ANOTHER WHALESHARK for Manta Queen 2 Trip #143!
We are now most of the way through the season, and the conditions are fantastic! Blue water and great viz greeted us for the first two dives of Manta Queen 2's trip #143 at Koh Bon's famous "West Ridge" dive site. Manta Queen 2 has been a lucky boat this season, but today we had no Mantas. Then again, we saw so much other cool stuff that we hardly even missed them. We saw schooling Slate Sweetlips above the ridge, and a pair of big Napoleon Wrasse.
After two dives there we headed North to Koh Tachai for a few dives on Tachai Pinnacle. Always a treat, Tachai was in rare form this afternoon. We jumped in with clear blue water and very little current. On this dive there was plenty to see, with Ghost Pipefish, a huge Moray and a juvenile Emperor Angelfish being spotted almost the rocks. We also saw this really cute baby Yellow Spotted Boxfish trying to hide from us...
The sunset dive was wonderful as well, Although the strong current that Tachai is famous for did start to kick up a bit. We managed to see plenty of interesting marine life while hiding between the rocks. All in all, I'd say it was a pretty good day!!! :-)
The following morning we did one more dive at Tachai, and despite the strong current one lucky group found a really big Bloched Fantail Ray resting on the sandy bottom before we headed North to Richelieu Rock. Three dives there at Richelieu and we saw all kinds of great things... Ummm... Including a WHALESHARK!!!
She came around early on the dive, disappeared for a while and then came by again as if to say goodbye and wish us a happy lunchtime. Other noce finds included Sunset Pipefish and schools of big Barracuda, along with Tigertail Seahorses, Juvenile Angelfish, Bent Stick Pipefish, Peacock Mantis Shrimp and even a few Zebra Moray Eels. We also saw quite a few Ornate Ghost Pipefish.
This time we switched it up for dive number nine, deciding to check out one of the newest wrecks on Thailand's West coast, the HTMS Pra Thong wreck. It went down just about a month ago. Quite a big ship, it is a 98 meter long WWII cargo ship, laying on it's side in 27 meters of water. It has been scuttled specifically for diving, with several holes cut into the different decks to allow safe and easy penetration diving. Really good fun. It's nice to see more and more marine life week after week, making their home on the new wreck.
The final dive of our three day adventure was on the Boonsung Wreck, an old tin mining dredger that sunk in the 1980's. Absolutely teaming with life, the Boonsung wreck is always a fantastic way to finish the trip. Large schools of Baraccuda, Trevally and Fusiliers cover the wreck. Smaller stuff like Nudis and Spearing Mantis Shrimp can be found as well. Frogfish and Ornate Ghost Pipefish are usually around, and there are always tons of Honeycomb Moray Eels hanging out of the nooks and crannies. It really is a great dive, every time. A wonderful finish to an unforgettable three days!
I want to offer a big congratulations to all of our students on board this trip. Mathias, Jakob, Jacob, Michelle, Josh and Gregor all became newly certified PADI Enriched Air divers, so they are now all in the Nitrox club. Way to go guys! also, Romoina completed her PADI Open Water course during the trip, so she is now a certified diver. SWEET!!!
It's always a little sad to end the trip, but there is some good news... We are going out again tomorrow!!! Come and join us on Manta Queen 2 for our next adventure! We sure would love to have you!!! :-)