Ocean Hermit – sailing, solitude and stories

My plans to retrace Captain Cook's unfinished voyage have been postponed a year while I work on the next Marine Diesel Basics book and get my new boat SV Oceandrifter ready for sea.

* Goodbye Chiang Mai – and thank you!

photo by Arie Agniyadis

The season’s are changing – so it must be time to be on the move once more.

After leaving “Kuan Yin” out of the water in northern Newfoundland last fall, I travelled to northern Thailand and settled in Chiang Mai for a few months. And what a great place:

The weather was warm

The food was stupendous – especially at my friend’s restaurant Prego.  Highly recommended!

People are kindly and polite. And I met many interesting visitors.  Special thanks to friends khun Wee of Prego, Jeff, khun Toc, Rick and Brigitte.  And thanks also to Arie and Soldier who came all the way from Bangkok to spend a few days of non-stop chatting with me.

Arie and myself at Doi Suthep at sunset

Soldier, from Taiwan, and myself jumping for joy in Chiang Mai

There are great secondhand bookshops – where one makes serendipitous discoveries.

Prices are very affordable.  A studio apartment in the old central area cost $75 a month.

And a great place to settle down and get lots of work done – I steadily worked through almost 1000 of photographs of documents from the early 19th century about the Moravian Mission in Labrador.

I’ve stayed in many places over the years, but my room in Chiang Mai was one of the most enjoyable I’ve ever had.  It was right next door to the Wat Chiang Mun temple and I could often hear the monks chanting.

photo by Arie Agniyadis

There was a big tree outside and every morning around 5.50 am I’d hear the same bird in the tree calling out – to be answered by another bird a short distance away.  And they would converse back and forth for a few minutes before other birds, farther away, began calling.

In addition, I had a wonderful four day tour of the country north of Chiang Mai when my good friend Peter Holt came out from England and we went north with his uncle Jeff Sanger, who lives in Chiang Mai, friend Jeremy and khun Chu Chip, who was our excellent guide and driver (the same remarkable man who found the carver to make the statue of Kuan Yin for the boat!) .

The motley gang of travellers

Sunrise over Laos, seen from a crag in northern Thailand

Khun Chu Chip is building guests cottages and took Peter and I on a hike to a hidden waterfall. and it really was.  One minute we were walking beside rice fields, then delving into the forest and the next moment we were standing at the foot of a magnificent waterfall.

My sincere thanks to everyone for a wonderful time.  Peter kindly bought me a walking stick for our mini expedition, and at the end of my stay I wondered what to do with it. I could not carry it on the plane but did not want to just leave aside such a magnificent object.

I set out from my room to leave it for a friend. On the way I saw an elderly Thai lady, bent over and with a heavy shopping bag in one hand. “She needs a walking stick,” was my immediate reaction. Without thinking about it, I went up to her and handed the walking stick to her.  “For you,” I said in my best Thai.  Instead of being surprised, or frowning, or being alarmed at a farang suddenly coming up to her, she looked up, took the stick firmly in her right hand, said thank you and set off again.  It was one of those special encounters where everything is perfect and you’re left with the hairs on the back of your neck standing on end.


2 comments on “* Goodbye Chiang Mai – and thank you!

  1. Rick Werwie
    April 1, 2011


    Your — “Goodbye Chiang Mai – and thank you!” — is well written and greatly appreciated. Good travels in northern Canada this season. We truly look forward to your return to Thailand; one of these years you’ll be returning specifically to Krabi Province in the south, mooring up Kuan Yin somewhere in Ao Nang Bay and making your way up to “Rix Peak Krabi” for a nice dinner, wine and a good chat overlooking the entire Ao Nang Bay. Until then, sail well–be safe, and we look forward to your return to Southeast Asia in the autumn. Until then–keep in touch. My SKYPE name is: KRABI360
    Rick, Lee and Little Ricky


  2. Bob Deschene
    August 6, 2011

    Dennison it reminds me of the time you first hitchhiked out to visit your sister in Calgary and I seem to recall you saying you met someone that asked you for a dime for a coffee and all you had on you was a dime and you gave it to him leaving you with no money.

    The universe will always take care of you because you have one of the largest hearts of any person I know.

    Peace and Love Bob


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This entry was posted on March 29, 2011 by in Hermits & Solitude, Life Skills and tagged , , .
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