In partnership with Thai Ocean Academy and Thailand Manta Project
We could feel the relax atmosphere on The Smiling Seahorse and everybody was happy and excited to be there, one of the first to witness Thailand's best dive sites for the first time since their closure six months ago!
This trip started from Ranong on the 14th October 2022. After eating and lighting the traditional firecrackers, we started to cruise to Koh Surin overnight, to start our fantastic diving trip.
The next day, everybody was impatient to start diving!!! Our first dive of the season was at Koh Chi, visibility was pretty good and the current really mild.
Despite the rain and waves, everybody enjoyed and came back to the boat smiling after the check dive, happy to be the 1st one to dive in the Surin islands this season !
During the second dive, we have spotted a turtle on Ao Packard and some divers spotted an Eagle Ray on Yellow Rock. Pretty nice surprise!
The 3rd dive on Torinla was pretty good too, we saw 2 Pikachu Nudibranchia and a huge Lobster.
4th dive: Let's go for the night dive!! We got sheltered in a lovely bay where the conditions were really nice for a quiet nocturnal exploration, the reef is covered in hard coral which was pretty cool to try our UV torches, we saw the classic a Moray eel hunting, and many types of colorful Shrimps.
On the second day, we headed to the Similan islands, diving Koh Bon and Koh Tachai. Unfortunately the waves were quite rough in Koh Bon, making it impossible to have a nice dive on the usual dive sites so to keep it safe and fun for everyone, we tried the North side of Koh Bon which was better than expected. Following their dive leaders, divers divided underwater, some went East and could enjoy the macro life on sand, while the others went South West following a nice coral reef with plenty of tropical fishes.
For the 2nd dive, we headed to Koh Tachai pinnacle, it was still raining above water, but conditions were perfect once under: no current at all, clear visibility and not one other boat in sight! One group jumped in the middle of a Barracudas storm!! Everybody loved this dive, Bat fishes, Lobsters, huge Groupers, Nudibranchia so much to see!
On the 3rd dive: the star of the show were surely Shaaarkkks !!! A family of 6 Black tip Reef sharks came close enough for a nice photo!! So lucky!
We enjoyed another excellent meal and listened to a talk given by Jamie, our Manta Specialist, about manta rays… She explained how to dive with them with minimal disturbance, how to take an ID photo for the database, how to recognize a male from a female, how to recognize certain behaviors etc. It was all very instructive to understand how every single diver could help scientific that protect these gentle giants!
After sleeping on Koh Surin. We went back north toward the Surin national park to dive its Jewel: Richelieu Rock. This dive site is just so beautiful ! Macro life everywhere, schooling fishes, Barracudas, Bat fishes many Tomato fish in their bright anemones, moray eels… some of us could even spot 4 massive Cobias giving us hope for something bigger to come out from the blue. The water was clear as crystal. But once onboard, the surface conditions were still pretty wavy, so we decided to head back to the Surin islands for 2 more nice sheltered dives.
This afternoon, Ploy and Tommy gave an insightful presentation about the living life of Corals and Nudibranchia. It was fascinating!
The third dive was at a site we rarely visit by lack of time but oh so stunning, we called it Sunset Wall. A huge wall of coral starting at 5 m and going down to 30 meters. We even found a pair of tiger tail Seahorses.
Franck offered a round of drinks to everyone to start what became a great night. We cruised back leisurely towards Ranong and woke up at our own pace the next morning with the smell of coffee and bacon!
A special mention for Bruce for his 100th dives and Claude for his 200th. Congratulation to Apple for her Aow course, and to Carmen and Jorge, who celebrated their Honeymoon onboard. Wishing you guys many years of fun diving together!!!
Thanks again to the Thai Ocean Academy for putting together this special Marine Ecology, the Marine biology presentations were really cool!
We are looking forward to diving with you again very soon!