Laem Thain is a small bay on the east side of Koh Tao and has always been a favorite walk for many of us at Master Divers. Alongside a day out in Sai Daeng its one of our favorite day off outings. Elaine’s dogs and mine and Wilco’s dog love it too – its a huge jungle adventure for them and a great work out for us. The walk takes you up and over the island but the way is shaded by trees almost all the way. Within the last year however the resort at the beach has closed and looks like it was abandoned quickly. This means that the road has deteriorated and is no longer passable by bike or taxi all the way, but great for a hike.
Wilco and I went there just a few days ago now. It was my first visit since I went with Elaine before the start of the really busy time on Koh Tao – so it was probably July sometime. As we were there on that occasion – many people arrived to the beach – surprised to find no facilities and no water. Most of them had driven as far as they could and walked the rest of the way. I was actually quite surprised by just how many people were there in just that few hours.
This time when Wilco and I got there I was not quite horrified but very close to being. It seems that lots of people have visited the beach and left their trash, not considering that as the resort is abandoned, there is no one to clean up their rubbish ! Monsoon arrives here in November and the tides get steadily higher too so, this mainly plastic crap, was certainly to enter the water.
It was clear to me that action was needed and the only way to rectify the problem was by boat. We were not really equipped to deal with the situation right now and on foot were certainly going to be unable to carry the rubbish out. We hatched a plan and a few days later took our boat around to Laem Thian. Some of our divers headed out to explore the clear beautiful waters on the coast line and bay while the rest of the team set about tackling the beach.
The particular beach is quite special too in that its one of the only two beaches where turtles have come ashore to lay eggs. The three nests that were here were removed to a special facility in Chumphon where they were reared in safety. This ensured that many turtles were subsequently re-released. They were released at a more mature level than would’ve happened naturally so as to ensure a higher rate of survival. We have seen more turtles in the last year than in previous years so maybe it has helped. The team did a fantastic job. They took Captain P’Dongs small row boat with them and snorkeled into shore. Taking bio-degradable trash bags with them, they focused on collecting the plastic, polystyrene and cans.
Its quite spooky to have a wander around the resort. It really looks like it was left in a rush, like something out of a disaster or horror movie. The reception and restaurant area have strange dilapidated feel already.The team collected quite a lot of trash which they floated back to the boat using the small row boat. Everyone felt really good about what they accomplished and in just a few hours with a few pairs of hands made a real difference. As we visit this beach often we have decided to take responsibility for it and on our walks we will keep checking the state. Posters have been placed to ask visitors to take their rubbish with them and make them aware that no one else is going to clean up after them.
You might’ve realized we feel quite strongly about plastic waste. In a passed blog I wrote about 10 simple ways that you can reduce the plastic waste that you produce. Although its directed at those living on Koh Tao and in Thailand, points do apply and will also get you thinking about what you can do too. You can read about these tips here. If you want to know more then there is a great website written by a lady called Beth. My Plastic Free Life is definitely worth a read.
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