♬“Oh my God, they’re back agaaain! Man-ta’s back, al-right!”♫ (Backstreet Boys, we love you!)
It’s getting towards the end of the season and nobody counted on the sweet surprises the Similan Islands had in store for this trip! The MANTAS are back! Three beauties circling at the Similan Island dive site of Christmas Point and one of them an all black male! Then we move on to Koh Bon Island, drop on the North Ridge where a proper current whips us in no time to the West Ridge … and there are more mantas circling, simultaneously at depth and in the shallows, so that everyone gets to enjoy them. Then we all giggled at the Napoleon, normally a very impressive sight in his own right, who photo-bombed some of us, almost as if he were saying “I’m here too, people, take a picture of me!”
The mantas were not the only cool sightings we had on the trip: The rays were out in force, with a mangrove whip ray at the dive site of Deep Six at the Similan Islands, a ginormous marble ray at Christmas Point and a few smaller ones at Koh Bon Island, Hin Luang and North Point. And then there were the sharks! We had white tips in all sizes from cute little teenager to pretty impressive grown-up, both snoozing on the ground and drawing lazy circles. We saw them at North Point, Elephant Head Rock, Christmas Point AND Deep Six – possibly the most sightings we had all season. But the crowning glory were the leopard sharks, a couple frolicking at Koh Tachai Island, and a loner circling at Koh Bon Island specatucalr deep dive site of Hin Luang.
That’s not to forget the small stuff: The pygmy pipehorses at North Point have shown us their new home, a fresh branch of seaweed just off the old place. We encountered a bewildering array of pipefish – Jan’s cleaner pipefish, multi-barred, orange-spotted – and saw loads of baby critters: baby octopus, baby spearing mantis shrimp, baby barracuda and baby devil scorpion fish, which are just as charmingly ugly when they’re you as when they’re grown-up.
Diving was of exceptional quality and many people made sure their skills are up to scratch. Congratulations to Justine, Isabelle, Michelle, Jeff, Dimitri, Sebastien, Ricky, Yu Tian and Yuyuan for completing your PADI Advanced Open Water course. And “Well done!” to Jonatan, Terry, Eva, Ricky and Jerry for becoming PADI Enriched Air divers!
Be safe, dive well, blow some bubbles and down’t forget to come back some time!
The Team of Manta Queen 3 powered by Khao Lak Scuba Adventures.