It's difficult to imagine that it was only ten years ago that John
Gray was the first man to explore the limestone caves in Phang Nga
Bay by an ocean kayak which he called a sea canoe.
Today, hundreds of visitors head off each day for these caves or
"hongs" to explore these quiet cavern sculpted by centuries
of erosion from the sea. The first visitors to these caves were
probably Chinese fishermen who many centuries ago found valuable
swallow nests worth a fortune in China for their medicinal value.
The business of harvesting these same nests continues to this day
along side a sea kayaking industry which brings hundreds of tourists
into these pristine caves each day.
John Gray established his Sea Canoe company while living and exploring
the waters around the Hawaiian Islands in 1983. By 1989, he was
travelling in Southeast Asia and his instincts directed him to the
forgotten caves around Phang Nga Bay. He first entered these
dark holes with trepidation but soon discovered light at the other
He then moved his operation to Phuket leaving his life in Hawaii
"I've always been an environmentalist since traveling with
my parents in Mexico as a child. I've seen what poor tourism management
can do to a beautiful natural environment.
At Sea Canoe we offer ecotours, experiences which excite but also
inform our clients on the importance of caring for these delicate
ecosystems," explained John.
Sea Canoe is only one of many companies which offer sea kayak trips
to Phang Nga Bay. But this company stresses staff training and water
safety that far exceed the competition.
John has structured Sea Canoe to pursue community involvement,
environmental education, enlightened human resources and social
responsibility, all principles of ecotourism.
Sea Canoe offers day trips to the caves in Phang Nga, two day,
one night adventure trips to remote areas near Phuket and a package
of Millennium kayak trips around the Andaman region scheduled for
the end of 1999. Read more about Kayak in Phang Nga Bay.