We spent four days at the Marine National Park at Phuket in 1993. My wife had never been snorkelling before, and we had a really enjoyable three days on the reef abutting the beach looking at clown fish in the anemones and a variety of other small fish.

The largest was a belligerent small fry defending his patch of the ocean floor. If you have been to Australia's Great Barrier Reef you will have found lots of big fish, but that was not the case at Phuket.

On the fourth day we waited for the local bus to take us to the airport and watched a dozen or more Park rangers near the water. The cause of the small fish became evident. Now this is a National Park. The wildlife in National Parks is protected, yes. Well, no in Thailand.

In full view of the rangers a fisherman set a net in the very area of the reef that we had enjoyed seeing the small fish over the last three days. What these guys were supposed to be conserving was about to become lunch. I went fuming back to our accommodation and remained out of sight of the lawmakers until the bus came. They had shot democracy demonstrators dead the year before.BACK