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Welcome to sailing yacht Alishan

Read more about the adventures and boat-projects on board of Alishan


Yacht Haven

Views of the Haven

The beginning of July found us still in Yacht Haven, Phuket, waiting for the carpenters to do their jobs.

Of course it took a bit longer than anticipated, but not much. We worked with them, where possible and stayed on board most of the time. In the mornings we’d get up early. Initially to go for a run. But, since the heat sets in as soon as the sun is up and there were many things we wanted to do while it was still cool, the running slipped out of our routine. Another reason was the road. It leads right through the village of Ko En, a strict Muslim community. We never felt at ease in our shorts and singlets.

And again

At one stage we took to the back roads through the plantations, which was OK on some days, but rain made the paths too muddy and we were still in the middle of the wet monsoon, so there was plenty of that. Then, one day we stumbled upon a huge black snake. We were stalking an interesting looking bird, very quietly, when Marijke nearly stepped on it. It raised its head and looked at us angrily. We froze. It may have been just a second, but seemed to last minutes before it decided we weren’t a threat and slid out of sight through the tall grass. Wow! That was a Cobra! Maybe even a King Cobra, who knows? This story could have had a very different ending! It scared the hell out of us and that was the end of jogging through the fields.

One of our neighbors and Wakame’s favorite was this famous yacht “Condor of Bermuda”

Marijke on her last run.

In the evenings we would play badminton. First just the 2 of us on the car park, but when Michael and Em got back from their trip to Australia, we played with them at the school ground. That was great, having people to play with, or against, making it a real game!

The Badminton team.

Trying to motorbike the dirt roads can be a real challenge, if you do it for the first time.

In the weekends we explored the non-touristy parts on and around Phuket on bicycle or motorbike. We liked the markets, ate lots of mangos and som tam (papaya salad). Friends Heyko and Rose on sy Bavaria took us to some awesome places for fresh fish, shellfish and crab. Yes, the food was good. Very very good.

View from the bridge that connects Phuket with the mainland and food from an eatery under that bridge.


Our marina time in Phuket was filled with boat improvements.

As the rule of thumb, it took more time AND bath (Thai currency) but we are very happy with the results.

2 new boat bits.

 A teakwood bracket and a stainless steel hoist for the outboard engine. How did we ever do without??

Men At Work.

The welder of the new bimini frame and the carpenter who does the dodger trimming, working side by side.

Malee’s workshop is located at the car park of Yacht Haven Marina .

Need wood work done? Give him a call 081-8924438

Malee (white shirt) and staff member are measuring the fiberglass core of the bimini.

The dodger trim is getting in place.

Nice teak work, isn’t it?

Hey Marijke, what do you think of your new cockpit sun/rain shelter?

The bimini is at the painters. Note the tropical setup of the workshop.

Bimini window being installed by our “house” carpenter Mr Chien. (brother of Malee). Trimming the mainsail is so easy, now we can see it.

Ms Pla and staff are busy finishing the bimini side panels.

For canvas work give her a call: 081-7875952

Inside Alishan 2 of the lockers got shelves, the compressor of the new fridge got a teak cover and some wood edges new trimmings. The old teak deck got a few new plugs where needed and a leaking prism was replaced.

Boat jobs done in Thailand might not be as cheap as before, but the quality is good. And everybody is doing the job with a BIG smile.

Thank you all!


Side trips

We had to do the “visa-run” twice. Thailand allows visitors who arrive without a tourist visa just one month in the country, but a day-trip to Myanmar and the right stamps in the passports fixes that. Now we can say we have been to Myanmar, but really just saw the customs/immigration building and its direct surroundings and were not there more than 20 mins at a time. Still, we managed to talk to some locals and met the “Lucky Man with the 6 Fingers” as he called himself. He didn’t mind me taking a photo of his “lucky” hand. (see funny)

This is all you get to see of Myanmar during the “visa run”

Welcome to Union of Myanmar

After the carpenters were done with the fiberglass work, the bimini moved to the painters’ workshop and we had a break from craftsmen coming and going. We took the opportunity to go somewhere overnight. With a rented car we drove over the mountain range north of Phuket and spent the night in Khao Sok National Park.

We had a small bungalow on the bank of a fast flowing river and enjoyed the cool mountain air. After sunset we hiked up a dirt path into the rainforest, packed with water bottles, torches and cameras and a guide of few words. At first we didn’t think much of it, but after an hour the guide started pointing things out, announcing them in short terms, like barking deer, slow loris, spiders, reptiles, bats and the like. We got back at camp at 10:00pm, excited and exhausted.

Karst landscape of Khao Sok

And the same south, near Phang Nga

Marijke’s wild life:

Tree frog and Tree bird

Forest Lizards

Forest Crested Lizard and Roundleaf Bat

River Toad

The next day, taking the small back roads back to Phuket, we stumbled upon a temple, went inside and found some amazing paintings on the walls.

Beautiful place. Don’t ask me the name; it was written in Thai and we cannot read it.

Time went fast. When the painters were done it was the sail makers’ turn. Mrs. Pla and her helpers took hold of the boat a few times and suddenly it was all finished. Now Alishan has a livable cockpit. And it looks great!

Michael and Em made sure we didn’t leave Phuket without seeing what most people come for: Patong Beach by night. First everyone got real tired at the cable ski place. Micheal and Em from doing their thing on wakeboards, Jaap from falling off and Marijke from watching them. Then we had a meal at a Korean BBQ place, and after that drinks at a cocktail bar in the street were it’s all happening, Th Bangla.

Michael, Em, the day was unforgettable!

Somewhere in there is Jaap making waves

We didn’t hang around much longer, packed up the aircon, bought some bread and veggie’s, took in the lines and off we went.



It felt like we were finally gonna go cruising. All the jobs on the list were done… No of course not, but for the moment we pretended.

We headed for one of the best cruising grounds of the world: Phang Nga Bay. Just around the corner.

That afternoon we dropped the hook near the very first island in the bay, Ko Phanak and from there day-hopped around, stopping at most of the popular anchorages described in the cruising guides.

Everywhere we went, we were in the middle of that great karst scenery, constantly surrounded by the steep cliffs of the limestone islands, that were topped with rich tropical vegetation.

Ko Hong at Phang Nga Bay at 6:00 am.

We loved the caves and the hongs (Thai for room in a rock) the bonsais and the birds. We did the tourist thing and duly saw Ko Phing Kan or James Bond Islands, set for the movie “Man with the golden gun” and Pan Yi, the stilt village, but from a distance. The highlights for us were the early morning dinghy trips under the rocky overhangs.

Fishing boat leaving Ko Chong Lat

Pan Yi village

James Bond Island

Ko Hong (Krabi)

The sea gypsies, called Mon in Thai are a very old tribe, who have no status, just wander along the coasts of Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia without ever checking in or out. The government of Thailand is not happy about that and tries to get them to “settle down” send their kids to school. So some live in special villages, like Pan Yi, but others prefer camping in caves.

We lived on prawns and fresh crab that we bought from the fishermen, who always seemed to be able to find us at the right time and occasionally we ate out at one of the resorts on Ko Yao Noi.

Jaap and Nori negotiating the price of prawns and crab.

Anybody going there: try lunch at the Six Senses.

Outstanding! (a bit pricy and not too spicy)

Sunrise from Yao Noi

The weather was generally good, the mosquitoes not too bad. We had one gray day with occasional rain showers. Fine, we needed a day to just relax and read books in our now DRY cockpit. No running in and out to keep the cockpit sponges (=cushions) dry.

Another creature thought the same thing , but didn’t get further than the swimming platform…

You’re Welcome, Mr. Monitor


On August 26th we cleared out of Thailand at Ao Chalong (Phuket Island).

A last trip to the laundromat, the German bakery, the supermarket and the massage girls, a meal with friends Fred, Alain and Axel on sy Ouma 3 and off we were again. To Phi Phi Don this time. Beautiful island, with more of the same limestone cliffs and tropical plants, but now also clear water, so we snorkeled for the first time since Tioman island (see Q4 2007), nearly a year ago. There we saw the oh-so familiar fish like parrot fish, butterfly fish, wrasses, groupers. The corals, anemones, sponges etc. It was wonderful, like the first time all over again.

Boats on the east coast of Phi Phi Don. The mud banks can make dinghy landing at low tide quite difficult.

Jaap enjoying life at a beach cafe.

We hopped again, from bay to bay on the east coast of Phi Phi Don and one day, when Jaap took the anchor chain in, we caught a huge tangle of nylon fishing line, that nearly strangled some 5 or 6 spiny murexes. Poor creatures, they could have been stuck for ever. After taking some photos we set them back, wishing them a better future.

One of the spiny murex after that we cut out of its trap.

The last days in Phi Phi we anchored in Tonsai Bay, where the town is situated and where 100s of visitors pour in every day, filling the narrow streets in throngs before fanning out to the more accessible beaches. They rush by on speedy and tremendously noisy long-tail boats on their way to the caves, hongs and Maya Beach, another famous movie location (1998 blockbuster cult film ‘The Beach’) Believe it or not, after days of just the two of you with the sole company of ever present Nori and Wakame, you don’t mind the change. But not for long!

A Phi Phi noise machine

When we came here 3 months before, we stopped at Ko Lanta, a bigger and more quiet island to the south of Phi Phi, and we vowed to come back to explore it some more. The west coast has hotels, restaurants and other tourist business, but not too overwhelming. The east coast has nothing but a lovely old town.

There is an elephant camp half way were the animals are put to work. Not to carry loads of logs anymore as in the old days, but loads of tourists now. It’s good, ‘cause it saves the animals from getting depressed. And they seem happy enough to make babies.

We ran into a bird song competition and watched and listened to the red-whiskered bulbuls in their elaborate cages for a while.

Kids making the most of the rainy season.

The big bay on the east has protected anchor ground behind Koh Po in 5m of mud. Good all year round. A British man called Graeme is setting up a small business catering for yachts. He is making moorings and wants to promote Ko Lanta as a place to leave the boat behind. Might not be a bad idea.

For more info, see

The weather had been kind of unstable. We had thunderstorms, sometimes with winds over 40 knots, every evening since leaving Ao Chalong and some days the seas were quite roly.

One morning, long before sunrise, Jaap woke up from a strange rattling sound. He got up to investigate and found the source at the bow. A long net had come undone in the strong winds and drifted off with the current. It had caught around the anchor chain and an old fisherman and his younger helper were working to bring it in from a small boat behind us.

The little fish in the net got Nori’s attention and he helped himself to quite a few. He ate the nice oily ones, but not the bony ones. How does he know? Does he remember from Japan? At the same time dolphins were cruising by, heading straight for the net! But no worry, they are so clever. Jaap was watching them, leaning just a little against the railing and suddenly the lifeline gave way! It broke at the swage, right there where it went through a scepter! No, he didn’t fall overboard, but he could have and we could have been at sea and… And so a new boat-job-list started.

Then a spell of rainy days set in, just when we went to see some of the smaller islands off Ko Lanta. However, the rain never lasted the whole day and we enjoyed exploring Ko Talabeng by dinghy. These islands are not described in detail in the cruising guides, so it was quite a surprise when we found some big caves, with amazing formations of stalactites, terraces, bays and secluded beaches.

This big multi level cave that even has a fresh water lake (as locals told us – we were not brave enough to go that far in) is situated on the south coast of the little island west of Ko Talabeng.

On September the 12th the Grib files (weather info we can download using the SSB radio) showed a window in the weather pattern and we made a big 60 mile jump south, bypassing Ko Muk, Ko Kradan and other pretty isles, like Ko Phetra (again!)

That night we dropped the hook in the most NE bay of Ko Tarutoa, the last stop before Malaysia. Tarutao means old, mysterious and primitive in Malay, an apt description for this densely forested island. It is bigger than the rest and (like many others in this area) part of a National Park, with lots of wildlife.

We watched the monkeys and the birds, big eagles and hornbills, small and medium sized kingfishers, bulbuls, drongos, too many to mention. We hiked from the park’s HQ in Ao Pante to Talo Woa (12 km), and saw leaf monkeys, squirrels, wild pigs, lizards, lots of different butterflies and weird bugs more or less at every bend in the windy road.

Coming back we saw some fishermen who were cleaning their nets throwing waste overboard that attracted lots of fish, which in its turn attracted many eagles and kites and from the dinghy we watched them diving by a rising full moon in a pink sky. Fantastic!

Where do all the single thongs go? To the beach of Ao Panthe!

Another time we wandered around the part of the island where some of its history was made. In 1938 more than 500 political prisoners were incarcerated on the island, which in those days was infested with malaria mosquitoes and crocodiles. Over the years the inmates started running their own show in an anarchic society until the British army cleaned it up in 1946.

The site showed some simple exhibits of how the prisoners lived. Some spent days totally isolated, standing up in a hole in the ground with their head only just sticking out.

Todays copy of a club house for the convicts in less severe indictment.

What did they do wrong?

What we learned from it? Glad to be here as free person AND ordinary sport socks don’t protect against leeches.

Marijke’s photos

Long-tailed macaques, always around, always naughty.

White-Bellied Sea-Eagle

Crested Serpent Eagle

Brahmini Kites

Some funny bug, a bit like a grasshopper and a common Kingfisher.

Only 2 on the photo, but we saw 5

Butterflies and sunbirds, making life colorful

A couple of days later the dolphins came into the bay, (meaning big waves on their way), the fishermen left to look for sheltered pozzies and we sailed our last 20 miles to the Hole in the Wall in Langkawi, Malaysia. We knew about this “hole” where anchoring is very safe from our first stop in Langkawi, but had never taken Alishan there. It is located right in the mangroves, very sheltered and has lots of wildlife. We continued our dinghy trips and loved it. Sy Ouma 3 showed up as well, they had been following us, and we all went into Kuah town to check in with immigration and customs. It was Friday. Why did I expect to buy bread and veggies? Friday is Muslim holiday and all shops are closed. Luckily the Ramadan bazaar started early and we could get some fruit. On board I went back to the oven once more, which produced nice muffins and 5 grain loaves, but also high cabin temperatures… Ah, you cannot have it all.

The Kings of Fishers

Lapwings, always asking: “Did he do it? Did he do it?”

Eagles and Kites

Trees full of Kites

Diving for food

On Sept 21st we left the Hole to sail to Kuah. Mainly because we wanted to see some friends, like Aslaugh and Kari of sy Lady Ann, and Leo and Liesbeth of sy de Scharrel, before their return to Holland. We had only two nights, but they were jam packed with socials and then we went on to the marina in Rebak, where we could fix our lifeline and do some of the other things on our never ending list of things to do, like varnishing and sewing.

Well, it might not be the most attractive place on Langkawi, but it could be worse and after wandering around a while, it’s nice to return to a place you know well.


This is a map of the route we took from Yacht Haven, Thailand to Rebak, Malaysia. August~September 2008.


Here half hidden behind their wake board stand Michael and Em of

Sy Lord Jim, ehh …. of

Sy Diablesse, ehhh …. of yes yes


We had met Michael in 2005 in Fukuoka, Japan when he was skipper of

sy Diablesse. ( see Q2 2005). He then told us : Don’t forget, I’m in Phuket! So of course we had to look him up (only to find out he was off island for a month;-)).

Good to catch up with you Michael and Em, thanx for the wakeboard and

badminton lessons!

Here are Axel, Alain and Frederique from sy Ouma 3.

We met them here in Malaysia/Thailand this year. Sometimes we would go for a run with Alain but as Alain is a serious long distant runner… blistersss

Now listen to this: We knew the boat. In fact we had been onboard in 2002 when Nelson Liu was the owner. We happened to be on a land trip in Taiwan and spotted a lonesome cruising boat in a marina in the far south. Of course we had to check this out… and it was then that we first boarded this yacht. It was also then that Nelson told us about the Ta-shing boatyard where they made the Taswells… And so it is because of that visit to this boat we are now living on ALISHAN.

Great to share an anchorage with you, Ouma 3!

Sy Ouma 3 at Ao Chalong, Thailand.

Marijke and Nelson on board the same boat, December 2002

Meet Alfons.

First time we met Alfons was when he was crew member on board sy Freya and they visited Fukuoka, Japan in the spring of 2003

In 2007 we met up again at Hebe Haven Yacht Club, Hong Kong and now of all places at Yacht Haven, Phuket. Alfons is always around for a good laugh, food and a glass of wine. Keep on cruising Alfons! See you somewhere.


At present, how many sailing boats are there out cruising ?


How many of those boats are crewed by a couple?

Hmm, most.

How many of those, do have a cat on board?

Hmm, a few.

How many do have 2 cats on board?

Even less.

Now, how many of those boats with 2 cats is a TASWELL 43 ?

Can you believe it?

There is an other!

Sy Pendragon, with Carolyn, Andrew and cats Spinnaker and Jigger.


Go-go-go, Phang Nga Bay Longtail GT Special

A beauty, chartering in Phang Nga Bay

Phang Nga Bay Dump truck version

Hmmm, I wonder what this one will do in rough seas.

Myanmar cargo float. Quality wood is used, so no need to paint.

But why do they have to glad-wrap the pilot house?

Myanmar’s Container Liner.

Longtails at rest

Fishing and cargo fleet of Ranong, Thailand



We don’t have a big section on funny this time.

There just weren’t that many funny things to see.

Of course, as good cat parents we always think our dearest Nori and Wakame are extremely funny.

This is something though:

With our new solid bimini Nori lost his favorite place to play, his trampoline.

He used to run around in circles on the tent, chasing fingers or shadows, entertaining everyone including Wakame. That WAS funny. We even made a movie of it. Now that is over, but he found something else: chasing little tissue balls that we have to shoot through a window. It’s a real game: If we manage to throw 1 overboard, it’s 1 point for us. If he catches it, well, it’s obvious. So we play every morning. Guess who’s winning?

What else was funny? The Burmees man with the 6 fingers?

Or this:

Princess Wakame on her mattresses, what was there supposedly underneath? A pea?

The ladyboys in Patong? Eh yes, these ladies are male.

Marijke taking photos of something brown in the toilet (a frog)

or this beautiful tropical beach?

Maybe this: Anti fouling paint prevents algae, weed and barnacles to grow on Alishan’s waterline, but here in Yachthaven it looks like we’re having white flowers! (It’s Styrofoam)

And this: Who or what are we?? (Answers will be in Q4 – if I remember)