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Fun in the water: Boys enjoy a break from long boat racing at Koh Panyee

Weather Latest: Phuket's Navy to Rescue Similans Stranded

Tuesday, March 29, 2011
THE ROYAL Thai Navy is sending a frigate to rescue tourists who are trapped in ultra-wet conditions on the Similans - but rescuing thousands of other tourists on Phuket from cabin fever is a far more difficult task.

Navy officers have been told that about 160 tourists are stranded in tents or basic accommodation on the Similans, with supplies running lower.

Instead of diving and snorkelling, the water has come to them. They have had to put up with several days of consistent rain.

A Phuketwan reader who was trapped for three days on a dive boat off the Similans in an earlier burst of unseasonal weather said: ''I have never felt so sick. With five-metre waves rocking you to sleep, your dreams are not sweet.''

Elsewhere, thousands are believed to have been trapped on Samui when flights and ferries were cancelled as unseasonal flooding continues in south-central provinces bordering the Gulf of Thailand.

There has been no word from Phi Phi, where anyone trapped in the light-and-dark paradise for under 30s would have little to do except eat and drink.

On Phuket, each day of rain costs tour operators cash, and each daily dose of grey, bleeding skies increases the pain for tourists who have paid for a sunny beach island holiday.

Intermittent and heavy downpours for the past week have meant that many holidaymakers will have found Phuket a disappointing destination. With the possible exception of honeymooners, travellers on Phuket inevitably run out of wet-weather options once local shopping malls and cinemas have lost their allure.

Resort rushes have been reported on movies, computer games and even books in libraries.

Nighttime choices remain easier, with FantaSea, Simon Cabaret and other regular attractions likely to achieve a boost in audience numbers. However daylight only destinations such as the Big Buddha, Wat Chalong and West Sands' Splash Jungle waterpark are predictably desolate places.

More than 2000 passengers on the luxury cruise liner Queen Mary 2, which was due to anchor for 24 hours off Phuket at the weekend, are likely to have been underwhelmed.

Forecasters say there's at least another day of downpours, with the possibility of rain easing from Thursday.

Those holidaymakers who have been on Phuket for the whole week, with rain washing away elephant rides, snorkelling trips and mornings at the beach as well as afternoons in delightful outdoor restaurants, are likely to be scratching at the walls of their rooms about now.

And with the much-anticipated Tata Young and company Love Aid Phuket concert for Japan cancelled because of the potential for bad weather, it's odds on that Phuket's skies will be a brilliant high season hue come Saturday.

Then Phuket can return to normal.

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Monday July 13, 2020
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