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Thailand 2013


Eight of us went to Thailand.  We had a wonderful holiday.
We stayed in Phuket for three days and then transferred to a liveaboard for four days, which was followed by a week in Krabi.  The diving was varied and the experience of being in such an exotic location was brilliant. The hotels and the food were excellent!

Day One – A long old flight from Heathrow to Bangkok followed by a short hop to Phuket.  Kamala Beach Hotel was very modern.  As they had to put us in the family part of the hotel they provided us with free evening meal – very nice.  Our rooms were large and airy and most of our rooms opened on to the poolside. The hotel was very quiet and relaxing.

Day Two – Diving with ScubaCat.  The weather had been windy for a few days before we got there and was still a bit blowy.  This had reduced the viz and limited the dive sites that we could do. This area is made up of limestone islands.  We did three dives on Koh Doc Mai, with the last, a drift dive, providing us with the best viz. Anemones, morays and wart slugs were in abundance.


Mantis Shrimp

Day Three – Our second and last day with Scuba Cat.  A little calmer today, so three different dive sites.  The first was Calendar Bay, where a sea snake was spotted and where we all, eventually made it back to the boat.  We then moved to Camera Bay.  “We go down and keep the reef on our left” or perhaps not!  This is where we had our first meeting with a beautiful Peacock Mantis Shrimp.  The third dive of the day was at Siam Bay, where statues of Elephants have been submerged in tribute to the victims of the Tsunami.

Day Four – A day relaxing by the hotel pool and on the beach where we sampled some roadside cuisine, banana and chocolate pancakes. The more energetic (or more stupid) of us took a walk into town and visited the local Tesco Lotus Express!  In the evening we transferred to Scuba Adventure, our liveabord, and headed out to the Similian Islands.

Day Five – First dive of the day was on Anita’s Reef a beautiful bombie (granite pinnacle).  This was our check dive with SMB deployment. Mine was not a smooth deployment but then again I was in good company!  The underwater scenery in the Similian Islands was totally different from Phuket as most of the dive sites are made up of huge granite boulders piled on top of each other. Dive two was at Rock Point.  Massive boulders, two turtles, flabellinas (sea dragons), gorgonians and soft corals.  The next dive was at Koh Bon looking for mantas. We did not see any but it was still a spectacular dive. We did a night dive on Koh Tachai Reef where a large octopus came out to play with Keith and Foxy, and a blue crown of thorns was on the move.

Sea Dragon

Huge Boulders

Day Six – We dive Richeleiu Rock three times today.  It is an amazing site that is teaming with life.  Each of our dives were very different and we saw a vast school of snappers, catfish, wart slugs, cuttlefish and a mantis shrimp amongst so much more.  The sunset dive was Koh Tachai pinnacle.  Huge rocks and a bit of a current.  Between dives Keith taught Carol and Malcolm how to play cribbage.

Day Seven – We returned to Koh Tachai pinnacle for the first dive of the day. It was interesting watching a tiny remoras trying to latch on to a parrotfish. Koh Bon Reef next in the hope of seeing mantas but once again they eluded us. This part of the reef was badly damaged by dynamite fishing.  The next dive was at Christmas Point. Some of us loved this dive and some of us saw a black tip reef shark.  Oddly, it was those that did not see the shark that thoroughly enjoyed the dive doing lots of swim throughs and listening to the loud bangs as the huge rocks moved in the water. Also spotted was a very strange slight! Malcolm swimming in a rash vest and shorts! West of Eden was our sunset dive with swim throughs and squeaking rocks.

Day eight – Elephant Head Rock started our final day on the liveaboard.  Elephant Head?  Only if you squint and it is dark!  Lots and lots of current on this one around huge rock formations. Final dive of the liveaborad was Shark Fin Rock which was a lovely dive with a turtle that swam with some of us. Long boat ride back and transfer by minibus from Phuket to Ao Nang in Krabi.  The hotel was beautiful as it was set amongst palms and bamboos.  The rooms were great with mosquito nets over the beds and we all had outside bathrooms!  Very Posh outside bathrooms. One drawback was the fact that they only had double rooms, not suitable for our single members, so extra rooms had to be provided for Tony.

Cliff Hotel

Jen and monkeys

Day nine – a non-diving day.  One or two of us were a little worried about a non-diving day but in fact it was thoroughly enjoyable.  The day consisted of sitting on the beach under the trees whilst eating free fruit. The ladies of the group had a variety of beauty treatments including full body massages, eyebrow plucking and pedicures.  The sea was great for swimming and at one end of the beach were wild monkeys. Richard won the competition of “let’s see how many monkeys I can get hanging off my shorts”.

Day Ten – Diving again but this time with Scuba Addicts in Ao Nang. First dive was Maya Wall South at “The Beach”.  We didn’t spot Leonardo but did see turtles and sea Dragons. Koh Bida Nok was the second dive and it was a beautiful site with snappers, morays and beautiful slugs

Day Eleven – Maya Wall North was a lovely dive but the best dive of the day has to be Ao Nui where we all saw a large Leopard Shark which allowed us to get close.

Day twelve – We started with a wreck, The King Cruiser.  It was a bit bumpy on the top and the viz was reduced but it was a good dive and Jen said it was her favourite of the holiday.  At Koh Doc Mai (yes the very same as Day Two from Phuket) we had good viz and saw a variety of animals, the most notable being a seahorse spotted by Jen.  Those that did not see the seahorse aren’t bitter at all… well just a bit.  Also spotted were mating cuttlefish, mantis shrimp and a three legged turtle.  Shark Point allowed us another close encounter with a leopard shark and a zebra moray.

Leopard Shark

Jewel Anemones

Day thirteen – Final dive day.  Whaleshark Wall South and Mushroom rock provided us with the chance to see blacktip reef sharks, a banded pipefish and a boxer cleaner shrimp that would sit on your hand.

Day Fourteen – Kayaking and Elephants.  Well, what a day!  A fantastic no fly day.  In the morning, we kayaked for about two and a half hours across rivers, into caves, between gorges and through mangroves.  We had monkeys visiting our boats, hoping to find food.  After kayaking, we had a beautiful lunch (which included barracuda) followed by a dip on a deserted beach.  The afternoon was just as exciting as we took to elephants for trekking.  Some of us actually sat on the elephant’s neck and some of us got very wet as we were squirted with water.  Fabulous Day!

Day Fifteen – Travelling back.  We took a short flight from Krabi to Bangkok and then a twelve hour flight to Heathrow.

This has been a very memorable holiday and one which I believe we would all like to repeat.

Report: Jo Clark