There's nowhere more famous in Thailand than Chalong Bay for nomadic cruising sailors. Its vast anchorage spells a welcome to cruising yachts from all over the world. However, it's when the locals show just how real their welcome is by personally rescuing a foreign-owned boat that Chalong Bay's reputation really goes sky high.
Chalong incident - help is at hand, photo by Bob Mott
When the weather turned foul this week in the normally peaceful bay, a handful of brave members at Phuket’s Ao Chalong Yacht Club (ACYC) this week scrambled to save a Frenchman's yacht from smashing into the sea wall in front of the clubhouse.
The onslaught of strong waves saw the 30-foot yacht break free from its anchor at about 11am, sending the boat pitching dangerously toward the sea wall.
As the boat came within a few feet of the concrete barrier, Bruce Issell, from a local yacht charter company, climbed on board to steer the vessel clear from danger.
'Other local expat yachties Gareth, Gunter Knutt and Billy Duif jumped into the water to fend the yacht off the wall,' Phuket expat and long-term ACYC member Bob Mott told the Phuket Gazette.
'They were assisted by Khun Cha and a Burmese man, On Cho, who we all know as ‘A.K.’,' he said.
The volunteers struggled for an hour before finally clearing the yacht of danger.
'The yacht came close, but never actually touched the sea wall,' Mr Mott said.
The boat is now safe.
'They managed to get it clear from the wall and it will be moved out further into the bay when the weather calms down,' Mr Mott explained.
The heavy seas continued to batter other boats in what is usually the safe haven of Chalong Bay, and the floating pier in front of the ACYC also appeared to have broken apart.
Photographer Bob Mott was on hand to take the graphic images