The trip to Thailand is long and heavy, and we use all possible vehicles for transportation. Airplanes, trains, buses, taxis, boats, pick-up trucks… You name it. First we take the train to Schiphol airport and we travel to Bangkok via Helsinki. Next we take the bus to Hua Hin, and from there the train to Ban Krut. Ferry lives in Ban Krut and he offered to pick us up from the station. I’ve met Ferry on my world tour. After a journey of 30 hours, we finally lay our eyes upon a real bed. We stay at Ferry’s place for 3 nights to rest a little bit and get used to the change in climate.
He has been living and working on Koh Tao as a dive instructor for a couple of years and can tell us a lot about the way business is done on Koh Tao. He brings us to a nightboat to Chumphon and the next morning we set foot on Koh Tao. We continue our journey to our own place in the back of a pick-up truck.
We have found a so called longstay bungalow. Bungalow is a pretty word for “Thai cabin”. It’s a simple house with more luxury than a standard hotel room, like your own fridge, desk and kitchen. And it’s a lot more affordable. We will stay here for the next 5 weeks. Together with lots and lots of mosquito’s… It takes some getting used to and improvising. No cabinet, but 2 desks and 1 office chair (YES, a real chair!!), no flushing toilet, a shower head that squirts the wrong way around, a bed as hard as bricks and a housekeeper who didn’t exactly offer us the house “cleaned”. All in all, farming corals isn’t quite like a lazy stroll in the park.
Since 2010 we have walked around with the idea of making the farming of corals our life’s work, and even back then we were interviewed once by the NTW Magazine (in Dutch). After summer school and the Studentbattle, the moment has finally come. The money we have collected during the Student battle, will be used to test new techniques developed by the student team Reefolution and our own materials developed by the CoralGardening team. We take care of our housing costs ourselves.
The rain season has arrived and that means tropical storms and drizzles take turns soaking us through and through. This of course has some influence on our plans. We cannot weld and working with cement is impractical. That kind of stuff happens out in the open, but is best done on a sunny day. We’ll just have to adjust. That’s the way of life in Thailand: go with the flow. Luckily we can fill our time with lots of discussions and meetings and arranging things. We still need to order some of the necessary materials.
We meet a few old-timers on the Marine Conservation Project. Students and interns we’ve met before in February. It’s nice to see them again, and everyone is enthusiastic about our ideas. Next week we will meet with Chad to discuss our plans in detail. We will a.o. decide the location for our pilot project and arrange the last necessities for the required permits.
Besides these things, we are also photographing and filming lots of stuff to use in our promotional video which we will publish during our crowdfund campaign.
While a part of our team works in Thailand, the rest stayed behind in the Netherlands and is busy preparing the crowdfund campaign, which will start in about a month. If you have a good idea for this and want to help us reach our goals, just let us know!