We arrived at 7.30pm at Yacht Haven Marina. The yacht has been well cared for while we spent some months at home.

Early on our first day we take “Impulsive” and “Free Spirit” to Royal Phuket Marina to be put up on the hard stand. This is a very beneficial trip as other boat issues to be dealt with become apparent.

We spend 5 nights at the Chedi resort (where we stayed previously) because we are unable to be on the yacht. This is a luxury but, unfortunately, there isn’t the relaxation we had hoped for, as so much time was needed to be on the boat to meet with contractors to check things, along with general chasing around for equipment etc. Sometimes we feel we are going one step forward and then three backwards.

The main issues dealt with are cutting and polishing the hull, cleaning and anti-fouling the keel, a major service to the auto-prop, and there are frig, air-con and hot water problems. The Australian dollar goes a long way here so we have had new canvas work done and sails repaired. The workmanship here is outstanding. Also, the boat has been detailed, e.g. bright work and shackles etc. checked.

We certainly have time to thoroughly enjoy the Thai cuisine in the evenings. (This also helps us with ideas for provisioning).

Highlights are:

1. Local style feet in the sand restaurant at Nai Thong Beach (north coast of Phuket).

2. Leamhim Seafood Restaurant. This is by the water and a local favourite. We come here with the marine manager, Derrick, and his wife Lek. What an amazing meal, and so cheap! Local knowledge is so valuable and it is wonderful to learn more of the culture here, e.g. Lek, Thai-Chinese, is the youngest of 9 children. Her father runs a rubber plantation and has put all 9 children through tertiary education. Land prices are booming here.

3. The Sea Hag at Patong Beach. Probably as good a meal we have had anywhere in Thailand with very distinct flavours, particularly with their use of tamarind. We now have a bottle of it on board.

4. Sailor’s Hut at Ao-Chalong. We take 4 meals away with us from here for our Indian Ocean crossing. What a treat!

Robbie and I spend some time sourcing different places to provision from. Another Australian gives us ideas too. They have cruised in this area for some years and are very knowledgeable.

The provisioning this time is very important, as there isn’t much available as we travel to Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Aden and then up through the Red Sea.

We enjoy the Thai people very much - their warmth, friendliness and willingness to be helpful. Some of the women are strong, capable people, such as Pla who organised the bimini and other canvas covers, and the women who controlled a staff of 30 or so cleaners on the boats. Others seem deferential and submissive to the point of a fault. The same comment applies to the Thai men we meet.