Wicked Diving now has the best waste disposal system of any of Khao Lak’s dive shops - we have an underwater toilet at Boonsung Wreck :)
But that’s not the whole story...
As a capstone of the first Divemaster course of the year, the four of us were responsible for designing, creating, and installing a piece of artificial reef near one of the wrecks in Khao Lak. We had the help of two intrepid instructors, Jade and Ash, and our DMT leader Diego. In 2010, a DMT group dropped a giant concrete pyramid that could act as a fish nursery. This year, they’re trying to have each DMT class install their own piece to create an artificial reef habitat, since most of the area around Khao Lak is sandy and inhospitable for fish aggregations.
We spent several hours researching the different materials used in reef construction. Porcelain, untreated wood, untreated metal, and some concretes are very good for artificial reefs since they don’t leach many chemicals and can last a long time. Painted and treated materials are often toxic, and shouldn’t be used.
We found an abandoned toilet bowl near the storeroom and some old concrete blocks, so we created our own version of the Wicked Throne (to the porcelain gods).
While we were trying to tie the toilet bowl to cement blocks, two Thai men stopped landscaping and came over to help us. They basically took the rope out of our hands and showed us how competent people tie down toilets... it was hilarious because they didn’t ask why we were trying to tie down a toilet bowl, they just helped us do it better. Amazing. This country is full of the most remarkable, friendly, and helpful people!
Once installed, the site is about 20 meters away from the wreck. One the first dive of the day, we placed the toilet next to the installation from divemasters two years ago. We managed to get the toilet on the van, on and off the boat, and down to the sand without too much trouble. It was pretty funny though!
On the second dive, we tried to install the backboard and create a throne. We managed to bring it down to the toilet by weighing it down with ~3 kilos and some muscle, but it wasn’t stable enough to withstand the currents and storms that hit Khao Lak in the summer. Actually, we underestimated George’s muscles when he was tightening the backboard to the toilet, and the bamboo snapped! We decided to leave the toilet as a central feature and forget about its accessories. It’ll be very interesting to see what grows over the rest of the season. All in all, a great day.
Thanks guys for all the hard work and the innovative new reef :)