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.



12 scallops in their shells ( these were cryovaced and frozen)
2 kaffir leaves (thinly shredded)
juice of 2 limes
2 thin slices of ginger finely grated
finely shredded coriander
dill to garnish
pepper to taste

Remove scallops from their shells and marinate in lime juice and pepper.

Simmer lightly kaffir leaves in lime juice ,1/4 cup of water, ginger
and coriander. Place 6 shells around each plate.

Cook scallops lightly (cooked when they swell up).
Replace in their shells and spoon over juices from cooking
Garnish with dill.

Serve with rice in centre of plate with lightly cooked bok choy placed
over the top.

Serve with garden salad (we enjoy lettuce, spinach leaves, cherry
toms, avacado, sprouts and goats or fetta cheese-garnished with




It is very exciting to be setting out on the next leg of our trip after a 4 month break. We are thrilled to have “Impulsive” ship-shape, especially with the long voyages ahead.

After being on the boat again many times, and sleeping on her the previous few nights, we feel comfortable about heading off on our 1,100 nautical mile trip (minimum 6½ days) due west. It is a lovely surprise to have winds of 8-10 knots from the east, and varying, as the forecast is for no wind at all. We have sails up, especially as fuel is a huge issue so we want to motor conservatively, and any help from the sails is beneficial.

It is a beautiful hot, sunny day and the waters are blue and sparkling. This afternoon we are given a wonderful display by about 150 spinning dolphins. They all swim towards the yacht, some of them swimming at the bow and some making triple twists at the stern.

This evening we tracked some electrical storms on the radar, which produced a very heavy shower of rain accompanied by sheet and fork lightening that lit up the whole sky.

This morning there is just enough wind to be under sail with the flying reaching spinnaker and foresail. We have an excellent sail like this at good speed, but as the wind drops off we slow right down. Normally we would motor in these conditions but we want to make the most of the wind. Robbie and Phil are soon 8 nautical miles ahead but we catch up during the night while motoring to sail in tandem again. It is very comforting to be sailing like this through these areas.
Our favourite way of sailing

The nights have been wonderful - the skies filled with stars and the waning Moon bathing the seas and the boat with its light.

Our days are filled with odd jobs to keep the yacht ship-shape, e.g. sail repairs (see photo) and cleaning waste water pipes. Apart from running the boat, e.g. navigation, setting sails and regular watch, we enjoy some time to relax reading, listening to music and sometimes drawing. Ross and I try to do our exercises daily, even though we feel we get regular isometric exercise constantly on the boat, e.g. keeping our balance. It goes without saying that our meals are always a highlight, even though we never drink alcohol when overnight sailing. We will certainly feel in good health after all these long voyages ahead!

We spend time on the computer to send emails and check the weather via HF radio. It is also a good opportunity to get our photos up-to-date.

During a long voyage such as this we try to rest during the day so we can manage night watch. One of us is always on watch throughout the night. Fortunately, our body clocks work differently and Ross prefers to sleep first, whereas I am happy to stay up later.

The wind has dropped out completely now and, although we would prefer to sail, it is very relaxing cruising over smooth seas. Just occasionally it has been oppressively hot for short periods but, generally, we catch a cool breeze. The evenings and nights are magical with glass-like calm waters, magnificent sunsets (even dolphins at sunset yesterday, some phosphorescence in the wash of the boat, and reflections from the Moon. There are reflections from the stars on the water tonight as it is such a magnificent night. There is something very special about doing night watch, experiencing the peace and tranquillity of it all, and realizing the enormity of nature.

This meditative feeling is only broken when other ships come into view or show up on the radar. We have not had too many crossing the Indian Ocean.

Our only boat issues during this passage are the batons "popping" out of their new insets in the mainsail because the stitching has pulled away and the freshwater pump is not operating. We have taped the baton sockets and hope to have them stitched in Sri Lanka.

Ross has a "swim" in the Indian Ocean to see if there is plastic caught in the seawater inlet valve. There is no problem with this, but he removes a fishing line and medium size float caught on the transducer for the forward looking depth sounder on the keel. The pump will need replacing which may not be easy in this part of the world.

On our final night we encounter a heavy rainstorm which is quite refreshing. Also, the wind comes up to 12-13 knots just west of north so we can reduce our motoring speed and use the headsail to average 7-8 knots.

Later during the same night watch I have a tricky manoeuvre with an oncoming vessel. It is more difficult to change direction with the sail up, but whichever way I change course the other boat seems to stay on our rhumb line, i.e. a collision course.

Eventually, we sort it out and pass each other quite close by. It is the first of many smaller fishing vessels. Ross experiences about 30 of these, all with bright lights, and having difficulty working out which way they are travelling. As with the one I experience, they change direction frequently and readily.

We have also spent a great deal of time sorting out our travel arrangements on land. Having realized we are not able to get to Aden on time (from the Maldives) we have decided to go to Salalah (Oman). There were thoughts of going to Mukallah instead, but this option doesn’t seem safe (I kept remembering reading "Not Without My Daughter" when we were talking about a 200 mile drive from Mukallah to Aden). Making arrangements from here is also very difficult. We are trying to get to Dubai to meet Scott and Augusta on their way home from spending Easter in Australia. It does seem sad that in these areas we really have to consider where it is safe to travel. Going to Salalah proves to be a much better option as we would have serious fuel issues if we had to motor non-stop to Aden from the Maldives.

Tonight we anchor just outside Port de Galle. We are not permitted to go inside at night time. We have an 8.30 a.m. appointment with the port authorities tomorrow, and once they have come aboard to inspect the boat and have given their permission to go ashore, we look forward to exploring Sri Lanka.

Apparently, mines are let off during the night in the harbour here to try to deter Tamil Tiger divers who might be trying to enter the harbour to explode bombs. All very welcoming, but we have it on good authority that what we are doing and where we plan to travel is all safe.