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Go-Eco Phuket dives for biggest reef cleanup in world

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Go-Eco Phuket dives for biggest reef cleanup in world | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Qualifiers keep dropping with Go-Eco Phuket as the environmental group prepares for its official launch on September 30 with the biggest reef cleanup of any kind in the world.

“On September 30, the eyes of the world will be attracted to Phuket,” Tony Andrews, Thailand’s West coast PADI Regional Manager and Project AWARE Ambassador, said at a press conference with Phuket government officials at Kata Beach Resort today.

The Go-Eco Phuket, PADI and Project AWARE-sponsored “Dive Against Debris” event has 14 PADI dive boats and more than 450 participants signed up to sweep the reefs off Koh Racha Noi, Koh Racha Yai, Phi Phi Island, Koh Khao Nok and Koh Hei (“Coral Island”) clean of marine debris.

Of those participants, more than 280 are divers prepared to tackle the underwater debris, while the rest have volunteered to either help as snorkelers or with beach cleanups on Koh Racha Noi.

“The government officials were interested as soon as we met them. They thought it was a great idea and were proud of the dive companies and community,” Narong Chaimo, who acted as liaison between Thai officials and the Go-Eco Phuket group, told the Phuket Gazette today

More than 12 government offices and departments have pledged support for the project, from Chalong Municipality providing waste management for all the debris from the pier to the Royal Thai Navy sending three warships to maintain a perimeter to protect divers from speedboats that frequent the islands.

“We are pleased to help by disposing of the rubbish from the pier,” Chalong Mayor Samran Jindaphol said.

Once the rubbish is brought up from the reef it will be sorted into categories, such as fishing nets, plastics and so on, so it can be accurately documented, explained Mr Andrews.

“Go-Eco Phuket’s goal is to safely remove the debris from the reefs and beaches of Phuket and other surrounding islands,” Mr Andrews said.

The long-term goal of the event is to mobilize divers from around to the world to the return the surrounding reefs to a clean, healthy state.

“We had a strong dream of making the reefs of Phuket and the surrounding islands clean, pristine and sustainable, and making sure they belong in the top diving destinations in Thailand and the world,” Mr Andrews said.

Vice Admiral Taratorn Kajitsuwan, Commander of the Navy Third Area Command at their base at Cape Panwa, pointed out that when Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra previously visited the island, she had made it clear that eco-tourism was a must for Phuket.

“One of my priorities is to help [support eco-tourism efforts], and this project goes hand in hand with PM Yingluck’s vision of improving tourism and our country,” he said.

“Everyone is glad that Thais and foreigners have so much interest in the local environment,” he added.

During the meeting, a spokesperson for the Phuket Marine Biological Center highlighted to government officials the problem of “ghost fishing”.

Ghost fishing happens when nets become snagged on corals and are left behind by fishermen, but continue to catch and kill marine animals, he explained.

“These nets effect the entire development of reef system,” he said.

Noting that the issue of marine debris was a global concern, he said, “We hope we can show the world that Phuket can do it [cleanup the coral reefs], so it can be done everywhere else, too.”

The meeting also provided a forum for officials concerned about the current conditions of the marine ecosystem around Phuket.

“We will try to instigate a system to regulate and prevent boats from dumping rubbish,” a spokesperson for the Marine Department office in Phuket offered.

Pamuke Achariyachai, of event sponsor Kata Beach Group, invited the public to put forward more ideas to promote eco-tourism on the island.

“We will always support local events like this… should there be any other ideas for eco-tourism, the Kata Group would be interested in helping,” he said.

“We can show the world that Phuket is on the map for diving,” Mr Andrews said.

“But it’s really about what happens after September 30,” Mr Andrews added.

On September 30, registration for the event will start at 7:30am at the new marina building on Chalong Pier.

At 8am, Governor Tri Augkaradacha, in his last day in office as Phuket Governor, along with other high-ranking officials will formally launch Go-Eco Phuket’s inaugural event.

An after party for participants will be held at Kan-Eang 2 at 6pm. A Thai-style buffet will start at 6:30pm and the raffle for a variety of dive goods and other contributions will start at 7pm.

RNR Eco Adventures and Dive Resort is sponsoring the night’s entertainment by bringing together Legend Recording Studio’s Dark Fiber and Legends of Siam, as well as the Rocking Angels band and DJ Tank, with a special performance by Ricky Zen.

Drinks will be provided by Molly Malones, Phuket Beer and Chang Beer.

The event will run to 11pm.

The cleanup is sponsored by the Phuket Gazette and will be covered on national television (UBC/True Visions, channel 99) by the Gazette’s new show “Phuket Today”. The show airs six times per week. For the schedule, see October’s True Visions programming guide.

Businesses interested in joining the Gazette as a sponsor of “Dive Against Debris” are invited to contact any local PADI dive center, or Tony Andrews, Regional Manager of PADI, by email at [email protected]

— Isaac Stone Simonelli



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Food Scene

Thong Dee, the Kathu Brasserie loved by foodies and Phuket locals

The Thaiger

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Thong Dee, the Kathu Brasserie loved by foodies and Phuket locals | The Thaiger

The Thaiger was invited to a special ‘taster’ at one of our favourite restaurants on the island of Phuket, Thong Dee. As usual, the food spoke for itself – no fuss, classy, so so tasty, eclectic. The Thaiger was a guest of the hosts Patrik and Ponchan for the evening.

Thong Dee – The Kathu Brasserie, located in Kathu in a quiet soi less than 15 min drive from Patong or Phuket Town has become a popular go-to foodie destination, away from the hustle and bustle of Phuket. The atmosphere at Thong Dee is certainly friendly and relaxed but also chic and stylish. The restaurant offers open-air dining where locals and visitors comfortably sit and watch the tiny world of Kathu go by.

The restaurant is currently ranked #1 on TripAdvisor (April 2019), undoubtedly a favourite for foodies looking for quality in a breezy brasserie which doesn’t burn their wallets. But the journey to finding this perfect balance was certainly not a smooth one.

Established on the 25th December 2010, married couple Patrik Lundgren, from Sweden, and Phonchan Chiarram, originally from the Buriram province, opened “Thong Dee Restaurant & Bar”, literally meaning “Good Gold” in Thai, a colloquial expression that better translates as “Good Quality”.

Thong Dee began as only a dream for the two. Phonchan already owned her own bar at only 21 and Patrik always considered himself a devout foodie. He was the one to make the bold decision to become restaurateurs. With the help of Patrik’s mother, the couple, with their love for F&B and strong entrepreneurial spirit, made that dream into reality.

“I consider myself a genuine foodie and always had a huge passion for food. I rather have a big bill from a fabulous restaurant then a trendy nightclub” – Patrik

Phonchan never had any formal training as a Chef but with Patrik’s belief in her skills and Patrik’s mother’s training, Phonchan started in her own restaurant as the cook. Here she not only had the opportunity to develop her delicious family recipes but began experimenting with Western and European cuisine.

The menu opened with 80 % percent Thai food until Patrik realised it was an already over-saturated market. “We had to be different from that “green curry” you can eat anywhere in Phuket”. Over the next 6 years the restaurant went through huge changes, both in layout and in menu.

Through the first stages, they enlisted the talents of André, a young chef who worked in France & Scandinavia at Michelin fine dining establishments, most notably, at Restaurant Kiin Kiin in Copenhagen. It was from him that Phonchan learned the fundamentals of fine dining, such as mise en place and creating stocks and sauces.

He also taught me about the art of plating and classic dishes from French cuisine as well as fusion creations” – Phonchan

In 2016 they partnered up with an experienced Irish chef, from whom they learned about the strict operations of running a restaurant and creating a positive flow in the kitchen.

“He also taught me a lot form the European and English kitchen, such as the Sunday roasts, chicken liver parfait and desserts” – Phonchan.

The couple found their groove through their own culinary explorations, research and development combined with the knowledge of experienced chefs.

“…almost all of the dishes on our menu are different from how I learned from the start, both in Thai cuisine and European. I discovered in the world of cooking, all dishes can be made from the chef’s own interpretation.” – Phonchan

Patrik describes the cuisine at Thong Dee in detail as – European with French, English & Swedish influences in addition to authentic Thai dishes with premium main ingredients.

You will find Patrik at the front of house being the charismatic host, paying close attention to detail and customers’ every need. Thong Dee’s client’s range from local expat families and friends looking for a taste of home, and tourists looking for finer Thai food and good wines to match. Thong Dee has also become a favourite spot for local F&B industry management staff.

People flock from around the Island and even globally to experience Phonchan’s signature Thai duck dishes, even stews and Swedish meatballs. The also offer ever-changing weekly specials. Their Sunday Roast is also a drawcard, that attracts playful groups and families looking for a wide variety of succulent roast meats.

In the future, Thong Dee are considering to expand into Phuket Town, where the offering will be much more focused on classic European Brasserie cuisine, with starters, salads and steaks and a high value wine list and of course, the same friendly service in a stylish and relaxed atmosphere.

Thong Dee, the Kathu Brasserie loved by foodies and Phuket locals | News by The Thaiger Thong Dee, the Kathu Brasserie loved by foodies and Phuket locals | News by The Thaiger Thong Dee, the Kathu Brasserie loved by foodies and Phuket locals | News by The Thaiger Thong Dee, the Kathu Brasserie loved by foodies and Phuket locals | News by The Thaiger Thong Dee, the Kathu Brasserie loved by foodies and Phuket locals | News by The Thaiger Thong Dee, the Kathu Brasserie loved by foodies and Phuket locals | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket

Australian snorkeller collects trash at Kalim beach everyday

The Thaiger

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Australian snorkeller collects trash at Kalim beach everyday | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Patong Surf Life Saving

An Australian man has been seen collecting trash in the waters just off Kalim beach in Patong every day over the past month.

The Patong Surf Life Saving team report that they have seen the foreign man, an Australian national, collecting trash near the shoreline at Kalim Beach every day.

Every morning he heads off from his nearby accommodation nearby to go snorkelling along the shoreline collecting trash.

He has been doing this as his daily routine for the last month.

Two days ago an eight year old Phuket boy was rewarded after setting an excellent example for the rest of the Patong community by cleaning rubbish out of the Pak Bang Canal running through Patong.

Three cheers to Patong’s trash heroes!!

Read more about the eight year old’s great work HERE.

Australian snorkeller collects trash at Kalim beach everyday | News by The Thaiger Australian snorkeller collects trash at Kalim beach everyday | News by The Thaiger Australian snorkeller collects trash at Kalim beach everyday | News by The Thaiger Australian snorkeller collects trash at Kalim beach everyday | News by The Thaiger

 

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Krabi

Maya Bay’s extended closure “vital to conserve the ecology”

The Thaiger

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Maya Bay’s extended closure “vital to conserve the ecology” | The Thaiger

Worapot Lomlim, chief of the Hat Nopparatthara-Phi-Phi Islands national park has confirmed that he might keep Maya Bay closed for up to five years to allow the current recovery to continue.

The Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has agreed to extend the closure of Ao Maya, or Maya Bay, located on one of the Phi Phi islands between Krabi and Phuket, for another six month period after an initial 10 month closure to allow nature to regenerate the ecosystem.

The Chief reports that the local ecological systems of Maya Bay, degraded by years of accelerating tourist traffic, has steadily improved during the current closure. Up to 5,000 tourists a day were visiting Maya Bay at its peak before authorities weighed up the pressures of the conservationists and tour operators and decided it was best to close the popular tourist attraction for an extended period

He cited the frequent sightings of blacktip reef sharks near the beach and the gradual growth of some 23,000 corals farmed at a coral centre in Trang province, which were planted in the Bay with the help of volunteer divers.

After the next six-month extended closure, Khon Worapot indicated that the department will consider extending the closure for an even longer period, up to 4-5 years, to allow full rehabilitation of the environment and the ecological system.

Maya Bay was closed to all tourist access on June 1, 2018.

Maya Bay's extended closure

Up to 5,000 tourists a day were visiting the Bay at its peak

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