I wake up after another near sleepless night with storm winds rolling me back and forth in the bunk. It’s amazing how many different sounds a boat can muster during a cold and windy night, leaving you to ponder if you've come off the moorings and your anchor has given up. All is well though when the morning starts, getting straight into a bikini, into the jib and on to a coral reef about 50 metres away. Me, Alan and Ashley snorkel the bay to see at least 12 different types of fish munch away at the corals. My favourite was a huge starfish at the bottom which was black and blue/purple and had at least 8-10 tentacles. Little did I know I'd see a lot more impressive marine life in a few weeks.
After breakfast skipper Bob makes us set sail back across the Indian Ocean. It’s five hours of sailing to Ko Nakha Yai and we master 1.5 metres waves with ease – enjoying the ride. We practice reefing the sails and some more tacking and jibing. We put some music on and dance at the helm (turns out 'I wanna dance with somebody' goes well with sailing). Monsoon rains pelt us horizontally. We talk through flares, life raft conditions at sea and helicopter rescue. We learn that if anyone starts to get delusional in survival conditions on 25ml water per day, we're to knock them out and throw them overboard. Yikes. Jeff is a great instructor, completely serious and pedagogical one minute, comical and inappropriate the next.
At Ko Nakha Yai we have the most serene and tranquil night the whole week. It is still, mild, and quiet. Alan, the most enthusiastic member of the crew, sums it up with a recurring 'Beaaauutiful!' in a great Australian accent. We swim in a 3.5 knot tide, meaning that letting go of the boat means you’re metres away before you even blink. Just before it gets dark we take the rib ashore, wading in to a little restaurant hidden in the jungle and have delicious Tom Yum and whole grilled fish. Controversially perhaps we spend the dinner facebooking each other.
On the way back we see fluorescent water. It’s algae that makes the water around the rib sing, like seeing fireworks reflected in the water. Back on the boat, the wind picks up and the sky grows dark. Let’s pray for a storm less night. Can't believe it's the last night on the boat already.