Pandemic respite for Thai 'sea gypsies' threatened by mass tourism

Coronavirus has wrought havoc across the world, but for Thailand’s “sea gypsies” it has brought welcome respite from the threat of mass tourism.Since the pandemic began, life has been easier for Sanan Changnam and his people — there’s an abundance of fish to eat and real estate projects on their ancestral land in the tourist hotspot of Phuket have come to a standstill.In the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea, connected to the surface by a slender pipe stuck in his mask — a “thread of life” allowing him to breathe — Sanan stalks fish and shellfish, spear in hand.A few kicks of his flippers…

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