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Monday, December 31, 2012

December 21 – 31, 2012 – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Phuket, Thailand

As promised by our friends Jo and Lex (from Darwin), the staff at Yacht Haven Marina are incredibly helpful, professional and efficient. Although this marina is at the far north end of Phuket and quite a way from most everything else, the berthing prices are great and so are the yacht services. I cannot say enough good things about the entire staff. The tides are big here and so are the currents, but an entire crew arrived to ease Destiny into a very tight berth - much like sliding a letter into an envelope. I just got the heck out of the way, while Frank manned the helm, although they literally worked us like a good cuttin’ horse works a calf, and eased us right in not needing any assist from us. They took the anxiety right out of berthing here.

We immediately set off to arrange for repairs and basically spent the next three months dealing with:
  • Sail repairs – all of the sails needed attention so we loaded them up for the long, long drive down to Rolly Tasker Sails (Wow! What a place!), for re-stitching and repair.
  •  Watermaker – had the experts come and go, come and go, until it finally returned to it’s former self.
  •  Generator – another painful, arduous process of experts coming and going until it has been practically rebuilt.
  • Dodger/Bimini – totally redesigned and replaced (with “Captain Navy”)
  • Canvas awning (the BIG ticket item) built to cover the entire boat.
  • Settee and cockpit cushions replaced
  • Anchor windlass removed and rebuilt
  • Woodwork – removed, stripped and re-varnished in heads and cockpit.
And the beat goes on as they say…Frank and I doing our part with other tasks that were within our pay grade. And then the budget required a rest.

In between all of the above, we stayed in touch with the family back home who were trying to do their best to see that my Mom and Dad were well taken care of, while continuing to assure me we did not need to make a trip back. This was a relief and a real cause of anxiety for me, mainly because we could not leave Thailand right now. I’m sure with all the dissension between my siblings over what was best for my folks, they were somewhat thankful not to add me and my opinions to the equation. Perhaps that is why I was so in the dark over what was going on “back there”. What upset me the most was that my Mom was back and forth between a nursing facility and the hospital for over 2 months – a story I will not go into. She and my father were not together during Christmas for the first time in over 60 years, and I could not seem to be able to reach either of them on the phone.

Thank goodness for cruising friends. A group of fellow “yachties”; Scallywag, Lady Kay, Storyteller & Seabird encouraged us to join them for Christmas brunch at one of Phuket’s top resorts, The Indigo Pearl. We hadn’t even decorated or felt the Christmas Spirit at all around here. Frank and I needed a break so we booked a room for 2 nights at the resort over Christmas. We arrived on the 23rd and while we were being escorted to our room the young lady offered her apologies to us, explaining that the hotel was overbooked and our room was not available. She then pulled out a remote control device, pointing it at a large double door that opened up to a compound with two large buildings, several lounge-covered lanais and a nice sized swimming pool. We stood gape-mouthed and were about to comment that we had booked a room with a private dipping pool (thinking we were going to have to share this big one), when she told us we were upgraded to the Private Villa. This entire complex was ours!!! Wow, what a nice Christmas present. We immediately phoned our other friends, telling them to be sure to bring their swimsuits with them to brunch the following day, but not why. Christmas brunch was unlike anything we have ever experienced. Everything was top shelf. The food was exquisitely prepared, and we rolled out of there three hours later feeling like we might need to call 911 for a stretcher! Thankfully we only had to stumble about 100 yards to our Villa, where Frank first impressed everyone by pointing his remote at the large inward swinging doors. Needless to say we all had an absolute blast using every amenity in the villa – the pool, the Jacuzzi, the dry sauna the steam sauna. The bar and kitchen got a fair work-over too. It was nice to forget stress, health, finances and problems for a while and just play
Just inside the front gate to our villa
The pool area

Jackie and Glor enjoying our bed

view of the property from one of the sun decks

The spa/lounge/kitchen building

The week between Christmas and NYE was just a flurry of – as they say here: Same Same! Work, phone calls, driving forever to get anywhere, and driving to 5 places hoping to find the one item we need. We prayed the “canvas guy” would get a move on and nagged him half to death because we were sitting here with no cover at all in the stifling heat. This parley continued for two more months. So many yachts are log-jammed here that the vendors are overwhelmed with work. Thank goodness for the most part they do really good work!

We joined our same group of Christmas friends for NYE, at a large party on Nai Yang Beach. Other than spending NYE at Sydney Harbour, I must say this was right up at the top of best New Year’s Eve’s I’ve ever attended. The fresh seafood was out of this world – we literally feasted, and then sat with our toes in the soft sand watching fireworks up and down the bay. It was a stunning sight! Afterward we lit sky lanterns and sent up our sorrows and pain (and bad spirits) from 2012 into the stratosphere. It was so beautiful and such a lovely end to an amazing year.

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