Similan and Surin Island Liveaboard Manta Quuen 7
With the beginning of April Manta Queen 7 sailed for 62nd trip around wonderful Similan Islands, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and famous Richelieu Rock.
We started on calm and pristine waters of Anita`s Reef, hidden near Similan Island 5 and 6, well known for rich marine life, from tiny species of nudibranch, curious but a little shy garden eels, masters of camouflage octopuses to chevron barracudas hunting out in the blue water and blue spotted sting rays, enjoying morning rest on the sandy bottom. After breakfast, we went further north, to island 7 to enjoy great visibility and conditions on two more dive sites. First, we visited our old friend, spearing mantis shrimp, who has been with us for last three years, popular resident on West of Eden channel. We enjoyed big gorgonian fans on a deeper section on this dive site and as gas supplies and no decompression limit started to shrink, we shallowed up to say hello to fabulous pink frogfish and spend our last minutes on the reef in search of giant groupers, octopuses, sea snakes and different kind of morray eels, from popular giant morrays, to smaller white eyed, painted and yellow nose morrays. After West of Eden we couldn`t wait to get on Deep Six. We managed to avoid strong currents and green monster and spend all the dive in good visibility, enjoying few swim - throughs, typical for similan big boulder dive sites and unique marine life. We saw tiny blue dragons on the shallower parts, female ribbon eel and it`s neighbour - smaller then on West of Eden spearing mantis shrimp. We finished this day with a night dive in Hideaway Bay, where armed with torches we started seeking for hunting giant morays, crabs, spiny lobsters, shrimps and different kinds of crabs.
We spend our second day on typical Similan Islands big boulder dive sites, starting from Boulder City, where we searched for sharks and big rays, hen shipped to Similan Islands 8 and 9. Our second dive was Elephant Head Rock, with it`s glowing like gold main rock standing above the surface. We visited ribbon ells living near the channel, take some photos with famous hole in the wall. On the deeper, sandy parts we saw many blue spotted sting rays. Out in the blue we saw giant trevallies, dogtooth tunas and colourful rainbow runner, just near the surface. As we were shallowing up, making our way in labyrinths full of light around the main rock, we finished our second dive out in the blue. As everybody loves holidays, our third dive site was named after popular, winter festival - the Christmas Point! Another big boulder place, with labyrinths, big carnivore fish cruising around looking for a prey and another one of our old friends, Barry the Barracuda. After the sunset dive in shallow but exciting dive in swim throughs on Turtle Rock we went off to Koh Bon, leaving Simians behind, still excited about the biggest moray eel that we meet inside one of the swim throughs, sitting just near an old box. Truly, a monster guarding a treasure!
On the third day we started with West Ridge on Koh Bon Island, one of the most famous and popular dive sites around this area, well know for being a cleaning station for big, oceanic animals, like manta rays and sharks. On the wall we saw maldivian sponge snails, cute type of a black, velvet - looking snail, typical only to Maldives and… Koh Bon Island. We made our way by the wall all the way down where the west ridge ends, around 30 meters deep. At the very end of it, we found unique kind of fluorescent red anemone, inhabited by small but brave clown fish, ready to protect her special home even from big divers and giant groupers, whom, by accident, like in a nearest crack. As we were shallowing up, we spend some time looking at more nudibranchs, lobsters and shrimps on the way up the ridge, to the reef. From numerous octopuses, to porcelain crabs who dwell in one of the anemones near big coral bomy, to countless fish species, including resident big, emerald green napoleon vrasse and his smaller, brownish girlfriends. Our next dive was Koh Bon Island North Ridge, with large and beautiful hard corals, like table coral and deeper parts of sandy bottom and rocks, perfect hideaway for leopard sharks and some kinds of big rays, including marble rays and Jenkins rays. For the sunset dive we went for Koh Tachai and gloomy, big boulder dive site that may remind some of us of Lovecraft books and ancient cities, long time forgotten and abandoned. As the sun sets, the hunting begins, great and chevron barracudas, giant and blue fin trevallies, tunas, groupers and other carnivore fish starts to prey on smaller kinds. Anchois and glass fish try to avoid death by creating schools and changing its forms to trick the hunters. When we shallowed up for upper parts of the dome, we were lucky enough to find a tiny but very special creature! Sea moth, looking a bit like a tiny dragon (or a small bird) came back this season! We also managed to seek for multiply nudibranch.
On the fourth day we started with the morning dive on the Dome, near Koh Tachai where we can enjoy our full depth limit of 30 meters, exploring deeper parts of this dive site, intact coral fans and admiring hunting frenzy. As we were finishing the dive and doing our safety stop, we said hello to big napoleon erase and cousin of Barry the Barracuda, Steve. After that, we pulled the anchor and sailed for one of the most famous dive sites in the world, Richelieu Rock, named after a famous Danish officer, who become an admiral in Thai Navy. This dive site welcomed us with great visibility and no currents, allowing to spend as much time as we wanted, without effort of fighting with the current and cold water coming from deepest parts of the ocean. We spend three long dives on Richelieu Rock, gradually exploring whole dive site. Starting from the deeper parts, where we saw sea horses, pineapple fish, ghost pipe fish on first two dives, to the sunlit shallow parts, covered with soft, violet and purple corals and anemones, home for countless nudibranches, including well known from previous dive sites blue dragons. Big peacock mantis shrimp surprised us, by fearlessly carrying a big shell to her home just under our noses. We also saw pipe fish and cleaner pipe fish, living together in a crack with tiny, yellow boxfish, banded boxer shrimps and dancing shrimps. We also peeped at a pair of cuttlefish making love on a safety stop! Out in the blue we saw big schools of barracudas, cruising around the rocks.
On our last day just after the sunrise we jumped in the water to visit Koh Bon Island Hin Luang, “Yellow Rock”, with exceptionally good conditions and very little of current. We take a look at our friend stonefish, Stefan, who probably haven`t moved a lot since he was born and somehow resembles really miserable, strange looking pumpkin. After breakfast, we did our last dive in the Similan Island National Park on West Ridge Koh Bon Island. We saw few octopuses, maldivian sponge snails and then, shallowing up and going to the North Ridge, we saw a huge nurse shark sleeping under a coral bomy! What a way to say good bye to wonderful Similan Islands, but still with one dive head of us on our way back to Khao Lak. We stopped one more time and jumped over a Boonsung wreck, old mining platform that becomes a home for countless fish, creating a fish soup for a divers to swim. Starting from baby barracudas, to puffer and porcupine fish, white eyed and honeycomb morays to different kinds of nudibranchs dwelling in the “nudibranch motel”, lionfish, scorpionfish and even a baby devil scorpion fish! No surprise that for some of us Boonsung is one of the best dives on the trip.
The Team of Manta Queen 7 powered by Khao Lak Scuba Adventures