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Tsunami memorial 26th December Phi Phi Island

In the morning of 26th December 2004 a devasting Tsunami hit Phi Phi Island - Koh Phi Phi Don - the largest and most popular island in the Phi Phi islands group. The earthquake which caused the Tsunami was the 2nd largest ever to be be instrumentally recorded with a magnitude of 9.3. However, most of the destruction and deaths were caused not by the quake but by the catastrophic tsunami waves it generated. Massive tsunami waves wiped out entire coastal areas across southeastern Asia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Myanmar and islands in the Andaman Sea and the Maldives in the Indian Ocean.
Quoted from Wikipedia: On 26 December 2004, much of the inhabited part of Phi Phi Don was devastated by the Indian Ocean Tsunami. The island's main village, Ton Sai, is mainly built on a sandy isthmus between the island's two long, tall limestone ridges. On both sides of Ton Sai are semicircular bays lined with beaches. The isthmus rises to less than two metres (six feet) above sea level. Shortly after 10 am on the morning of 26 December, the water from both bays receded. When the tsunami hit, at 10.37 am, it did so from both bays, and met in the middle of the isthmus. The wave that came into Ton Sai Bay was 3 metres (10 ft) high. The wave that came into Loh Dalum Bay was 6.5 metres (18 ft) high. At the time of the tsunami, the island had an estimated 10,000 occupants, including tourists. After the tsunami, approximately 70% of the buildings on the island had been destroyed. By the end of July 2005, an estimated 850 bodies had been recovered, and an estimated 1,200 people were still missing. The total number of fatalities is unlikely to be known however local tour guides cite the figure of 4,000. Of Phi Phi Don residents, 104 surviving children had lost one or both parents.
Local stories on Phi Phi put the total number on the island nearer 5000 with 3000 lost.

Good friends of mine were there and had the sense to run to the hills. Others faced the most impossible of dilemas - look for family members or run? The most dangerous aspect was not the wave itself but the destruction havocked on buildings, shacks and contents causing tonnes of debris to be shunted around with force. First floor level of buildings in the narrowest part of the island were completely under water. (some video footage here of the water level)

i wasn't there but i feel sort of connected to the story - my daughter and i had planned our christmas trip to Phi Phi in 2004, by some miracle of weird circumstance we cancelled at the last minute, she went to oz and i went snowboarding. we had a lucky escape.

On This Day
after christmas party on the beach
On This Day
boyfriends lost girlfriends
children lost mums
brothers lost sisters
On This Day
some were saved
some were lost
Thai and tourist
the waters - not choosey
On This Day
the story of Phi Phi Forever changed
On This Day
the world saw Destruction
and Cried
cried for missing loved ones
cried for human devastation
On This Day
a day imprinted in memory
all around the world
lives of innocents
were lost forever
On This Day

People came and helped with the clear up, people raised money to replace and rebuild, but in the big scheme of things this lasted about 5 minutes. For the most part the local survivors who had lost everything, have had to pick themselves up. Its a testament to their courage and resilience.

I've put together a slide show here of some pictures already on the web, my apologies for deliberately excluding the hundreds of photos showing victims - just too painful to see.

Tsunami Phi Phi Island 2004
Tsunami Phi Phi Island 2004

There is a somber memorial event on Phi Phi every year on 26th Dec near Cabana Hotel. Some businesses on the island light candles on the beach to remember.

Never forget
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Keeping Phi Phi Paradise

A couple of thousand people arrive every day during high season - that's a huge impact on a small island. There's some simple stuff everyone can do to minimise that - here's 5 tips to help keep Phi Phi beautiful

1. Don't throw your cigarette butts on the beach - Loh Dalum bay has hundreds of people visit every night think how many butts are buried in the sand

2. Buy canned beer - there are lots of locals recycling these whereas bottles just end up in the garbage (currently glass is not viable to recycle because of transportation costs)

3. Ask who's recycling in your hotel and save your plastic and cans for them

4. Thailand has a huge plastic bag problem - how many are you walking away with everyday - take a bag and refuse the extra plastic

5. Take your litter with you when you leave the beach

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Tommy Moto does the real Phi Phi

There's a lot more to do and explore on Phi Phi than most visitors get time for. unusually the most laid back of souls - a professional chiller and musician, Tommy Moto - probably did more than most and he's captured his exploits in a stunning compilation music video. Set to his own music and Job2do - No1 Thai reggae band, he captures the mood of the real Phi Phi and its people. It's funny, he's funny, the music is original and fresh and if you look closely you'll recognise some of your favourite Phi Phi characters.

At 299 Baht is a great take home gift to yourself to remind of good Phi Phi times.

Why not!
For a taster - here's the promo showreel

Available for sale at Love Cafe (opposite Carpe Diem Bar)
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catch of the day

The beautiful Blue Marlin 19 kilo caught today by a couple honeymooning on Phi Phi island.
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Free Diving on Phi Phi

Just found this great littlevideo about free diving on Phi Phi Island

big thanks to whoever put this up on youtube :)
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Magical nights

Many of us that stay on the island end up at Stones (24hr) Bar to wind down at the end of the day. The music stops but they have some bongos and didgeridoos which make an appearance some nights. My friend Ben is always up for a session as is Book. Last night Benji, french fireshow performer, was there too and conversations between the jammed tunes were about breathing techniques, how to get a better sound out of the didge - typical banter between musicians. Then along comes Ryan, a tall Aussie with dreads - asks if he can take a turn. 30 seconds later all our jaws had dropped - the rhythms, the range of sounds he could get out of that stick were amazing. Nights like this, extraordinary jam sessions, rhythms floating into the night air are pure magic, the stuff memories are made of and are exactly what one would expect of a night staring out to sea from a magical Phi Phi Island. A shame that so many people missed it caught up in the boom boom bang bang of the party beach bars
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