When the 2004 tsunami hit the coast of Thailand, Police Boat 813 was thrust nearly two kilometers inland.

Today, the boat remains in the same exact spot in the town of Khao Lak, Phang Nga province.

While the rest of the area has long-since been cleaned up, Boat 813 is a somber reminder of those tragic events.

Police Boat 813, that was thrown 2km inland by the tsunami wave in 2004 in Ko Lak
Police Boat 813, that was thrown 2km inland by the tsunami wave in 2004 in Ko Lak

Just down the road from Police Boat 813 is the Stabile tsunami memorial.

Created by Lars Englund, the statue consists of a tall set of steel spires that reach into the heavens. According to the plaque located alongside it:

 

Stable - A Tsunami memorial in Ko Lak, Thailand

Stable – A Tsunami memorial in Ko Lak, Thailand

 

Year: 2005
Technique: Stainless Steel
Size: 5 m. x 0.6m. x 0.6m.

Stabile, which means “something sound and solid”. Stabile is actually related to a series of furniture that Mr. Englund designed in the 1990s, like lamps, chairs and tables. The leg construction of the furniture inspired him to a new series of sculptures, made of metal or wood and mounted sturdily on the floor or, if outdoors, on the ground.

The Stabile is an abstract geometrical sculpture, made of brushed stainless steel and approximately 6 meters tall, striving upwards, towards the sky, or towards universe. Mr. Englund would like the spectators to make their own interpretations of his concept. He has said, “you are supposed to enter into my work, but only with your mind”.

Christina C. Palm
Acting Consul General for Sweden
22nd July, 2006

Assuming you can find it, visiting Stabile is a somber experience. There are very rarely any other people around and the poignant words and peaceful scene that surround the memorial leave visitors with plenty of information and time to reflect.

Stabile Tsunami Memorial Ko Lhak Thailand
Stabile Tsunami Memorial Ko Lhak Thailand

Police Boat 813, on the other hand, has become something of a touristic magnet.

Located off the west (inland) side of Petchkasem Road, not far from the intersection of the road leading to La Flora, the site is well-marked. Inside, there is an informational booth that sells CDs, books and other items, with all proceeds going to a tsunami-related charity.

Carrie and I in front of the police boat memorial
Carrie and I in front of the police boat memorial

Carrie and I found our way to both Police Boat 813 and the Stabile tsunami memorial while spending a few days relaxing in Khao Lak before heading off our our awesome five day scuba diving live-aboard boat experience. Both sites are accessible by foot, although we got around on a rented motorcycle.

The town of Khao Lak itself is a sleepy little hamlet along the coast that reminds me a bit of the Caribbean. It’s main source of income is tourism: particularly the backpacker scene and scuba-tourism.

The weather is always beautiful, the sea is a beautiful blue, the air is clean and the tropical environment is lush and tranquil.

Police Boat 813 is literally located in the middle of a field next to a forest
Police Boat 813 is literally located in the middle of a field next to a forest

The final photos on this post are of some of the signs and plaques located around the two Thai tsunami memorials.

To learn more about Lars Englund, the sculptor of Stabile, check out his site.

Stable Tsunami memorial description
Stable Tsunami memorial description
A sign at the Police Boat 813 site
A sign at the Police Boat 813 site
Text describing the original purpose of Police Boat 813
Text describing the original purpose of Police Boat 813

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