Believe it or Not, Tabu Island was created because of anger. There is a local story that said : once upon a time, there was a fisherman who normally caught a lot of fish everyday for selling at the market. One day, as usual, he went to net, but it was not his day. He threw his net many, many times but got nothing. With great patience he tried again and again, but still got nothing.
Consequently, he stared at the water looking for a waving pattern; he then threw his net again with a lot of hope. He kept his eyes fixed on the net when pulling it up, hoping some fish would be caught. Unfortunately he caught nothing but a nail. He became angry and threw the nail into the sea.
Again with great concentration, he kept his eyes on the sea surface and tried his net once more. This time he threw his net as wide as he could with great hope of getting some fish. Then he pulled it up slowly as it was very heavy. He pulled it up with great care. At the end of the net he found the only thing caught was the same nail.
He was so angry; he grasped his long knife and cut the nail with all his strength. The nail was cut in half. The nail was catapulted away and driven into the bottom of the sea standing up as you see it today.
The area around Phang-Nga bay has a long history and is famed for its nature and beauty, especially Ko Tabu, Ko Panyi, Tham Lot and Khao Phing Kan. The rock art in this area has always been an important attraction.
The popularity of the Phang-Nga bay area led to the designation of the current area as a forest park in 1974, this was named Sri Phang-Nga Forest Park. The Royal Forest Department then began to survey the area and realized its heritage should be further protected by increasing the areas status to a national park.
Ao Phang-Nga was created by Royal decree and gazette under proclamation number 98 sections 64 of 29th April 1981. The park created covers an area of 400 squares km, protects the largest area of this original primary mangrove forest remaining in Thailand. The park stretches from Muang Phang-Nga District to the coast at Takua Tung District. Over 80 % of the park is covered by the Andaman sea, with over 42 large and small islands, including such as Phra At Tao Island, Maprow Island, Boi Noi Island, Boi Yai Island, Rayaring Island, Phanak Island, Hong Island, Panyi Island, Phing Kan Island etc.
The topography of the park is strongly influenced by several faults, particularly the north-east trending of the Klong Marui fault. This offsets the eastern terrain from the central mountain ranges by a right lateral movement. This fault movement resulted in the formation of a large grabbed parallel to the fault. This grabbed is marked by the present bay.
The high ground is produced by massive limestone blocks displaying classic karsts scenery. These blocks extend southward into Phang-Nga bay where they form islands with vertical cliffs, mainly orientated in a north-south direction.
Phang-Nga bay slopes seaward and is filled with tidal sediments. The bay itself is composed of large and small tidal channels which originally connected with the fluvial system of the mainland.
The main tidal channels for instance Klong Ko Panyi, Khlong Phang-Nga, Klong Bang Toi and Klong Bo Saen all run in a north-south direction. They consist of several tidal creeks or tidal channel distributaries. Most of the tidal channels are meandering with well developed point bars. Mangrove forests grow around the whole area of the Phang-Nga bay, they differ in species depending on elevation and relative tidal range.
The landward boundary of Phang-Nga bay is marked by a gentle erosion slope, limestone cliffs and transition forest between mangrove and upland forest which extend beyond the bay margin.
The climate experienced in Phang-Nga Bay is tropical marine, with characteristic high rainfall and year round high temperatures. Thirty year records of Metrological Department of Thailand (1961-1990) collected at Takua Pa weather station indicate that rain is abundant in the south-west monsoon season from May to October. The average annual rainfall is 3,560.5 mm. and the average total rain days is 189 days. The temperature fluctuates between 23 C and 32 C. The average relative humidity is 83%.
FLORA AND FAUNA
Vegetations: Plant society in the Phang-Nga Bay National Park could be divided into 3 types as follows:
- Mangrove forest in the limestone mountain which found a lot of important plants in mangrove forest up to 12 types such as Rhizophora mucronata, Rhizophora apiculata, Xylocarpus granatum, etc. In addition, also found sea holly and a lot of Acrostichum aureum which growing up in the bank area or mud soil. Sea cycad is found a little bit in only the opened area or destroyed area.
- Mangrove forest in the cell and quatsite rock mountain which found the 7 important types of plants such as Rhizophora mucronata, Rhizophora apiculata, Xylocarpus granatum, etc. The other important low level plant found in this area is the dense growing sea holly.
- Mangrove forest in Sandstone Mountain which found a little bit of important plants because this area is very far from the main land. The 5 types of important plants here are Rhizophora apiculata, Sonneratia ovata, Aegialites rotundifolia, Xylocarpus granatum and Melaleuca leucadendron. In addition, samed would be found in the area adjacent to land forest which has the lower salt level.
Land Forest, Defined as the evergreen forest which is rainforest and classified as follows:
- Land forest on the limestone mountain which could be found throughout the national park, there are 2 types : the first is the forest on the plain land and the forest on the area so called Karsts which is a valley area. They consist of the important plants such as Aporosa aurea, Hopea ferrea Heim and Cassia alata Linn. Also, there are many important low level plants such as Fishtail palm. The second is the forest on the moisture high area on a limestone mountain which consists of small and short plants such as Hopea ferrea Heim., Water wisteria, etc.
- Land forest on the cell quartzite rock mountain which found a lot of plants growing in the foot of mountain with very high moisture, we can find yang na woods scattering throughout this area and also find other important plants such as Schima wallichii (DC.) Korth., Bruguira gymnorrhiza, Carallia brachiata (Lour.) Merr., etc. while the low level plants found here are Bambusa arundinacea Wild, Glass, etc.
- Land forest on a sandstone would be found on the slope area which has a lot of tree and not too high. There is a little bit of the low level plants here, most of them are grasses because of infertile soil. The important plants are Bruguira gymnorrhiza, Sesban, etc.
Aquatic Plant Society
Could be classified as Padina, red algae, Halimida and including a lot of sea grass and plant plankton.
- Wild Animals, from survey could be classified as follows:
- Mammal animals, from survey could be found up to 27 types such as Macaca irus, Semnopithecus obscurus, Hylobates lar, etc. In addition, also found the important aquatic mammal animals such as Infonesian white dolphin, Malayan dolphin, and Finless porpoise.
- Birds have been found totally 120 types, the important ones are Little heron, Pacific reef-egret, Little egret, etc.
- Reptiles have been found totally 26 types such as Siamese box terrapin, Pseudoxenodon macrops (Blyth), etc.
- Amphibians have been found 4 types such as Rana cancrivora, R. limnocharis, Rhaco phorusleucomystax, etc.
- Fishes consists of squat-headed hammer head shark sphyrna tudes, freshwater ater stingray dasyatis bleekeri, Moray eel, Puffer fish and many kinds of fish which live in the coral such as Butterfly fish and the economical valued fishes such as short-bodied mackerel.
Marine life totals over 80 species: 24 species of fish, 14 species of shrimp, 15 species of crabs and another 16 species of manta-rays, sharks, and gamefish. In the bay, you will find blue crabs, swimming crabs, mud-skippers, humpback shrimp, mud-lobsters, pomfrets, jewfish, sole, anchovies, scads, rock cod, as well as rainbow cuttlefish, soft cuttlefish, musk crab, mackerels, spinefoots, groupers, black sea cucumbers, brain coral, starghorn coral and lastly flowerlike soft coral.
The bay of Ao Phang-Nga National Park has a wealth of plankton, these are small plant and animal organisms that float at the water surface and serve as food for many species. The presence of large amounts of plankton is due to the shallowness of the water, rich nutrient supply and the higher temperatures found in the bay area. As the food resource is high, this makes a good nursery area for mothers of many species, which enter the bay to rear their young before returning to deeper water.