We are a group that came together sailing Tall Ships. The Eye of the Wind and others. So of course our intension was to sail this area, too. In Burma it wasn't possible: We couldn't find a ship and anyway there was no wind at all for the whole time we spent there. In Phuket, there are a couple of sailing ships so there was hope one could have a good time sailing. When we contacted the schooner Seraph, they had a decks plan on their website showing 9 bunks so it would be good for the group of 8 we would be for this part of the journey. The only problem was: this decks plan, that was later removed from the website (but not from the walls of the lighthouse restaurant in Ao Chalong), is pure fiction. In case 2 people are a loving couple without overweight and agree only to turn to the other side on command, they can share one of the bunks on the schooner. Doing that, the ship has a total capacity of 6 bunks. We had 2 couples and 4 single travellers, so it meant one took the single bed, 2 slept on deck and one on the galley floor.
We all slept on deck before and may do it again even with a bunk down below. When being asked what we would like to do, we asked for good sailing and we definitly did. Still, to advertise a 3-bunks ship as a 8-bunks-ship could get called brave - one may find different words, too.
It all went along with the clear impression, that what ever they make money with, is not sailing with tourists. It is not only the total lack of any facilities like shelves, lockers and a table for the meals, it also is the cluelessness of skipper and crew. Tony, our skipper, is certainly a good sailor and for sure knows the area very well. But apart from a couple of personal problems, he had no idea how to handle customers and what they had paid for. Of course, we enjoyed helming and sail handling as this was what we booked the ship for, but we did not plan to care ourselves sometimes for provisions, drinks, ice and more. Tony told us, some of his crew were with him for now about a year, but within this time, they did not learn how to hoist the gaff and set the sails.
In fact, there was one person aboard with professional approach: Juen, the cook. Not only her brilliant cooking, also her attitude impressed us, so we became friends during the voyage.
Don't get me wrong: we had a good time on the schooner. But as a matter of fact, we've been ripped-off. Not only before the voyage, afterwards, too, when they kept forgotten property. One may complain about all and everything, but if it can't be changed anyway, what is it good for? It only will spoil the spirit. So sometimes some situations left us speechless, but we even left a friendly entry in the guest book. The ones reading it won't care about the truth or know it already...
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