During this trip I went alone to Phuket on a 5 day trip with the intention of replacing the charging system and related wiring. Decided to stay through the end of a Chinese holiday (of which I was unaware when I purchased my plane tickets), resulting in a trip that lasted from September 22nd to October 9th.
Was successful in replacing the charging system using a new kit from Balmar - which included alternator, charge controller, and charge splitter (Duo Charge). While doing this replacement I also installed a boat-wide master fuse, secondary fuse panel (for assorted items that are not switched off by the main battery switch), a new main battery switch, and lots of new wiring. Other minor repairs and upgrades were also made during this time.
The old alternator:
The new fuse panel:
Here's the batteries after re-routing all the wiring through the new fuse panel:
The old alternator, controller, and wiring:
The new alternator:
After getting the new charging system installed I left Yacht Haven Marina and sailed south. First night was spent on Koh Rang with a tentative plan for either Koh Racha or Koh Phi Phi the next day. I hoped to find a dive shop and get my Open Water certification.
On Koh Racha I found Aqua Raya, a nice little dive shop operated by Singh and his family. They helped me get my certification and buy dive equipment for the boat. Now I can dive to check moorings, unwrap fish nets from the prop, and maybe even just to look at fish! The diving on Koh Racha was great - with nice clear water, some interesting wrecks, and some beautiful coral.
There is no ATM on this island (except for some sort of "emergency ATM service"), very little by way of infrastructure; but it's a beautiful little island filled with nice and trusting people. Definitely planning to return there soon.