BATAM – Thailand, December 2021

We didn’t stay very long at Batam marina. Time was chasing us. Had some hassle with paperwork and they were asking telephone numbers for our Thai visas, check in and all the covid tests. Apparently we needed 3 covid tests each at $250 Us a pop! The whole bill was $ 4600 Us….well, no choice.

The marina hotel had a pool full of fish that you could feed. They went crazy.

We also went to the local market to stock up as we kept an eye on the weather.

The driving was chaotic at the best and we saw some interesting combinations of travelling.

Finally we left. Now, Nongsa point marina where we were has a very narrow way in and out. It’s marked, super simple, just keep your eyes open….so off we went. I’m busy tidying up at the deck, kids downstairs and Chris at the helm. Next thing there was this thump, didn’t think more of it but kids came running up saying we hit something as they heard a crunching noise….I look at Chris who is busy plotting our course on the plotter not looking where he’s going….so of course we went straight over the bloody reef. Lucky it was high water and didn’t get any damage but ffs!

We then entered the busiest shipping lane in the world. So you stay outside the lanes but at some point you have to cross it….at this point it was a beautiful day and sailing at 9 knots.

That soon changed. I saw the mother of squalls coming our way and thought how the hell are we going to do this?

We desperately scouted for the gap to start crossing and as we did the squall was over us and visibility went to zero. Didn’t see anything but we could hear the humming of the tankers…I was very scared at this point. So now we had to totally trust our chart plotter.

It felt like forever. Just listening, watching and hoping we are good.

Of course all was good. We were now on the Singapore side of the straight and the rain eased a little. Saw a bit of Singapore as we motor sailed past.

As you sort of round the corner to go up Malacca straight we had a tanker who kept coming very close to us. So we ended up in Singaporean waters and blimey, the police patrol was on us like a rash. Calling us over VHF asking what we are up to. Well nothing much, just being squished here….they followed us for miles.

The following 4 days was a bit hard work. Always on collision course with the hundreds of fishing boats with no AIS so they never show up on the plotter, squalls, thunder storms and choppy, mixed waves. Tropical sailing at its worst.

We also had pressure on to get to the quarantine anchorage by the 15.12 as Thailand wanted a precise date for our arrival. That’s total ridiculous as you never know what can happened but as it was, we came in a day early and had to anchor somewhere else that night as we weren’t allowed to go to the quarantine anchorage. One of the many peculiar laws and regulations in Thailand that I was to find out about later…

Next morning, on the 15.12 we were set. We had 7 days of quarantine and Christmas was around the corner. That first day was counted as zero day. So quarantine was really 8 days. Then you have to go into a marina for one night to get your paperwork. All it was, a huge money making machine.

Second day the doctor and nurses arrived to take the covid test. We had few done by then, no big deal but these guys were bloody awful. It was definitely up in my brains. The next two tests were same. By this time Alice and I were in hysterics. No sympathy from the medics, just a lot of shouting to hurry up. Very unprofessional and unpleasant. I swore I won’t travel again until the tests are stopped!

So what do you do again in quarantine?

Cooking, fishing, school, watching wildlife and used up the last potatoes from Indonesia.

Something ate our fish

Finally on the 22.12 we were free to go to Ao Po marina. And this is where we met Ayla (and Toby).

We had been texting and calling them about Thailand and they put us in contact with Toby’s parents in Darwin. And a wish list was put together of what they would like us to bring for them. Plus present from the grandparents.

All that was handed over and she dropped us off to Macro to do our stock up for Christmas and New year.

That evening we had few drinks with Ayla and Toby and got to meet their 2 girls. And when you are in a marina there was plenty of mosquitoes as well.

We left the next day to sail all around Phuket to a very sheltered anchorage called Patong. At that point we were the second boat there and soon the only one. What a bliss. A bay to ourselves. Would hate to think what it was like Pre covid.

Anchor all set, on the 23.12 and looked forward to meet the swedes in a Swedish restaurant next day for a traditional Christmas buffet.

And off to the beach!

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