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ANOTHER WHALESHARK for Manta Queen 2 Trip #143!

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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.

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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...

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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!!! :-)

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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!!!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!!!

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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!!! :-)

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Starting out on day one was blue skies and flat seas. As usual with the welcome dive briefing it was said that visibility was normally around 30m here in the Similans Islands.. Well, mother nature made a liar out of me when we jumped in and was around 10m..When this happens some people are slightly disappointed but as a lot of people were used to diving in far less visibility at aroudn 1 - 2m they were excited....always think positive people!!!!

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Macro was at its peak with lowered visibility so we were all focused on the little creatures that surprise. Some of the most fantiastic nudibranchs with fun names such as the 'LSD nudi" and the "batwing nudi"......

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Baby seamoths are some the the cutest things around and look like wind up toys you used to play with in the bath as a child...crawling on the san and rocks.

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With some super experienced divers on board finally got them their first Mantas and also whalesharks swimming around. Is always fantastic to tick things off after years of diving.

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All in all was a great trip and hope to  see you all again....

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First of all apologies to all for the lateness of this blog. no excuses but i couldnt remember the password... hmmm technology is not my forte..

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Anyway, even though it was a few weeks ago this trip still sticks in my memory as one of the best trips of the season. Weather was just fantastic with glassed out conditions on the surface and sunshine everyday without a cloud in the sky,

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All the beautiful creatures were out and about and with many photographers onboard the dives were slow and relaxed taking advantage of the 30m visibility and balmy 29c waters... well......29c most of the time. as standard in the Similans there are these wonderful things called 'green monsters' which roll in when you least expect it bringing cold water as low as 22c and limited visibility...Lets just say it keeps everyone on there toes and those who chose to go sans wetsuit were thinking twice about the choice of a rash guard over their snug warm wetsuit they left on the boat...

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Saying all this what keeps these conditions interesting is that all the good stuff seems to appear out of the green when this happens. So when all the divers are giving their little squeals of surprise over the shock of the change in temperature these squeals turn into screams of delight when whalesharks come out of no where above them feeding.

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Richelieu Rock was absolutely "ROCKIN' having 2 whalesharks there all day and even having a small manta cruising around the back of the boat on our surface interval, which people had a chance to snorkel with. Gearing up after the first amazing dive a whaleshark even surfaced at the back of the boat as people were putting on their fins pretty much giving us a preview of what was to come.

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The thrid dive on Richelieu was mine and would say everyones favourite dive of the trip with the whalesharks passing so many time and even looikng as if they would run into each at some points, as if they were that large and not enough room for them both. 

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The feeding of the whalesharks was something spectacular in itself with one group with huge cameras having a whaleshark each for most of the dive and with that huge mouth agape and swimming straight for you the pictures and videos were just amazing. Everyone was loving the evening with beers a plenty and everyone sitting around watching each others movies of the out of the world day at Richelieu Rock.

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This trip was also made so enjoyable by all the people....As trip leader i found everyone so much fun and enjoying each others company and having. with people from russia, taiwan, china, and brazil, with the shared love of diving it was a fantastic atmosphere which i wish could be there on all trips..thanks

 

Its not something that happens all that often and never be disappointed in the underwater world but you've got to be in the water to see it.. so come on over and jump aboard!!!!! you never know what could happen.

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From check in to check out Trip 125 has been a lot of fun. With a smaller group of 8 divers & 1 snorkeler, everyone on board became well acquainted with each other early on and the laughter flowed.

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For the first time in a long time our big beauties of the sea failed to make an appearance, despite the crossed fingers & nipple rubbing for good luck. Spirits weren't dampened however, as plenty of other marine life & various underwater antics kept us entertained.  

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Highlights included schools of barracuda, long nose emperor & trevally feeding frenzies, several octopus, giant morays, ghost pipefish, seahorse and the list goes on.

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With a full moon pending, some of our dives were plagued by green monsters, as well as big disorganised groups of divers from another company, so our guests celebrated pink hot pants worn outside my wetsuit Superman stylee, as well as Even & Aine's super bright fins -  easy targets to search for & follow. 

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We all had a chuckle at Even's expense over his map or fish drawing ability rather, when his ornate ghost pipefish were called into question by one of our guests Alison..."what are those? Chicken fish?" We later likened them to rubber chicken fish and the term stuck. I will never look upon a ghosty in the same way again :)

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Songkran was celebrated with every opportunity to blast each other with the hoses on our dive deck & cold water from the bubbler. Our last evening together was spent around the saloon table watching a slide show of photos taken from the trip above and below the water. Some of our underwater antics were caught on camera much to everyone's amusement...a joy ride with Piya in our group who had a DPV...is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it's Super Divers!!

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Congratulations to Larissa & Luciano on completing their 3 adventure dives. And a big thank you to an awesome group for another fun & entertaining trip. 
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Happy Diving!
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From the Biggest to the Smallest. Like our blog title is saying we had things to keep happy everybody expectations. Full of macro life and big things appearing. But we hadn´t just fun underwater, we were as lucky to have on board a DJ with a turntable deck in the best moment possible, Songkran, Thai new year´s Day. Such a good time we had with you Alvin, thank you very much!!!

Remarkable things we had this trip speaking about the tiny fellas were again our friend the baby Clown Frogfish at Richelieu Rock, is great to see you growing up. As well the other two Clown Frogfish at Turtle Rock seems they like each other again and were sharing this time the same piece of coral.

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Tons of Nudis, few of them complectly new for us were one of the highlights for the macro lovers, specially at night time, with a broad amount of them.

Seamoths were really active this trip, hunting, fighting between them shelf, spinning, displaying the wings……

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Ornate Ghostpipefishes like every single trip were present in most of the dives, being a perfect subject to train your eyes for the rest  of the creatures living in Similan Islands and around.

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One of the main attractions of Koh Tachai were the Mantas, we had manta in the 3 dives we did over there, that together with a Eagle Ray circling the top of the Dome for few minutes. Other Rays we spotted along the trip were of course the Kuhl´s Stingrays, a Marbled Ray resting peaceful into a cave at Koh Bon West Ridge and a Jenkin´s at The Dome.

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And of course we had Whale Shark this trip, seems is being harder not to have at least one than have it, they still out there!!! This time appears in our first dive at Richelieu Rock, visiting all the groups around the pinnacle. KABOOMMM!!!!!

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Another suspects we enjoyed this last 4 days were the Crocodile fish, Decorator crabs, Orangutan Crabs, White Tip and Black Tip reef Sharks, Stonefish, Marbled Snake Eel, Lobsters, Moray Eels, Barracudas, Maldives Sponge Snail, Pipefishes, Harlequin Shrimps, Tigertail Seahorses, Leopard Sole, Ribbon Eels, Freckled Frogfish, Turtle, Sea Snake….

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And like i said at the beginning, in this really special trip we had a special guess who has on board a turntable device to share with us his musical skills the last two nights,  we all had so much fun, including the Thai Crew who has few special requests they enjoyed on the dancing floor.


HAPPY SONGKRAN!!!!!!!

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This week we had a charter aboard Manta Queen 2, and what a week it was! We had 18 guests from the "No Sixer Diving team", Beijing Dive Center in China. All were friends who came together for six full days of diving.

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Because we had so much time (22 dives in total), we were able to explore many of the famous Similan Island dive sites before heading North to Koh Bon, Tachai and Richelieu. We had some amazing diving, and some really good luck too.

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Whalesharks, Mantas, Eagle Rays, Shovelnose Rays, White Tip Reef Sharks, Bloched Fantail Rays, Jenkins Whiprays... and the list goes on...

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The first day we did Anita's Reef, West of Eden, Deep Six, and then a night dive on Turtle Rock. We also found time to hit the beach at Donald Duck Bay and walk up to the viewpoint at the base of Sail Rock.
The dive at West of Eden proved to be extra special, with one lucky diver spotting a very rare Shovelnose Ray, coming in shallow to escape the cold thermocline moving in from the deep. Check it out:

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Also spotted on this first day were Seamoths, White Tip Reef Sharks and a huge Green Turtle.
Day two began at Elephant Head Rock, and again, White Tip Reef Sharks and a few little Seamoths were the highlights, as well as the beautiful swimthroughs at the site.

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Next up was Christmas Point, with a very mild current and good viz, no less than six White Tips were spotted in this dive. Nice to see so many sharks around. Then on dive three at Three Trees, lightning struck twice, as again one lucky diver spotted another of the shy and elusive Shovelnose Rays! Awesome! We also had a huge Barracuda tornado at the end of that dive too. Sweet...

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The Turtle Rock night dive produced a few hunting Morays, a Cuttlefish, some cool swimthroughs and plenty of crustaceans. The third day started at North Point, with Napoleons, Barracuda, another White Tip shark and a few Ornate Ghost Pipefish.

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Then it was off to Koh Bon for two dives on the west Ridge and a night dive in the bay. We has a Manta that everyone saw, so that was a winner. Jenkins Whiprays, Bloched Fantail Rays, and so much other life there too, it was really, really good!

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The following morning we decided to do Koh Bon Pinnacle. With very little current and good viz again, two lucky divers saw a family of six Bloched Fantail Rays hovering near the pinnacle. We also saw three Ghost Pipefish (All together in the same spot!) and a really cool deep purple colored Stonefish. Dive two was on the West Ridge again, and after seeing more Jenkins and Fantail Rays down deep, we ALL had two Mantas for the entire second half of the dive, all the way to the safety stop. They stayed with us the whole time, one and then the other coming in close to check us out. So cool!

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After the amazing show it was off to Tachai for some beach time and then a dive on Tachai Pinnacle. That one was nice, with four Ghost Pipefish, a Napoleon Wrasse and plenty of other action as well. What an awesome day of diving!!!

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The fifth day started with with another dive on Tachai Pinnacle - listen to this winner: Ghost Pipefish, check. Bloched Fantail Ray, check. Eagle Ray (!!!), check. 2.5 meter Juvenile Whaleshark... CHECK!!!

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Some of the groups had the Whaleshark during the dive, and then EVERYONE had it on the surface after the dive for ten minutes. It was easily the smallest Whaleshark I have ever seen, 2.5 meters at the most. So small and cute, it was swimming right between us at the surface, coming around and around. Everyone was very well behaved, and because no one touched her, she just kept coming back again and again. One of the best morning dives ever!!!

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On to the world famous Richelieu Rock for three dives... And what do we see on our first dive of the day at Richelieu? A big Manta Ray cruises by to say hello! Most saw her at the beginning of the dive, and then she came back near the end of the dive for another pass in front of one of the groups. We also had so much other life, including Jenkins Whiprays...

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Tigertail Seahorses and many Ornate Ghost Pipefish. There were schooling Trevally and Barracuda, and many types of crabs and shrimp, including the oh-so-cute Harlequin Shrimp. We even had time for a few group photos underwater.

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Then on the last dive we struck gold again, as a small Female Whaleshark appeared out of the blue as we are descending for our sunset dive! So sweet!!!

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She was around for a while, then swam off, and then reappeared later in the dive to bid farewell to the members of the No Sixer Diving Team. Awesome!

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The final day (number 6) of diving we woke up at the new HTMS Pra Thong wreck. And old WWII transport barge, it's a very new wreck on Thailand's West coast, having been sunk just last month. We cruised a around, entering into some of the larger holes, and peeking into some of the smaller ones. Really cool.

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Last up was a dive on the Boonsung Wreck. It's always so good, with Frogfish, Ghost Pipefish and even Seamoths found there.

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Add to that all the usual suspects like Spearing Mantis Shrimp, Blue Spotted stingrays and Honeycomb Moray Eels and you've got a recipe for a fantastic dive, every time!
So, after an awesome week long adventure aboard Manta Queen 2, it's sad to see the guests depart. We wish them happy travels and safe diving in the future.

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Tomorrow we welcome another bunch for a fantastic three day tour of the North Andaman Sea's best dive sites! Really, this season has been the best diving around here in quite some time, many years in fact. It's time for YOU to come join in on the fun! Book your trip with Khao Lak Scuba Adventures before this season ends and come see what all the stories are about... Thailand's BEST diving. Hope to see you underwater sometime very soon... you have one month left to make it happen and see yourself in a picture like this one below!!!

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After two trips off it felt great to be back aboard Manta Queen 6 to head out with a new group of guests for another 3day/3night adventure in Similan & Surin Marine National Park. We got off to a flying start with sightings of Mantas on both dives at Koh Bon. 

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Tachai Pinnacle lived up to it's alter ego, the "Dome of Doom" with a green monster engulfing the dive site. Despite the chill, ghost pipe fish, giant barracuda, schools of bat fish, giant morays, juvenile oriental sweetlips and juv. angel fish kept our divers entertained.  The following morning, conditions had improved drastically and the dive ended with an encounter with schooling chevron barracuda.

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We cruised over to Richelieu for three lovely dives on the rock...Sedrick the Seahorse was posing happily for photos, along with peacock mantis shrimp, zebra moray, pipe fish, cuttle fish, harlequin shrimp, bent stick pipe fish and schools of snapper and trevally in the shallows.  After the infamous nipple rub before our Sunset dive, Richelieu didn't failed to disappoint when a 3-4m Whale Shark popped by for a visit.  
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The trip ended with two wreck dives, the first on HTMS Pra Thong originally the USS Dodge County, a navy freight ship used in WWII, recently sunk off the mainland shores.  Fish life is beginning to appear, but it will take a few years before the 98m long ship will reach it's full potential as an artificial reef.  The second and last dive of our trip was at Boon Sung, teaming with marine life as always.  

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Congratulations to the 5 new Advanced Open Water divers: Adam, Anders, Tinus, Kim and Vladimir who completed their course successfully on the boat.  A big thank you to all our  guests on board Manta Queen 6 .

Happy Diving!

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Four days and nights out at around the Similan Islands and I think at the moment it would be hard to argue against this being the ‘hottest’ place in Thailand at the moment, with manta ray and whale shark sightings all over the place. Everything has to come to an end, and at the start of every trip while everyone is talking about possibly seeing them, the staff are crossing their fingers and  hoping this isn’t the streak.

It was an ominous start; we had just been transferred to the boat, set up the gear and spent a couple minutes relaxing when it started raining. The covers well pulled down and sealed up, but it was all for nothing. Two minutes later it stopped and we didn’t feel another drop for the trip, and I think was similar to how the trip went. The conditions seemed to tease us sometimes but then at the last minute deliver in big ways. We were hit frequently with thermoclines a couple spots with some surge and some waves but in the end we didn’t care, the diving was so great that it was worth it, and in the end all just part of the experience.

 

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The first day diving around the Similans: Anita’s Reef, Deep Six and West of Eden. These sites are packed with macro at the moment. Throw in a couple shark sightings, turtles, octopus and you have a nice first day and a great intro in what these island have to offer.

Day two and things picked up a notch underwater. First dive is nice and early on the rocky outcrop between the 8th and 9th Island in the Similans called Elephant Head Rock.  Lots of swim throughs and deep pinnacles to check out. One group was lucky enough to find two adult white-tip reef shark resting on the sand with a juvenile swimming around them. Dive two is one of the most northern dives in the Similans and the last one before we head north. Christmas Point is similar to the last dive in layout, conditions and even the fish!! Sharks again in the deep pinnacles and I think the divers were starting to get a little spoiled. As we are always trying to please everyone on the boat we then headed up to Koh Bon and with a help of some nipple rubbing (an ancient good luck technique), we had a manta ray cruising around with us just off the west ridge.

 

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The visibility at the moment is variable to say the least. There has been no current to speak of, but the sudden cold water that seems to come out of nowhere and  surround you, aptly named “green monsters”, are everywhere at the moment, and it was because of one of these that one or two groups missed the manta ray. But disappointment seems to be short lived at the moment, the very next dive on Koh Tachai we had another manta ray. It’s a beautiful site with juvenile angelfish, schools of barracuda and batfish, and having a manta cruising around the site as well was amazing.

Third day and it begins with a chance to explore the deeper bommies and pinnacles with another dive on Koh Tachai. The manta didn’t return here for breakfast, but with calm waterbit was a nice wake up. The sun accompanied us on the three hour trip north to the underwater pinnacle known as Richelieu Rock. This is a site known for macro, with seahorse, frogfish and harlequin shrimp scattered around. These are all amazing but there was anticipation in the air to see a whale shark. We heard on the radio the day before one was spotted, but after two dives with our eyes searched far and wide we hadn’t seen it. One more dive here and realistically it was the last chance to see a whale shark this trip. I thought luck wasn’t on our side, about ten minutes after getting out of the water from the second dive a whale shark was spotted from another boat. What to do? We pushed the last dive forward thirty minutes and would have to hope it was still around. It only took about ten minutes into the dive that it was spotted right next to the surface. Then we just watched it for twenty minutes as it was feeding on the plankton, circling around the groups. It was a juvenile about 4-5 m, and a very curious fellow. Not scared of the divers and it looked like the he would purposefully swim over our bubbles. A couple people even had to take some evasive action when the shark unperturbed in his quest for food would swim right at them. What a way to end the dive and the day.

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There are two dives on the last day and both are on shipwrecks, but of polar opposites. The first is the Pra Tong which is a huge navy cargo boat from WWII only sunk three weeks ago. As it is so new it is not yet covered in barnacles and coral and you can really appreciate the structure and size of it.

The last dive is on the Boonsung which is a favourite and a great way to end the trip. The usual suspects were there; honeycomb morays, nudibranch, kuhl stingrays, but the real surprise was a big marble ray hiding under the structure. Amazing trip, amazing people. Thank to everyone who came and made it an extra special trip, and congratulations to all the new advanced open water and enriched air divers. See you soon under the water!!

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 There was a lot of love in the water

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We all think that Mantas and Whale Sharks, one day they will leave to go somewhere else, and we say when that day come, something from our heart will leave us. BUT... so far... they are still out there!!! This is amazing, outstanding!! 

We don't reach to see any manta in Koh Bon, but they are waiting for us in Koh Tachai, and if you want more... I whale shark coming in the morning dive to have his coffee with us. And... wait for it... if you want more... another whale shark coming to have lunch with us in Richelieu rock!!!

 

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Now the blue skies have been changed for  stunning beautiful white clouds that makes Similan islands look even a more beautiful paradise. Of course this clouds some times turns into rain, like the first day, that it was a cloudy grey day with some rains. But from there and on, sun was shining all day long.

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We had a little change on the schedule due to the weather. We didn't go to elephant head rock and instead dove in Deep Six paying a visit to our old friends, our amazing couple of ribbon eels. Discovering that another seamoth came to the same spot where another seamoth was last season.

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The amounts of green monsters coming right now is incredible, some times you see yourself looking at some macro stuff and suddenly looking at the blue... but its not blue anymore, its a storm under the water, a black green cloud coming towards you, and you have to decide if stay or run away.

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We had all the macro we wanted, gosht pipe fish (a new one in the new wreck), seamoths, frogfish, ribbon eels, sea horses, nudibranches... but the ones that personally impressed me, it was the nudibranch in the new wreck, Janolus sp. I have never seen such a beautiful nudibranch (see photo attached). And as well a pair of bearded file fish in the same dive spot.

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All that together I have to say that it's been a really really nice trip where we have a lot of fun with a group of 15 Chinese brining a lot of new things that we have never tried before, and all the people was  really nice.

Thanks everyone for this amazing trip.

 Isma  :D

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Manta Queen VI Trip 123

 

Day 1

 

Koh Bon an Tachai.

Two dives at Koh Bon and two at Tachai, must be the time of year for plankton and green monsters as all four dives had these dense cold clouds of plankton surging in from the deep reducing visibility but increasing the chances of seeing mantas as we saw at Tachai with at least four different individuals feeding there on both dives......awesome !!!!!

 

Day 2

 

Tachai, Richelieu and Surin Island

Dive one we were able to visit the outer pinnacle with plenty of groupers and bat fish.

Dive two at Richelieu up to its usual standard of excellence with plenty of barracuda and trevally action

Dive three was at Surin Island due to an increase in wind and waves, where we were pleasantly surprised with 8 to 10 blue spotted rays, 2 sea horses, squat shrimps and porcelain crabs.

Dive 4 on the reef at Tachai to finish of a great day.

 

Day 3

 

Koh Bon and Boonsung

Dive 1 on the pinnacle was low current and good viz but as it was our 9 th dive of the trip our NDL times were cut short due to the depths, on the way to Boonsung we were visited by dolphins...... Beautiful

Boonsung saw the completion of Terrie's Advanced course... Congratulations keep up the good work and hope to see you all on MQVI again soon.....b2ap3_thumbnail_G0025509.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1585.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1591.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1592.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1705.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1846.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1857.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1882---copia.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1882.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1897.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_2730.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_2733.JPG

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Manta Queen 2 is seeing the biggest fish in the sea... again, and again, and again!!!
This trip number 140 was absolutely awesome, with many Marvelous Manta Rays and A Whaleshark... on just the first day!

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We began at Koh Bon, and after the usual check dive and seeing that the sea conditions were perfect for the big fish, expectations were high for dive number two. Koh Bon's West Ridge delivered, with one lucky group seeing a five meter Whaleshark cruising by! We saw all kinds of other cool stuff too, like huge Giant Trevally, schooling Rainbow Runners, Dogtooth Tuna, and a large male Napoleon Wrasse. Really good diving.
Next up were two dives at the fantastic Tachai Pinnacle. Ten minutes into dive number three and we had already seen five Ornate Ghost Pipefish, and we were staring at a huge Manta Ray circling directly over our heads! Winner!!!

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All of the divers on the boat saw at least one Manta, and a few of the groups saw two different Mantas over the course of the dive. Ssswwwweeeeeettttttt!!!

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The sunset dive was even better. Multiple Mantas were around for most of the dive, and at the end we did a fifteen minute safety stop with two Mantas circling us at five meters depth.

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It really was fantastic, one of the best dives this season, which is saying a lot considering how's many Whalesharks we've had this year.

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After an amazing dinner and a slide show featuring the smaller creatures that can be found on Richelieu Rock, it was time for bed.
We awoke the following morning to some light rain and a bit of current at Tachai, but still managed a wonderful dive, with several more Manta Rays appearing for a few of the groups. One of the Mantas had a very large shark bite in the back of its left wing, but seemed to be doing alright. Swimming around fine and just as beautiful as ever.

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Next up were the usual three dives at Richelieu Rock. It was raining a bit during the journey. North, but it was not windy and there were no waves. We arrived at Richelieu on schedule and ready to jump. We saw so much cool stuff there, what a fantastic dive site that place is. Harlequin Shrimp, Ghost Pipefish, Seahorses, Nudis of all shapes and sizes, along with huge Barracuda, Longfin Batfish and big Schools of Trevally can be seen there on nearly every dive. This place is really very special, easily earning it's title as Thailand's best dive site. You've just got to see it to believe it!

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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, is it was new for all of us. Quite a big ship, it is a 100 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 fun. Good times.

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The Boonsung wreck done as the last dive of the trip is always a treat. In addition to the usual suspects like Honeycomb Moray Eels, Ghost Pipefish, Nudibranch, Spearing Mantis Shrimp and A Sea Moth, we found a Spotfin Frogfish this time around. So nice to see this little guy on the Boonsung, hopefully we will be able to find him again next week...

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We had quite a few students on this trip again, as usual. Elea did her Advanced course with Evan, and Claudia and Heidi did their Deep Adventure Dive with him as well.

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We had these five Swedish Dudes, "Team Sweden" on the boat, diving with Mattias on Nitrox and just generally tearing it up. Four of them - Jan, Bjorn, Andreas, and Patrik, along with Jennifer all finished their PADI Enriched Air Diver course, being taught by both Mattias and Joe. Cool, great work guys. Welcome to the club!
It's always sad to come to the end of the trip, but the memories from the diving and the friendships made will live on. So the bad news is that another memorable trip has come to an end. The good news? We are going out again tomorrow! Come and join us aboard Manta Queen 2 to experience your own unique three day diving adventure! Till next time... Happy bubbles!!!


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What more can we say after 34 trips this season?, are each one still surprising us somehow?, from the point of view of somebody coming to do just one trip with such great conditions underwater and amount of creatures to find is easy to come back really happy to land, but when we got repeating costumers, like Roger this time (14 trips already), is another whole of a challenge, but as well for us, loving as we do our job we challenge constantly ourself to find new and exciting things.

We were really happy to see how Roger enjoyed several things we founded in this one, even doubling our enjoyment for those guys.

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One of the Highlights without doubt was the Hispid Frogfish (amazing to find this creature seen by me just in Lembeh Strait) at Prah Thong Wreck, brand new wreck lying at 26 meters. 120 meters long and surprisingly already with different anemonies and fish living within after just few days underwater. We were really excited with the idea of being one of the first ones diving at this place and looking forward to see how was the area, but even with all that was better we were expecting, is already a great dive point and with the time is gonna be outstanding.

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Another thing that amaze us this trip were this two Devil Scorpionfish kissing?, fighting?, mating?, what do you think?, were complitly  steady in that position.

Again we founded the tiny Clown Frogfish at Richelieu Rock, the other Clown at Turtle Rock (this one got into a fight and loose one eye this last days, we think with the other clown frogfish living in the same are because is not the first time we see them figthing), the Freckled Frogfishes at West of Eden and Richelieu Rock and the Spotfin Frogfishes at Boonsung Wreck.

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The amount of Seamoths lately is outstanding, and we were really happy of seeing how Roger enjoyed this little fellas, West of Eden, Elephant Head Rock, Turtle Rock, The Dome, Richelieu Rock and Boonsung Wreck, quite a lot!!!

One of the highlights of this trip was as well the amount of boats we had around in different places, we dove complectly alone in several dive sites, like Koh Bon, Koh Tachai, Richelieu Rock, Phra Thong, Elephant Head Rock, Turtle Rock, even if usually we try not to jump with the same schedules of other boats, this time weren´t other boats around, then the feeling of having the place for us was amazing.

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And of course, the private Manta Show we had at the dome, with 4 Mantas just for us the whole dive dancing around, chasing each other (the first time i saw a train of 4 mantas one behind the other one!!), what a dive!!!!, and lucky for us wasn´t the only one, the next one at the same place we had two of those mantas being even friendlier than before and another huge one coming to visit us in the Sunrise dive the day after.

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What other surprises we had speaking about sharks and Rays this trip?, a Marbled Ray sleeping underneath Boonsung Wreck, a White Tip Reef Shark at Elephant Head Rock and a Jenkins Whipray at The Dome.

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On Board, with a big mixture of nationalities, we had great moments, new friendships, a lot of Nipples Rubbed and memories to keep. Not forgetting all the new certified divers, like Luca, who finish his Open Water and Advanced, Mia her Advanced Course and Pauline, Laurent, Kurtis and Corinne, Brand new Nitrox certified divers.

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What else did we see this last days?, like always the usual suspects make Similans so special, Ornate and Robust Ghostpipefishes, Cuttlefishes, Octopuses, Groupers, Barracudas Tornado, Tons of Nudis, Pipefishes, Snake Eels, Moray Eels, Lobsters, Decorator Crabs, Flounders, Spanish Mackarels, Batfish, Seahorses, Harlequin Shrimps...etc, etc.

Thank you everybody for coming, hope to see you back again.

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Manta Queen 2 is so lucky this year! We have seen Whalesharks on four of the last five trips!!!

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After a smooth departure on the first evening, Manta Queen 2 awakens to a beautiful morning at Koh Bon, our usual starting point for these adventures.

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We've got Mattias, Walter, Tom and Joe all teaching courses this trip, with ten Advanced students on board and one Nitrox course going as well.

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The first dive was really good, with Spearing Mantis Shrimp, Giant Morays, Multi-bar Pipefish, and a Napoleon Wrasse all being seen. Also there were schools of Rainbow Runners, Dogtooth Tuna and Trevally circling over the reef, hunting on the thick layer of Glass fish that were covering some of the coral bommies. One group even saw a Hook-jaw Moray Eel hiding in one of the deeper crevices.

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The second dive was on Koh Bon's North Ridge, and it was nice as well. More Morays, hunting fish, nudibranch and even a few Octopus were seen by many of the divers.

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Next up were two dives at Koh Tachai. This place is sweet! We saw five Ornate Ghost Pipefish (two of them were pregnant)

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Huge schools of Trevally and Fusuliers, a Barramundi Cod, and tons of Morays and other cool stuff, including a Manta Ray! This particular Manta was not shy at all, and at one point she stopped and hovered right in front of my dive group for a while, just sitting motionless about three meters from us, checking us out as much as we were checking her out! Awesome!

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A few groups jumped in on Tachai Reef to do the navigation dive for the Advanced course, and they were lucky enough to see a small Leopard shark laying in the sand.

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The next morning saw that very strong current that Tachai is famous for. With divers stepping in one at a time and holding the mooring line, everyone got down to the top of the Pinnacle without any problems, and from there we were able to hide from the current for most of the dive. We saw plenty of cool things, including a nice Jenkins Whipray laying in the sand at 25 meters.

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Then it happened. As the sea sometimes does, it produces the goods without warning. A four meter long Whaleshark comes cruising by a few of the groups, swimming effortlessly against the current the we had been hiding from for the entire dive. What a magnificent creature, a gentle giant that brings joy and awe to everyone who is lucky enough to see them. So cool!!!

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Then it was off to Richelieu Rock for three dives to round out what had already been a fabulous day.
We saw everything from Peacock Mantis Shrimp, juvenile Emperor and Trapeze Angelfish, Moray Eels of all shapes and sizes, to massive schools of Snappers, Trevally and Dogtooth Tuna. We were even able to find a baby Tigertail Seahorse and more than a few Ornate Ghost Pipefish, along with the crowd-favorite Harlequin Shrimp. These little guys are actually vicious predators, cutting the arms off of seas stars and saving them to eat later. You can just imagine the sea stars seeing the Harlequins coming, yelling to each other "Every man for themselves"!

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The final day brought dives at the stunning Koh Bon Pinnacle and the crowd-pleasing Boonsung Wreck. What a nice end to an absolutely amazing trip. Always a treat in good conditions, we experienced pretty good viz and very little current at the Pinnacle this time around. Our little buddy Stewie the Stonefish was in his home as usual. Add to that schools of Bluefin Trevally, Tuna and Rainbow Runners, and a Blotched Fantail Ray, and it was a very nice dive indeed.

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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. Ornate Ghost Pipefish are usually around, and there are always tons of Honeycomb Moray Eels hanging out of the nooks and crannies. We have even been seeing a few small Sea moths on top of the wreck lately, and we found them again today. A few really well hidden Frogfish too! It really is a great dive, every time. A wonderful finish to an unforgettable three days!

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I want to offer a big congratulations to all of our students on board this trip. Anna became a newly certified PADI Enriched Air diver, so she is now in the nitrox club. Dominic, Claire, Matteo, Carl, Brittany, Anna, Phillip, Adi, Mila and Lucas all completed their PADI Advanced Open Water course during the trip, so they are now advanced divers certified to dive to a depth of 30 meters. Yeah! Great job guys, and welcome to the family!!!

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It's always a little sad to end the trip, but there is a silver lining... 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!!! :-)

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Challenge Accomplished!!!, we made it through this month of March having Mantas and Whale Sharks every single trip, the Perfect month!!!, something that after few trips came out like a joke we weren´t seeing possible, became real.

The Mantas appear in our two dives at The dome (Koh Tachai) the second day, where we suffered quite a lot of cold Green Monsters in the area, sometimes dropping the temperature to 25 degrees and the visibility to 4 meters. Lucky us just lasted few minutes. Such a great feeling to see how the thermocline is going away and in seconds you go from 25 to 28/29 again, so warmmmmmm.

When we see this green clouds coming from the deep we always got a mix of feelings from knowing we don´t want to suffer the cold but we really want to see what is coming within.

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We had time in those dives to find a baby seamoth, several Ghostpipefish, a Jenkin´s Whipray, Devil scorpionfish, a yellow Pipefish, Barracudas, Big Eye Trevallies, soft coral cowries......etc, within the Granite Boulders and stunning coral of this for a lot one of the best dives of this trip together with Richelieu Rock.

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The Whale Shark appears in our Sunset dive at Richelieu Rock, such a goodbye gift from this stunning rock to us, totally the cherry on top the usual 3 dives over there.

A whole dive enjoying the dance of this 5 meters female, who after several trips identifying her at Richelieu Rock we decided to call Bobtail.

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Of course Richelieu Rock delivers more things in the first two dives, seahorses, Harlequin Shrimps, Bentstick Pipefish, again the smallest Frogfish ever!! (you can get a good size reference in the picture below), Cuttlefish, octopuses, Ribbon Eel, Freckled Frogfish.....etc

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Other Highlights of this trip were again the amazing night dive at Turtle Rock, never stop amazing us, with Clown Frogfish, Robust Ghostpipefish, Seamoth, Decorator Crabs, Lobsters, etc.....together with other suspects we spot in our first day like Ribbon Eels, Turtles, Marbled Snake Eels, Ornate Ghostpipefishes, a Picachu Nudibranch at Elephant Head Rock!! and a Cockatoo Waspfish sharing the same rock with a baby Seamoth at West of Eden. Not forgetting the spotting of a Common Seahorse while we were doing the safety stop at Anita´s Reef, that actually wasn´t the only one, another one at Koh Bon North Ridge, are you coming or going little fellas?

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Last day we dove like usual at Hin Luang to pay a visit to the Stonefishes and with the sighting of a Marbled Ray at the Deep Ridge, those guys are getting so use to the divers that they don´t mind to cruise among us.

And this time we decide to go to Premchai Wreck instead of Boonsung after realizing the amount of boats going to the first one, being at the end the only ones diving it we enjoyed this our last dive with barracudas, spearing mantis shrimps, Crocodile Flatheads, Shortnose Pipefish, Cuttelfish, Orangutan Crab....etc

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Again back to the pier with a another great trip to tell about and quite a lot Brand new certified Nitrox divers and Advanced, don´t hesitate to ask for Nitrox if you want to enjoy this amazing season with us, if you never try it you will not regret it, the way to go!!!

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Manta Queen VI Trip 121

 

Day one Koh Bon and Tachai.

 

Koh Bon was an unusual dive on this trip as current on the site was quite low but a strong too and fro surge brought with it quite cool and dark green monsters, nutrient rich cold water from the depths which are generally good conditions to see mantas but sadly we saw none, although there was still plenty of trevallys tunas and rainbow runners with a pair of Napoleon wrasse also.

 

Tachai, was with very similar conditions to Koh Bon with surge and green monsters but the morning dive on the outer pinnacle was a big improvement with clearer water and plenty of groupers and barracuda on the pinnacle rock keeping us company on the safety stop.

 

Day two Richelieu Rock.

 

Three dives here in this macro paradise and still there is more to see and more surprises in every crack, from pipe fish to harlequin shrimp and sea horses to the extreme with the biggest fish in the sea ...... The now almost all too common WHALE SHARK greeting us on dive three..... World class again

 

Day Three HTMS Pra Thong and Boomsung wreck

 

Two wreck dives to finish the trip, the first, sunk only two weeks ago to create new sites and artificial reefs was a WWII transport ship of 1600 tonnes, truly impressive with plenty to explore.

Boonsung (Fish soup)

 

Old tin dredger broken up by the tsunami in 2004 but still an impressive dive to see all types of eel ,puffer fish, scorpion fish and lion fish everywhere and rays in the sand with spearing mantis shrimps and partner shrimps galore

 

Thanks to you all for coming and we hope to see you on MQVI soon......b2ap3_thumbnail_1.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_Frogfish.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_3295.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_3317.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_3336.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_3405.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_3464.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_3480.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_3482.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_3490.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_3492.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_Kuhls-Ray2.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_Phra-Thong.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_Whally63.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_Whally68.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_Whally69.JPG

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Mantas, Mantas! They are everywhere at Koh Bon! What an amazing start to this, trip number 138 on Manta Queen 2.

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After a promising check dive on Koh Bon's West Ridge, in which several groups spotted a few different Manta rays, excitement was high before dive number two. After the traditional Manta call during the briefing...

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We dropped into the dive site with high hopes, and we were not disappointed. In addition to Napoleon Wrasse, Octopus, Moray Eels, Multi-bar Pipefish and these really cool Spearing Mantis Shrimp...
We saw Mantas! At first it was just one, and then another.

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They are so beautiful, cruising around effortlessly in the currents, sometimes coming in quite close to take a good look at us.

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We saw several different ones during the dive, and by the end of the hour and talking with the dive guides we figure there were at least three different Mantas that circled us for nearly the entire time. One even came up right below us when we were at the safety stop. Until next time, buddy!

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The next few dives were at Tachai Pinnacle. One group jumped in on Tachai Reef to practice some navigation skills for the PADI Advanced Open Water course.

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Walter was their instructor, and the students were Carlos, Seve, Alex, Steve and Christelle. Good effort guys, completing your Advanced course onboard during the trip. Congratulations to you all!

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After a few dives on the Pinnacle and a good night of sleep, it was up early on day two for one more dive at Tachai. The morning dive was really great, with excellent viz and a lot of life. We saw Barracuda, Dogtooth Tuna, Latticetail Morays, Batfish and so much more. One lucky group found a Blotched Fantail Ray laying in the sand down deep. So nice to see them around!

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And now, for the main attraction, Richelieu Rock. Ghost Pipefish, Harlequin Shrimp, Zebra Morays, Tigertail Seahorses, Toadfish, Juvenile Angelfish, Tiger Egg Cowries... I could go on and on.

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Oh yeah, and a boat full of happy divers!

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We even saw a huge Mangrove Whipray surrounded by Cobia on the sunset dive. This looked to be the same scenario I wrote about a few trips ago, with ten to fifteen Cobia all over a gigantic Whipray. Really cool to see, that's for sure.

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The last day was awesome, with dives on Koh Bon Pinnacle and the Boonsung Wreck, not to mention a quick visit by a few unidentified Whales as we were cruising in the open sea between dive sites.
Koh Bon Pinnacle had a bit of current and some tough viz, but it was still a nice dive, with a Blotched Fantail Ray and a few Stonefish being spotted on the site.

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The final dive of the trip on the Boonsung Wreck is always fantastic, and this week was no different. We saw Frogfish, Ghost Pipefish, Porcupine Pufferfish and so many Honeycomb Moray Eels. Even the little Sea Moth was home again this week. Awesome!

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Well then, another trip is in the books, and Manta Queen 2 has certainly had a fantastic season so far this year. Come and join us before the season ends, I promise you'll be glad you did!

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As 11 eager guests boarded Manta Queen 6 to embark on their 3 day live-aboard, the heavens opened and heavy rain, long overdue, cascaded over the sunroof and decks, but it failed to dampen our spirits and before long everyone was becoming aquainted with each other & their boat. The rain eased off just in time for us to celebrate the firecracker display and Trip 120 was officially underway.

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 Our first dives proved fruitful at Koh Bon with 3 majestic mantas seen flying around the Ridge & surrounding areas. Manta mania ensued with another sighting at Tachai Dome later that day along with a glorious spiraling school of Chevron Barracuda. 

 

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Richelieu Rock held up it's reputation as the top divesite in Thailand when it presented 2 whale sharks to keep us enthralled & buzzing with excitement. Our guests couldn't get enough & snorkeled with them between dives. In between Whally sightings, cuttle fish, seahorses, ghost pipe fish and much, much more was enjoyed by our divers. 
 
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We descended into clear waters on day 3 at Hin Luang off Koh Bon, with perfect conditions for a stunning & relaxed morning dive. During our slow ascent we had a nice surprise as a 3m whaleshark came cruising across the pinnacle below us, followed shortly by a 4m manta circling the top of Hin Luang.  Needless to say our safety stop was extended by another 10mins. A second ray was also spotted in the distance before we broke the surface and we're guessing from the size and colour it may have been a mobular ray. The bar of expectations has certainly been raised a notch or two!
 
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Congratulations to Sinnova on completing her 200th dive and to David & Samantha for braving the deep on their Adventure Dive. 
 
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Big thanks to all our guests on board for a lovely trip, from all the crew on MQ6. Safe onward travel and happy diving!
 
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Posted by on in Manta Queen I

Here we are back again from another trip full of surprises, Whale Sharks, Mantas, White Tip Reef Sharks, Black Tips, Leopard Sharks, new Frogfishes, New Seahorses………etc.

Maybe one of the biggest surprises, and not because the size, was the Borbon Seahorse at The Dome, arrives to the rock in the same moment we were starting the dive, hitchiking a tiny piece of rope,  for sure with plenty of adventures in his journey from who knows where. Welcome to Koh Tachai my friend, we hope you will be in the area we seen you steping out, not a bad place to live The Dome.


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Second one was a frenzy of Sharks at the Koh Bon, West Ridge in our first dive of the second day, where 1 White Tip was chassed by 4 Black tips, one of them bited oh another of his friends and they dissapear in fractions of a second while another shark, this time a Leopard Shark appears in front of us enjoying the current and coming really close to check on us.

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Third one at Richelieu Rock, 2 new Frogfishes, one incredible tiny Clown Frogfish (Thank you Lianne for this one),  and a Freckled one living within the Brands of a Tubastrea Coral.

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And now of course, the Big weapons!!, Mantas and Whale Sharks, with a amazing dive at Koh Bon West Ridge our second day, with at least 3 Mantas and a Whale Shark appearing for half of the boat!!

But thats not all, few groups had Mantas in different dives at Koh Tachai, The Dome, and in Hin Luang our last day, this one quite white, beautiful!!!!.

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And wait fo it, as well two Whale Sharks in our first dive at Richelieu Rock, seems are being quite common over there the last days.

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In Hin luang we had several other visitors apart of the Manta Ray, a Marble Ray and several crazy Green Monster, creating a great frenzy around the rock, perfect moment to enjoy the showand locate both Stonefish while we were hiding behind the rock.

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And to finish, of course, our beloved Boonsung Wreck, with our friends the Ornate Ghostpipefishes, Seamoths, Spearing Mantis Shrimps, Crocodile Flatheads, Pipefish, Orangutan Crabs, Spotfin Frogfish, Barracudas, Razorfish and tons of life.

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Again back to the pier with a boat full of smiles and brand new certified costumers, Congratulations to Cristina for her Open Water Certification, Matthias, Chen and Lin for your Advanced and Erwan for your Nitrox one.

 

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Oh my! Manta Queen 2 is on a roll. We have seen at least one Whaleshark on each of the past three trips!!! That's right, say it with me: Whalesharks!!! Bang Baby!

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This trip was super fun for everyone. We had Mantas dancing together at Koh Bon on day one and a Whaleshark at Richelieu Rock on day two. Can't beat it.

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We began in the bay at Koh Bon, as always. Our first dive on the West Ridge was really nice, with Sweelips, schooling Yellow Snapper, Octopus, Multi-bar Pipefish and Spearing Mantis Shrimp.
Dive two on the West Ridge turned out up be the highlight of the day, as we had visits from several Manta Rays, and at one point some of the groups saw two Mantas dancing together, gracefully turning around each other and doing flips around in the light current.

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In addition to that, we saw Giant Morays, Ribbon Eels, Peacock Mantis Shrimp, Blue Spotted Stingrays and so much more. A fantastic couple of dives to start the trip off right.

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Next up were the three dives at Tachai Pinnacle. These were a little tough this time around, with some strong current and challenging conditions. We did have the huge school of Chevron Barracuda circling overhead and at the safety stops, so that was nice. The morning dive a Tachai was interesting, with an extremely strong thermocline coming in, changing the viz from about fifteen meters down to one meter in a matter of seconds. It got almost complete dark too. Exciting, anyway.

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Then it's in to Richelieu Rock. What a wonderful place Richelieu is. About one minute into the first dive we saw her: the same four meter female Whaleshark that we had seen just four days ago! She was still there, seemingly waiting for the return of Manta Queen 2 to her home! :-)

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So beautiful, she swam lazily in the current, right in front for everyone to see. She came around a few times and then left. We carried on into the dive, enjoying all that Thailand's best dive site has to offer.

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Over the course of the next three dives, we saw Cleaner Pipefish, Ornate Ghost Pipefish, Tigertail Seahorses, juvenile Angelfish, Tiger Egg Cowries, Schooling barracuda and Trevally, nudibranch, Cuttlefish, Octopus, and more different types of Morays that I want to name. An absolutely wonderful day, capped by a magical sunset in the Surin Islands.

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The third day saw dives at Koh Bon and the Boonsung Wreck. Finally some easy conditions on the pinnacle, with blue water and almost no current. Stewie the Stonefish was there as always. Nice to visit that little guy every four days!

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We had a few special finds on the Boonsung, the stand-outs being multiple Frogfish and one cute little Seamoth. So cool!

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A special thank you goes out to all of our students onboard this trip. Annete did her Nitrox course and is now a certified PADI Enriched Air diver. Lasse, Mattias, Sophia, Aymeric and Joyce all completed their PADI Advanced Open Water course during the trip. Way to go guys! Sweet!!!

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I've been saying this for some months now: this season has been the best diving in the Similans in a very long time. The time to come diving here is NOW!!! Contact us at www.khaolakscubaadventures.com to book your adventure on any of our four amazing liveaboard boats. We can not wait to introduce you to all of our resident creatures, Mantas and Whalesharks included! Hope to see you all underwater very soon! :-)

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First day was just incredible conditions. I am sure that phrase gets thrown around a lot, but what I mean is up to 50m, basically like an aquarium. At a couple of the sites we were even spotting sharks down at 30m while we were doing the safety stop. The weather was clear and sunny almost all trip, indeed all year. In fact it caught some of us off guard when the sun disappeared a little on the last day. 'Solar Eclipse' we asked, but no it was just clouds.

 

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Second day and as we start heading north everyone starts to get excited as they know, or at least some of them, the north we get the better the diving. The morning dives were great, with no current especially Elephant Head Rock. We dropped in on Koh Bon for the third dive with fingers and toes crossed hoping to see something big, however this wouldnt be our lucky dive. Last dive of the day is the sunset dive, and being so close to full moon and little current so far surely our time was due to experience a little of mother nature but nothing. In my view best dive of the trip, juv angelfish, pipefish, sea snake, huge hawksbill turtle and not to be outdone one of the biggest barracudas to ever live. No joke, this thing was bigger than most sharks, length and width. The photo below was the closest anyone dare get to it.

 

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Third day and after more fun on Koh Tachai its off to Richelieu for the three dives. What a great site at the moment: ornate ghost pipefish like ornatments just covering the site top to bottom, seahorse, frogfish, harlequin shrimp, orangutan shrimp, huge octopus and a couple different schools of barracudas hanging on the periphery of the site. 

As its the last night its one of reflection and sharing some final drinks with new friends.

 

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Final day and the plan is first dive on Koh Bon Pinnacle before the Boonsung shipwreck and then back to civilization. Hin Lueng (aka Koh Bon Pinnacle) is even better at the moment with the second stonefish spotted and a few ornates, and we even got the three huge marble rays on the deep side (sorry no photo). Boonsung is a great last dive as always. No current, sandy bottom of 20 meters and fish everywhere. Of course careful with the hand placement unless you want a handshake with a scorpionfish (not recommended). 

 

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Remember: to monkey around is not always silly

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