For 2011

April 8

As half a billion people have a Facebook, I decided to have one too.   Not really sure what I will do with it other than use it to upload unorganised pics as I don’t see the attraction –   other than it allows you to make a twat of yourself in front of thousands of, mainly imaginary, ‘friends’ but feel free to ‘Like’ it at www.fb.com/iamkohchang

I also, very slowly, started work last week on the new DiveKohChang.com site – a site I made in 2004 when Microsoft Frontpage was king and which I could never be bothered to update, yet it still shows up near the top of Google searches for scuba diving here. The new version will feature three of the best dive companies on the island and will look far sexier. Hopefully I will have it done just in time for the rainy season.

Next High Season divers & snorkellers around Koh Mak will get to experience Trat Province’s latest brainwave . . . undersea elephants.   We all know how boring it can be swimming around seeing nothing but coral and fish, but how cool would it be to be able to swim around and see large concrete elephants at the bottom of the ocean.   It would be like discovering the   fossilised remains of pachyderms that died standing up thousands of years ago.   The nine statues will apparently cost rather a lot to make and then sink in 11 metre deep water, off Ao Kao beach on Koh Mak.   If that doesn’t attract more divers to the island, then I dont know what will.

The Annual Songkran Flotilla is your chance to see lots of yachts around the islands. They will leave Salakphet on Koh Chang on 12 April, overnight off Koh Mak Resort,Koh Mak then on 14th head to Ao Yai on Koh Kood, 15th around to Captain Hook Resort, Koh Kood and on the 16th set sail back to Salakphet. A couple of days ago, I took the photo below of three catamarans and a yacht moored off Koh Mak Resort.

The other week the owners of Koh Maisie, a small island just off the northwest coast of Koh Kood came to meet me.   Khun Yai and his sons Yod & Boat run a small homestay on the island that was founded by Yai’s father. ( Boat got his nickname as his father wasn’t quick enough in getting his mother to the mainland when she went into labour, so he was born on the fishing boat midway between Koh Maisie and Trat. ) Until now this has been run in   a haphazard manner but now that Yod has finished college he will work full time on the island and take care of guests.

The island has the only coffee plantation and bee farm in the area.   The family are great believers in the medicinal properties of honey, which they dont sell but give to visitors.   You can eat as much as you like when you are there.   Other sources of income include cashew nuts. At Koh Maisie visitors are treated as one of the family, there are no restaurants or shops so you eat meals with the family.   There is no menu.

No large tour groups are accepted and neither are walk in guests.   You need to book in advance with the owners as they only want nice people – like those reading this site, to stay there.   When you are there you will be able to take part in all aspects of day to day life on a working island. Although there are no sandy beaches, there is also good snorkelling off the coast where they also grow corals.   It is also home to a lone Buddhist monk, a German who has been in the monkhood for over 35 years and who has a small house on the island.

Visit www.maisie-island.com for more info if you want to do something different during your holiday.

There are other private islands to consider staying on, i.e. Koh Ngam, Koh Laoya and Koh Rayang which all have one small resort each.   Of these, Phurin Resort on Koh Rayang is the easiest to get to and book as boat services from the mainland and Koh Chang will stop there.

More Eco News – On Koh Chang biogas fermentors have been installed in several businesses and more will come later this month and in May.   The idea is that as 25% of the 6,500 tons of garbage that is collected on the island annually is organic matter then this could be used to produce cooking gas, which would both save businesses money and also save the planet from an unimaginable man made catastrophe.   The simple, but effective, technology used has been developed in co-operation with GIZ, a German government agency that helps find affordable solutions for environmental problems in developing countries. Businesses that are trialing the new system include Grand Orchid Resort, Baan Chang Thai, Blue Lagoon, Panviman Resort, Phu Talay Restaurant & a dozen others.   Some more about this here.

Win Something

Down on Koh Mak, the new Eco-Mak organisation needs a logo designing.   This needs to be simple, eye catching and get the message of promoting sustainability and environmental awareness across.   In addition to the eternal gratitude of the islanders, there is a free stay on the island on offer as a prize.   Your logo will be used island wide and also on t-shirts that will be sold to raise funds that will be put towards green initiatives on the island. So it would make a nice addition to any designer’s portfolio.   See the Eco Mak Facebook page for more info.

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