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A Report from

Phi Phi Island 8th of April 2006,

Peter Ericsson

In April I visited the South for a combination of work and visitation of friends and relatives. The van was loaded with supplies and people. We had 4 volunteers with us from overseas plus things for a newly set up school for Burmese children at Khao Luck. I had a secret wish of wanting to visit Similand Islands for Nicorbar Pigeon but for lack of time (and a quite expensive boat ride) this was not to be.

Instead while at a friends house in Phuket I got the inspiration to visit the garbage dump at Saphan Hin in Phuket. Target bird was House Crow which for some reason hasn’t invaded Thailand as of yet. I managed to pick out a pair of them inbetween the many Large-billed. A colleague of mine came along and it was quite amusing to see him getting excited about a Crow!

The site is next to mangroves and scrub and held a good number of birds i.e. Rusty-breasted Crake, Yellow-bellied Prinias, Little Grebe and Yellow Wagtails.

Then we were off for Krabi and held a one day seminar at the Educational Department of the city. We stayed at Maritime Spa and Park resort. The hotel graciously gave us a complimentary room much to our delight. It is a very spacious hotel with a homey feeling right next to the mangroves. From the hotel room I saw a White-bellied Sea Eagle fly by, watched Striated Swallows in the air and enjoyed Scaly-breasted Munias in the balcony flower bed.

While enjoying the swimming pool with the kids Swiftlets did acrobatics in the air while Vernal-hanging Parakeets buzzed by.

From Krabi there are many places to go to look for birds and it was with great effort I resisted the urge to take off. I decided to commit to the kids and family and simply trust that I’d get an opportunity later on for some ‘much wanted’ birds.

We moved on to another friend’s resort at Aou Nang. This again is a real nice area and though it has a fair amount of tourists one can still find tranquility and privacy.

It wasn’t until a few days later that I finally mustered up the guts to boldly proclaim: ‘I am going off to Phi Phi Island tomorrow, wanna come along?” By now we had shifted to our friend’s house in town and the kids had lots of fun with their peers so my suggestion didn’t receive much of a response. At least I felt I had done a good deed by inviting everyone to come along.

Ferry left from Krabi at 3:15 pm. At 4:50 we reached the Island and by 5:05 I was in a long-tailed boat going towards Bida Nork Island.

The waters were calm and sky shimmering blue. Perfect conditions.

The regular price for the boat is 900 Baht (23 US) which is a bit much since there also is the ferry cost and the necessity of staying over night. Half way to the Island

A low flying Christmas Island Frigate bird turned up 100 meters in front of us. Looking up, a good number of Frigates were soaring on high. We turned off the engine and for the next 20 minutes I laid on the back with bins in my hands taking in wonderful views of Lesser and Christmas Island Frigate birds. Both of them were new birds for me and something I had wanted to see for a long time.

The boatman was happy with half the pay as we didn’t have to go all the way to Bidah Nork. He was very talkative when he found out I speak Thai and kept telling about what happened that fateful day the Tsunami struck. He likened it to the days of Noah and believed it was part of Apocalyptic events. I handed him a little pamphlet in Thai outlining what the Bible has to say about the days we are living in which he eagerly received.

Once back on Phi Phi Island I had to find a hotel. Things are a bit more expensive here and it took me awhile to find a small room with a fan for 500 Baht.

The commercial side of the Island has been built up quickly and there was an amazing amount of shops, cafes, restaurants etc. Loads of western tourists were showing off their newly acquired tans. Mostly young folks seem to gather here.

I spent the evening talking to many people ranging from restaurant owners to waiters finding. The Tsunami has brought a certain soberness to the people living on the Island and many are eager to share their hearts.


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