LE GRAND TOUR

This this trip was a special Thailand Safari, where we got the chance to dive the Similans, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock, as well as the southern divesites of Hin Muang, Hin Daeng, Koh Ha and Phi-Phi Island.

After an easy start in the Similans with lots of fish, we headed north for Koh Bon with the intention of finding us a Manta Ray or two. Luck was on our side, and from the first to the last minute of our morning dive, we had a curious ray circling us, and coming in very very close at that. The only thing it didn’t do, was wag its tail and lick our hands!

Up at Richelieu Rock (named by legendary Jaques Cousteau, who claimed it reminded him of the robe of cardinal Richelieu which, one would imagine, was purple like the majority of the soft corals at this, Thailand’s most famous, divesite…) we found several Tigertail Seahorses, Chevron Barracudas, a school of Tunas, Zebra Morays and indeed an abundance of the corals mentioned above.

Heading south, we stopped by the remains of an old tin mining dredge that sank 20 years ago. Not much of a wreck really, but full of life; a huge school of Jackfish, Honeycomb Morays, Stonefish and loads of different Nudibranchs, including one I’ve been trying to find for years: The Hypselodoris Kanga!

The underwater pinnacles of Hin Muang are quite impressive, with lots of soft corals and fish galore. We found massive Moray Eels, a pack of Blue-fin Trevallies and more than a hundred Rainbow Runners here. Nearby Hin Daeng offered more critters, and we pinned down a Ghost Pipefish, a good collection of Nudibranchs and no less than six different species of Eels.

Talking about Eels: if you ever have the chance to do Hin Daeng as a nightdive – take a walk on the wild side, and do it! The feeding frenzy here has to be seen to be believed. Everywhere you look there are big Moray Eels out hunting. Most of the time they actually miss their target, but every now and then one gets lucky, and gets his dinner right in front of your eyes!

Approaching the end of this safari, we explored the Koh Ha area. Caves, caverns, chimneys and swimthroughs made for very scenic dives. The vertical tunnel (”The Chimney”) was a clear winner among the divers, with its swarms of Cave Sweepers, Glassfish and Yellow Snappers.
Cruising back to Phuket, we decided to go for a drink at Phi-Phi Island to celebrate a successfull trip!

PJ Widestrand