach with one night scene from the movie matching exactly our angle from Bubbles cockpit making it quite a surreal experience.
Two of Alex’s Indiana cousins Evan (aka the Tangman) and Matt (the Claycamp) were lucky enough to arrive in Phuket the day of Sankran, the Thai New Year, also called the water festival. Upon the boys arrival we powder their faces and then jet lagged took them to Patong beach to merriment it up with the locals. The streets in patong were crammed; everyone was armed with varying temperatures of water. Crew mates, Backpackers, holidaymakers, expats and locals all are dowsing each other with water. Pickup trucks with people bursting out of them circled the streets hitting their quarry withy buckets of water. The atmosphere was brimming with good humor as old and young drenched each other.
Somewhere along the way we picked up a ride in the back of a truck and rode through the streets, this did not give us a tactical advantage as the traffic drew to a halt we were sitting ducks. Our lift ended at Patong beach. This was where we decided to pick up jet skis and this is where we broke Kirk. Being one of the safer (or so I thought) of the lads I shot gunned Kirk to share a jet ski with. I was right he was the safer driver, it was the fact the others were in the water that led to our 2 hour stint on a rock miles away from where we supposed to be playing with the other tourists. With kirks broken leg resting on 1 life jacket and the other being used for shade the others (say they) tried to persuade the Jet Ski Company to come and rescue us. We got knocked off by Christine and Claycamp as she tried to ramp ours after which normally the Jet Ski stops as the key attached to your wrist pulls out, like a safety switch. This did not happen and our jet ski sped off around the corner completely unmanned, with Christine and Matt in full pursuit only to witness it crashing into a cliff. Very Nobel of them to chase after it would have been even better if they had picked us up on the way back. Eventually we managed to flag down a boat with people on a day fishing trip. With the Jet Ski retrieved and Kirk in hospital with Dr Alex, the negotiations begin on the beach, the Jet Ski company wanting a brand new jet ski from us. This later led to 3 hours in Patong police station where we learned what the word “corrupt” really meant as we had to pay the police money to keep the cost low, I am fairly sure the Jet Ski company was also paying the police money to keep the cost high. With 1 police station out of the way we hit a police road block on the way home, where another crew mate (who will remain nameless but you can make your suggestions in the comments box) got pulled over for drinking too many new years beverages. This meant that they spent the night in prison only for us to pay them off in the morning and have them rip up the paper work. I am hoping that this certain crew member has learnt their lesson as they woke up with another inmate gently stroking their tummy. We are so much better being at sea, away from roads and with an engine that sometimes fails but has an incredibly safe speed of 4 kts.
So sadly Kirk leaves us, he was 1st Mate, night watch in the rain, Chinese baby (because he sleeps like one) and our dingy doctor. He used to spend hours lovingly patching up Holes, ironically as Kirk left our new dingy arrived complete with a complimentary hole, so come back Kirk you have a new love interest on Bubbles for you to spend your days caressing.
“I never thought I could fall in love with a piece of fiber glass, but after the storms, the puking, the broken limb, when I sink into the deep blue and close my eyes I see Bubbles….Kirk + Tree 4ever” -Roland Stevens