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Tsunami: any word from our friends?

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Hi -- By now everyone's probably heard about the big earthquake generated tsunamis which have caused an estimated 14,000 deaths so far. Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, India have all been affected. No doubt many of the dive resorts have been damaged, even destroyed, but it's the people I'm worried about. Has anyone heard from our wetpixel friends from these countries?


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Last informations that there are more then 23000 people died at this horible natural desaster....


I can pray that all guys from this forum are save and alive but don't know what to say... :D

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My brother's there, but we got word this morning he's ok, so am very relieved. It looks completely insane though. I lived in the area for a couple of years and always felt that SEA is the safest place to travel, especially Thailand and Malaysia. That why the pictures looks so surreal. Who would have ever thought something like this could happen. It's so horrible that there are no words to describe it. The swedish papers are writing today that they are burning bodies on Patong beach in Phuket to prevent speading of disease, and tourists are scrambling to try to drag their dead family and friends away. They also write that when the diveboats were coming in after the tsunami, they ppl on them did not understand what had happened, because at sea they didn't notice a thing. Though some divers did die at the Emeral caves apparently.

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...They also write that when the diveboats were coming in after the tsunami, they ppl on them did not understand what had happened, because at sea they didn't notice a thing. Though some divers did die at the Emeral caves apparently.


Do you have any specific news on the diveboats? I have a couple of friends on a liveaboard at the Similans that I've not heard from.

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some stories





It wopuld appear that the only known divers in trouble .. or probably now dead were in the Emerald Cave which I believe has collapsed. From what I can gather readin and watching the reports coming in boats near the shore were capsized or washed onto shore, no known sinkings at sea and a lot of reports from divers who were underwater when it happened who came out of it ok.

If you knew someone that was diving out there hope they weren't in South Thailands Emerald Caves.

I am assuming the maldives had some huge trouble too, I heard one report that whole islands were basically gone, I know they are flat lying but I am hoping that they didn't do that bad. Having been in one natural disaster myself this year I hope they do ok over there, water is an unstopable power.

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The BBC has extensive coverage on the disaster. In one of its reports someone was quoted as saying that many of the recovered bodies in the Phuket area were still in their swimsuits & divesuits. Other accounts mention boats being washed out to sea then sunk with the boatmen & passengers clinging to them. As Giles said, many of the the islands in the Maldives, plus the Nicobar & Andaman Islands - and probably others - are so low that the waves swept over them completely. I'm extremely worried about my friends in Sri Lanka & Thailand, plus our wetpixel colleagues over there now.



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A little good news. This note from the owner of Siamdivers.com was just relayed to me.


Yes, we have just heard from Viking. All are fine and they are back in port.


Dear family, friends, and future and past guests,


First of all, Bent and I and our family and friends are fine here. We have

not had any personal tragedies. However, not everything is 100% clear here

either. We were not at the office yesterday as all the west-facing beaches

in Phuket were evacuated. We were not allowed to come here to Kata. We spent

the day watching TV, and fielding phone calls, and hoping that they news

would be getting better. And, we waited for the next wave--which never hit.


Phuket was struck relatively hard, but due to the better infrastructure here

than in other places, damage could have been far worse than it turned out to

be. We do not know the numbers of deaths yet; no one does. However, the

worst hit areas were Khao Lak to the north of Phuket, and Phi Phi and Krabi

to the east and northeast of Phuket. Ko Lanta was apparently not really

affected, and now, this is confirmed by several sources. Mergui in Burma was

not hit by anything. They didn¹t even know it happened. This is confirmed

from several sources.


For those of you trying to call for personal reasons, please stop. We are

fine, no damage to our property or business. As far as we know, there have

been no accidents at sea involving divers. This will probably change as more

information comes in, but most of the boats have reported that they are

safe. The people who were killed or injured were on the beach or close to

shore at the time the wave hit, as there was little or no warning. This will

be the subject of intense future debate regarding who is responsible for not

informing the public in a timely manner. At this time, it makes no

difference as the damage is done. This is Phuket¹s first ever tragedy in the

17 years that Bent and I have been here.


The reason we ask you not to call as that the phone systems here are jammed

and overloaded as you might imagine. There are people who have friends and

relatives visiting Phuket, Phi Phi and Khao Lak who are attempting to get

through, and they cannot because the system is so jammed up. We have been

unable to contact anyone in Phi Phi yet. I saw news reports on the local

television here last night saying that most people who are still alive have

been evacuated. I also listened to two Thai seismologists who described what

happened when the plate shifted and the earthquake in Sumatra occurred. They

clearly explained that they can and do track these, and it was the first

time in Thailand in recorded history that we had a Tsunami in the Andaman

Sea. Hopefully it will be the last. Rumors of other waves coming are simply

that?rumors. If there are other waves generated from aftershocks, we will be

warned this time. There were, as of yesterday at 4:00 PM our time, at least

four aftershocks, but only the initial plate shift caused the tidal wave

that hit our coasts. This is again, what we know. Other people may have

different information.


With regard to trips which are going in the next few days, there are no

reports or talk of cancellations. The infrastructure in Phuket was not

damaged to the extent that boats cannot depart. If this changes, we will

inform you as fast as possible, but at this point, do not change your plans.

Day trips or other trips from Khao Lak will be affected, but none of the

trips that anyone has booked with Bent and I will be affected. If they are,

we will let you know. The wave has passed. The chances of it happening again

are slim to none. However, safety will be our first consideration, and if

there is a possibility of danger, we will let you know as soon as we can. At

this point, there are no compelling reasons to cancel any diving trips.


However, the West Coast Explorer has still not been heard from. She is

expected to return to Phuket in the next few days. The pier at Thap Lamu was

damaged, and Le Mahe will not be departing. However, none of you receiving

this mail are scheduled on that boat. We will keep you posted about the WCE.


We have not had time to really look any websites yet, as most of our

communication has been by telephone and SMS messaging since we did not

receive emails yesterday.


http://www.phuketgazette.net/ <http://www.phuketgazette.net/>


Should be a decent source of information, but keep in mind that there are a

lot of rumors floating around. And, we do know how the media loves to

exaggerate. We are not trying to pretend that this was not a major

catastrophe. It was and is still. However, look at many sources for

information. No one is sure yet what is going on.


We have not been able to find other websites yet explaining anything. The

Thai government websites are useless for those who do not read Thai, but if

you do, then you may try this:




Our hearts go out to all the victims and their families. The stories coming

in are tragic and unfortunately, common in Khao Lak and probably Phi Phi. We

appreciate your calls and emails.


Please feel free to pass on this to anyone you feel would benefit from it,

and we will post it on our website at


<http://siamdivers.com/guest/disaster.htm>  when we can. For some reason we

cannot upload to our website now, the system is probably over loaded as

well. We will update it as often as we can.


Best wishes,


John Williams

Bent Posejpal


For true emergencies, our phone numbers are +661-892-0474 and +661-892-0643.

If you can¹t get through, just hit redial over and over. It will work

eventually. Please keep in mind the time differences when calling by

telephone. We are +7 GMT.

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Re: Thailand - All the members of "Damnam.org" are safe, although a bunch of us were due to sail to the Andamans this morning. At present we are not aware of any specific "diver" fatalities


News is still patchy (obviously) here - we are watching the CNN and the BBC like most others.

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Oh my god. last words is there is more then 27000 dead and expect to be more then 50000 Terible desaster...

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Disaster relief officials are saying this will be the largest relief effort in history. What makes this catastrophy unique is the geographic scale of the devastation, 14 countries, so far, on two continents, with over 1 million people displaced. It is beyond beleif.

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Thanks for checking in, Paul. I'm really glad to hear everyone from Damnam is okay. My friends vacationing in Phuket managed to reach their families here -- they had been scheduled to go out to Phi Phi that day but decided to stay in Phuket. They're battered from being caught in the wave but okay & coming home as soon as possible. Has anyone heard from Robert Delfs?


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we should fly to Phuket in 3 weeks for 2 weeks

My god it's hard to imagine that our resort in Khao Lak doesn't exists anymore ...

so much dead or missing people .....


a question : anyone knows if the Kungungan bay resort in Bunaken is hurt ?

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Kungungan bay resort in Bunaken


Pretty sure its ok as there is plenty of land seperating the 2 places.


I am a Damnam'er as well based in Thailand. Was in Phi Phi early December, my nephew learnt to dive there, and my daughter would walk around the shops at about 9am. Would dread to think what it would have been like if we were there in late December. Dying your self is one thing, but surviving and loosing your child us un-thinkable. My heart goes out to all those who have been seperated and lost thier lvoed ones.


I guess its one of those things, no matter how you plan your life, and take precautions, fate can still pop its ugly head up.

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In Croatian TV news just show e-mail from 1 woman who was diving instructor in i think i hear Maldivi and that she and turist she lead survived just because they was going to trip 30 minutes later then usual....


And they say yesterday that they found 1st Croatian wictim (3year old girl).. :D


Last info 67000 dead people and many thousands still missing so they say that will be more then 100 000 people dead... Oh my god I don't know what to say...

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I thought there was a bit of surge when diving that day!


I was happily diving in shallow water off Ningaloo Reef (NW Australian Coast) all day the day the tsunami happened. We're actually not too far from the epicentre here (a lot closer than the African countries that were affected), but the Indonesian archipelago provided good cover. If the epicentre was a bit further west, it would have been interesting. As it was, although the effects were noticeable, there was no death and destruction on the west coast of Oz.


Strangely enough, when camping at the same spot last year I had a long discussion with some fellow campers about how exposed the area was to tsunamis (!)


Best wishes to all those affected by this tragedy, and we can all hopefully do as much as possible to help them out.

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Howdy kids,


After receiving a barrage of emails from family and friends who are somewhat geographically challenged, (although not too many people know where Yap is) i thought i would let everyone know that we had absolutely no effect from the Tsunamis.

All is good and the mantas are going off (manta mating season)


From what i have seen via the net, the destruction is absolutely incredible and i wish the best for everyone involved in this horrible tragedy. I cannot comprehend the damage. From living on small islands and atolls for years i know exactly what such a wave can do to these areas. Obviously something i never want to experience and i feel great empathy for those involved.


Seems to me that 2004 has been a terrible year for pretty much every region in the world weather wise.

As i will be one of the first to bring in the New Year, Here is to a much better 2005 and my best wishes to everyone in the SE Asia region.

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