eggs of the spanish dancer
We go again to Burma and for the first day of this trip 3: 6 days/5 nights around the south of Burma archipelago
we dive high rock, steward island, tower rock and spanish garden, our secret spot to find spanish dancers on every dive!
this must be a reproduction center because we can see their eggs quite often there and the spanish dancers come out in the evening for the ball.
During the day we also spotted a ghost pipe fish, first one of the season, yeah!
Ghost pipe fish
in the morning we are also lucky to see a pod of dolphin hunting in the bay, I love them, even if they run away when we dive!!!
Burma has some incredible dive sites, on the 7th of November 2012, MV Thai sea and The Smiling Seahorse's team was visiting Seafan forest and North Rock in the south of Burma's Archipelago also knwn as Mergui.
On this beautiful day we spotted many large schools amongst which baracudas and snapers. We also saw an octopus, blue spotted sting rays, Porcelein crabs, squat shrimps, beautiful nudis
Squat shrimps are tinny
school of baracudas
the eye of a blue spotted sting ray
6th of November:
Diving in the Mergui Archipelago is pretty awesome and we feel lucky to be here!
This is a day by day trip report of our diving expeditions in Myanmar:
On the 6th of November, we did 4 Dives around Western Rocky and its pinnacles.The major highlight of the day was a massive blotched sting ray about 2 meters large without counting the tail really huge!!!
We also saw Jenkins Sting ray easily recognizable by its shape and the long size of its tail.
Too bad I scared it away with my scooter before Franck could snap a picture, which is why I didn't use his picture of a running stingray but it is as big as the one above.
me and my scooter: fun!
Jenkins sting ray
Do you want to go diving and encounter our fantastic sting rays? contact us
For more diving stories, check the other blog posts!
November 5th 2012
Myanmar diving expedition report:
4 dives on the way and at Western rocky
dive 1: 7h10, 32m, 42 min, New dive site
dive 2: 11h14, 33m, 45 min, Western Rocky
dive 3: 15h38, 26m, 42 min, Western rocky
Dive 4: 19h12, 22m, 40 min, Western Rocky
Beside the usual coral reef fishes which we encounter every time we dive in Myanmar. We saw a group of cuttle fish, big file fish and many types of crabs amongst which sponge crabs and spider crabs also called decorator crabs because of the way they use pieces of colorful coral and sponges to dress up.
You can see more pictures about this trip on our facebook album : First trip to Burma: awesomeness!!!
4th of November 2012
First trip of the season, we were indeed very excited and I even had the time to write a blog post about it! Check it out there
This is the start of a trip 2: 5 days/ 4 nights around the South of Mergui Archipelago onboard MV thai Sea.
On this first day we do one dive at Volcano, a very special dive site. Sadly this time we do not see the black tip reef sharks living inside the volcano but the view outside and the corals vista are worth the sight.
check out the other post for more diving reports
Woww! I haven't written a blog post since January!!! Incredible how fast the season went. I must say we have been quite busy lately. It is now low season, the boat is parked, equipment stored or sent for servicing and we are getting a much deserved break!
Don't be mistaken we already miss diving and look forward to the new season.
In the mean time, I though about a little project, something I have wanted to do during the high season but really didn't have time to do...
I've decided to post our log book on this blog so you guys can see what we see on a regular basis on our dive cruises.
Sadly I don't have pictures of every creature we see but I'll try to post what I have and use some pictures taken by others.
I hope this will inspire you and that we'll see you soon!
Check out our calendar
for next season's liveaboard schedule and book now!
The season is getting better and better and we come back from our second trip this year feeling very lucky to be here !!! We had a wonderful crowd onboard for this trip 3: 6 days/ 5 night around Mergui archipelago a group of 5 snorkelers from Hawai joined us to enjoy the surface while we explore the underwater. Amongst the divers, we had 2 French couple (Anh Tu and Majdid, Cecile and Jean Luc), an American Diplomat living in Oman (my dear friend Tamra) and a Dutch couple (Germa and Kamiel) who joined us last year on a “Best of Thailand” safari and whom we were very happy to see back onboard so soon. Once everyone got their equipment sorted out in the office, we took a songtail (local minivan full of colors) to the boat. Immigration came to clear all the paperwork and we were on our way toward Kawthong 30 minutes away to get our entry stamp into Burma and pay the fees associated with it… It didn’t take long and out staff gave a little ceremony onboard for their Budda to keep bad spirits away and to attract many wonderful creatures… The firecracker was particularly appreciated by our 2 powder addicts, Jean Luc and Cecile, fireworks specialists all around the world.
After a delicious dinner and a good night rest, we wake up with a stunning sunset near by high rock. There a big bunch of Dolphins were hunting around at least 20 of them less than 100 meters from the boat. That’s a good start! If dolphins are here, it means there must also be lots of fish under, lets go diving!!! We guear up and jump into the 30 degrees water… I must say I’m the only one able to get cold in this water… most divers go in their shorties, some even in rash vests only while I put on my hood… ridiculous, I know, I just hate getting cold…
On this first dive, I stumble into a ghost pipe fish in the first minutes, lucky eye! Everyone stares at it in wonder and regret the camera they left onboard for the first dive…
There is a wonderful yellow coral garden (green cup coral) there and I love looking at the tinny yellow sea snails feeding on them and replacing the toxic flowers by their eggs to keep predators away. Smart.
For the second dive, we go to Dragon island, also called dinosaur island because of its long reptile shape undulating above the water. The specificity of the site are 3 tunnel crossing the island below the water from one side to the other. The caves themselves are quite large and our groups of 4 could go side by side if they wanted to. Lots of crabs and shrimps of all kinds scurry around the walls and dark cracks. Reaching the other side is always a great experience as the light gets more intense, so does the density of life. Fishes are frantic above the coral garden and the colors are nearly overwhelming after the darkness of the cave.
Third dive is at Tower Rock current was very strong and we saw loads of scorpion fishes and a sea snake hunting over the reef.
The night dive was at a new spot we called Spanish garden because of the number of spanish dancers we saw there, one of them gave us the pleasure to dance in front of our eyes deploying its large skirt for us, wahouh! There was also profusion of crabs, and particularily spider crabs with its hairy legs and a lovely anemone garden in which we spotted some porcelain crabs.
The next day we started with a pinnacle, the current was strong again and one of the two groups missed the pinnacle by a few meters… we saw it and had a great dive. The whole pinnacle is. We understand very quickly what the fishermen were after, lots of fishes around. Schools of barracudas passing on top of us by the hundreds, thousands of fusiliers are coloring one of the slopes and a few bat fishes are passing above them.
But we only reach my favorite ever dive site at 11 this morning, for our second dive. Shark cave is well named. Our friends are back for a restful nap, a 3 meters long nurse shark is in the cave, in company of 2 huge blotched sting rays. There size is imposing and being in a cav e with them is for sure something to be remembered. If I didn’t know they were eating shrimps and shells, I would probably feel a lot less easy looking at them in the shadows. They let us pass in their home like if we were long known friends and I can only go with the heart pounding of excitement and awe. We stay there for 2 more dives, one outside the cave, around what we call eagle rock, because of the huge two eagle living on top of it there the life is at its most, fishes are everywhere our eyes are looking. Yellow, blue, grey. Lizardfish and groupers look at us passing on top of them from the sandy bottom and the hard coral, we find some soldier fishes behind the huge sea-fans and we start ignoring the scorpion fishes which are just way too many.
We go back to the cave for our night dive, the shark and rays are still there, whaouh, they are big, one of the two rays is bigger than me and comes towards the light a bit too much. I must say, my hearth skipped a bit. I was at the same time relieved to get our of the cave and wanting to go back.
Our boat travels to the next spot during the night, we reached North Twin, the furthest point of our itinerary from Ranong all the way north and far far away from the main land. The viz’ is fantastic 30, maybe 40 meters. Baracudas are hunting above and we see them several times during the dive. The dive site is a pinnacle at 12 meters surrounded by deeper water, the sandy bottom is at 35 with big boulders around. The perfect spot for fishes to hide when we pass by with our bubbles, but we still can find them.
We stop in front of a beautiful beach at South twin, some go explore the thin sanded beach, while other snorkel around. The diving is also excellent with big rocks on a slope covered by hard and soft coral.
On the next day we dive seafan forest and slalom between huge seafans, its pinnacle, usually a perfect spot to sight mantas left us a bit disappointed from not seeing them this time and Western rocky. The coral is stunning, so many different types: purple soft coral, like in a flower shop, fire coral, hydrocoral violet and orange, mushroom leather coral, whip coral, white and black usually hosting some small shrimps or hawkfish. During the night dive, a cuttle fish enquire, it is definitely curious about the light and let us come very close.
The last day starts with volcano, an island with 10 meters high walls all around, we can enter it through a whole at the basis, opened during low tide and invisible at high tide. Inside, some reef shark circle, black and white tips. The snorkelers have a good look at them and even some nice videos, the divers are less lucky this time, sharks just hate the bubbles and get away as fast as they can. I only spot one, 1.20m long on its way out of the volcano when we arrive. Then its time for the small stuff, nudibranchs of weird shapes and colors and two seahorses pose for us. The last dive of the trip is at slope rock, a wall at 15 meters below the surface. Visibility is not at its greatest but we can see that fishes love the place, it is full of life. Juvenile and adults are there going all over the place. A small ball bounce on top of a coral table, I look closer and recognize a small box fish, I’ve never seen one that small, so round and cute. We end out dive surrounded by very dense schools of glass fishes and a gelly fish comes by to show its passengers, juvenile file fish on their way to another reef.
That’s it for this trip. We take the way back to kawthong where we stay for an hour and a fresh beer. We have to say goodbye to our new and old friends. Two days in Ranong and we are off again for more adventures, on Thai water this time.
Stay tuned for more fishy-stories J
To a group of 5 Austrian, one Norwegian added himself, we are going to the South of Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar!
Sea of wonders, I have missed you… Once more we are alone on every dive sites and feel privileged for all the healthy life we can witness here.
We brought our new toys, sea scooter that we can finally try out on real dives. So cool! Diving takes a whole new dimension.
We make our first dive on “Volcano”, we go into a swim through to discover the interior of the island, not a sound for the outside world, peaceful is the word that describes it best. A few birds circle the sky but the monkeys are not of the party today.
We then explore a new dive site on the way to Western rocky. While we never dove this site, it is once again full of good surprises, cuttle fishes run away when we surprise them on the sandy bottom telling us through black clouds of ink that they didn’t appreciate the encounter just as much as we did. We decide to stay around for our night dive. Spanish dancers are out with their party clothes, one of them is swimming and its dance is mesmerizing.
Back onboard, we appreciate a delicious dinner made of Thai delicacies and cruise in direction of Western rocky. We make our first dive the next day around 7 am, the food frenzy is on, schools of fishes of all colors are feeding or hunting. The small ones feed on the coral reef, larger ones try to get a bite on the most chubby ones when they aren’t looking and tuna, on the top of the food chain comes in and out of our sight.
We explore then the cathedral, a beautiful tunnel through the island, one part has very high triangular ceiling which has given it its name. It ends up in a smaller tunnel where numerous lobsters found a comfortable home. The ground is full of broken shell, proof that the cave was also used by nurse sharks. At this sight, I can’t stop but comparing it to caves on the land, used by bear.
Our next stop is at Seafan Forest, with hundreds of gorgonian seafan hiding nudibranches of all colors. Looking up, we see schools of batfishes and barracudas.
We take the opportunity to ride the sea kayak between two dives to explore the surrounding.
North rock was out next stop we were lucky to spot porcelain crabs in the anemone garden, squat crabs were popping up from cracks here and there.
We take the way back toward the East and stop in a gorgeous crique for the night and wake up to a stunning sun set.
We ask for permission to visit a cave were birds make their nest, a famous and priced delicacy making the cave a gold mine. Unfortunately we didn't get the authorization this time, they had some bad experience in the past and do not let the tourist enter the cave anymore, too ad. Our first dive will be on slop rock were we were welcome by some blue spotted sting rays and many colorfull nudibranches.
We go back to Ranong for 2 days and then back again on the Mergui Archipelago for 6 days on the 11th.
Keep on reading, keep on commenting, more stories to co
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