Thursday, April 28, 2011

Take a trip with John

It is sometimes a pleasure to relax and read about the pleasure that people have had from meeting John and taking a canoe trip into the caves - have a look. (courtesy of

See you on the water, Ling Yai (Thai for 'Big Monkey') AKA John Caveman Gray
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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Where are all the fish?

These bimbos are totally irresponsible - they used to catch, tag and release but now have a more lucrative occupation.

We, in Thailand, should learn from these errors INCLUDING the TAT fishing tournament 10 years ago - what happened to the sailfish colony at Adang?

Fortunately I did witness and have video of free jumping sailfish before the TAT cleverly decided to sell their seas...

See you on the water, Ling Yai (Thai for 'Big Monkey') AKA John Caveman Gray
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Sunday, April 3, 2011

The International Ecotourism Society - should I?


An open letter to Kelly Bricker - TIES

Sawasdee and Aloha Masaru,

To the best of my knowledge, I founded SE Asia's sea kayaking industry in early 1989 and currently run John Gray's Sea Canoe.  I started commercial sea kayaking in Hawai'i in 1983, winning an EMMY award in 1985 and the National Outdoor Writers Council TEDDY for Best Environmental Education production of 1985.  My 1992 presentation "Earth First Can Be Good Business" closed an East-West Center-University of Auckland ecotourism conference, the largest to that time.  I became a Fellow in the East-West Center for the presentation.  In the 90's my CBT project won six major ecotourism awards in five years, including the Smithsonian Magazine Environmental Award.

I'm also very poor because I do so much pro bono ecotourism consulting for villages with no money.  I believe these are the real people we should be helping develop sustainable tourism, and I often pay my own travel expenses to assist poor villages who cannot afford a paid consultant. 

Most of our guest comments say we are Thailand's best activity (or their best anywhere) and we reach far beyond the standard definitions of Ecotourism and Sustainable Travel.  On the downside, my concept spawned two dozen environmentally destructive competitors who are in it for nothing but the money. On the upside, my idea created a 4,000 job industry (but I won't call it sustainable or ecotourism).

I've been into the marine rubbish issue 50 years before Plastiki crossed the Pacific without collecting any rubbish.  In the past 21 years in Thailand I've filled 8,530 rubbish bags working from my kayak in Phang Nga Bay.  I consider this a personal failure since I have not been able to create a sense of marine rubbish awareness from other operators.
See my report.

I know Kelly Bricker from Fiji and think the World of her, but I was also highly critical of the TIES decision to hold a world congress in Oslo, Norway because I am an intense anti-whaling activist.  I saw that as a tacit endorsement of commercial whaling from the Ecotourism Community - not exactly clever.

I am an open mind, and am considering joining TIES so I was just reviewing the Board and found you.  Since I fly my Sea Shepherd colors high, (philosophically, I'm more radical than Paul Watson because I get closer to whales in my kayak than he does fighting the whalers).  Whales are highly intelligent "Humans of the Sea" and I therefore consider whaling as Genocide.  

I'm wondering what your position is on whaling as I weigh whether I should join TIES or not.  I'm quite intrigued.

PS:  I lived in the village of Tagajo near Sendai in 1953-54 in a 500 year old 1,000 square meter tradition Japanese mansion and frequently visited Matsushima Bay, which I also consider sacred.  I would love to visit my childhood home but will not set foot on Japanese soil until whaling and dolphin genocide is banished.  

Why not convert the fleet into the more honorable task of cleaning up the Mid-Pacific gyres? 

Another dream is to kayak the Sea of Japan, but only in August!

Either way you answer, I am highly intrigued that Japanese finds yourself in such a prominent position in the world of Ecotourism.  Your journey must be quite interesting.

See you on the water, Ling Yai (Thai for 'Big Monkey') AKA John Caveman Gray

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