Festival time. It’s Loy Krathong once again. In brief it’s a festival all about floating your troubles away on little handmade banana leaf rafts. But as that’s pretty deep, there’s also plenty of beer and music and of course fireworks. You’ll not only see organised displays by resorts but there’s also the chance to play with cheap Chinese firecrackers and shoot hand held rockets into the sky. The type of explosives-related activities that are frowned upon by pencil pushers in most government Health & Safety departments nowadays, but are in fact good fun . . . right up to the point someone loses an eye or a hand. Get down to Klong Prao temple for the temple fair festivities and to the beach or river on the night of the 28th November to see people floating their little boats which will be illuminated with candles. Buy your ‘Krathong’ from a roadside stall for anything from 50 Baht to a basic version to 150 Baht if you need something a bit flashier which says you have a whole load of worries you want rid off and don’t care who knows it.
Footie. The Klong Prao Cup kicked off yesterday. This prestigious competition, held over 3 days in the run up the Loy Krathong, attracts both amateur and very amateur teams from all corners of the Klong Prao area. Some players travel for up to 15 minutes in order to participate – such is the prestige attached to the village’s equivalent of the F.A. Cup. Catch games at the Klong Prao Stadium i.e. the pitch behind the temple at the old village school.
Dumb Animals. Koh Chang now has a Crocodile Show. This takes place in a nondescript building, four walls; very little natural light; cheap, easy to clean, lino part covering the concrete floor and some seating for spectators. Yep, it’s a awful place – looks like it could double for a slaughterhouse. I’m not a big croc fan, but hopefully this attraction won’t be too popular with the Russian tour groups – which it seems to be aimed at. I took a few pics outside but they wouldn’t let me in to take any pics unless I wanted to see a show. Which I didn’t. So this pic is from their Facebook page which says it all:
Sunk! The big news, for divers especially, this week, was that the old HTMS Chang – a decommissioned naval vessel, was scuppered off the south-west of Koh Chang in order to create an artificial reef. Got to admit that part of me was hoping for the navy to fire torpedoes into it and put on a bit of a show but in the end they opted for the far more sensible option of simply flooding it with water in a controlled fashion and allowing it to sink gracefully to the seabed 30 metres below. Here’s a video of what you can see once you’re allowed to dive the wreck:
And if you want to be one of the first to dive the wreck, which is the largest in Thailand, here’s some info from Kristel at BBDivers, Koh Chang who will be running dive trips to the wreck from tomorrow onwards. Contact them for more details and to book your place on a dive trip:
For BB Divers, we plan to dive it as dive 1 on the local sites, and then have a second dive at the nearby Hin Luk Bat. The price will be 2,900 Baht.
The top deck is at 20 meters depth, and the tower goes up to 4 m, so Open Water certified divers can dive the outside, for deeper and inside the wreck the divers need more training, advanced or deep and wreck specialty license.
We also plan to make special trip to only the wreck for experienced divers, this will also be 2,900 Baht for air tanks, and 3,500 Baht for nitrox tanks, this will be for two dives on the wreck, so for experienced divers only.
Ring road. A couple of weeks ago at a village meeting in Klong Prao the budget for the completion of the road around the island was discussed. Not sure how true the figures are, but people at the meeting talked about the first budget to complete the 10Km stretch of road being 900 Million Baht, this plan was rejected by the National Park on grounds of the route wasn’t acceptable to them. A second route was proposed and this came in at 1,800 Million Baht but again the National Park rejected it. The third proposal which was accepted by the National Park had a whopping 3,700 Million Baht budget and which includes building a bridge along the side of a cliff at the Bangbao end of the route so as to not upset any animals that might be living there. Now it is just a matter of time to wait and see when construction will start and how many new Mercs there will be on the island after the tendering process is complete.
So where does all the garbage in the sea come from? Something I’ve often wondered. Last week when I was out on the kayak there were a few areas where the currents had washed debris together to make what looked almost like narrow carpets of flotsam & jetsam on the surface that stretched 50 – 100 metres. All this washes up somewhere. Sometimes on Koh Chang’s beaches, sometimes on the small islands offshore, sometimes on the mainland. But it might surprise you to learn how far the sea has carried some of it, because if the packaging that I found was anything to go by a lot of it originates in Vietnam. ( I should point out that all the garbage you see roadside on Koh Chang is 100% proudly ‘Made in Thailand’ and does not comprise of shoddy, imported plastic packaging from other ASEAN nations.)
Thai Birds. We had an avid birdwatcher from Vietnam stay with us with her family a couple of weeks ago. Here are some of the birders that inhabit the area around our house. Of course, to get pics like this you’re going to have to get hold of a huge 400mm zoom lens for your DSLR. More of Ha’s photos on Flickr.