It is Saturday the 3rd of May and it is another warm day. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining at all. Today is a working day. Yesterday evening we discussed how things are going and what the next steps are (plan). We decided it would be best to split our group in two smaller groups for today. This way we can gather more information. So today three of us are going to Bang Bao, a little fishermen’s village in the south of Koh Chang and the other two will stay in the Loney Beach area. The group of three starts early in the morning (around eight). The plan is to check out the boarding of tourists on the snorkeling and diving boats, which usually starts around 9 o’clock. We grab a cap and ten minutes later we arrive at Bang Bao. We get out of the taxi and join the other tourists.
When entering Bang Bao pier, we are squeezed and pushed together as the walking path is very narrow. On the right and left hand side there are restaurants selling (mainly) seafood, stands where you can book tours (e.g. boat trips, elephant trekking and snake show) and shops with swimming clothes, hats, diving gear and souvenirs. At the end of the corridor we can see the boats lying in the harbor. There are a lot of them. A great amount of tourists is standing in line to get on the boat (apparently it is a Thai holiday, hence the amount of tourists). Some minutes later the first boats leave for their daytrip. We start strolling around, taking photographs and observing the situation. After all the boats have left we search for someone from a dive school or shop, or a local fisherman to interview. We succeed and talk to a man from a fishing boat tour and interview someone from a dive school.
The other group starts their day a bit later. There is no hurry. Sabai Sabai. Today’s aim is to gather data about the boat tours – with an emphasis on the private boat tours – and to interview tourists. The other team mainly talks to sellers of tours. The tour sellers describe the way the community is set up and how they are and aren’t working together. When talking with people we explain who we are and what we are doing on this island. Most people tell what they think about our research project: in general they are very positive about our activities. It is great to hear that people are so positive about our work!
Written by: Evelien