Millions of years ago, a big coral reef covered much of what is now South East Asia. Just as they do now, coral polyps living in the reef secreted limestone as they built the coral, and other marine critters like shells and urchins deposited calcium.

Fast forward a bit and the tectonic plates below started to rub against each other and rumble. The continents started to move. The reef was thrust skyward by the movement of big slabs of rock and the sea level started to change.

Fast forward a lot more and where there was a reef, there’s now hundreds of little islands. Rock pillars jutting straight out of the sea.

Fast forward a bit more to present day. The islands in Phang Nga Bay in Thailand are spectacular. But it’s what is hidden within that is most impressive. Weather and time have carved their way through the limestone rock to produce caves and inner lagoons. Karstic formations ripe for exploration!

For more about exploring the hongs in Phang Nga Bay or sailing around Thailand, check out my sailing blog: the Alpha Odyssey.

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Message in a bottle

The other day I was beachcombing on a deserted tropical island (Russell Island, in the Great Barrier Reef), and I found a bit of sea-glass. It was all milky white and smooth along the edges from being churned around in the ocean, rubbing up against sand and rocks and dead bits of coral.

On closer inspection, I could see the faint remains of the branding: Coke. In a previous life, it was a coca-cola bottle!

It got me thinking: if this bottle could talk, what stories would it be able to tell?

Where was it from? I’ve been to some pretty remote places: Bougainville (an island in PNG), Afghanistan, Uganda. But I’ve always been able to buy coca-cola, so it could be from anywhere. Who drank from it? Was it just an afternoon thirst-quencher? Or was it a mixer for a party? And where has it been since it fell in the ocean? Did it float for a while, past big tankers and small little yachts, or creatures from the deep? Or did it sink straight to the bottom and roll around with the other detritus on the sea-floor. And where are all the other shards of the bottle?

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Post publication edit: Andrea from the Daily Post and I have similar thoughts about transience

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