29th November - 6th December, 2008.

The Phuket King's Cup Regatta is Asia's biggest and most popular regatta. More than a regatta, the week long event consists of great parties, great sailing and lots of fun.

Inaugurated in 1987 to celebrate the 60th birthday of His Majesty the King of Thailand, the event has been held every year since during the first week of December.

With the Royal Patronage of His Majesty the King, the Regatta is organised by the Phuket King's Cup Regatta Organizing Committee under the auspices of the Royal Varuna Yacht Club, in conjunction with the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand, the Royal Thai Navy and the Province of Phuket.

NOR 2008 - Now Available here

On-line entries here

Schedule of events.

Registration for the 2008 Regatta and the functions listed below will take place at the Kata Beach Resort, Phuket.

Racing for all classes will be held in the waters around Phuket. The following schedule is provisional and subject to weather conditions.

Saturday 29 November 2008

10.00 - 17.00 Registration



Sunday 30 November 2008

10.00 - 16.00 Registration

13.00 Practice race

16.30 Skippers briefing

18.30 Opening Ceremony

Monday 1 December - Saturday 6 December 2008

5 racing days and 1 reserve day

Saturday 6 December 2008

18.00 Royal Awards Ceremony and Closing Party

Entry Fees

The entry fee of 17,600 Baht (8a,800 Baht for Sports Boats and Ocean Rovers) must accompany the Entry Form. Entries must be received by 1 November 2008. For late entries after 1 November 2008, the entry fee is 25,000 Baht (12,500 Baht for Sports Boats and Ocean Rovers).

The entry fee includes participation of skipper. An additional Crew fee of 4,000 baht is payable at or before registration for each additional crew member and supporter participating in official functions and parties of the Regatta.

On-line entries here

Phuket Marine Biological Centre begins research to understand appearance of box jellyfish along Thailand's coast by Eric Haeg

Among dangerous creatures in the ocean, box jellyfish rank high as one of the most venomous. Thankfully, the creatures mostly inhabit specific pockets around the world, notably the north coast of Australia. Recently, however, box jellyfish, whose sting can sometimes kill humans in minutes, have turned up in the waters off of Thailand’s coast.

The antidote to the sting from a box jellyfish is simple vinegar, and one Australian man who had a near-fatal brush with a box jellyfish in the Gulf of Thailand is leading a charge to raise public awareness. Last December, Andrew Jones’ 6-year-old son, Lewis, was stung while swimming off of Koh Maak island, which neighbours Koh Chang. Not knowing treatment procedures, Jones peeled the gelatinous tentacles from his son’s legs only to get stung himself. Soon Lewis’ screams of agony subsided; his face turned blue, and his heart stopped pumping for two minutes. Miraculously, Lewis survived.

Since then, Jones has contacted experts in the field, embassies, guidebook publishers, government officials and news agencies in an effort to increase public awareness. Box jellyfish are “lurking in (Thailand’s) waters, and someone has to take responsibility before more people die,” he says.

Locally, marine researchers have listened to Jones’ pleas, launching a study of box jellyfish and their presence in the waters of coastal Thailand. Dr. Somchai Bussarawit, lead researcher at the Phuket Marine Biological Centre (PMBC), recently collected samples of box jellyfish off the coast of Koh Lanta. The research project started only a few months ago, and Khun Somchai and PMBC Director Wannakiat Thubthimsang note that they have much to learn about box jellyfish. From the evidence so far, however, they don’t consider the it to present a significant danger in Thailand.


First aid

If swimming at a beach where box jellies are known to be present, a bottle of vinegar is an extremely useful addition to the first aid kit. Following a sting, vinegar should be applied for a minimum of 30 seconds. Acetic acid, found in vinegar, disables the box jelly's nematocysts that have not yet discharged into the bloodstream (though it will not alleviate the pain). Vinegar may also be applied to adherent tentacles, which should then be removed immediately; this should be done with the use of a towel or glove to avoid bringing the tentacles into further contact with the skin. These tentacles will still sting if separate from the bell, or if the creature is dead. Removing the tentacles without first applying vinegar may cause unfired nematocysts to come into contact with the skin and fire, resulting in a greater degree of envenomation. If no vinegar is available, a heat pack has been proven for moderate pain relief. However, careful removal of the tentacles by hand is recommended.Vinegar has helped save dozens of lives on Australian beaches. Although commonly recommended in folklore and even some papers on sting treatment, there is no scientific evidence that urine, ammonia, meat tenderizer, sodium bicarbonate, boric acid, lemon juice, freshwater, steroid cream, alcohol, cold packs or papaya will disable further stinging, and these substances may even hasten the release of venom. Pressure immobilization bandages, methylated spirits, or vodka should never be used for jelly stings. Often in severe Chironex fleckeri stings cardiac arrest occurs quickly, so Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can be life saving and takes priority over all other treatment options (including application of vinegar). Activate the emergency medical system for immediate transport to the hospital.

Located 19 kilometers south of Phuket, the islands of Koh Racha Yai (also known as Raya Yai) and Koh Racha Noi (Raya Noi) offer visitors to Phuket an interesting day trip by boat. It's possible to organize an overnight stay, while the islands are also becoming increasingly popular destinations among divers.

Plenty of options

Longtail boats carrying a maximum of eight passengers can be chartered from Rawai Beach on the southern side of Phuket for about 2,000 baht (US$60). This is a return fare to Koh Racha Yai and includes plenty of time for snorkeling. The boat ride to the island takes about one-and-a-half hours in itself. If you're not part of a group, you may still find that you can join with a smaller group of people seeking to reduce their costs.

It's also possible to head for the smaller island of Koh Hai (Coral Island) on a half-day snorkeling trip from Rawai. A return fare costs 800 baht, but it should be noted that the boat trip is much shorter if you are simply looking to enjoy the cruise by boat.

A similar one-day snorkeling trip to Koh Hai departs Ao Chalong (Chalong Bay), just north of Rawai, and costs 1,500 baht. From November through April, you can also get to Koh Racha by speedboat. It departs at 9 am, returning from the island at about 3 pm. At 500 baht each way, this offers good value given the shorter journey time (about 45 minutes each way).

Most boat trips can be booked through travel agents located at popular resorts on Phuket.

An 'alternative' haven for divers

Divers visiting Phuket have got plenty of choices when it comes to seeking interesting dive sites thanks to the numerous smaller island located nearby.

While the nine islands making up the Similan archipelago are probably the best-known and most popular destinations among divers, it takes at least three to four hours to reach them.

A visit to Koh Racha therefore offers a 'best of both worlds' alternative – you still get to enjoy a few hours at sea, along with the opportunity to visit some interesting and beautiful sites. We recommend taking a day trip since accommodation options on the island itself are limited.

While the diversity of the marine life may not quite match those in the Similan archipelago, it is still mightily impressive. Indeed, the site is ideal for underwater photographers or videographers since the ocean floor is flat here and offers great views of hard and soft coral.

Among the colorful, tropical species of fish spotted off the islands are: Titan trigger; Moray eels; Puffer fish; Stingrays; Octopuses; as well as Cuttlefish.

Keeping it clean and 'green'

A visit to such impressive locations can sometimes spur the conscience of visitors. When diving out in the ocean, you get to see some exquisite examples of pristine coral. In order to help maintain these sites, try to promote the use of pre-determined mooring points by operators. Those operators willing to anchor wherever they are directed are contributing to the destruction of coral sites, so try to educate other passengers or the boat operator whenever you experience this kind of practice.

The case of Koh Phi Phi is a living 'bad example' of what can happen when the aggressive expansion of tourism prevails over every other aspect, including the environment. A lack of strict law enforcement has been a contributory factor in the case of Koh Phi Phi, while it is essential that operators understand that they have no right to destroy nature, the very thing that guarantees their businesses' well being. When traveling to such pristine locations, always remember to take your garbage home with you, or otherwise consider yourself 'part of the problem'.

reference : thaiasiatoday.com

Thailand has numerous world-class sites for divers of all standards, making it an underwater adventure paradise. While advanced divers are not restricted to normal recreational depth limits and many other constraints, they can only operate safely with professional support both onshore and offshore.

People have been paddling around Thailand’s numerous shallow coral sites with goggles and snorkels for decades, but it was not until about fifteen years ago that more serious diving with proper underwater breathing apparatus really began to take off. At that time, the majority of dive shops in the kingdom ran businesses teaching basic ‘discover scuba’ and open-water courses.

As time passed, word spread of Thailand’s superb dive sites, and dive shops became increasingly competitive in the support they were able to offer advanced divers. This included offering specialized mixed breathing gases, larger volume diving tanks, double tanks, auxiliary tanks and underwater scooters. As these resources have become more readily available, seasoned divers have been able to open the door on a whole new world of exploration. An intrepid breed, they are often referred to as ‘technical divers.’

Respiration is the over-riding concern in diving. The human body is profoundly affected by the compressed gases breathed underwater. Air normally contains about one-fifth oxygen to four-fifths nitrogen — gases which when breathed at surface level are perfectly normal. But once a diver passes beyond normal recreational dive limits, they become potential killers.

A diver who descends to 100 metres may be breathing in compressed form ten times as much nitrogen and oxygen as normal. Too much nitrogen at depth can cause narcosis — with similar results to drinking alcohol in excess. If a diver comes up too fast, there is the risk of decompression sickness — popularly known as “the bends” — which occurs when the body is not given enough time for the gas to dissipate. This can be extremely painful and result in paralysis or even death.

Oxygen, which is essential for sustaining life, meanwhile becomes toxic beyond 60 metres and this can induce convulsions — and drowning if the regulator used for breathing through the mouth falls out.

Mixed gases are essential to extending the depth and duration of dives. Ordinary recreational divers breathe compressed air, and do not have to stop to allow for decompression on the way up. Technical divers use nitrox and tri-mix gases instead. Nitrox has extra oxygen added to the air during compression, and reduced nitrogen, which helps extend dive times and mitigate the risk of decompression sickness.

Tri-mix incorporates helium into the mix, an inert gas that reduces the risk of both nitrogen narcosis and oxygen toxicity. For deep dives of more than 60 metres, technical divers use tri-mix to go down, and nitrox for decompression when they come back up.

Two of the most popular new activities in Thailand are wreck diving, mostly in the Gulf of Thailand, and cave diving, mostly along the Andaman Sea coastline. The Gulf of Thailand falls well short of being an Asian Bermuda Triangle, but is rich in sunken wrecks resulting from misadventures in trading, piracy and war. Many stories have been lost in the mists of time but, according to one list, there are at least 179 sunken Japanese ships — or marus, as some divers prefer to call them.

Some of the biggest recent discoveries date from the Second World War. In mid-2005, a group of technical divers from Koh Tao came across a US submarine that had been sunk in 72 metres of water by the IJN Hatsutaka, a Japanese minelayer that recorded an anti-submarine action with depth charges at the time.


Bruce Konefe works for American Nitrox Divers International (ANDI), and has lived in Thailand for more than 14 years. He is an instructor trainer who now teaches at only the highest levels of technical diving, and has helped design both cave diving courses and hyperbaric chamber medical courses for the agency. His career has taken him around the world, including to Australia, Canada, Dubai and the United States. He has trained military divers in both the Thailand and the Philippines, and was on the team which first dived on the IJN Yamashiro, a 39,000-ton Japanese battleship sunk on 25 October 1944 in the Second World War battle of Surigao Strait.

Images © Bruce Konefe

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