We have visited Koh Tao again, the location of our pilot. It was really a busy business trip on flip-flops. No time to relax, but meeting as many people as we can in a time as short as possible. It has been a while since we have visited this place…
And as they say in in Asia, the weather is “Same same, but different”. A lot has changed but a lot has also remained the same. Some things have changed for the better, some for the worse. The tourism on Koh Tao has increased. And changed. Before, most tourists were backpackers that came to dive. Nowadays you see more diversity in the tourists. From complete families to elderly, non-divers and partygoers. You can see the reef has suffered from the pressure of the tourism. More places are damaged and there is less fish around.
Luckily we can also announce some good news. More and more people see the problems and want to commit themselves to restoring reefs. We have met Julia, an underwater architect, she wants to help design our reef. Bob will focus on the technical aspect of our project, e.g. what are the possible means of communications between Koh Tao and The Netherlands. Access to the internet is not as common in Koh Tao as in The Netherlands. They have never heard of a fiber connection. In fact, Skype only works without a video connection. We met a lot of friends and acquaintances. Everybody is enthusiastic about our plans.
Between all the work we try to enjoy life on Koh Toa. It feels like coming home. It’s lovely to eat Thai dishes again and enjoy the fresh fruit.
Our last appointment is at the Dutch embassy in Bangkok. A taxi through the busy streets of this city takes longer than expected. We have a good talk with the second secretary. He will also look at what the embassy can do for CoralGardening.
With pain in our hearts we return to The Netherlands. Our hands are itching to start working here, but first we need to do a lot of work back home. Of course the Student Battle and the preparation of our crowdfunding campaign are on the top of our list. We will tell you more about that in future updates. And no doubt we will have some news from Koh Tao as well.