Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Avoiding tropical depressions and petting puppies in Thailand

Been there, got the T-shirt...

We visited The Soi Dog Foundation the other day (our friends on Field Trip found the place). It's a rescue/vet/ adoption place that focuses on "street" dogs (and a few cats) here in Phuket ("Soi" mean street in Thai). The tour was entertaining and interesting. One of their prime missions is to spay or neuter as many of these dogs as they can.  Last year they did nearly 8,000 procedures. Over the last decade or so they have reduced the local street dog population from over 100,000 to about 10,000 through these procedures. The foundation also works to rescue dogs from the illegal dog meat trade as well as provide medical care to injured and abused animals.  Overall, they do great work there and the boys loved being able to play with the dogs and cats.

The main drawback of visiting an animal rescue place is looking at all those doggy faces and walking away without one. Unfortunately, adopting a pet isn't in the cards for us right now. The biggest issue with a pet is that it compounds the red tape involved in checking into a country--and that tape is already pretty red in the places we have visited lately.

This guy was hit by a car
Last week, we (and every other boat in the area) tried to find a good 'hole' to hide in from the wind and waves that looked to be heading our way due to Tropical Cyclone 'Pabuk'. It has been 57 years since the last time a tropical storm landed in Thailand and they have never recorded one in January. The various weather models kept us all in suspense because they disagreed about where the storm would be heading, with some showing a track to our north, some a track to our south, and some just showed it aiming straight at us. 

The problem with this was that there are very few "total protection" places to go, so knowing whether the storm was going North or South was very important as the winds are completely opposite depending on the track.  In the end we hedged our bets and went over to Ao Chalong bay, which has reasonable protection and also had a couple of islands to hide behind if the storm took an unexpected turn.  The problem with Ao Chalong is that the holding (how well the anchor "holds" in the sea floor) is reported to be poor, and also the place is full of boats (which turn into battering rams if they break free from their moorings or anchor). Thankfully the storm went north, and it turned out to be very compact and localized, so we didn't experience anything other than a bit of wind (some gusts hit 30 knots, but not many) and a little rain. Again, we are getting pretty 'lucky' with these natural events lately.

Tropical Storm Pabuk

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