Similan and Surin Islands
Trip Start Nov 18, 2002
157Trip End Ongoing
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At about 7.45 we are collected from Amsterdam Resort and taken to the Wicked Diving dive shop. There we gather as a group of 12 and are then transferred to the harbour at Koh Lak.
The boat 'Parinee' is there and will be our home for the next 3 days. First impressions are good. There is a large table and bench seating area with hot/cold water and constant tea/coffee making facilities available. We are strongly encouraged not to just drink water but to mix a sachet of orange flavour electrolytes to the bottle as re-hydration is soo important. There is a large Plasma TV and baskets of fruit on the table to help yourselves at anytime.
Our first dive sight is 3 hours away so we are given a full briefing of the boat rules and safety procedures by our trip leader Ricky
We are split into groups and assigned a dive guide. We are each given a numbered safety tag which we have to take from the board and clip to our BCD before each dive and then put back as soon as we are back on the boat. That way the captain can be sure that everyone is on board before we head off to another dive sight.
We are given our cabin where there are 2 bunk beds and a small table. There is enough room to stand in, that is if you are not over 6ft!
The diving equipment area is large enough to accommodate everyone. We set up our equipment ready for our first dive at Koh Bon. Getting really excited now....
We have our lunch on route. A thorough dive briefing is given by Ricky and we arrive at the dive sight. Manta Rays are immediately spotted on the surface. OMG this is going to be amazing.
Then we all get kitted up and regulator in and dive dive dive.......
We drop to about 15meters and there before us, and above us where the Manta Rays!!!!!
They gracefully drift by and then a couple more swim by........then another and another. This was the first time we dived with Mantas, can you tell??? It was truly AWESOME
Ricky said we had a choice...dive Koh Bon again after our surface interval or move onto the next sight.....errr there is no answer to that we want more Mantas. And that is what we did and more Mantas is what we got. FANTASTIC
That afternoon we sailed off to Koh Tachai (where our second scheduled dive would have been) and moored off the island there for 'part' of the night.
That evening we all reminisced about the days events, down load the photos onto laptops (its amazing how many people carry them these days!) and then we split into 2 teams and with the aid of a white board and some marker pens we all have a right laugh over a game of Pitionary and Hangman.
Then it was off to bed. At 3am (and we were warned of this) the engine starts up.....no more sleep for anyone!!....and we head off for our next dive sight of Richelieu Rock.
At 6.30 we get a wake up call.....well, we were all awake anyway and with bleary eyes we assemble on the dinning/social deck for snacks and dive briefing
Richelieu Rock is a massive underwater limestone pinnacle rising up form 50meters to just below the surface of the sea. It is horse shoe shaped with several smaller boulder areas. The visibility was amazing at well over 30meters. We kept looking out to 'the blue' as this area attracts whale sharks as well as Manta Rays. But sadly there were none there for us to see in the 2 dives we made there. Oh well you can't have it all! We did see all 'the usual suspects' as Martin like to record in his dive log!! Another wicked dive sight.
Next dive destination is Jenkins Drift. Yet another beautiful dive sight with pretty coral gardens. We saw our first Tomato Clown fish, just like Nemo but red in colour. There are loads of clown fish on this sight. We also saw a ghost pipe fish. It was so perfectly small holding on to a huge sea fan it was so difficult to spot but our guys found it for us. The visibility was fantastic again. The current got up quite strong towards the end of the dive but we just whizzed along with it doing Superman impressions. Brilliant.
Then back to Koh Tachai where we made a night dive or snorkel depending on how people felt. Diving with torches is great fun. Loads of fish sleeping. All the cleaner shrimp are out doing their work and all you can see as you scan your torch over the beautiful Lavender coral are the reflections of all their tiny eyes looking back at you
After 4 dives we are all well and truly knackered. No games tonight. Martin and I decided to sleep on soft mats on the roof of the boat together with a couple of fellow divers, Erron (Australian) and Dawn (UK). We can hardly hear the generator up there and sleeping under the stars is just wonderful.
We slept like logs last night and woke up very refreshed at 6.30am.
With a fast surface current here at Koh Tachai it was a very quick entry into the water then grab hold of the buoy line and slowly descend that way. Once at the bottom we avoided the current. A huge thermocline drifted in which was freezing and put my dive computer into a frenzy. The temperature was recording -1 when it should have read 27 degrees! Thankfully the rest of the information it was showing was correct! But the temperature gauge is in crisis and has been ever since that dive!!! The fish around us sensed the thermo cline and went into a mass feeding frenzy. Huge schools of Barracuda and Big Eye Travelly were chasing the smaller fish. It was so weird to watch. You really noticed the change in temperature when we swam out of it. And the visibility got much better too.
The safety stop was interesting. We made it back to the buoy line where the current by now was really ripping along. We held on and looking back down the line (quite a few other divers from the other dive boats were doing the same) We looked like flags blowing in the wind. There was just a mass of bubbles everywhere. And then who should cruise by??? Yep it rhymes with 'Santa's slay'
Mr Manta Ray had no problems with the current. It circled about us a couple of times as if to say "current? What current?" And then it cruised off. What a wicked way to end a dive?
Then it was back on board and our boat made the short distance back to Koh Bon. We just can't get enough of those Mantas. So in again and there they are. Cruising by one after another after another. They are just poetry in motion.......I could go on and on......oh right I have....sorry folks.....you just had to be there......
Then back on the boat.......more photos to up load.....yet more delicious food to be eaten. Made by 2 little constantly smiling Thai ladies in such a tiny galley kitchen they worked true miracles with the food they prepared. Not a dud meal was had by any of us. They were excellent. As were all the boat crew. I am especially grateful to the guys who would had to use some muscle to pull me up the steps of the boat, more so after dive 2, 3 and 4. Without them I would never have made it up!
Our last dive on our final day was at Boonsung Wreck. It's an old tin dredger which sunk around 20 years ago. Up until the Tsunami of 2004 it was all in one piece but now it is in about 5 parts which has spread the dive site considerably.
We went down to about 18 meters and just took it nice and slow checking the hull inch by inch literally. The wreck is home to an abundance of fish. We saw loads of Lion fish, Scorpion fish, Mantis shrimp, Porcupine puffers, and large schools of batfish, fusiliers and chevron barracuda to name but a few. Many different beautiful coloured nudibranches (like pretty slugs) are dotted all over the wreck. We also saw the cutest tiny tiny little yellow box fish we have ever seen. We could have watched it for ages.
At the bow of the wreck someone had tied an old pair of pants to the hull. They were covered in brown algae and looked disgusting but really funny at the same time. 60minutes later and our last dive of the trip was over. Booo
What a fantastic 3 days we all had. Our huge grateful thanks to Ricky (who stole his eyelashes from a camel) Bazza, Henrik, Brad, Christy, Jenessa and cheeky Poy who keep us safe and happy. Plus the boat crew and chefs on board.
Definitely a WICKED live aboard this company really live up to their name. And should not to be missed.