Next up were a few dives at Koh Tachai. Tachai is known to have some strong currents, but on this trip it was mostly calm there. The sunset dive was nice, with huge schools of Trevally and Rainbow Runners in the blue, just off the reef. There was a flurry of activity, as they were all beginning to hunt in the fading light.
The next morning brought one more dive at Tachai. The participants of this dive were rewarded with schooling Fusiliers, Clown Triggerfish, Batfish, Blue Spotted Stingrays and a few Giant Moray Eels. Those who made it over to the second pinnacle saw some of the most beautiful soft corals of the entire trip. Well worth the effort.
And now for Richelieu Rock. Sometimes when you go diving, most sites are pretty much the same. Similar in character, and similar conditions. Other times, certain dive sites really stand out, either because of the place, or the conditions encountered there. On this North Andaman Sea trip that we run here at Khao Lak Scuba Adventures, all of the dive sites are fairly diverse. Sometimes the conditions are as well. Although the diving was nice at all the sites this time, the stand-out had to be Richelieu Rock. With clear blue water and very little current, it was by far the best diving on this trip. Three dives there, all with picture-perfect conditions. So much life, including juvenile Angelfish, Orange Spotted Pipefish, and even this oh-so-cute juvenile Tigertail Seahorse. So cool!!!
Also we found Ornate Ghost Pipefish, and all kinds of smaller shrimps and crabs. Even a few of the really small things, like these cool little Tiger Egg Cowries:
The sunset dive at Richelieu Rock was really special this time, with loads of schooling fish circling overhead and below. Baraccuda, Tuna, Trevally and Fusiliers were all gathering by the hundreds. Awesome! Richelieu Rock is so rich in marine life, with many species found here that we usually don't see at the other sites. One example are these small Pipefish that we call Sunset Pipefish. We almost always see them only on the sunset dive at Richelieu, and rarely during the day. They are cute little yellow guys, sort of like Snub-Nose Pipefish, but a little different. See what you think:
The final day brought dives at Koh Bon Pinnacle and the Boonsung wreck. The Pinnacle was in fine condition, with beautiful blue water and almost no current. It's really a pleasure to dive that site in those types of conditions, and after a beautiful sunrise we jumped right in...
We did manage to find our favorite Stonefish named Stewie. He looks quite a bit different than he did earlier in the season, having grown a thick coat of brown algae over most of his body over the past several weeks, but then shedding all of it over the past few days! Take a look at him here, a shot from this morning, looking all nice and clean:
There was a large Marble Stingray on the Pinnacle as well. Very beautiful to see. This one was not shy, and hung around us for a few minutes...
We had some great people onboard this time, from all over the globe. A few of them did courses as well, with Yaming, Andrey and Rodrigo all completing their PADI Enriched Air Diver course onboard. Way to go guys, great job! Welcome to the Nitrox family. :-) We also had one young lady, Leslie, who completed her PADI Open Water diver course, and then went on to do her Deep Adventure dive as well. Sweet!
The final dive 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 Barracuda, 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 seemingly hanging out of every possible hole. It really is a great dive, every time.
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!!!