We’ve just returned from our first six day liveaboard of the new season in the Similan and Surin national parks - and what an amazing 6 days it’s been!!! Whale Shark! Manta Ray! Incredible - nay - Wicked Diving!!!
Onboard for the full six days we had Nadav from Israel, Nicholas and Nina from Germany, from the USA Tracey and Wayne, David from Belgium and Danielle from the UK, for the first three days we were also joined by Americans James and Katie, Casey from South Africa, Helen from England and Dorean who joined us from Singapore, and on the final three days up to the Surin islands we had the company of Phil, Lizzie, Jonathan, Daisy, Brett, Nick and Joanna, dive masters and instructors who came over from Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand, two Australians, Anthony and Therese, Jean and Meredith from America, and finally Ritesh and Megha from India. With captain Wit at the wheel we set off on the 18th of October for six days of diving.
After arriving at the Similans during the night the first dive of the trip was at Anita’s reef, a very pretty dive site with wonderful coral formations and beautiful white sand, a great place to refresh our dive skills after the low season, a huge giant moray being one of the highlights.
Then off to Deep six and Stonehenge to explore the huge granite boulders typical of the similan islands westerly dive sites, with schools of fusiliers and travelly in the deeper water. A visit to the beach on Similan island number four wrapped up the first day.
Day two saw us at West of Eden, a favorite in the Similans due to the many different small marine creatures to be found, only to be surprised when one of the largest swam by and we had our first manta ray sighting of the new season. Over to Elephant Head Pinnacle for dive two for a highly entertaining dive in the end of monsoon swells and a more relaxed dive on the fringing reef at Three Trees, then a well deserved rest before the first night dive in Donald Duck Bay.
Day three, and we headed north to North Point, some more large swells around the boulders made diving there tricky and after retreating to the reef we were delighted to spot our first shark this season, a small white tip shark resting under some coral happily posed for a few photos and everyone on the boat had a chance to see it. For the last dive on day three we left the nine Similan islands behind and traveled to Koh Bon, to the north, where it was nice to see some beautifully colourful soft corals covering the famous west ridge on this dive site
After a short trip to the mainland to restock supplies and changeover a few of the guests, day four found us back at Koh Bon, two more excellent dives here turned up huge clouds of glass fish, which were being continually dive bombed by checkered snappers and rainbow runners, and a couple of large napoleon wrasse kept us entertained.
Off then to Koh Tachai, where some of the more advanced divers decided to dive the pinnacle, in what looked to be a very strong current, after forty minutes hard finning the aches in our legs were forgotten when we saw the largest fish in the sea, a four meter long whale shark cruised effortlessly past one of the dive groups!! The day was finished off with a visit to Koh Tachai beach, where some got involved in a beach cleanup, we were happy to find there was not too much rubbish on the beach that day which gave us plenty of time to enjoy the sunset.
Sorry - old photo :(
Day five and we returned to the pinnacle with fingers crossed for another whale shark sighting, but alas it was not to be, with barracuda and giant trevallies it still made for a great morning dive. Off then to the Surin islands, with dives at East Rocks and Koh Torinla, and it was here in a large patch of coral rubble that the nudi hunters had there best dive, stopping every few meters to photograph another new variety. The divers looking for something larger were treated to another white tip shark. A night dive in Aow Pakad and a large dinner left everyone ready for bed.
Day six we awoke a Richelieu Rock, the most famous site in Thailand, and rounded off the trip in spectacular style. Soft corals, sea fans, octopus, mating cuttle fish, barracudas, pipe fish, nudibranchs, schools of snappers, fusiliers, emperor fish and so much more, Richelieu proved again why it is such a popular dive site. After two dives, with the guests talking of what they had seen and wanting to do it all again, it was unfortunately time to head back to land, and the end of the first six days.
A massive thanks to each guest who joined us and a very big round of applause to the Similan Islands who welcomed us back with some great diving!!!
-Wicked Diving Thailand