On our way north towards Phuket we have sunny weather but almost no wind during our trip to Koh Lipe. This is a small island full of tourists just across the boarder in Thailand. You can find lots of resorts, diving bases, shops, a small market, massage saloons, and everything else a tourist might need. There is also a small immigration checkpoint on the island where you can officially enter Thailand. Since we want to spend some time here in the south before we sail to Phuket we decide to check in here. For this we get one of the buoys in the bay because we don't want to anchor in and destroy the coral reef. But since staying on the buoy apparently costs THB 500.- and there is lots of action in the bay we decide to anchor on the west side of Koh Adang on a sandy bottom. Koh Adang is one of the two large islands here and our anchorage is right in front of a beautiful beach with a river delta respectively a spring, where one can watch lots of different birds (picture 1). On the first day I forgot the camera, but on the second trip I was able to watch and take a picture of an oriental pied hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris - picture 2 & 3) and at least one kingfisher (brown-winged kingfisher - Pelargopsis amauroptera - picture 4).
After a few relaxing days we travel to Koh Rok. It's one of the westernmost islands of Thailand. Nowadays you need to pay an entry fee to stay here since it is a national park. The price is THB 400.- per person and THB 100.- per boat for 5 days. It's okay and you can even try to negotiate a lesser fee. The coral reefs are pretty nice and the south is probably good for diving. Tom was able to discover a few big groupers in the deeper water. But you can't compare the coral diversity to Pulau Tioman. Nevertheless after the last big coral bleaching event you already can see many new branching coral species. The beach is beautiful and Keanu loves to play and try out swimming in the shallow areas of the water (picture 5 & 6).
After Koh Rok we make a short stop at Koh Ha to check out the dive sites there. Tom is thrilled about the visibility under water and we decide to come back later on to make a few dives here. This spot is also famous for the underwater caves and steeps.
After one day of good sailing we arrive in Phuket and stay in the bay of Nai Harn for the first night. Nai Harn is situated in the south of Phuket and is close to Ao Chalong. In the morning we sail to Ao Chalong where there is a one stop check-in/out point for boats. For the first time we do the check-in in the new building at the end of the pier, which is painted with a salmon color. The newest thing is to register your yacht in the internet and only add the date and passenger as well as crew lists when coming to Thailand. This is good since you don't have to complete a lot of paperwork by hand anymore. After the check-in we sail back to Nai Harn because the water and the area is much nicer there. And now let's go into crazy Phuket and get the last things we need for our boat to get ready to cross the Indian ocean.