Day one started with beautiful weather, flat seas, and anticipation. Over the first two dives on Koh Bon's famous "West Ridge", we saw all of the following: Octopus, Hook-jaw Moray, Multi-bar Pipefish, Ribbon Eel, Nudibranch, Ghost Boxer Shrimp, a huge Marble Ray and the largest Giant Moray ever! We saw Western Clownfish (Nemo) guarding their eggs, Spearing Mantis Shrimp, a Red-spotted Coral Crab holding her eggs on her belly, and schooling Trevally and Rainbow Runners. We even had a large male Napoleon Wrasse hang around for a few minutes.
It was really nice conditions, with good viz and very little current.
Next up were two dives at Tachai Pinnacle. We arrived excited about the possibilities, and we were not disappointed. Only five minutes into the dive and two of the groups had a visit from a very large Oceanic Manta Ray. Awesome! Tachai is always great, and sure enough, the Manta was back again to visit one of the other groups for the sunset dive. A fantastic end to a really wonderful day!
The following morning saw strong current and limited viz on Tachai Pinnacle. It was a challenging dive, but those who braved the conditions were able to spot small Nudis, Squat Lobster and a very small juvenile Ghost Pipefish. Next stop, Richelieu Rock. We arrived on the scene having heard about a Whaleshark swimming around on the early dive. We jumped in and saw a 4 meter female just give minutes later! So cool. In addition to the Whaleshark we were able to find Orangutan Crabs, Tiger Egg Cowries, Devil Scorpionfish, Fimbriated Moray Eels, juvenile Trapeze Angelfish, Cleaner Pipefish, Pharaoh Cuttlefish, Tigertail Seahorses, and so much more. With three dives at Richelieu, we were able to cover the entire site over the course of the day.
The sunset dive was absolutely fantastic, with Harlequin Shrimp, Sunset Pipefish, Tomato Anemone fish and so many other discoveries. At the end of the dive we capped off a wonderful day with ten unforgettable minutes. First I found a new Ghost Pipefish. A few seconds later a Whaleshark appeared. A minute after that we found a huge Mangrove Whip Ray surrounded by ten or fifteen large Cobia. The Cobia were laying right on top of the Whip Ray and circling all around it. I have never seen so many Cobia up close like that. Really cool! Sorry I didn't have a camera for that one. Then the Whakeshark passed by overhead again and hung around long enough for us to do our safety stop with her at five meters.
A perfect end to a perfect day of diving...
After a challenging morning dive on Koh Bon Pinnacle, we were off to the final dive site, the Boonsung wreck.
The Boonsung wreck is always a treat. In addition to the usual suspects like Honeycomb Moray Eels, Ghost Pipefish, nudibranch and Bearded Scorpionfish everywhere, we found a Painted Frogfish this time around. So nice to see this little guy on the Boonsung, hopefully we will be able to find him again next week. There were also Lionfish all over the place...
Congrats to all of our many students onboard. Holy lots of Nitrox courses Batman! We has no less than seven Nitrox students this time around, with more than half the divers on this trip diving on the juice. Sophie, Fabien, Courtnay, Sue, Martina, Jeremy and Max all completed their PADI Enriched Air diver course during the trip. Way to go guys!
Also, we had Elyse who finished her Open Water and Advanced course onboard, as well as Mats and Francois who finished their PADI Advanced Open Water course over the three days on the boat. Paola and Dario did their Deep Adventure dive as well. So many courses, and so much fun! Two of the guests, Mikko and Sophie, had been on boats with me earlier on the season and were back for another go around. That's how good the diving has been this year. Nice to have you two back again!!! Really, this season has been the best diving around here in quite some time, many years in fact. It's time for YOU to come join in on the fun! Book your trip with Khao Lak Scuba Adventures this season and come see what all the stories are about... Thailand's BEST diving. Hope to see you underwater sometime very soon...