Second trip of this season saw us back (finally) in Myanmar! In a triumphant return after more than three years, we were thrilled to dive again the mystical waters of Mergui Archipelago.
A diverse assemblage of thrilled guests, journeying from Singapore, Malaysia, Switzerland, Germany, India, and two local diving enthusiasts from Myanmar, graced our vessel.
Our cruise started in the early afternoon in Ranong and after crossing the Kraburi River, we met with Myanmar officials in Kawthoung who were nearly as excited as we were to see a boat heading back this side of the border after such a long break!
The Smiling Seahorse has been diving Mergui Archipelago since 2012 and while we now offer cruises all over Thai waters, this adventurous destination remained our flagship.
All paperwork was in order and we were soon free to cruise towards a wonderful sunset!
The Voyage Commenced at South Twin!
The inaugural day commenced with our eager group diving around South Twin. Blessed with exceptional visibility, the ocean offered a display of thriving marine life. The fortuitous encounters with a majestic turtle, the elusive octopus, a vibrant mantis shrimp, and an array of reef fish adorning the vibrant reefs set an exhilarating tone for the expedition.
Our northbound journey led us to Kyun Phi Lar, where the allure of Shark Cave beckoned. The healthy reef teemed with life—marbled rays, barracuda, the exquisite seahorse (was it smiling to see us?), a myriad of colourful nudibranchs, and the mesmerising Spanish dancer were just a few of the underwater treasures that graced our explorations.
We spent the following day at the infamous Black Rock, captivating us beyond measure. The site lived up to its prestigious reputation, hosting an astounding spectacle of marine life. Schools of jackfish, the impressive dogtooth tuna, the enigmatic spearer mantis shrimp, and the resplendent sea anemones, engulfing one side of the rock, left us spellbound.
Our journey southward led us back to the Twin islands but this time we dived around the majestic North Twin and its awe-inspiring pinnacle. The sheer abundance of aquatic life surrounding this challenging pinnacle was a sight to behold. Schools of big-eye jacks, barracudas, rainbow runners, surgeon fish, and tunas orchestrated an underwater ballet. Delving deeper into the reef revealed a microcosm of macro creatures—cowries, shrimps, and nudibranchs, adding an extra layer of marvel to our diving experience.
For the night dive, we throw our bright pumpkin in the water and got ready for the first ever Myanmar Blackwater Dive!!!
Our anticipation peaked as we revisited the remarkable Seafan Forest. The highlight of our journey unfurled as we were graced by the presence of the majestic Birostris Mobula, commonly known as the Giant Oceanic Manta Ray. The forest of sea fan is still intact and what an amazing place to explore!
Gratitude and Celebrations
As the voyage drew to a close, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who contributed to the success of this extraordinary trip. Special congratulations to Elaine for achieving her AOW and Nitrox certifications, Jessica for her AOW, and Martin and Navya for earning their Nitrox certifications. A heartfelt thanks to Franck for capturing the magic through his wonderful pictures.
This seven-day journey was not just an exploration but a collective immersion into the mesmerizing depths of Myanmar's aquatic wonders. It was so wonderful to be the first back in this amazing place and we sure look forward for more!
Each dive, encounter, and shared experience further strengthened the bond between our diverse group of adventurers, leaving an indelible mark on our souls and kindling an insatiable desire for future expeditions. As we bid good bye to these mystical waters, we carry with us a trove of memories and a pledge to return, lured by the unexplored mysteries of the ocean.