Golden Series
Virgin Explorations
1 - 2 weeks
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Day in the Island
Day in the Island, Phuket, Thailand
1-4 guests - 29,500 Baht
Phuket private charter
 Day trip

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Home » F.A.Q.

FREQUENTLY ASK QUESTION
 

What is the difference in a canoe and a kayak?
Why Does Your Meal Plan Get Such Good Reviews?
How Often Do you go on the trips?
What Is The Difference in Hong By Starlight and Day In The Islands?
Why can't we paddle in the caves?
Where are your awards?
What Is The Difference Between JGSC and the company displaying your logo and awards?
Why do you do what you do?
Why Phuket?
Why Vietnam?
Why Puerto Princesa?
What are the Golden Series?
What Is A Sotar?
Why Are Professional Standards Important?
Why Are your prices higher than most?
Why Did You Move To Phuket?
What About Your Videos?
Did you really discover the sea caves of Phang Nga?
Did the Tsunami affect you?
What Comes Next?

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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE IN A CANOE AND A KAYAK?

The International Canoe Union defines a canoe as any paddlecraft propelled by a single blade paddle. A kayak is a paddlecraft propelled with a double-bladed paddle, i.e., a shaft with a paddle blade on either end.

In Hawai'i, both inflatable and sit-on-top paddlecraft are "Sea Kayak". Decked boats make sense in frigid waters, where they are also "Sea Kayak" Except for Polynesian outrigger and voyaging canoes, I don't know of any canoes designed for ocean use.

So what is a "Sea Canoe"?

Here's the story, or "Joke."

Real sea kayakers would never copy a competitor's itinerary, but on my first day in Thailand back in January, 1989, I realized the inevitable, and coined the word "SeaCanoe" as a joke on those who would copy me.

None of our competitors take an interest in paddling (we've never seen any owners in the Bay, let alone a kayak), so when they copy the name "SeaCanoe" they fall victim to the joke, admitting to the World that they don't even know the name of the activity they commercialize..

Two of our "competitors" are so detached from sea kayaking they actually have speedboat divisions inside their companies. Real sea kayakers use muscle power to escape the world of engines, especially high-pollution 2-cycle outboard speedboats.

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WHY DOES YOUR MEAL PLAN GET SUCH GOOD REVIEWS?

Our success is built on pride, hospitality and guest satisfaction. Most tourist meals are overpriced institutional food, so we want you to taste what we can do with a bit of pride, respect for our guests, and a meal surrounded by perfect Nature.

The "healthy food" experience is even more important than the taste. In the early 80's I worked as a medical research communicator, bringing the benefits of healthy, tasty food to millions throughout the Pacific Basin, so our Thai seafood vegetarian meal plan parallels the medical facts. You may not know the difference in a canoe and a kayak, but everybody knows good food. It's just one more mark of pride and quality.

Even our shrimp is fresh-caught from the sea and not from destructive shrimp farms that extract mangroves, the nurseries of the sea. After destroying the food-chain, these over-populated ponds then pack unhealthy chemicals into the high-density basins to avoid losing shrimp to disease.

Many SE Asian water supplies are polluted with chemicals used to set rubber, so we serve hydroponic vegetables. In the middle 90's I visited a "Natural Green" farm in Singapore and suggested they set up a Phuket franchise. They did, and that's where your salad and stir-fried veggies are grown.
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Quality service starts with staff, so we treat our professional guides as professionals, allowing them to set their own fresh-cooked meal plan. They claim their ultra-spicy Thai food is better than our Farang fare, so if you enjoy super-extra hot, just go below decks for the best Southern Thai spicy.

In addition to low pay and no training, our competitors make their guides bring their own lunch, usually basic fried rice in a Styrofoam box that ends up as marine rubbish.

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HOW OFTEN DO YOU GO ON THE TRIPS?

I try to go on every trip, but unfortunately, like many entra-manures, business responsibilities limit me to a "three-times-a-week" policy except when I'm off-island keynote speaking, On Expedition, or guide training at our franchises.

Even at that, I spend more time in the Bay than all our competitors combined - we never seen one in the Bay, let alone in a kayak.

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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE IN "HONG BY STARLIGHT" AND "DAY IN THE ISLANDS"?

"Hong By Starlight" is how we run away from the day trip hordes and visit Phang Nga Bay's caves and hongs in tranquility - as it should be. We leave at mid-day to enjoy a quiet afternoon, and then stay after dark to do a night paddle back into one Hong only. Many tour counters tell you we only run this remarkable trip on Full Moon nights, or No Moon nights, but in fact it's 365 days a year, rain or shine.

Repeat customers tell us it doesn't matter if it rains - it s just a different trip.

See Hong By Starlight trip description and slide show.

"Day In The Islands" is a one-day exploration of the still-remote tranquility islands in the Gulf of Phuket by a "Fast Longtail" boat with Sit-On-Top sea kayaks.

This trip is our alternative to lackluster high-pollution speedboat tours to movie locations, i.e., James Bond Island and Maya Bay. Instead of becoming the beach-blanket crowd, we offer active and educational kayaking and snorkeling around three beautiful remote islands in tranquility.

A Fast Longtail is not the longtail on your hotel beach. It's a large cabined boat with a mini-pick-up truck engine on the back. Guests' say they prefer Fast Longtails for their traditional close-to-the-water design, wide-ranging speed - and their mini-truck engines are far more environmental than 2-cycle outboards. (See "Anchors Away" in equipment section.)

In perhaps the most colorful of all our positive guest comments, one guest called "Day In The Islands" a "22-scoop multi-flavored ice cream sundae that takes all day to eat",

Note: See the East Bay soon - the first mainstream hotel is now open on Koh Yao Noi, already eating up the surrounding culture and environment. Day trippers from Krabi already infest the only large beach in the archipelago, so within five years, you will cry at the invasion of mainstream tourism into one of Thailand's last remaining areas of beautiful nature. Remember, the only planning in Thailand is building a hotel wherever the developer wants, damn the environment.

See Day In The Islands

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WHY CAN'T WE PADDLE OUR OWN KAYAKS IN THE CAVES?

It only took a couple of trips to realize that asking guests to kayak in complicated and dangerous caves with varying currents is unfair, unsafe and irresponsible.

Better we preserve our 23-year safety record.

Kayaking experience is not the issue. Paddling these specific caves is the important factor. Phang Nga's totally dark caves are filled with blind corners, underwater obstructions, strong tidal currents, and extremely sharp rocks carpeted with oysters.

I designed our Sotar Elite kayaks for safety-first paddling in this specific environment. Both decked and sit-on-top kayaks could be disastrous if they capsized inside an oyster-encrusted cave, and they can never squeeze through those tight tidal windows like a Sotar. (Impaling oneself on a carpet of oysters during a cave capsize would turn a paddler into hamburger, and swimming through caves with underwater razor-sharp oysters could lead to serious cuts.)

We also protect the caves to the same levels as we protect our guests by training our guides where paddle blades can and cannot go so we don't break fragile stalactites and flowstone.

Hong By Starlight trips are my rubbish patrol opportunity. Primarily outside the caves, I use a Scupper Pro, and occasionally enter the caves. After thousands of cave traverses, even a Big Monkey learns the location and depth of underwater rocks, the power of the tidal rips (that vary minute-by-minute), the turning radius of each tight spot at different tidal levels - and how far my kayak lists before capsizing. Even so, it's risky, but that's my own problem.

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WHERE ARE YOUR AWARDS?

From 1994-99 the experimental company I founded and directed won six major awards. It was a great experience. I traveled to London, New York and Washington, D.C. to collect the hardware that still resides in a company that is nothing like what the decade-old awards represent.

Along the way, I learned that the greatest awards are customer satisfaction, and creating a long-lasting environmental awareness. For the past 23 years, I've been receiving my awards every day - in the rich smiles of our guests. (Breaking into the black someday might be nice!)

I also learned that, in most cases, the awards were merely a self-promotion exercise for the delivering committees, who didn't even understand the Eco-tourism concept. I've accepted Ecotourism awards along with major hotel chains, and been followed in subsequent years by tacky cultural theme parks. Most award programs invite companies to submit their own applications, a concept I find ethically derelict. Few, if any, judges ever actually experience the product.

If you want awards, read our guest comments.

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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE IN JGSC AND THE COMPANY DISPLAYING YOUR LOGO AND AWARDS?

A company isn't a name, it's the people behind it - and this applies double in a service industry. Our effort isn't only me, but the 24 staff and partners who came to John Gray's SeaCanoe - that's why I stayed in Thailand instead of returning to a lucrative career back in Hawai'i. When our team told me, "We still haven't finished the experiment." I knew I had to stay.

Although I was the architect and the expected recipient of the committees, I always suggested the awards go to the company. Big mistake when the partner given his shares for free got tired of being professional and forced me out, thinking he could "Use your name and reputation to lower our quality and make a lot of money." After that comment and my subsequent departure, the company took an immediate nosedive.

We all feel sorry for people lacking the courage to stand on their own name and achievements, living a lie in somebody else's shadow. Our guides constantly remind me, "We won all those awards in spite of those guys, not because of them."

It's true. John Gray's Sea Canoe quality is far superior to anything we ever did at our original company - awards or not.

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WHY DO YOU DO WHAT YOU DO?

Two Basic Reasons:
First, I was blessed with an amazing childhood. My parents met on a Sierra Club outing and I was groomed to be an environmentalist - swimming in the ocean at six months (1945), camping in the Sierras (1949), rehabilitating birds, (1950), living in a village in northern Japan (1953-4), specializing in raptor rehabilitation (1957-present), SCUBA certified (1957), six straight Science Fair marine biology projects (1957-62) and Red Cross Lifeguard (1960) - all even before I finished high school. I was raised to appreciate the marvels of Nature, different cultures, creativity, curiosity, courage, and integrity. Selfless service to all living things is everybody's duty, why we are blessed with intelligence.

Thanks to those early years, I remain in awe of our marvelous planet and the precious miracle of life - and the power of each individual who does the "Right Thing".

Sharing that amazing childhood with you and your family is my great satisfaction - in the hopes that we all realize we are capable of accomplishing anything we want - once we never forget we are nothing but overgrown monkeys.

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WHY PHUKET?

In the mid-80 I realized the dangers of SE Asia's "Tiger Economies" with their 12% annual growth rate and a total lack of environmental awareness. While I served on the Coastal Resources Committee of the Hawai'i Marine Master Plan, I was also planning an expedition to Thailand's Andaman Sea, hoping to plant the seeds of Conservation in SE Asia.

In January 1989, Laird Lucas is Executive Director for Advocates For the West Environmental law firm, and I explored Koh Samui/ Angthong, Phuket/Phang Nga Bay, Satun and Langkawi with an inflatable sea kayak.

(Langkawi was just a way to return to Singapore. Malaysia was on my "Red List" because I knew I could never mix with strong-willed Mohammed Mahatir - the Anti-Christ of environmental conservation. Despite Malaysia's charming yet often inaccurate destination advertisements, 80% of rainforest extraction (all of it irresponsible) is Malaysian owned - so much for "Eco".)

Laird and I discovered what my research already said - no place matches the Magic of the Gulf of Phuket. and Phang Nga Bay's amazing eco-system was only an hour by boat from Phuket. I could show mainstream tourists the concepts of conservation and meaningful vacations with a true quality experience instead of the usual mainstream schlock.

It didn't work out that way. Instead of learning the lessons of professional standards, proper planning and conservation, the mainstream schlock simply copied my style but not the substance and over-ran the lagoons.

Today, we continue the struggle for Environmental Awareness and Professional Standards - at least inside our own company!

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WHY VIETNAM?

Halong Bay is a spectacular World Heritage Zone, but a greater interest in 1992 was Vietnam's "clean slate". And after what America did and then walked away after defeat, I wanted to help rebuild the country.

On my first visit, capitalism was at the fruit stand level. "Environment" and "animal rights" were unknowns - and still are. I keep telling myself that things naturally get better, but it's tough to see any changes over the past 14 years. Communism is very stubborn.

Although we cannot camp out or run free-roaming itineraries, Halong is still the Planet's most expansive example of marine limestone. With between 1,000 to 3,000 islands depending upon the tide level, we will explore Halong for the next few generations. Again, we are the only real sea kayaking company based in the Bay, so SeaCanoe Vietnam offers the only real Ecotourism/Adventure option in this magic corner of the Earth - and the trips are astounding.

And Vietnam needs plenty of Eco-travelers willing to speak their minds to government officials if we hope to encourage the development of Vietnam's environmental awareness

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WHY PUERTO PRINCESA?

Puerto Princesa is one of today's most important stories - yet little is know about this environmental wonderland outside the Philippines. Back in the '80's, Princessa was just like most places - logging, poaching and illegal fishing was rampant, the water supply threatened and the seas dirty. Then, in 1991, the City ran out of water.

Unlike other places, Princessa decided to do something, and with the strong leadership of Mayor Edward Hagedorn, Princesa became the example of what we all must do if we expect to save our Planet from becoming a wasteland. Building upon a tree-planting "Festival of the Forest", Princesa recovered its environment in just one decade, and continues to practice conservation and cleanliness as a matter of civic pride, not draconian laws, so Princesa is as clean as Singapore, but without that "fine" mentality. In Princesa, the entire population is proud to be clean, and doesn't need a law to maintain cleanliness.

I first stumbled on Puerto Princesa and charismatic Mayor Hagedorn in 1995. After eleven years I am a verified believer, and now promote this eco-wonderland as a public service. My visits encouraged the local kayakers to approach us to accept a John Gray's SeaCanoe-Princesa franchise in October 2006. Since so much of Princesa is best seen from the water, I hope you do some kayaking while you are there.

I encourage you to go, and wrote a sub-website filled with direct-booking opportunities to show you how to do it on your own. We even include direct emails for selected hotels in Manila's Malate' section so your Manila transit is easy, fun, safe - and close to the Puerto Princessa's Manila office.

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WHAT IS THE GOLDEN SERIES?

To satisfy my Explorer's Bug, two or three times a year we visit an exotic sea kayaking "destination" that can do with an Ecotourism Audit and a DVD documentary. Trips are two weeks, with costs split among the participants. Everybody participates in the Ecotourism Audit, documentary, and outdoor chores.
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Every August we return to Hawai'i to paddle the Hana Coast, Ko'o'lau Moloka'i and the backside of O'ahu, still intact after our "Keep the Country" efforts back in the 1970's. It's a great way to see Hawai'i's most beautiful coastlines and learn how to protect your own environmental resources.

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WHAT IS A SOTAR?

Founded by former aeronautical engineer Glenn Lewman, SOTAR designs and manufactures of the World's Premier Custom Inflatable Rafts and Kayaks. Just to remain the best, Glenn invented his own Lexitron fabric to create the World's strongest inflatable boats. Our SOTARs last longer than our hard-shell kayaks

We've been designing our own sea kayaks since 1988, and while waiting to get into the Sotar Club we had to work with the also-rans. I can verify that Sotar is a dream comes true.

Like all things in Thailand, cheap knock-offs abound, especially since Glenn's integrity protects my design rights. If anybody tries to make a Thai "snake boat" knock-off, just ask them about their "Green Floors" fiasco.

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WHY ARE PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS IMPORTANT?

Accepting money for service defines "Professional". In exchange for your cash, you expect a properly trained, experienced competent service, i.e., somebody who knows what they are doing; with the ability to make professional judgments that give your purchase safety and value

In any industry, quality professionals practice "Labor Of Love". Above all else, "Labor of Love" is the key to success. Well-balanced winners know that if you don't have passion, you are doing the wrong thing. In anything marine, "Labor Of Love" experience is a vital necessity when managing weather, itineraries, gear selection and safety judgments.

Ecotourism - especially Marine Ecotourism - take you out of the human environment where professionalism is important to your very survival.
Unless you can walk on water, gear selection, weather judgments and safety judgment define your experience, and ultimately, your survival.

I'm still in awe whenever I take a small hand-powered paddleboat onto the expansive sea, but expecting travel entrepreneurs to embrace professional standards and environmental conservation is foolhardy and can cost you your life. Most agents aren't even aware of marine tourism safety issues, so we recommend you consider these criteria before you buy any trip on the water.

"SAFETY" is the most important Professional Standard. Our #1 responsibility is to bring you home not only in one piece, but smiling. In the marine environment, this means:

Swimming Training - We believe that sea kayaking guides should actually know how to swim, and prove it. In Hawaiian waters, that's one kilometer in 14 minutes or less. In Phang Nga, 200 meters is passable. Surprisingly, most Thai's can't swim, and JGSC is the only company in our market with a swimming test for guides.

Lifeguard Training - Your kayak guide should know how to swim so you don't have to rescue them - and so they can help rescue you. In Phang Nga you don't need Hawai'i's high surf rescue techniques, but your guide should know the basics on how to assist you. and how to manage your group's swimming safety.

Vignette: A Taiwanese honeymoon coupled drowned not in a cave or kayak, but at the "swimming break" (actually cheating their customers by cutting their kayaking program by 50%). The trip was 120 people, and the guides were playing sepik kraw on the beach. None had any swimming/lifeguard training, including managing large groups in water.

Two years later, I asked their lead guide how many people he had on his trip that day. He replied "I'm not sure, but about 150." Some people just never learn.

I don't fault the lead guide. None of his owners or managers kayak. They just play the Thai Ego game, living in mansions, driving fancy cars, and cutting costs to support their materialistic habits. Even if they wanted training (just an "unnecessary expense") they wouldn't know what to do.

First Aid/CPR - There have been at least three unnecessary deaths on canoeing trips due to a lack of First Aid/CPR training, the most recent la November 2005 when an untrained guide staff actually contributed to the fatality of one of their own guides. When I suggested to the Farang owner that it cost only US$200 to train his entire staff in First Aid/CPR, his reply was "to expensive".

COMPETENCE

You expect a doctor to know medicine, a banker to know finance, and a mechanic to know repairs - we always expect the highest level of competence and gladly pay for high level professionalism.

When you buy a "Sea Canoeing" trip you deserve a guide who actually knows how to paddle - and swim. Basic sea kayak training is certainly your expectation, perhaps along with seamanship and - God Forbid - tidal sea caving training. (I still freak that guides with no training just enter a tidal sea cave.)

Vignette: In 1999, I took a group of six experienced kayakers in three Sotars into a Hong on a rising tide and told them we only had five minutes to get in and out. After four minutes we started to exit, only to find our way blocked by 22 kayaks following us. We deflated our kayaks and started swimming through the cave, finding 19 kayaks already pinned against the ceiling by the rising tide. I rescued 38 people trapped against the ceiling on a rising tide.

After the event, the lead guide told me that his owner just "gave me a paddle and told me to follow John."

ENVIRONMENT
Since its ECO-tourism, you expect a guide with Environmental Awareness - somebody who doesn't kill the mangroves by paddling over and breaking off their air-breathing roots, and clever enough not to feed the monkeys.

Since Nature Education is the only way we can justify human entries into such sacred and pristine spots, you deserve a guide who knows a little about nature,

SERVICE
Service is icing on the cake. You pay money to go with somebody who understands that TIPS means "To Insure Proper Service" instead of an automatic hand-out, who knows how to entertain you, make you smile, and becomes your friend.

Combine all these elements and you have Professional Standards for Sea Kayaking Guides.

But many companies simply rely upon their untrained staff to cover for the owner's lack of commitment. Consequently, many lead guides don't even go in the caves, but send their free-lancers out on their own while the leader sleeps on the escort boat. A professional company in any industry trains their staff properly, maintains a proper management program with experienced and often credentialed supervisors, offers a decent compensation, including benefits (like meals during the trips), and shows Respect for Customers, Staff, Environment and various stakeholders.

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WHY ARE YOUR PRICES HIGHER THAN MOST?

We try to keep our prices as low as possible so everybody can enjoy our programs, especially families. In fact, a Hawai'i self paddle (no support boat, picnic lunch) day trip is B7,000 - best to book at least three weeks in advance.. On a trip near Maui, add the support boat and you are looking at B9,000 - to an island I never found exciting.

In Phuket, our low volume, international presence and insurance, professional guides, and quality equipment all keep our margins close to break-even. Making matters worse, we actually pay all our taxes.
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What's important is Value. Your vacation time is precious, and you
want to pack it with top-notch experiences. The value of a mediocre trip is a lost vacation day. So we provide unsurpassed value at the best possible price.

On a recent Tour Guide Training trip where I was a certified instructor, I had the chance to observe the other "SeaCanoe" companies - and speak with the owners.

I was horrified, and felt I have wasted my 20 years in Thailand. These trips are really James Bond/Koh Panyi tourist trap disco/karaoke party trips that pop into a couple of caves to call themselves "sea canoe" so they can capitalize on our success. I learned that the true value of these trips is really about B1,000, but they can raise their prices to B3,000-3,500 because we set the standard. This gives them windfall profits to pay large backhanders to tour counters to switch our customers to another company that is "also sea canoeing". If you fall for this, you get what you deserve - junk. It also makes these operators rich, while our profits average B126/person in 2008.

While we pay 100% of our taxes and National Park fees, we are the only company that does.

Our guides are international standard and earn 3-5 times more than the basic minimum wage paid by the other companies - who often take children from school to avoid paying even the minimum wage.

Everybody else does business "Thai style" - nobody pays their taxes or Park fees (for reasons that should be obvious - This Is Thailand). Nobody trains their guides, and their boats are very high volume, defeating the concept of sea kayaking in the first place. First Aid/CPR certificates are simply purchased with no training.

Most of these trips are owned by unenvironmental 2-cycle speedboat companies plying the Phi-Phi/Maya Bay route. To understand their commitment to quality and the environment, read the reviews in any Travel Forum.

If you love the planet and your valuable vacation time, there is only one responsible speedboat company. Like us, they are small - only four speedboats and all 4-stroke engines.

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WHY DID YOU MOVE TO PHUKET?

Phuket is close to Phang Nga Bay, but more important, it's centered on the west, or Andaman Sea, side of the Isthmus of Kra, one of the World's classic biological land bridges.

When I first came here, there were no high rises, but soon Patong's first high was "up", perhaps the ugliest hotel on the Planet. Once the owners realized it was a laughing stock, the façade went down, but the egg was cracked and Phuket contracted the high-rise cancer.

Even so, I was an apologist for Phuket's development until it wrapped around the pristine points of land that separated beaches like Patong and Kamala. The developers' lack of environmental awareness for an area that obviously should stay pristine was truly criminal. In rapidly expanding destinations, some land must be set aside for Nature.

On the positive side, despite CNN's irresponsible Tsunami coverage, Phuket's infrastructure is excellent. The Pearl of the Andaman has all the modern conveniences and still has remaining pockets of untouched Nature - if you can find them. We must protect what little remains, but Phuket is still a very nice place to live - and visit.

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WHAT ABOUT YOUR VIDEOS?

After five years to get the new company on even keel, we are producing videos again. Four videos are in production in the summer of 2006 - so check for their release every month.

- King's 60 Anniversary Royal Barge Procession
- Phang Nga Bay's Natural History By Sea Kayak
- Puerto Princesa Eco-Perfect Destination
- The Magic of Tarutao

If you can't wait, you can always watch the video I conceived, scripted, shot, edited and produced that's proudly displayed on my old company's website by folks who don't know the lens of a camcorder from the viewfinder. Of course, they had me edited out of the five seconds I was on-camera - the rest of the time I was shooting the video.

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DID YOU REALLY DISCOVER THE SEA CAVES OF PHANG NGA?

"Discover" is an oft-misused word. Did European sailing captains discover the lands they named 500 years ago, or were the indigenous people they found the true explorers?

If I was Cook, Magellan, Malacca or Cortez, I would surely claim discovery of the caves and hongs of Phang Nga Bay, Halong Bay and other SE Asia locations. There are spots where I was undoubtedly the first human, but one has to ask the question, "What special creativity, will and equipment did I have that allowed me to be here before anybody else?"

If there are any real discoveries left in the GPS era, chances are they are in caves. I came to Phang Nga as a seasoned sea cave explorer, actually developing the Tidal Technology for a low-roof cave on Moloka'i's North Shore. (See Readings, "Sea Caves As I Know Them")

Well, it takes a certain amount of stupidity, confidence, experience, boldness and a deep breath of downright abandon to paddle into a dark sea cave in an unfamiliar Ecosystem with no idea what to expect.,, and because Thailand is the center of sea crocodile range, every time I entered a new cave I kept my paddle poised to stick it straight in some crocs mouth. Fortunately, that never happened. Unfortunately, that's because "porosus" was hunted to near-extinction in Thailand.

My research said sea crocodiles infested Phang Nga Bay until they were all hunted out for handbags in the 1950's. Crocs love sand bars, mud banks, and mangroves, common inside hongs. But Bird nest hunters certainly observed sea crocs and hunted them into near-extinction.

On a 2001 field documentary, Mark O'Shea's assistant showed me a confirmed sighting from 1971. Only 18 years cushion is to close for even me, so if my research found that sighting I wouldn't be here.

Then, when I visited Park HQ in 2002, I saw a 4-meter porosus in a concrete pen caught that year. Don't worry, if there are any surviving salties, they live deep in the mangroves at the far north of the Bay 30 kilometers from our caves.

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DID THE TSUNAMI AFFECT YOU?

The Tsunami was a unique event. You may already know I was the only person in Phuket who felt the quake and predicted the Tsunami - with the ground still shaking.

Irresponsible media exaggerations led by CNN's Anish Raman deceived people into believing that 5,000 people died in Phuket. In fact Phuket had 260 fatalities, 150 locals and 110 Farang, about half of those tourists. The media-created "Second Tsunami" devastated our economy, costing Phuket between 200,000-300,000 thousand jobs and perhaps even more deaths than the Tsunami itself.

It's all in our Tsunami Media kit, hailed Worldwide by media, geophysicists and seismologists as one of the finest explanations and accounts of "Boxing Day", including advice on what to do if you ever experience the Big Bubble yourself. Our Post-Tsunami Visitor Attitude Survey - the only one - is quite telling. See it all at Tsunami Media Kit.

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WHAT COMES NEXT?

Personally: At 61 I only have another 20 years of exploring left. I'm focused on wearing my Golden Rugby togs in another nine years; doing two or three "Golden Series" expeditions each year; producing video documentaries, writing a few books; more public speaking and going on the Hong By Starlight trip at least three days a week when I'm in Phuket.

Join our data base to receive occasional URL's alerting you to trips, videos, books, speaking engagements and new website features.

Planetary: But the ultimate "What Comes Next" is up to you and everybody you know. We've overpopulated and burned our planet so fast we created our own mass-extinction, threatening both our animal relatives and the survival of our own species. We need fewer babies, more veggies and less consumption. World Population grew by Two Billion in the past 20 years - to 6,500,000,000. Practice Zero-population growth; conserve rainforests and oceans by stopping the slaughter and living healthy by going vegetarian. And - no matter how rich you are - practice minimalism to conserve our Planet's limited and precious resources.

After all, how much do we really need, and how much is only Ego?

The clock is ticking - we have less than a century to turn things around. maybe.

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©2005 John Gray Sea Canoe Co., Ltd. All rights reserved.
124 Soi 1 Yaowarat Rd., Taladyai, Muang, Phuket 83000, Thailand
Tel. (66-76) 254505-7 | Fax: (66-76) 226077
E-mail: info@johngrayseacanoevietnam.com