After our fishy dinner, we slipped the mooring line at perfect Koh Rok without any issues and began our passage east then south. Thunder and lightning filled the horizon as we motored into the night.
Later the water was calm and the moon full, making for an atmospheric passage past floating villages of fishermen rafted up in the their long tails. At first light the rocky Bulon islands appeared through the gloom, and we sailed safely past. It was a tranquil start to the new day.
Finally, we made our run down the east side of imposing Tarutao, one of Thailand’s largest islands and the country’s first national marine park. Once a penal colony, it was the perfect place to cast away undesirables. With its unforgiving tropical rainforest, strong tidal currents and fierce salt-water crocodiles escape would have been impossible.
Weary from our night passage south, we dropped the anchor in the middle of the east side of Tarutao in the lee of a small island. We were greeted by a tropical dawn chorus. Eagles patrolled overhead and swiflets came to investigate SY Esper as we fell asleep.
The next day, with a favourable tide carrying us forward, we made our way towards Chebilang.
It was good to be ‘home’, and to see our old friends again, but before we could haul Esper we spent a night tied to a fishing boat at the side of the slipway. On a spring low tide the water fell away fast and pretty soon we were on the bottom, leaning at an angle on the soft mud.
In the next episode we put Esper on the hard and begin the repairs needed after the accident on Ko Phi Phi Don. But for now, we were relieved to be back in the safe hands of PSS.
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