Author Archive

Luctor et emergo – How The Junk Liveaboards sailed through Covid times and beyond

When Covid 19 became known to the world late in 2019, no one could have suspected the immense impact this pandemic would have on countless economies and industries worldwide. One of the most affected sectors is tourism: both international and domestic. This is mainly due to national governments closing their borders and implementing lockdowns to stop the spreading of the virus.

Scuba diving, as part of tourism, was hit very hard, also in Thailand. Many dive operators closed their doors and a lot of people employed in the dive industry were forced to go home as there was simply no work to be found.

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Thai government bans reef damaging sunscreen – Going green is the way forward

The entire diving community in Thailand heartily welcomed some uplifting news last week. The Thai government declared that all sunscreens containing harmful chemical substances for coral reefs are banned from all marine national parks nationwide. The government based their decision on scientific data showcasing these chemicals “deteriorate coral reefs, destroy coral larvae, obstruct their reproductive system and cause coral reef bleaching.” The ban applies to sun lotions containing oxybenzone, octinoxate, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor or butylparaben. Violations of the ban can lead to a steep fine (max 100,000 THB or 3,000 USD), although officials have not said how they plan to enforce the ban. Thailand is not the first country to introduce such a ban: Palau, Hawaii, and France were earlier trendsetters.

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Sea Snake Shenanigans

Almost 70 different known species of sea snakes roam around our oceans and they usually get to be about 2 meters long. They are equipped with paddle-like tails and many have laterally compressed bodies that give them an eel-like appearance. However, unlike eels, sea snakes don’t have gills and must regularly swim to the surface to breathe. Despite their (in)famous potent venom, sea snakes are generally very mild-tempered and will not bite unless provoked. Best to watch their beauty from a safe distance!

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The Moken people in Surin Islands

Any diving holiday with The Junk Liveaboards is an amazing adventure in itself, with spectacular diving, breathtaking sunsets, newly formed friendships and memories to treasure. For our guests on board The Junk and The Phinisi we always go the extra mile on every trip, offering an opportunity to step on land for an island visit.

Up in the Surin Islands, we take you ashore to visit a Moken village. The Moken people are a remarkable group of sea gypsies who have taken up permanent residence on one of the Surin Islands.  They are nomadic sea people who used to live and travel between the islands of Western Thailand and Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago. Traditionally, the Moken lived on their Kabang houseboats in the dry months and lived on land in temporary villages during the monsoon.

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Leopard Shark Expedition on The Junk

The Junk Liveaboards, in conjunction with Oceans For All Foundation, organized a special Leopard Shark Expedition from 8 to 12 April 2021. This expedition aims to assess the current situation of leopard sharks – presence, numbers, and habitat – in the Thai Andaman Sea. The first edition explored the Similan & Surin Islands. The data collected during the expedition provide the basis of a Leopard Shark Conservation Petition. This petition will be presented to the Thai Government in order to protect the leopard sharks. David Martin, founder of Oceans For All, joined us on board to guide us through the first Leopard Shark Research Expedition.

On 8 April, everyone embarked The Junk from Chalong Pier in Phuket. Just as we set off on our way out to the Similans, there was instant excitement. David Martin, together with the assistance of everyone onboard, released 5 small bamboo sharks back into the ocean. The bamboo sharks originated from his foundation’s shark breeding program. Our four youngest guests got to name the bamboo sharks. They were baptized: Charlotte, Bob, George, Astrid and Austin. All guests took great delight in sending these little sharkies back home to the ocean. A unique event!

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