Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Phuket Hermit Crabs love Chinese Chicken Wings!

Tourists and locals that carelessly throw their rubbish on the ground have probably never thought about the consequences.

Of course there are two things to consider, the first being the ugly sight of littered streets and open spaces, but the second is something that not many people realise. The small animals that are attracted to the left over scraps of food or drink and venture inside to enjoy a easy meal, once inside usually get stuck there unable to find a way out or unable to negotiate that slippery surface. End result - a slow death by suffocation or drowning.

I often find plastic cups that have been left standing with some left-over drink or even some freshly fallen rain inside. Sadly the small hermit crabs tend to climb indside and cannot climb out of the water, and I regularly find a cup full of dead crabs. Very sad.

The same plastic cups thrown into the sea can be a trap for a small fish - see my earlier post

So please think about what you are doing..

Saturday, 12 November 2011

The Other Side of the Loi Kratong Festival.

The Loi Kratong festival is always thought of as a beautiful festival. 

When the festival takes place the Thai people will cut a small piece of their hair, and a small piece of their finger nail to put in the basket in doing so I guess they are giving the gods a symbol of what in modern times would be classed as a DNA sample. Usually some coins will be added too to bring good luck.

The basket is set afloat in a river or in the sea accompanied by a wish, with the aim of floating away all the bad things and wishing for good things. But what people may not think about is the Kratongs end up somewhere and leave what will definitely be bad things for the people who have to deal with them. The custom of floating a 'Kratong' or basket was traditionally based on the use of natural materials, but in modern times the Kratongs are being made using nails and pins rather than small bamboo sticks. None of this would be a problem if floating was only done in lakes and reservoirs where the baskets can be collected (many organised festival events will do this), but because of the belief that the basket has to float away and that it is bad luck if it returns, the people prefer to float in the rivers and seas.

At Bon Island I arrive to find a beach full of broken Kratongs which, in the old days, would have been made of natural materials but, in modern times, are made of a mixture of nails and pins just waiting for some unfortunate person to step on!

These are the various different objects that are used in modern times in place of the bamboo sticks traditionally used to fix the leaves on to the body of the Kratong.

So please everyone out there 

 think about how you make your Kratongs next year!

While I was collecting the rubbish created by the Loi Kratong Festival 
I saw this 'coconut face' looking as horrified as I was! 

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

11th December 2010

Good News and Bad News

Good news at last! Phuket’s Tsunami Warning Buoys have finally arrived in Phuket and are soon to be transported out to their location off the Phuket coast. For more info see the Phuket Gazette article:

Bad News Due to a storm and sea swell last night several of the Yachts competing in Phuket’s King’s Cup regatta were washed aground at Kata Beach. Despite attempts to get the boats back to sea, they remained aground. See photos and the full story in Phuket Gazette article:

Saturday, 17 July 2010

A Moment of Life or Death

I found this bottle on the beach and discovered that the Hermit Crab was still alive. It had obviously been pushed into the bottle by a tourist, when it wouldn't go inside the bottle was discarded without a thought for the life of the crab.

Still Alive!
Pushing it in or out was impossible, the crab was stuck , however it was intelligent enough not to slip out of its shell.

Happy Ending!
After cutting the bottle open and forcing the crab upwards out of the top, it was finally free to walk away to safety.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

The Story of Rawai Wall 2009 to 2013

Scroll down the timeline to follow the developing story of Rawai's Sea Wall.

9.21 am April 1 2009

Somewhere around noon April 1 2009.

April 16 2009 Still waiting for work to start.

May 5 2009 Things start to progress.

May 7 2009 Now why didn't they do it like this in the first place? It looks a lot nicer!

So is this the end of the story?

April 4th 2010 One Year Later......

As the beach side restaurants strive to keep the beach in place....

the local boatmen look on in amusement....

knowing that all this will have a limited lifespan.....

despite how deep they dig.....

all it will take is a few strong waves.....

to take down the rest of the wall!

April 4th 2010 we are all waiting in anticipation...

July 15th 2010
but as I write this blog, miraculously the wall is still standing!

And another year later!

It is now 31st March 2011 and in follow-up to the post of 15th July 2010 and one year after the original collapse, heavy seas finally brought down another section of the Rawai wall.

On July 6th 2011 progress has been made - well - if you could call it that! 

A safety barrier has been installed for one part of the danger area, and later in the day some red tape and been put around to stop people walking into the abyss.

But the sad thing is what the sign says - 
"The ownership rights of the land in this area is currently in the process of investigation."
And so we wait............

25th August 2011  
A Sad Day in The Story of Rawai's Sea Wall

Heavy rain and strong wind at around noon today were probably the last factor to bring down one of the old pine trees that line Rawai's beach front, and are a symbol of Rawai Beach to both locals and tourists alike.

"The ownership rights of the land in this area is currently in the process of investigation."

Locals have been watching the lack of progress in repairing damage caused by erosion, as over the months the situation has been worsened by strong monsoon waves. It is only about a meter before the erosion will reach the road and with one tree down already no doubt the other trees will be in danger. (See below for earlier post about Rawai Wall from July 12th 2010 and March 31st 2011)

29th September 2011
Another Sad Day in The Story of Rawai's Sea Wall

After strong waves over the last few days, 
another piece of Rawai's pedestrian promenade has collapsed

October 6th 2011
Not much further and the road will disappear too!

12th March 2012
(2012 - The year that the Mayan Calender came to an end and the world was thought to be heading for disaster)

Strong waves last night felled yet another tree on Rawai Beach. This followed a similar event about 2 months earlier when the tree to the middle of the photo came down and the sea ate a large chunk out of the beach. It seems Rawai is heading for disaster and no-one is doing anything about it!

1st May 2013 - 4 years and one month later!

Sadly things are only getting worse...............................

The first part of the wall fell down in 2009 closely followed by the trees as you will see from the earlier part of this post. Due to lack of repairs the local restaurants have had to build wooden panel floors over the felled trees and broken wall and the remaining space is as you see here. Iron reinforcing rods remain in the broken concrete waiting to injure anyone unlucky enough to tread on one at high tide when boarding a boat. It horrifies me to see children swimming here, often tourists who are unaware of the dangers that lie below.

I took that photo this morning, but what I saw on my return to Rawai in the evening sadden me more......

a large hole has appeared in the pavement due to sea erosion cutting away the beach below and no organisation has taken responsibility to do anything about it. Just wait until the road breaks perhaps?

Monday, 10 May 2010

Coral Bleaching.

The coral around Bon Island and Rawai has been turning white for the last week or so. In the 15 years I have been crossing the sea from mainland Phuket to the islands I have never seen this before and it is apparently the worst for 20 years. If the water temperature doesn't cool down soon the coral may die. In the above photograph bleached coral can be seen as white patches where before the coral reef could be seen as a dark shadow beneath the water. Small corals that are exposed to the sun at low water will be in the most danger especially when bleaching has already occurred.

Further information about coral bleaching can be seen at: an informative illustrated guide to coral automatically downloading 5.4MB pdf file.

or a variety of information at any of the following links:

April has passed and May draws to an end. Phuket has had very little rainfall and so temperatures remain high. It's just a matter of waiting and hoping that the coral will survive. A video taken recently at Racha Island can be seen at the following link, and according to the divers things are looking better.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Some things don't seem to change..........

I came across an old photo taken in Sardinia in 1983. It saddens me to think, that despite a greater awarness about environmental problems, that this same scene can still be seen today.