We made it to Phuket without much difficulty. We have completed about half of the trip now, 18,000 miles in about 18 months. It is hard to believe that Slick won’t move again till she is on the way to be loaded on the ship. I am happy to say we made it all this way and never got struck by lightning, hit by a ship or stuck in a fish trap or net (except once a year ago). She is currently lying in the Ao Po Grand Marina, which really is just a marina that has not had the rest of the village completed, nothing particularly grand, except perhaps the amount of mosquitoes. But they charge more than any other marina I have been in since the states. It is in the middle of nowhere too, so getting to town or so costs a ton as taxi’s are very expensive. In fact everything in Thailand but food seems expensive.

On the way here we stopped at a few islands and the scenery is really incredible. We anchored every night but we only went to shore at Ko Phi Phi Don, and island of fame from the movie “The Beach”. The irony though is that there are so many tourists here that it really goes against the philosophy that made this particular island famous. We did not launch the dinghy here but instead relied on the local longtail boats. These are wooden fishing boats that have a car motor that directly drives a prop via a long shaft. The are interesting but are a real ripoff as a way to get back and forth to the boat.

We pulled in to Ao Chalong and finally checked into the country after being here about a week. They did not seem to mind, but the immigration official was incredibly rude. After check in we walked around awhile only to discover that the main attractions of Chalong are girly (or girly-boy) bars and dive tours. We hung out for awhile in the town but never really saw too much. Mostly we stayed away from the lady bars and tried to find the best dive operator. We also tried to figure out why the Thai service mentality is so rude. We had one guy literally grab my money out of my hand before I was done counting it, this after we waited half an hour for the bill. There are also tons of old white guys with young Thai girls here, but I guess that is to be expected. Phuket is overrun with expats and tourists, it is sort of sickening really. But I guess that is the way it is with travelling being much easier than it used to be. Then again, the food is absolutely incredible. Thailand by far has the best food of anywhere I have been.

We did do some diving too, 5 dives and to get the next certification. The certification is lamely named Advanced Adventurer, which is the SSI equivalent of PADI Advanced Open Water. But the name doesn’t really matter to us, the diving did. Unfortunately we are spoiled I think, as we learned in Palau, so the diving in Thailand pretty much pales in comparison. We did see a leopard shark, so that was new, but otherwise it was just tons of dead coral and low visibility. Which I guess it was probably good for us to dive in something other than the crystal clear waters of the Pacific to see how it can be. Along with the dirty water and dead coral you have a hundred people on the same site. This is maddening as you are constantly running into other groups, although it is interesting to see 35 divers fighting to catch a glimpse of one tiny sea turtle and then after the dive talk about how awesome it was.

Anyway, that is pretty much all that has been happening. We are doing some backpacking too, but I will save that for another post. Otherwise I have been meeting with the agents (mine is named Mrs. Porntip and her assistant Ms Ohh, this is not a joke, it is true) and preparing the boat for shipping. The sails are off, and all the canvas will be removed. Martin has been stowed and Jocyline, Courtney and Brook will all come off and be safety sequestered down below. Zach will be shipped home. The boat will get loaded onto a ship and off they go. I will be truly homeless at that point. I will then get to deal with the oddity that is Thai immigration policy and try to leave the country for some more back packing. This might happen next week, they say. But when it will actually happen no one really knows.