Calm seas and sunshine greeted us for trip number 134 aboard the beautiful Manta Queen 2. We woke up on the first morning at Koh Bon as always. After an awesome check dive filled with Spearing Mantis Shrimp, Giant Moray Eels, Multibar Pipefish, and Nudibranches we went in again on the North Ridge for dive number two:
More than half of the groups saw a beautiful Manta ray at the end of the dive, swimming from the bay, past the West Ridge and out toward koh Bon Pinnacle. We saw so much more as well, but the highlight must have been the Emperor fish, Checkerboard Wrasses and Giant Trevally hovering above the cleaning station and feeding on the thousands of small Glassfish below. So cool to see!
We even saw a small female Napoleon Wrasse on the second dive as well. Next up were two dives at Tachai Pinnacle. Dive number three of the trip had a young Leopard Shark hanging out among the rocks:
The sunset dive was especially nice, with hundreds of Barracuda and Trevally circling around in the blue, just off the pinnacle. Lots of action, without very much current at all. Easy days.
The morning dive at Tachai was memorable, as we were able to find a few Blue Spotted Stingrays and even found a Barramundi Cod. Not so many of those around. Finally, it was on to Richelieu Rock for three dives to round out the day. Always a treat, Richelieu delivered the goods once again.
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 a few Ornate Ghost Pipefish:
Oh yeah... And multiple Whalesharks!
Let me put this in perspective for you. Last season I had heard of a grand total of three Whaleshark sightings in the Similan and Surin National parks. Three. This year, I have heard of seventy four Whaleshark sightings. SEVENTY FOUR!!! Last season I saw zero Whalesharks. This season still has a few months left to go, and I have already seen eleven Whalesharks. Sweet!!! If you have ever thought about coming to the Similans, DO IT NOW!
Day three began with an awesome dive on Hin Luang, AKA Koh Bon Pinnacle. Our old friend Stewie the Stonefish was there, along with the oversized "Ice Cream" Nudibranchs.
The final dive on the slate was a wreck dive at the Boonsung. That spot has got so much life, it seems everywhere you look you can find something interesting. Honeycomb Morays, Cuttlefish, Frogfish and even Ornate Ghost Pipefish make their home on the wreck.
Congratulations to all of our students! We had a Nitrox course on board, and now Nadia is a newly certified PADI Enriched Air diver. Way to go Nadia! Welcome to the Nitrox Family!!! Also, Francesco and Sabrina finished their PADI Advanced Open Water course during the trip. Awesome!
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! The diving this season has been world class, and we sure would love to have you!!! :-)