It is the 9th April 2011 and it is safe to say, normality has been restored on Koh Tao after the unusually heavy downpour on the 27thMarch 2011. The weather since the 30th March has been delightful, with blue skies, glorious sunny days & breathtaking sunsets.
On the 28th March the community came together after the storm & started the clean up process, aiming to get the island back its beautiful self as quickly as possible; without a doubt they have most, certainly achieved this.
Koh Tao, although listed as one of the Disaster Flood Zones in the international press, was actually let off quite lightly in comparison to other areas in Southern Thailand.
Within a few days of the storm, which saw an unusually large quantity of rainfall over a short timeframe hitting numerous areas of Southern Thailand, the flood water on the island was able to drain away into the sea, leaving behind a much drier Koh Tao.
For a few days after the downpour, due to the accompanying rough seas and high winds the boats that bring people & produce to & and from the island could not operate until the bad weather conditions improved. The fishing boats also sought shelter in the shallow waters around the island eagerly awaiting calmer seas.
March is part of the high season on Koh Tao, so a lot of tourists were on the Southern islands of Koh Tao, Koh Phangan & Koh Samui. Some of them had planned to leave & continue their journeys around Asia and beyond during the time the boats were not operating; this created a backlog of people needing to get off the islands.
To avoid overloading the boats as and when they could operate again, the Thai Navy sent their aircraft carrier to Koh Tao & Koh Phangan, as neither island has an airport & collected those that needed to leave and took them to the mainland in Surat Thani.
Throughout the storm & evacuation everybody’s spirits were high, you could see people smiling under their umbrellas & ponchos, which added splashes of colour to the surroundings.
The local Thais, tourists & expats were all equipped with their cameras & everyone was taking photos documenting their own piece of history, as it’s not every day a Thai Navy aircraft carrier comes to Koh Tao with helicopters to escort those that wanted to leave, off the islands.
Thank fully the weather calmed within a few days of the storm and so did the sea, enabling the boats to operate safely bringing with them goods & people that had been previously been delayed from getting to Koh Tao as a result of the storm.
The clean up operation showed what a great community spirit there is on Koh Tao & no matter what happens no matter how unexpected, the locals keep smiling & come together in a time of need, which can only be praised and admired.