Electrical storms and cocktails

The thing about lightning is it’s difficult to avoid in the tropics, particularly when the monsoon hits town.

Ao Chalong is a popular and safe anchorage in all seasons, although it can rack up quite a fetch when a strong wind hits a certain angle. Getting to shore–which tends to be a long way from where you are anchored–is pretty impossible during stormy weather unless you have a rib the size of the average yacht. Or you don’t mind getting drenched.

Ao Chalong south west monsoon squall approaching

Ao Chalong south west monsoon squall approaching

When the first murmurings of this year’s SW monsoon came rumbling in, we cancelled our plans to meet friends in town and stayed aboard. Squadrons of clouds hurled lightning across the sky at each other for two days, while we sheltered in the cockpit and collected rainwater in buckets.

There’s nowhere to go in this sort of weather. You just have to trust to luck that your mast will be less attractive than someone else’s when that stray lightning bolt searches for a place to crash land. We were OK this time, but in India we hadn’t been so lucky. The damage had been minor, we just lost our radar.

Dark clouds in Ao Chalong

This wasn’t the monsoon proper, just a little sortie before the main event arrived next month.

Lightning in the pitch dark aboard Esper

Lightning in the pitch dark aboard Esper

Eventually the sun came out and the sky turned from black to blue, so we headed to shore to collect ingredients for cocktails.

Sunshine in Ao Chalong, Phuket, Thailand

Well, what else are you gonna do? Mint was in abundance in the markets, so mojitos were on the cards…now if only we could get enough ice from the town back to Esper without it melting. Before getting excited about mint, it might have been a good idea to check our white rum situation, which was basically two fingers. Hey ho, we improvised with various other ingredients and came up with something which approximated a mojito.

Ice. Essential ingredient but can we get it back to the boat before it melts in this tropical environment?

Ice. Essential ingredient but can we get it back to the boat before it melts in this tropical environment?

When making Esper Mojitos ensure you have enough rum

When making Esper Mojitos ensure you have enough rum

Cheers!

During all the kerfuffle of working out how to make these fine cocktails, Millie reminded us how clever she is by making use of the rear heads. Not fancying the idea of cat litter rolling around the cabin sole, we had trained her to use the toilet at a very early age. We caught her on camera this time, and present the footage as evidence that–contrary to popular belief–it is possible to train a cat.

Liz untying the dinghy at Ao Chalong pier

Liz untying the dinghy at Ao Chalong pier

After a few more days in the bay, we left for Phi Phi Don. Yes, before you raise an eyebrow, it is true that we hadn’t thought much of the place during our first brief visit. But we were assured by our new friend from Patreon, American McGee, that he knew of a particularly nice spot where we could hook up…

On our way there, we took a break overnight at a peaceful anchorage along the coast of Ko Yai, a gentle spot just east of Ao Chalong. Jamie tried out his new ‘skin’, frightened off a few jellyfish and set about scraping the prop, while Liz and Millie indulged in a spot of unproductive fishing.

Jamie scares the aquatic life

Jamie scares the aquatic life

It was our first quiet night in over two weeks.

Millie gets a treat. Find out why in the video

Millie gets a treat. Find out why in the video

If you can’t see the embedded video clip then view it here on youtube.





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