Hardly the qualifications needed to set off into the wilds on the mighty Endurance but it's better than nothin'! And it was a great experience spending 5...(or was it 6?) nights aboard a nice yacht (A Jeanneau 44i for those who are interested) sailing around the Gulf of Thailand wearing shorts and a teeshirt, in over 25 knots of wind at times, with four other students and a really great trainer/skipper. Yep, it was fun and I'd highly recommend it to anyone as a great holiday option......and you actually LEARN stuff!
Meanwhile, Mary was lounging around in Phuket while I was at sea, and exploring the island from land. (She has previously completed a RYA Competent Crew Course in Port Phillip Bay, which is really pretty similar to the course I was doing in Thailand, and indeed, three of my fellow crew were doing that course while two of us did the Day Skipper one.)
I think I definitely got the better end of the deal!
So we enjoyed a few days extra holiday after I came ashore, spending a couple of nights at the beautiful little Tenta Nakara Resort, off which we'd anchored on our last night aboard. No electricity, and a groovy tent to sleep in under a thatched roof. And great food!
Finally, to cap off the trip, we were in Bangkok for a day's shopping and dinner and drinks with my old friend Kym Thompson and his family. Kym helps to manage the World's Biggest Surfboard Factory, but that's another story.......but it was a great catch-up with the mate who I'd first journeyed to Torquay with, in his FX Holden, at sixteen years old....but that's another story, too!
Anyway, that's the Thailand trip and the RYA certificate, done n' dusted.
I'm back on my own boat right now, bangin' this out with the heater blowing and the varnish brush beckoning. I'm well into the planning stages for our escape next January, and am surrounded by charts, cruising guides and spreadsheets and it's all starting to look real!