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“Actually, maybe let’s go to that mooring ball instead.” David points off to the starboard side of the boat, towards Ko Rok Yai.
“Ok,” I say into my marriage saver headset. I shift the throttles and turn the helm to head over to the other mooring. It’s closer to shore and more protected from the north.
“The water is so clear here,” David says in my ear.
“I know! I can’t wait to go snorkeling. We haven’t seen it this clear in three months.”
“Wow. It’s beautiful.” David is in awe.
I look down at the depth sounder. Oh shit! Seven feet deep.
As I throw the throttles in reverse, David realizes what’s happening too. “REVERSE! REVERSE!”
How We Hit the Reef
It’s our first time to hit a reef. Why did it happen?
When we changed our mind about the mooring ball, neither of us went back to check the satellite imagery. Is it obvious that we wouldn’t make in on the satellite images? No, but we should have checked.
We were distracted by how clear the water was. It sounds counter-intuitive, but it can be hard to tell the depth when the water is very clear. We were distracted by the reef and the water clarity.
There WAS a marking for the reef, but we didn’t understand what it was. It’s not a buoy or anything formal, but instead is a bit of styrofoam trash tied to a line. As the tide dropped, we noticed a second one, too, that was not visible at high tide.
Hauling out at G&T Boat Yard
To add insult to injury, we had JUST launched two days prior from Phithak Shipyard and Services. After hitting the reef, David jumped in with the GoPro to check for damage. When he saw the gouges in the mini-keels he came back up and we worked together to apply underwater epoxy to seal the minikeel and try to prevent water ingress.
We needed to haul out to fix the damage. Fortunately, we felt comfortable enough with the underwater epoxy to hang out for a few weeks, spending time in Phi Phi and Phuket before moving up to G&T to haul out.
The haul out was done with a custom lift, and like everywhere else around here, we had to lift at high tide. We nosed up to the beach and tied off to four pilings while the lift was maneuvered underneath us.
When we were at PSS and had an extra week on the hard, we’d asked for fiberglass repairs in a few spots on the deck. PSS said they could do it, but it turns out they didn’t have the supplies needed.
Thankfully, G&T did have the proper supplies and we walked around Starry Horizons, showing them every single little dinghy Starry Horizons has acquired in her fiberglass over the past 4 years. They did a great job, and we can’t even tell where the work was done now. Also, way back when we were in Florida, we swapped our winches around and had to patch some fiberglass up. The person who did the work didn’t have the right match for the color, so G&T came in and fixed all that too. Everything looks great!
The oat was blocked to give full access to the mini-keels to fix the damage we did at Ko Rok Noi. The staff took apart the mini-keel and exposed the inside to let it drain. One side had water ingress while the other did not. Once dry, the mini-keels were rebuilt and finished.
Improper Blocking & Repair
The ONLY complaint/issue we had a G&T was that they missed a bulkhead when they blocked the boat. That means that instead of the vertical supports, the boat was sitting on the curved bottom of the hull. This caused the hull to flex just aft of the mini-keels. The boat was reblocked to take the stress off the hull. Both sides popped back into shape, but one side had a crack in the fiberglass. G&T sanded down the cracks and the surrounding areas and applied new fiberglass and finished them. Those sections are probably stronger than the rest of the hull now!
Additional Bottom Paint
While out on the hard again we opted to add two more coats of bottom paint to Starry Horizons on top of the paint applied in The Boat Works. We used Micron 77, which is fairly new, on top of the Micron 66.
Wash, Wax & Polish
We paid G&T to thoroughly clean Starry Horizons. They did a great job, cleaning some spots we’ve been neglecting for too long.
Projects We Did
If you have an FP, you might know that there have been a few major escape hatch failures on newer boats. Just to be on the safe side, we did the modification to secure our hatch more, even though we haven’t had any issues.
David serviced the dinghy outboard.
We pulled the stack pack off and had all the small rips repaired (we do this about once a year).
Staying at the Bungalows at G&T Boat Yard
G&T has at least four bungalows that they rent out to tenants. Each bungalow is a small ensuite, with air conditioning and an outdoor kitchenette. We stayed in a bungalow for most of our time at G&T. The view was great, especially at sunrise! However, mosquitos are very active here at night.
Chandleries near G&T Boat Yard
G&T has a small chandlery on site. However, it’s a short walk to Ao Po Marina, which has an Asia East Marine and an AME Marine store. Both stores have bigger locations closer to town, and they can bring items on the same day from the bigger stores if you need it.
Where to Eat in Ao Po
Friends of ours recommended Noodle Bar By Sien, which is in Ao Po Bay, walking distance from G&T, especially at low tide when you can take the beach for a shortcut. We ordered pick up pizza from The Galley, which was ok. More often we dined at Port of Call Restaurant in the Ao Po Marina proper. The menu is a mix of Thai and Western food.
Thank You to Michelle (& Anthony)
We met Michelle and Anthony back in Melbourne – they are followers of our videos and have ordered a Saona 47. In an amazing coincidence, since we met them in February, they quit their jobs and moved to Thailand. Anthony has been out sailing across oceans to gain experience, but Michelle was living just next door to G&T Boat Yard. She kindly opened her home to us for a dip in her pool, use of her laundry, and a nice long hot shower, in addition to all the socializing.