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Dream delay: Phuket kayakers’ dream paddle on hold

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Dream delay: Phuket kayakers’ dream paddle on hold | The Thaiger
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PHUKET TOWN: Two Phuket-based men who were set to paddle a kayak 14,000 miles from Phuket to California have been forced to postpone their trip due to ‘financial constraints’.

American Ryan Doran, 26, and Piya ‘Mr X’ Sukunthai, 28, were due to leave Phuket on March 10 aboard their 20-foot wooden kayak Say-Lee.

The pair insist that their dream trip will still happen, but say it must be postponed until they raise enough money for all the equipment needed.

For our original report and readers’ comments about the planned expedition, click here.

The pairs’ planned trip was due to take 20 months. It would have seen them pass through the territorial waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan and Russia before braving a 217-mile leg across the Bering Sea, one of the world’s most treacherous expanses of ocean.

From there, they planned to continue on to Alaska and Canada, then the lower 48 United States, arriving in Ryan’s home city of San Francisco in December next year.

But the pair have had to postpone their trans-Pacific paddle until an unspecified date later this year. They are now trying to sell their Phuket-made kayak Say-Lee to raise funds to build a new 18-foot ‘catamaran’ kayak that would be used in the mega-paddle.

“We are currently building an 18-foot catamaran. We have joined two 18-foot Chesapeake kayaks into a Hobie Cat rigging system. We now intend to be sailing and paddling. We are also using kites to help power the boat,” he revealed.

There were numerous criticisms in the online Gazette Forum charging the pair with being overambitious, impractical or downright crazy. To one of these Ryan replied:

“You’re right, this is not a ‘safe… adventure’, but it is a well-planned adventure. We have planned this trip for two years and have assessed all risks. If the s**t hits the fan, we will pay for our own rescue.”

The trip would be insured through International SOS, an international medical and rescue service, he added.

“The extreme at-sea conditions will inevitably affect us: sores, heat exhaustion, sunstroke, dehydration, starvation, hypothermia, not to mention the psychological hardships involved,” he wrote.

“I know our plan says 20 months, but if it takes 10 years, then so be it. It took Oskar Speck seven years to paddle from Germany to Australia. We are prepared for that kind of commitment,” he said, speaking of an epic paddle undertaken in the 1930s.

Responding to a sarcastic comment that climactic conditions in the Bering Sea and at Phuket’s Nai Harn Beach are quite different, and that the Pathum Thani-born Mr X might find them too difficult, Ryan replied.:

“No, Mr X has never been in cold weather before… Assuming we actually make it to the Bering Sea, we will have paddled thousands of miles through the South China Sea and off the coast of Japan and Russia.

“If we make it as far as the Bering Sea, I think he will be pretty well conditioned for the weather. But thanks for pointing out that the Bering Sea is not Nai Harn Beach. We didn’t know that.”

Ryan and Mr X are still seeking sponsors for their trip.

Thus far, John Harris from Chesapeake Light Craft (CLC) Boats and Bennet Bar from the NRS Kayaking Team are the only official sponsors.

Anyone interested in sponsoring the trip can contact Ryan at: rdoran66@hotmail.com

— Fraser Morton

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Phuket

Phuket told to prepare “response plan” in case of second Covid-19 outbreak

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket told to prepare “response plan” in case of second Covid-19 outbreak | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Daily News

As Phuket awaits foreign tourists, city officials are told to prepare a “response plan” in case of a second wave of Covid-19. An official from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports held a workshop in Phuket today to discuss the risk of another outbreak as the country opens up to those on the Special Tourist Visa.

The ministry’s permanent secretary Chote Trachu says now that the country is allowing tourists (who are required to quarantine upon arrival) an infection “may somehow slip through.” He says a response plan needs to be in place in case this happens, adding that there should be corporation from the Ministry of Public Health and Ministry of Defense.

“If any tourists are found to be infected, the disease must not be allowed to spread among the people. There should be no panic, and public health officers will investigate the case. Tourist Police will track down the suspected person in an investigation with the Ministry of Public Health.”

Chote says all provinces – not just Phuket – should have a response plan. Although tourists must go through a mandatory 14 day quarantine upon arrival, Chote says there are some cases where the incubation period for Covid-19 is longer than 14 days.

“There are a variety of cases. Sometimes, the infection does not show after 14 days, or even 15 or 16 days. Each situation is different.”

Recently, a woman in Koh Samui tested positive for the coronavirus 5 days after she was released from a Samut Prakan quarantine facility. Traces of the virus were found on gym equipment the woman used at the quarantine, leading health officials to suspect she was infected before arriving to the island.

“We urge Thai people to not let their guard down. Everyone must wear masks, wash their hands and take care of personal hygiene. This will help prevent them from contracting the disease.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Business

Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub

Maya Taylor

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Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket - PHOTO: www.makemytrip.com

Industry officials are seeking the go-ahead for a project to transform over 140 rai of government land in Phuket into a world-leading medical hub. The project is budgeted at 3 – 4 billion baht, depending on which report you read. Kitkong Tantijaraswarodom, from the Federation of Thai Industries, believes the development of a medical and wellness hub in the sub-district of Mai Khao, north Phuket, will help revive the southern island’s battered economy. Phuket has become increasingly reliant on a steady flow of tourists over the past 2 decades.

The southern division of the FTI covers Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Patthalung, Surat Thani, Ranong, Satun, Chumphon, and Songkhla.

“The FTI will ask the government to green-light the project during the scheduled mobile cabinet meeting on the island on November 3.”

Kitkong says businesspeople in the south are anxious for the government to approve the project, which will provide both locals and foreign medical tourists with state-of-the-art medical care. The facility is expected to include long-term care, hospice and rehabilitation services, in addition to a dental hospital, sports therapy centre, and a medical training school for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical laboratory scientists.

The chair of the FTI’s southern chapter is also calling on officials to provide small and medium-sized businesses with additional support, in the form of access to loans, in order to deal with cash shortages.

“In the short term, the FTI wants the government to help SMEs, especially those in the tourism sector.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket

Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment

The Thaiger

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Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment | The Thaiger

A man has been found hanged in Phuket Town apartment yesterday. Police are treating the cases as a suicide at the moment.

The man was found hanged from the apartment’s ceiling fan. His lifeless body was discovered around 11am after neighbours complained to the manager about the smell coming from the man’s room.

Police and the local Kusoldharm Foundation rescue workers attended the scene. Police later confirmed the incident happened in room on the 3rd floor of an apartment lock in Soi Phoonphol Soi 1, Talat Nuea in Phuket Town. Police said the man was 35-45 years of age and had a 29 year old girlfriend from Chumphon. He was paying 1,000 baht a month and had been renting the room for 2 months. Police estimate that the man had been dead for at least 3 days.

Police told media that the man had used, what appeared to be a dress, tied around his neck and then to the room’s roof fan. The apartment manager told police that he had been late on on his recent rent, speculating that the man may have been suffering financial hardship.

The man’s identity has not been released at this stage.

His body was taken to Vachira Hospital for an autopsy.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand 24-hour hotline: 02 713 6791 (English), 02 713 6793 (Thai) or the Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

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