Update from Koh Ra: an unexpected exchange of gifts

This morning we left Koh SurinTai island, which is right at the Burmese border, and began our one week return trip to Yacht Haven in Phuket. We did not expect to go anywhere today as the winds were forecast to be strong with rough seas, as they were yesterday. It gusted to 30 knots last night in the anchorage at Surin. But a weather change occurred overnight and the skies were blue and the winds light when we awoke this morning. So we called our friends on Dedalus, with whom we have been traveling for the past two weeks, and asked them if they were up for leaving. They were.

The wind was from the north at 15 knots and we made good time heading east for Koh Phra Thong (Golden Buddha) island about 30 miles away. As the day wore on the wind shifted to northwest and then west. We had hoped to anchor in front of miles of beach that make up the western shore of these islands but the unusual west wind brought breaking surf to the beaches. So we headed around to the other side of Koh Ra and anchored off a channel used by the local fishing boats. Minutes after we dropped anchor we heard men yelling behind our boat. We ran out on deck and there was a very large steel fishing boat (80 feet long) with her crew of young men all shouting and gesticulating. What they wanted to do was get close to us and throw us some packages. At first we thought they wanted to give us squid, prawns, or fish, but it was clear that they were just heading out to sea to fish, not returning. The captain came out of his pilot house and did that great Thai bow and pantomimed eating. As he skillfully pulled his ship to with 15 feet his crew threw us packages of barbequed chicken pieces on skewers, sticky rice, and spicy green papaya salad with crab. I threw back cans of Malaysian beer, much to the crews delight. We all bowed and waved to each other as the older Captain yelled “I love you” which may have been the only English he knew. A random act of kindness by the warm and friendly Thais.


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