Scuba Paradise

I haven’t been diving in 10 years, not since the Great Barrier Reef in 2004. So it was high time to get back in the water. Enter Khao Lak, Thailand, which is the gateway to the Similan Islands and the Surin Islands National Parks. This area is arguably one of the best dive sites in Thailand and is noted as being one the top 10 diving destinations in the world. I was already scheduled to come to PhuketFit  for two weeks with my friend Romina, but I needed something to do in the meantime. Doing a liveaboard was a good choice. I actually ended up doing two liveaboards: Liquid Adventure (March 23-26) and Khao Lak Scuba Adventures (April 13-16). Both of these were 3 day/3 night cruises visiting the Similans, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai, and Richelieu Rock.

The first trip was with Liquid Adventure on the MV Vilai Samut. We started with Anita’s Reef and West of Eden in the Similan Islands before moving north to Koh Bon. Koh Bon was probably my favorite dive site because we saw manta rays and a whale shark.

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Manta ray at Koh Bon

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My first liveaboard with Liquid Adventure

 

We then moved on to Koh Tachai, which is famous for its currents. On this trip the currents weren’t bad. However, when I went out two weeks later with KSA, the currents were really strong. Talk about your underwater workout!

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Clownfish

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Koh Tachai

 

Our northernmost stop was at the world famous Richelieu Rock, which is not far from Myanmar. In high season, there can be upwards of 12 dive boats at this site including day boats. So it’s a very popular area. Luckily, at the end of the season there were only a few liveaboards around.

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Tomato clownfish at Richelieu Rock

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Cuttlefish at Richelieu Rock

 

Richelieu has so much macro that you could spend an entire dive concentrated on finding all the small critters in one area.

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Sunset dive on Richelieu Rock Banded coral shrimp

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Octopus

 

The last day consists of the wreck dives: Phra Thong and Boonsung.

The Phra Thong Wreck is relatively new, the Thai government just sank that ship in March 2014 so there isn’t a lot of variety of fishes yet. But it’s very cool.

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Wreck diving!

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Phra Thong Wreck

 

Boonsung is almost an artificial reef now, home to moray eels, scorpion fish, lion fish, and blue spotted stingrays. We also saw a leopard shark on my first trip, which was a treat. According to Simon, one of our local guides, they haven’t been spotted at this site in years.

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Moray eel at the Boonsung Wreck

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The rare leopard shark

 

Obviously, one liveaboard wasn’t enough for me so I convinced Romina to do her open water certification and we went out with Khao Lak Scuba Adventures. Both trips were fantastic experiences with wonderful people, great food, and spectacular diving. I kind of want to do my divemaster training now…

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