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Phuket's scenic beach road awash as high tide waves bring sand ashore

Phuket Moon Tides Pound Beach Road

Saturday, October 9, 2010
Pounding Tides Photo Album Above

HIGH TIDES have been pummeling two Phuket beaches today, giving a dramatic preview of what global warming might bring to Phuket in the too-soon future.

''We've never seen the tide lash the west coast like this before,'' said one local at Kalim, north of Patong. The words were echoed at Kamala, a few kilometres further north, where Phuket's western beaches road also runs low alongside the shoreline.

These dramatic photographs were taken today by Phuketwan reader Niruj Suriya, who lives in Kamala. Some residents have even left their homes in low-lying sections along the beach road, just in case.

The pounding has already lasted three days. Locals at Kalim and Kamala are mounting a 24-hour watch on both beaches, with the expectation that even worse might be to come with the next peak tide about noon on Sunday.

The new moon of Phuket's Vegetarian Festival appears to be to blame for the invasive waves that will cause a headache for Patong and Kamala councils once the surf stops pounding the roads with water and sand from the beaches.

Tourists on motorcycles failed to negotiate some of the sand ''drifts'' and came off.

Ironically, a one-day seminar on global warming was held in Phuket City this week. Large-scale bleaching of the region's coral reefs earlier this year was a portent of worse ''natural man-made'' disasters to come.

Cynics say there is no need for Phuket to be the slightest bit concerned about global warming - the degradation and destruction caused by tourism and overdevelopment will have ruined Phuket long before the temperature rise causes increased havoc.

For now, authorities will have to work out how to protect Phuket's popular and highly appealing beach coast road from taking worse poundings in the near future.
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Comments

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I remember about five years back when the waves and high surf used to beat the road to death just after the Novotel Hotel on the beach road just outside Patong. Then they built the big retaining wall. The writing is on the wall folks, standby for the "Big One ". Don't ask me what the big one is, I can only predict a big disaster on it's way to the west coast.

Posted by Graham on October 9, 2010 21:23

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I suspect the waves have more to do with the monthly spring tide combined with the biannual king tide and a larger than normal swell for this time of year, rather than a sudden "dramatic preview of global warming".

With regards to how to protect these areas in future, the "authorities" need only look abroad where sea walls are built along the coast to stop erosion from high tides and storm surges (even tsunamis in Japan). It's common sense. There's nothing "to work out".

In fact the money Kamala spent after the tsunami could have been used for this purpose, but instead it was wasted on a fanciful beachfront lighting system, a concrete observation deck, and an insane number of palm trees, all of which have been buried under sand or washed away by tides over the last five years.

Posted by kel on October 10, 2010 09:32

Editor Comment:

Kel,

Whether a sea wall should be erected along scenic stretches of Phuket's west coast is clearly going to be a matter for debate and budget. Why not put your suggestions to work by writing to Patong and Kamala councils, or calling them direct?

We understand that global warming is likely to bring increasing sea levels, which is why we made the point about it being a preview. Yes, of course this battering has a lot more to do with the tides, hence the reasonably large heading: Phuket Moon Tides Pound Beach Road.

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Yes Graham, I drove through that stretch of road yesterday and almost lost control of my motorbike driving on the wet, thick sand, even at low speeds.

Be careful folks, it's pretty hairy out there.

Posted by Drive by on October 10, 2010 10:57


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