Snorkeling in Thailand
Darlings, we need to talk about the oceans. Coral reefs in particular. As you may have picked up on from my recent posts about elephant activities and tropical hikes, I am currently in Southeast Asia. I went snorkeling in both Thailand and the Philippines. And even though I saw amazing things, I came late.
Coral bleaching has affected many of the marine national parks in Thailand. I saw turtles and even a little shark, alongside many colorful fish in Thailand. But the corals were no longer colorful. Bleaching is caused by tourists stepping on them, boats anchoring too close, sunscreen in the water and a rise in water temperature.
I see these destinations do what they can. Restricting number of visitors to access certain marine habitats, charging environmental fees, educational merchandise, guides talking about the issues etc. And yet. A coral reef takes years, sometimes decades to recover. And they get destroyed so quickly. It is shocking!
Marine Habitats endangered
This week, snorkeling off the coast of Palawan, Philippines I saw anemone with clownfish in them. I put my hands to my face in awe. Underwater. With my snorkel on and all. Where nobody could see me. It was just a reflex. After all, who gets to see Nemo in his natural habitat? Let’s keep his home intact so his family can keep living there.
Make a positive impact on your destination
If the nature argument doesn’t do it for you, how about people. Tourism is the reason many families on these islands have food on the table. Thailand, last I checked, was number 83 on the list of countries ranked by GDP. One might call that developing. Whether it is a development or not, tourism is THE source of income for many. If the natural wonders in the area no longer exist, fewer tourist will visit. Infrastructure will decay. Development will stop. People will lose their jobs. And quickly. One less diving tour probably means like 8 less people employed that day. Among diving instructors, captains, skippers, guides and supporting businesses it may add up to more.
R E S P E C T
As we need to still talk about visiting these destinations, to spend our money where help is needed urgently, we need to be respectful. I loved what the instructors of Princess Divers had printed on their shirts. Take only memories. Leave only bubbles.
What can you do?
So, wear sunscreen that won’t hurt corals. Don’t touch anything underwater. Don’t leave anything behind, especially trash. And yeah, let’s work on that climate issue to make sure the next El Niño doesn’t destroy as many coral reefs.
It’s not only about snorkeling in Thailand, is it?
Have you ever been snorkeling or diving? Did you see bleached coral? Where was that? Comment below!