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During a few days in Phuket we bought lots of ropes, courtesy-flags, small parts for the boat and everything else we absolutely need. At last somebody is coming to visit us over Christmas and new year. The parents of Sonja are flying to Phuket in the middle of December and sail with us towards the southern parts of Thailand where we will stay a little while. Before we set off we decide to visit the “Big Buddha” of Phuket. 25 meters high made out of white marble he sits on the mountain and looks towards Ao Chalong. To get there you need to drive up the mountain past Elephant-camps, paintball-arenas and Buggi-rides. Once you have reached the “Big Buddha” you are only allowed to enter the temple dressed properly. Nevertheless you see lots of women with only sparely covered upper bodies and short pants or skirts.
After a short visit to the shipyard of Seascape Asia, where our boat was built, we visit the local fruit and vegetable market to stock up on vitamins before we leave. The weather forecast for Christmas is not good. Lots lot of wind and rain are predicted but we want to sail back south to the islands for snorkeling and diving.
Since the weather forecast changes daily (at one point they even expected a tropical cyclone), but the wind is supposed to come steadily from the northeast, we decide to anchor on the west side of Koh Adang (one island of the Butang-group). Tom sets our stern anchor to stabilize the boat, so that we don't move with the current and the wind always comes from the front of the boat. Finally we meet SY Felix with Tom's parents abord and enjoy a great time between the beach, snorkeling, rain and shared evenings. Also the search for a Christmas tree is finally over on the 23. of December and we can look forward to a silent Christmas evening. We all celebrate together on our Pakia tea and we are very busy with opening all the packages which friends and family from Austria have sent via Sonja’s parents. Fortunately the weather forecast is off. It remains dry all evening and we can enjoy sparkling stars in the sky.
Time between new years eve and Christmas is spent with visits of Koh Lipe and lots of snorkeling and diving in the NW-bay of Koh Butang. There are some beautiful coral reefs around two small islands with recovering hard corals of the genus Acropora, lots of soft corals (Dendronephtya sp.) and gorgonian corals and in shallow water a forest of sea anemones (mainly magnificent sea anemones – genus Heteractis), lots of reef fish and surprisingly a lot of sea snakes (yellow-lipped sea krite - Laticauda colubrina). At the beach there is also a group of crab-eating macaques (Macaca fascicularis) visiting regularly and they sometimes even sit on the beach to eat some fruits.
In Koh Lipe we enjoy massage, excellent coffee and food and take care of some food and souvenir shopping. We are surprised to find new ATM's on the island and the main street now has concrete on top.  The future doesn't even stop at a small island like Koh Lipe.
Over new years eve we anchor in an bay south of Koh Rawi, where we are alone and it's really silent except for some noises out of the jungle. Promptly at midnight we enjoy the fireworks on Koh Lipe in the distance – we are approximately 6 nm away - with sparkling wine and the blue Danube waltz (typical for an Austrian new years eve). It is the end of a great and exciting year and we are already looking forward to our adventures in 2015! We wish all of you a good start for 2015 with lots of sunshine, wind and adventures.

Big Buddha in Phuket
Golden Buddha statue next to big Buddha
View from big Buddha towards Ao Chalong
the south beach of Koh Lipe
Longtail-boats on Koh Lipe
our Xmastree
family Xmas presents