Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sunsets .....

Everyone has to take sunset photo's when on holiday. There's a headland about 5 miles away from the house called Promthep Point. Every evening the place gets busy...sometimes packed...with tourists and locals arriving for the daily ritual of the sun going down.
There's a 'temple' up on the point so time for a few prayers before the sun sets and there's a lighthouse with some information about the Father of the Thai Navy a bit of culture...a bit of history and of course the sunset.
Now as so many of you are coming to Thailand I know you are expecting me to provide even more information so you can impress the locals....
The 'temple' has lots of elephants. Thai's like elephants. As you all knw there are three main Hindu Gods...Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva. Brahma is the four faced God and is called Pra Pom in Thai. The temple features him. Ganesh (the elephant god), called Pra Kinnet in Thai, is the son of Shiva and the god of learning, memory, the arts........and a few more things.
Sunset..............inThai is Athid (the sun) doc (setting) talay (the sea). So, Athid doc talay.
Wow....ain't you gonna be impressive wandering around displaying your knowledge when I take you there.
What IS nice is that when there is a great sunset, it's really appreciated and there's applause and cheering for the end of a good day.....and no doubt the start of a good night o come!!!!!
Fishing and Diving only????....Nope...there's lots more to do here

On the main website you will see a link to Thai Cooking.

There are several Thai Cookery schools nearby offering anything from one day to two week Thai Cookery courses.
Two of our guests have just completed a one week course and presented the
rest of us with a fine fish based Thai dinner last night.
Thai food is reknown for its colour and variety as well as its spices (optional!). The course was
'amazing' and of course it's all about the interesting people you meet. There were Italians, French, Koreans, Japanese and Swedish on the course so plenty of new friendships were established, emails swapped...and maybe our guests will be off to their new friends' countires in the future to meet up again and cook for each other.
Ain't 'travelling' just great???
There will be a big change tomorrow as our lads all leave except for Gary. Gary's wife Mandy arrives along with two of her friends and their husbands will be joining us in a week's time. So, I foresee Gary being able to take his ladies to all the exclusive up market air conditioned shopping malls and of course Thai Cultural events each evening.............
What fun!!!

Cracked It!!!

Just got back from fishing on the longtail boat.....Gary, Paul, John

and me......baracuda, blue runners and trevelly.....all caught on the ever trusty Portland Rig with long strips of squid bait...

Flat calm, warm......great way to spend the evening.....hope it's not too cold back there in Weymouth.............

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Pimex Boat Show.
The Royal Phuket Marina is a pretty impressive place. We've just been to the Pimex Boat Show featuring a whole range of powerboats well out of most ordinary peoples' price range...but fun to look at and pretend......and dream...
The Marina offers a number of excellent resturants with Italian,
English, Spanish food on offer as well as Thai. Nice place to sit about and have a beer overlooking the flashy boats in the Marina. In many parts of the world it would be too expensive to even do this but for visitors to Thailand that is not the case. The prices are high compared to Thai prices but they are still much less than we would pay at home.
Top Photograph shows Bill Whittall flanked by Jai and Om who looked
after him very well throughout his two week stay with us. Lower photo...the group are joined by Jeff who has concentrated on his diving this holiday and improved amazingly.
Tomorrow Bill returns to UK. We have Graham King joining us from Weymouth and then Gary Chard from Sturminster Newton arriving on Saturday joining Jeff and Om. We're gonna throw Graham straight into the diving and fishing with a Night Dive tomorrow night and fishing the next doubt Gary will we itching to jump on a boat as soon as he arrives as well.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


I keep banging on about diving but the snorkling is excellent here. We have several beaches with very gentle sandy bottom. This is good if you are out of practice with your snorkling and need to build up confidence in shallow water with no nasty rocks to step on.

Once the confidence is there .....the sandy bays are surrounded by rocky shoreline which are full of fish.....plenty to see. And then a lovely sandy beach to flop down on and top up that tan....
If you'd like to know more about booking the house or a room between Nov and April each year please email me direct The house is available between May and October but that is the rainy season. It may be though that this would be appealing...certainly the rental in much cheaper at £300 per week or £900 for the month (water/electric/air conditioning bills are added on to this).

DIVING...Saturday 16th.

There is one particularly beautiful inshore coral reef in Phuket which is easily accessible from the shore.

Kata Beach is a 15 minute drive away from the house. We take the freshly filled scuba tanks and all the necessary gear to the beach; get suited up and waddle across the sand into the sea....

With inflated BCD's we paddle gentle out to sea for about 10 minutes into an area roped off to keep the whole reef clear of longtail boats, jet skies, speedboats and general mad people.

Dropping down 7 metres, the first fish we swim through are baracuda with juvenile lionfish on the sandy seabed beneath them. The sandy seabed is ideal for beginners to gain balance and control before we move onto the coral reef itself.

Sometimes there are very large (and harmless) jellyfish drifting by. They make a fine sight and good material for photography. The whole reef is excellent for photography with stacks of fish to photograph in good light at a maximum of 10 metres.

Here Jeff, staying with us for 2 weeks, is practicing buoyancy control with the Fin Pivot exercise.

Once good control is established (essential if you'd like to try some
photography) the diver can level off into an energy saving position
with hands free diving. Jeff now has the skills necessary to try photography on our next outing.....

A solitary lionfish glides by towards the reef.......

It's always a challenge to get a good close up of a fish without spooking it or nose diving yourself into the seabed.

My little group of divers is expanding. I now have two charming Air Asia hostesses, the Phuket Nature Home Site Foreman and our local mechanic all learning. Next Wednesday we are joined by Graham from Weymouth who is keen to learn plus Captain John, a fellow skipper running a boat out of Dubai and here for a couple of weeks to try scuba.

I like the bartering approach preferred by the Thais. The lessons are for free and for friendship and sharing my love of diving but Thais love to 'return the favour'. Thus I have 2 open tickets to Hong Hong presented to me; Jai's car has had a free service and my front gate and wall has been repaired....

Last night Gae (Offshore Rebel Thailand's glamorous Managing Director) took all of us to the Timber Shack in Phuket Town. This is an excellent night club featuring an outstanding Thai Rock band....we staggered back at 3am today so this morning's planned dive has been somewhat delayed......... report will follow once we have sobered up enough......

Bookings for the next 'season' are coming in now. Nov 2010...week 4 is booked; December 2010 is available; Jan 2011 is booked for weeks 2 and 3. There is one room available week 4. Feb 2011 is fully booked. March 2011 is booked weeks 1 and 2. Weeks 3 and 4 qare available. April 2011 is available. Because of the low interest rates is UK the house rental prices will remain the same as set up in 2008. BUT, due to new car rental rules in Phuket, I cannot offer a car...customers must now rent through the various car rentals available here. (But I can help with all this).

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Slow Internet

Sorry about the blog this year everyone. The Internet is working VERY slowly over here this month and it's often impossible to access web I hope the signal stays on long enough to put something on today.

Most of you will know that Bangkok is famous for its amazing temples. I've just returned to Phuket from a five day session in Bangkok showing our guests around Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn) and Wat Po (a temple full of Thai art and literature as well as Buddhist regalia).

It is too difficult for an unprofessional cameraman like me to capture the true opulance of these incredible temples. If you come to Thailand, it is worth ignoring any negative comments you have heard regarding Bangkok and try to have a few days in the capital to visit the temples.

They are Amazing. If you'd like to have a bit of understanding about what all the artistic details are within the temples, use Google to look up JAKATA TALES and try to read the ten main stories plus the Life of the Buddha and the RAMAGIAN. If you could do a bit of research/reading before you come, then your visit to the temples will be massively enriched as will your understanding of Thai Culture. It's too complex and confusing to approach with no understanding at all.

If there is anything I can do to help you...please ask. I can book you hotels; give you an itinary...etc etc. Anything to try and help....IF you like !

Wat Arun. Many of the temples have four high structures surrounding a higher one placed in the middle. The highest structure represents Mount Meru, home of the Gods.

These Gods are the three main Hindu gods Vishnu,
Brahma and Siva.

Thai culture is a complex interrelationship of Hindu influences, stories of the Buddha (including his 550 previous lives as detailed in the Jataka Tales) and the Ramagian, the Thai version of the Indian classic Ramayana.

The middle structure is by far the highest and features very steep stairs to the top. These are the sort of buildings you will find at the Angkor Wat temple complex in Northern Cambodia. Again, IF you have time, a visit to ANGKOR WAT is utterly mind blowing. A return flight on Air Asia Bangkok to Siem Reap (where Angkor Wat is) is about £100 return.

If you visit Angkor Wat, I guarantee you'll be talking about it for the rest of your life....the Temples are where much of Angelina Jolie's Tomb Raiders was filmed.
OK...the internet is making everything jump all over the place. Sorry this is all looking so disjointed.....I'll try again tomorrow with a bit more.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Exciting; init?

The Americans Are Coming
Ah, the power of the web, eh? Today we have two American couples staying with us.....they came via the web. They are SOOOOO excited to be here. Aren't Americans just so upliftingly POSITIVE about everything????
Tomorrow I will be giving them a whirlwind Cultural Tour of the area before I leave 'em to it!
Tomorrow's photo's will thus show our Amercian guests bouncing about and being incredibly enthusiastic about EVERYTHING I show 'em.
Jai is on her way now up to Bangkok to sort out work visa's for this year's crewing in Weymouth and I am off to Bangkok in two days time to meet our next guest from the UK who has asked me to escort him on a tour of Bangkok and then the River Kwai area (he's an elderly gent; an ex-serviceman who served in India and so wishes to revisit some of his past...) which is to the west of Bangkok.
I'm looking forward to that. It's great doing this, eh? I never know what the next adventure is....I reckon it'll be fascinating touring the Bridge Over The River Kai area with such a person. After a few days up there he'll be coming back with me to Phuket for another week and will be joined by the famous Jeff (I'll go with the flow) Whittard and his new glamourous Thai wife, Om and also Graham King from Weymouth who is determined to have some adventures after the sad loss of his lovely wife last June.
It's all lining up for a very varied couple of weeks.
Today Jai and I went diving. Here's a few photo's of the first of 3 dives.....

Blue marbled ray

Colourful anemones.

Pretty underwater scenery. Water temp 29 degrees...........

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Last Day of the Holidays.............

A Ride down the Chao Praya River in Bangkok

Early this morning our family flew off to Bangkok to finish their holiday with a couple of days in the City. Warren, being a wizz kid with the old Technology, sent me through these photos of what they've been up to today! Clever gadgets, Blackberries!

First the runs through the centre of Bangkok and it is LOADED with fish.....zillions of them....

The Chao Praya River has many fabulous sights to see along its river banks. One of these is the Royal Barge Museum.

The Royal Barges are decorated with exquisite and complex carvings depicting scenes from Thailand's rich mythological past.
Here Warren, Hayden and Louise pose by one the craft used in Royal Processions down the river.

Amazing characters from the Ramakian (Thailand's great epic story taken from the Indian myth the Ramayama) act as figure heads on the Royal barges.

The seven headed Naga can be seen everywhere in Thailand and is often seen behind the Buddha. The Naga is a powerful, benign and protective spirit. Nagas are especially numerous in Temples (Wats) where they can be seen coiling up stairways and protecting entrances.
Most Nagas have only one head...the 7 headed one is THE prince of Nagas.

The temples viewed from the Chao Praya (River of Kings) make a colourful and imposing sight. The river night trip is amazing with the Temples all lit up. If you ever get to MUST do the river trip at night!!!!!

Bangkok, like many Asian Cities, is a City of extreme contrasts.
Top grade Hotels can be seen as a back drop to simple river dwellings.

Contast the river dwelling above with this scene on the other side of the river!

Tonight our intrepid holiday makers make thier way to Bangkok airport for their midnight flight back to Heathrow. We are told it is minus 4 degrees!!! Bit of a shock from the current 30 degrees in Bangkok and 32 degrees in Phuket!!
Happy Flying Warren, Louise, Leah, Hayden....and of course Grandma and Grandpapa Clare and Tony.
It's been a very different experience with a family staying here....the house swimming pool was certainly kept busy.
Tomorrow is a VERY different day. Jai and I are off doing Wreck Penetration diving on the King Cruiser wreck a few miles south of Phuket. Jai is also doing an EFR (Emergence First Response) Course as I need her to be well trained JUST in case!!!
Lots of diving photos tomorrow from the 3 dives we will be doing over a 12 hour day. Now THIS is what I came to Thailand for....and I hope that many of you reading this will be inspired to have a go when you come here!!!
Happy New Year, eh???