Monday, January 31, 2011

Yo Ho......

Well, it's gone a bit quiet since our Bert has left we have had to get our levels of energy restored and get hunting out some trips to do.

Today Mandy and Gary went off to find a couple of secluded beaches that are only accessible by 4 wheel drive (which we have) and I have been reading up stuff and looking on the Internet to find a good place for us all to visit.

And here it is.

Scroll down to read the stuff about the lake fishing! Our plan is to charter a boat and head out to the floating bungalows (£12 per night to rent) and try a couple of days fishing. Apparently the scenery is amazing and there's plenty of wildlife about. Then morning starts when the gibbons start to howl!

The lake was created by a dam being built in 1980 which resulted in the flooding of villages. If you have your own gear (we have!) you can go Scuba Diving that will be interesting.

Tonight the girls are off to see the Simon Cabaret Show (which is the Ladyboy show) in honour of the Great Bert. Gary and I are off to see a rock band in Patong....and the gals will join us there later.

Yo's all go!!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Bert's Departure

Bert's plane doesn't leave for ages but he was so worried about Gary's lack of direction that he considered a three hour period to cover the 45 minute trip to the airport to be wise.

So, depending on the success of the journey, Bert will either be in downtown Madagascar by now or sitting in the Bill Bailey Bar in Phuket airport. Gary, we estimate, will take about 5 hours to return without Bert's navigating abiities to assist him.

Anyhow, here's a couple of photo's to reflect on Bert's stay with us. Here he is in donning scuba gear for the first time. We are proud to announce that Bert managed to reach the dizzy depths of nearly 3'' (in my swimming pool) before he decided that Scuba Diving was too emotionally disturbing for him. Scuba Diving is all about control of the mind......and as many of you have now gathered, Bert's mind, such as it is, tends to be on other matters.

We have discovered this week that Bert is a Ladyboy Magnet. Wherever we go, they seek him out....and that's not just because he's giving them the old 'come on'. When we were fishing at the lake, Bert was so concerned about any Ladyboys scaling the surrounding fence that Mandy had to agree to stay with him at all times to act as Bodyguard. Here they are keeping a wary eye on a lurking suspect.

We like Guy's Bar as it is a Lady Free zone......but Ladyboys still manage to sneak in for a quick game of pool. Bert was firmly into this game until Mandy gave him the nod that his opponent's name was Cornelius and 'her' feet were a good size 11 (always a giveaway Jai assures us). Those deep manly cries when 'her' balls were sunk also gave a faint hint of something amiss. Bert left early.

Phuket town is a rambling 'City' full of Portuguese Sino Art and Architecture. Currently there is a move towards trying to gain UN Heritage status for the town and then a major restoration programme of the magnificent buildings can be undertaken. Phuket Town is full of excellent resturants. Here we are at the Natural Resturant which is a building stuffed with character and which boasts an imaginative Thai food menu.

Bert, as usual, was involved in other activities whilst the rest of us enjoyed some terrific cuisine. Yes, it's a trainee Ladyboy....'she' was about 12 years old. At this point Mandy had to give Bert a bit of a stern lecture especially as the resturant staff were starting to give Bert some ominous stares. Bert said it was the best massage he'd ever had....altho' it only lasted a minute or three. And he was given a pretty rose to remember the occasion by.

Here we are just after dinner having a nice group photo taken....but where are Bert's eyes directed??? And what is that little gesture with the thumb that he thinks is going unnoticed????
Yep; he'd spotted another one....

However, this Ladyboy, didn't seem too enamoured. There appears to be a certain aura of mocking distain about 'her'.

Never wanting to miss the chance of
making a few Baht for the family, 'she' called over her 'sister'.
At this point even Bert went into a severe reaction!
As this is a family blog, I am not allowed to show the photo of what caused such an obvious gesture of surrender.
Bert, on our last evening meal together, finally gave up the struggle and admitted he was no match for the Ladyboys of Phuket!!

Sea Fishing trip

Sea Fishing trip from Chalong.

Yesterday we tried a sea fishing trip. Two years ago Gary and Bert used one of the top level Game boats costing nearly £1k for the day. This year they used a local 'wooden warrior' costing £200 for the day which did exactly the same sort of day...with the same results.....very little!!

Here's Bert relaxing on the way out to sea....we're just going past Promthep Point which is about the best shore fishing mark we have found. Lots of species there but nothing of any size...

The lads are settled down on the trolling session. Bert had just landed a tuna but the very efficient crew lad had the fish off and in the fish box before I could get a photo.

We had a very good skipper (Captian Ali...only 25 but very good English and good fun) and crewman Marteb. Marteb was a real grafter and worked hard to keep the six trolling sets working properly. As always with trolling, the angler hardly ever touches the gear....just to wind a fish (if lucky) in.

Here's one of the tuna........

The day's programme goes like this....leave about 0900 -ish...head out towards the offshore islands as the trolling sets are played out and go trolling (no success) for a couple of hours. When we reached Racha Yai, the current most 'productive' island, we switched to 3 hook paternoster rigs baited with squid strips and fished with handlines on the drift. Our skipper and crew joined in and they had five little fish between them whilst Bert and Gary managed two. After an hour of this we headed into Racha Yai Bay for a swim whilst the skipper and crew cooked up the fish we'd caught for lunch. Racha Yai Bay has very good viz and many fish could be seen while snorkling.....but mainly all little fish.

The crew had heard about Bert's preferences for Ladyboys and did a nice little dance to attract his attention. But Bert's eyes were fixed on our rugged, pirate like Captain.

After lunch we headed back out to sea for a couple hours more trolling which is when the couple of tuna were caught.

Fishing always turns me to fags (Bert likes that word) die to the excitement of trolling.

We returned to port about 6 ish.

Our skipper explained the lack of fish was due to wind conditions, excessive rain and generally poor fishing for the past three days which, when pressed, extended to the 'past two years'. Whenever I fish abroad, and I admit my experience is VERY limited, I always think how lucky we are back in UK with what we have on offer. Our fishing is infinitely better than Phuket's fishing....but for all that, it's a nice day out.

Next month our planned 3 day Similan Island trips will begin....I do believe that we will have decent fishing there so I am looking forward to that. Also, according to the charts, there is a 100 metre drop off down to 150 metres about 24 miles directly west of Phuket. The boats that make that journey cost in the region of £2k per day!!! Back in UK we think nothing of going 25 miles out....and fuel here in Thailand is capped by the Government and is much cheaper than ours.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thai Cuisine

Thai food is world famous for its variety, colour, freshness and spice! Down at the Sea Gypsy village in Rawai there is a small but bustling fish market where the day's catch can be purchased as soon as it is landed. In between the fresh fish stalls are several fresh vegetable/spice stalls from where a fabulous selection of local produce is available.

The colourful spices and vegetables are there for us to choose.

Across the street are resturants where you can take your choice of fish to be Bar-B-Q'd

One firm favourite is the King Prawns. A kilo of these delicious critters is 700 Baht (£14) for the gigantic ones and 350 Baht (£7) per kg for the smaller ones which are about three times the size of ours back home. There were 5 of 2 kg seemed about the right amount...but you can always go back for more!
Here the team are waiting (impatiently) for the prawns to arrive.

Gary hadn't noticed that the prawns had been delivered and was busy licking the spicey sauce off his plate.

Gary noticed the prawns had arrived! Remember that animated film 'Finding Nemo'? The seagulls? 'Mine, Mine, Mine....'

Bert, Jai, Mandy and I were allowed one prawn each tho' so I don't want any of you lot out there reading this saying that our Main Man ain't a generous one!!
But what a treat. This is what this holiday is all about. Be a bit brave! Be adventurous! Thai's are meticulously clean and hygenic. You can eat at their little roadside stalls with confidence. An opportunity such as this one with all the fish and spices laid out fresh before you has to be grabbed.
Luch cost £15 for the prawns and £5 for the beers and cooking cost = £4 each!! Not bad, eh??
A truly memorable experience and one which I hope many of you coming over will enjoy......

Windy in Phuket...........

Today our intrepid explorers set off for Dragon Island on a longtail boat from Rawai. Sea conditions were very choppy with a force 5 to 6 blowing and the boat having to travel head to wind to reach the selected island.

Breezy conditions! Choppy seas.

45 minutes later our team arrived....soaked to the skin and having been treated to a barrage of good old Anglo Saxon vocabulary via Gary who held Bert directly responsible for the idea of the trip, the wind conditions, the wetness of the sea, the direction of travel, the length of passage etc etc. (You get the picture?)

The longtail boats were bouncing about on the sea....but after a voyage of trepidation and stamina....the team arrived at Dragon Island.

The team rushed up the beach ready to confront the Dragons.

And sure enough, the Dragons emerged from the undergrowth. They are not excessively dangerous although they have been known to snatch little kids off their motor bikes.

The Dragons are particularly partial to Singha beer and honey pancakes. There were signs everywhere to make sure you didn't keep your hands attached to anything you were eating or drinking when the beasts approached.

The Kink Dragon, a magnificent specimen in comparison to his smaller females, lazed nonchanantly in a nearby shelter daring any tourists to come and get their drinks back.
A formidable beast indeed.

The return to Rawai was slightly less wet....the team were headed towards the Sea Gypsy Village and a feast of fresh prawns that would have just been landed.......

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Phuket Fishing Park

Phuket Fishing Park

Phuket Fishing Park has been a real
great find for us. We are enjoying
some terrific fishing.....just take a look at these cracking fish!!
The location is scenic and has little bamboo shelters around it. Lunch and drinks will be brought to you as required.
Today the lads took on the gals. We were not concerned about the fact that we lads were superior in numbers (3) compared to the Lady's team (2). We were confident we could overcome such obvious disadvantages in our 'Numbers of Fish Caught' competition.

Oh dear, wrong again! We hadn't reckoned on our 'Fishing Virgin'
Mandy possessing such a hidden
talent. Here she is playing her first ever fish.....and these fish go crazy
with an extremely powerful fight.

Of course Gary was there to retaliate with a fine catfish........

Sneakily, the gals had the secret weapon in the Demon Fish Catcher known as 'The Jai'. Jai was soon into a hefty Siamese Carp to put the gals back in the lead.

But our trusty Bert 'el Brick was soon into one to level the scores.

Here's Bert with another good catfish........... he caught two!

And, supporting the lads with the day's biggest fish...Whittall of Weymouth!!!!
But we chaps had no chance. Those gals raced away with it....again!!!! The ladies totalled 9 fish and we three professional anglers caught five between us!!! Whittall was the most useless catching just one fish.

Interestingly our guide explained that the overcast conditions (which we chose as we thought they would be better for fishing) always resulted in a 'quiet' day. The best days are when there is no wind and the sun is blazing down! You see, it's always East and opposites all the time. But it was terrific fun. We saw stacks of fish rising in front of us and often jumping clear of the water just a couple of feet in front of us.
This lake is going to provide all of you who come with some fishing you are never going to forget. It is amazing!!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunshine Bar

This week the local weekly newspaper, The Phuket Gazette, carries the story of a police clampdown on bars and nightclubs in the Rawai area....our favourite nightly haunt.

Apparently everywhere 'open' is supposed to shut down at 0100 whilst enclosed venues can go on until 0200.

This has come as a great shock to everyone as we are all used to the bars staying open until all the customers had left...whatever time that might be. The owner of the Sunshine Bar, a particular favourite spot, had just been released after sweating it out for a couple of days in Phuket jail along with several there other local bar owners. Not a pleasant experience but nothing seems to stop Thai people fact the photo in the newspaper shows the Sunshine Bar owner smiling away as she was being arrested.

Because of these ongoing events, Simone, the boss, (quite a few of the staff in the Sunshine Bar is a Ladyboy) put Mandy on watch in case the Unformed Ones made a sneaky return. Her job was to ring the Scatter Bell if her suspicions were aroused and the staff could then hot foot it into the Sauna establishment next door leaving the clientel carrying on as normal. Hopefully, the customers would be not be arrested!

With Mandy on guard and Jai locked up back home, Whittall was able to enjoy a daliance with his favourite Ladyboy, Martine. Scrummy!!

Bert refused to take part in any of this Ladyboy stuff...he's a bit of a coy chap you understand...and went off to play a game of pool totally on his own.

But, as the evening warmed up...even Bert got into the action and had a go at climbing the Bar Pole. Unfortunately this was the wrong one and has splinters. The metal one that everyone else was shimming up and down (before Gary bent it) was behind the bar.

The Sunshine Bar is a real fun place. It's always full with lots of different Nationalities having a good time's what Phuket is all about; fun and friendship.

Fishing Expedition to Rawai

Fishing in Phuket

Tomorrow the Gary/Bert team start to hit the Rawai sea angling scene. The tackle has been purchased; the bait ordered and the venue selected. Today was spent on investigating the chosen venue.

Gary and Mandy went to take a look first with their own unique approach......

Then the boys picked the local knowledge of a resident German angler who fishes the pier daily. They spoke together for nearly 11 seconds.

As a resut of their investigations, Gary has decided the old Weymouth ways are best and brought out his second suitcase loaded with his favourite tackle. This small string will be baited and laid along the Rawai pier tomorrow. That should make the locals happy!

We wait with baited breath for tomorrow's debrief.