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 giving 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. More on this later.
We started as always at Koh Bon, diving on the West Ridge. Schooling Fusiliers, Tuna, Trevally and Emperor fish were dancing overhead, and Napoleon Wrasse, Giant Moray Eels and Blue Ring Angelfish were patrolling the reef below.
Next up were a few dives at Koh Tachai. Tachai is known to have some strong currents, and this trip they were on full display. 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, with strong currents and limited viz. A challenging dive, but not without its rewards. Those who braved the elements were rewarded with schooling Fusiliers, Clown Triggerfish, Batfish 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. 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 these four Cuttlefish mating. It was so cool to watch, the female laying her eggs while the big male tried to fight off the other two males who also wanted a piece of the action:
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. Check it out:
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.
We did manage to find our favorite Stonefish named Stewie. He looked quite a bit different this week, having grown quite a bit of algae over almost all of his body over just the last four days. Take a look at him here, a shot from this morning:
We had some great people onboard this time, from all over the globe. There was this one guy Sebastian, he was a stand-out with his enthusiastic attitude. Even early in the morning, this guy was ready to go!
We had lots of students as well, with Alan, Jo and Lizzy all completing their PADI Enriched Air Diver course onboard. In addition to those three, we had no less than six PADI Advanced Open Water students on this trip. Colin, Anne, Andrea, Glauber, Coralie and Marlene all completed the Advanced course during the trip.
Way to to guys, great job! Welcome to the familiy. :-) 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 a very special 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!!!