The death of 74-year-old Georges Boura Ben sparked a brief mystery and then brought to an end an international friendship dating back a decade.
The Frenchman remained unidentified for about 24 hours after he was found floating face-down at the beach about 4.30pm on Sunday.
Khun Mai, who runs a homestay at Nai Harn, a southern Phuket beach not far from Ya Nui, said today that Georges would spend three months each year on Phuket, staying with her.
She even loaned him 60,000 baht to have a heart pacemaker inserted, and he had intended to repay her the money on this visit, she said today.
Her French friend had been on Phuket since November 30 this year, Khun Mai said.
''On Sunday I baked him a cake and I was a little surprised on Monday to see that he hadn't eaten it,'' Khun Mai said.
Yesterday, worried about her house guest, Khun Mai turned detective and went looking for her friend.
''At Ya Nui I found my motorcycle and a lifeguard told me that a man had drowned there on Sunday,'' she said.
She went to Vachira Phuket Hospital in Phuket City and was able to identify the mystery drowning victim as her friend.
Today she visited Chalong Police Station for a copy of the official report on his death.
''Tonight I will speak by telephone to his brother to see what they want to have happen,'' she said. ''Maybe they will want him sent home, or he could be cremated here.''