Manta Queen I _05 24/10 – 28/10
The afternoon of the 24th, two hours before Manta Queen I was departing, we decided spontaneously that I will join the trip to the Simlan Islands.
So hurry, hurry, quickly packed some stuff and off to the boat! Around 6.30pm we left khao lak to taplamu, where the boat and the crew were waiting for us. First look at the boat and a briefing, what to do, what not to do, how to do what… seemed like a lot of rules, but indeed everything was well thought about and running perfectly.
While we were listening to the briefing, the crew had loaded all the gear downstairs, so after the briefing we could go down and set up the equipment. It is very comfortable that you have to do this only once, your gear than has it’s fixed place on the platform.
We were coming closer to the departure, and straight after leaving the pier, the crew started some fireworks. The front of the ship is the holy place on the boat, the ghosts are living there and the fireworks are for them, so they will guide us through our trip.
After we left Taplamu, heading to the Similan Islands, Dinner was served, and everybody was checking out the other divers, the dive groups, the guides, the cabins and the fridge with the beer. everybody was excited about the days coming up.
Next morning at 6.30 Vic started knocking on cabin doors and waking everybody up with a lovely ‘briefing in half an hour!’. So we all met up on the main deck, having a coffee, some toast and having a first look at the Similan Islands. Because it was very early in the season, there were rarely any boats around, the islands were nearly ours!
At 7.00 the first groups jumped into the gear and at 7.13 I was under water the first time this season!! Awesome!!! The Dive site was East of Eden, where are a lot of corals and suddenly a cute khul’s stingray lifted up from the sand right under vic, swimming 3 or 4 meters away, turning around and watching us with his huge eyes.
After this first dive breakfast was served and we had a surface break of 2.5 hours. We went on to the west side of island number 7, the next dive site was west of eden. Corals mixed with some boulders, another great dive.
We had three more dives at the Similans, including a night dive in Honeymoon bay and the next day, after an early morning dive between the islands 5 and 6 we went on to dive at koh bon. Still the same day we went on to Koh Tachai, a bit north of the Similan Islands. Koh Tachai belongs to the Surin Islands and it was the spot for our night dive this day.
The next morning at 4.30 the captain got up and brought us from our bay at koh tachai further north to Richelieu Rock. The number one dive spot in Thailand… for a reason. These were my first dives at Richelieu Rock ever, and it was incredible awesome!! Corals and Corals and schools of fish meeting schools of fish at more corals, octopus everywhere, lionfishes, stonefishes, nudibranks, a seahorse, tiny cube boxfishes, pufferfishes, corals… it was really hard to see everything, because a) there is so incredible much to see and b) there is fish everywhere. There could have been a blue whale giving birth right behind me, I would have been to busy watching the rest
The plan was 3 dives at Richelieu Rock and than for a sunset dive back to koh tachai. But after the second dive at Richelieu a survey told us, that everybody would rather make 4 dives at Richelieu. And if the question would have been if we want to stay for another 25 dives at Richelieu… the answer probably would have been ‘yes’ as well.
After 4 dives we finally went back to our bay at koh tachai, where we had our morning dive of the trip… Where Zaina and Jacob spotted the Manta Ray! So ‘Yes’, they are here!!!
The second and last dive of the day was back at Koh Bon, this time Koh Bon Pinnacle. And as if planed as a perfect ending of an awesome trip, four leopard sharks were around.
At 4.30pm we arrived back in Taplamu, four days of diving are over, the crew was doing an amazing job, excellent organisation (thanks to tripleader and videographer vic), perfect conditions over and under water plus a very cool group of divers! An awesome trip, and it was sure not the last one.
Thanks to all divers on board, to the crew, to vic, sarah, andrea, dan, tik, julian and jay!