MV Giamani Liveaboard Trip Log: 07 – 13 February 2014.
Port of departure: Chalong Pier, Phuket Island.
Conditions: Beautiful warm evening as the guest arrive full of life and ready for the next weeks adventure.
On-board we have customers from: Spain, UK, USA and Italy
All equipment checked and set up the fireworks and blessing to Buddha and now we are waiting for evening dinner. Tomorrow we will awake on Hin Daeng ready for the day of diving
Diving Day 1 – 8 Februar 2014
The sun rising, bringing its warmth to our boat, as we enjoy our early morning coffee and toast. Ricardo our wonderful Tour Leader enlightens us with briefings about safety and our first dive. The conditions are perfect the temperature in the low twenty, no breeze the sea is flat.
Dive: 1 Hin Daeng Viz 25 metres, at the beginning of the dive everyone did a quick dive check and buoyancy check all weighted correctly, off we went. Hin Daeng is a huge pinnacle of rock shooting up from over 65 metres of depths. It’s a great place for pelagic as they like to swim up from the deep into the shallow gathering plankton and the more aggressive hunters like to use the depth to gain speed in which to attack their early morning prey.It was a little quite this morning however, there was a strong current come in from around the rocks making it difficult to get all the way around. There was several huge Moray eels want in the currant to grab some breakfast, the Trevallies and Tuna were out hunting, but only the small boys, we did not see the Giant Trevallies as of yet, sure they will come soon enough.
Dive: 2 Hin Muang Viz 20 metres moderate current today, the moon is becoming fuller so the currents are dropping each day. Hin Muang though is still susceptible to currents so we must be careful not to stray off the reef too much or you can get swept away. The fish life here is always amazing; the Trevallies never fail to entertain, as they smash the smaller bait fish up. The Mackerels and Blue Fin Trevallies close in for the kill, and clearing any scraps away that the big boys have left. We also saw the solitary Hawks Bill Turtle that lives here, as it made a dash for a quick breath of air.Moon Wrasse, Long Noose Wrasse, Parrot Fish, Giant Moray Eels, were also seen. Along with an array of other reef fishes that make this site so spectacular, Moorish Idol, Giant and Red Tooth and Picasso Triggerfish, Rainbow Runners, several Huge Groupers and rock Cods. Next Koh Haa
Dive:3 Koh Haa Lek Lek Viz 30+, this dive site is not dived by many companies as they prefer to dive the usual cathedral and Chimney. Lek Lek is one of the deepest drops off in the group of small islands here. The current was mild and allowed us to drift very gradually along, half way through the dive, a huge ball of thermocline came bounding through, dropping the temperature and Viz down considerably, but it cleared up just as quickly, revealing back to us, the magnificent marine life.Here we saw some more huge Giant Morays, Rainbow Runners flying along the edge of the reef searching for a bite to eat. Two large Coral Banded Sea Snakes not together, but here none the less. Other fish: Porcupine Puffer Fish, Cube Box Fish, Wrasse, several species of Grouper, including, peacock Brown Large and Giant. We also saw Trumpet Fish and Flute mouths hunting, they accompany the groupers and hide close to them sticking to their backs like glue and then, at the last second, revealing themselves to their unsuspecting prey.
Dive: 4 Koh Haa – The Chimney – Viz 25, no current, it’s a beautiful end to a perfect day here in Koh Haa as the sun sets we descend on one of the most spectacular site of the trip.We descended into the depths to about 18 metres, in the search of scorpion fish we found a couple one Bearded, one Raggy, both large and both very ugly. Also we saw a spot fin Lion Fish and a couple of Common Lion fish.As we turned the corner of the reef into a swim through we saw the entrance of the chimney its not so big but as the diver enters it opens up to reveal a bat cave of fish, it is so full of fish that the diver must literally move them out of the way to get through.Carrying on around the dive site over the edge of the underwater cliffs one gets the feeling of flying over canyons it’s the closest thing we can get to flying. Another great dive to end our first day of the safari. We are now of to Phi Phi Island where we will sleep and do our first dive in the morning
Diving Day 2 – 9 Februar 2014
We awoke in the shadow of Bida Nai, Phi Phi Islands: 6:30 am and as the sun slowly emerged from its lumber, we, the divers, on Giamani enjoyed coffee and toast and the odd bowl of corn flakes time for dive.
Dive: 5 Bida Nok Viz varying from 15 meters down to2 metres at times very little current. Bid Nok has as many if not more fish life than any other dive site around here yet the Viz can let this site down a little.There is a huge school of Yellow Snapper maybe over a thousand strong, as they streamed by they almost bring a tear to the eye, such is the beauty of these little fish. We saw a Devil Scorpion Fish, quite rare, well actually more difficult to find, being so excellently camouflaged, one must be very observant to find these little, but yet deadly fish.Flute mouths and trumpet fish, Trevallies, and Mackerels all out and about in search of breakfast, there were some small Tuna out hunting on the edge of the reef too, all exciting stuff. Couple of Morays tussled for a spot in the rocks, and a couple of black tip reefs Sharks zinged by, far too quickly to show anyone else. Next stop Shark Point!
Dive: 6 Phuket Shark Point No current and Vis 20 metres+ Shark hunting time. There was one Leopard Shark, on the second pinnacle, about 1.8 metres long. We also saw a cuttlefish, Fusiliers, Emperor Anglefish and a Juvenile too.The conditions here were perfect; the past few weeks have been a little tricky at times but not today. Fimbriated Moray Eel and Yellow edged Moray too; we also saw a couple of beautiful Flatworms ‘Spanish Dancer’ and a couple of Ornate Ghost Pipefish.
Dive: 7 Koh Doc Mai absolutely no current and 15 metres of Viz, very easy dive. We saw three Ornate Ghost Pipe Fish Loads of different Nudibranchs, Koh Doc Mai is great for macro life always bring your camera.
We now sail back to Phuket for an hour where we shall refuel and then we set sail for the Similans and beyond. With the conditions very calm we should make good time.
Diving Day 3 – 10 Februar 2014
Similan Islands and another beautiful high season morning to kick of the Similan part of the safari.
Dive: 8 Shark Fin Reef Viz 10 metres which is unusual as the vis is usually 25+ metres. There was a small current which seem to take on different directions throughout he dive and this is possibly why the Viz was not so good. We saw large Moray eels by the bucket loads they were looking for a bite to eat no doubt after a long night on the reef. A couple of Dogtooth Tunas cam and gave us a fly by. Fusiliers, Huge Parrot Fish and several species of Wrasse added colour to the dive. We also saw a couple of dark shadows out in the blue, who knows just what was lurking down there, possible a couple of White Tip reef Sharks or maybe a couple of large barracudas.
Dive: 9 Elephant Head Rock Vis on the west side down to 10 metres, however as we crossed the site through all the swim throughs, the Viz got better up to 25 metres. There was very little current today, which makes a change as this site is susceptible to crazy currents at times.And it’s the swim throughs that make Elephant Head such a special site. There are over a dozen areas where the diver can glide in-between, under and through the rocks; it is a very beautiful place.The fish life is always busy to. There was a huge school of Blue Fin Trevallies out hunting and they are not shy, as they came by us to check out whether they could eat us, fortunately we are too bony and don’t taste so good so they let us on our way.The Dogtooth Tunas and Mackerels were out hunting too, they had their eyes on a large school of Baitfish, which they bombarded and smashed till their stomachs were full.Moray eels grow very large here to. Also there are several species of Scorpion Fish, Fusiliers, snapper’s, Emperors and Goat Fish all out in the mid morning hunt for food. Triggerfish Wrasse and parrot fish are well represented here as well.
Dive: 10 North Point (Rocky Point) Viz 10 metres again we had bad viz for this time of year very strange indeed. It still did not stop u s having a great dive. North Point ca get very deep indeed, so as we descended slowly down the site amongst the huge boulders that litter the bottom, it is quite easy to lose check of the depth here, so caution is required. A little Elephant Head rock there are some swim throughs which have been formed by the huge Granite boulders, and as we made our way through them we saw a couple of Jens Pipefish dancing in the protective small cavern of one of the boulders. Further round a large school of Goat Fish appeared to see what we were doing, satisfied they swam by. Further off and into the deep we could just make out two larger shapes, just what these were remains a little mystery, but you can bet that they were Grey reef sharks which have been attracted into this site by the cooler and murkier waters.
Dive: 11 Breakfast Bend Sunset dive viz 15 metres this dive site is a favorite for this time of day, as it has a gentle sloping reef which drops down to 20 metres and then beyond. The current can be strong here, but today, it was almost nonexistent.Fishes we saw ion this dive were all out looking for their supper included: Fusiliers, Titan Triggerfish, Picasso and Red Tooth triggers, Napoleon Wrasse (huge), Emperor Angle Fish Blue faced Anglefish Royal Angelfish and several juveniles to, also, Butterfly fish, Pig Face, Spotted and Lined Butterfly.We also saw some garden eels, they are always excellent to observe as they hide most of their body in the sand, and just poke their little heads out hoping to catch a few morsels of food as it floats by
Diving Day 4 – 11 Februar 2014
We slept the night I the safety of Koh Bon, and it is here where we shall do our firsts dive on the Pinnacle, which is always an exciting dive, with very large pelagic turning up here on a regular basis: so let’s get wet and see.
Dive: 12 Koh Bon Pinnacle with very little current and the Viz about 10 metres we still had to take the dive slowly. There is always a chance to see large pelagics on this dive as it is untamed and can be rather unruly, thus attracting the bigger boys, however on this occasion it behave itself and all had a pleasant dive.The Blue Fin Trevallies and Dogtooth Tunas were both working together to bring havoc amongst the large school of Bait Fish. There seems to more and more Blue Fin Trevallies lately they definitely seem to be congregating on the putter reefs which sells bad news for the smaller fishes as they barge their way in smashing and grabbing any fish that dares to venture into their line of vision.
Dive:13 Koh Bon Ridge Viz in the bay 15 metres but as we got to the ridge it dropped a little to 10 metres. There was very little current so we could just gently fin around this dive site with no problems at all.Normally out on the ridge there is current and this is where the Big Boys tend to hangout when they are in the area. Alas today it was not to be, we had heard rumours of Mantas and a Whale shark being here yesterday but it turned out to be folly.We still had a fantastic dives with huge school of Fusiliers there to greet us as we entered they water of course there was the usual Blue Fin Trevallies lurking around searching for scraps, Dogtooth Tunas and also towards the end of the dive, a huge Giant Trevally came by for a close inspection. Also we had a massive Mappa Puffer fish come right up to us, eyeball to eyeball. Great dive, now we are our way to Tachai.
Dive: 14 Koh Tachai, oh dear me where to start, well when we jumped in there was no current and the bottom was clearer than a daisy, beautiful. As we descended, it was as though we had descended into a Wild West saloon, such was the action and chaos. Trevallies (of course) flying around, but not little one huge Blue Fins and Giant 40 – 50 kilo plus fish attack anything that took its fancy, little further on 50 Yellow tail Barracudas cam by check us out, and let us go with a warning. Further along again, trumpet Fish stalking their prey attaching themselves to large Groupers for camouflage.Rainbow runners came into play, again bigger fish here than most other sites of the Andaman coast, Rainbow Runners are a predatory fish and they hunt in small packs around here sometimes though they school and give the reef fish a real run for their money.Moving along a little more, over a 100 Chevron barracuda even bigger than the yellow tails were just cruising no doubt waiting for the current to kick so they can go hunting too. All in all Tachai is one of the best sites Thailand has to offer, it’s beautiful, it’s amazing, it’s all action and it never ceases to amaze all divers who come here.
Dive: 15 Koh Tachai Reef after a great days diving we decided to chill out on Tachai reef and what a great sunset dive it turned out to be. As all the usual fellows were getting ready for their night on the reef a few other came oput to play. We saw two large red Octopuses, A Hawksbill Turtle that prove not to be camera shy and several of the group got some great photos of her. The wrasses and Parrot fish were getting ready for a night’s sleep and several morays were looking for a protective rock to hide in or behind.
Diving Day 5 – 12 Februar 2014
We woke with the sun on our backs and Tachai behind us, and as we had our early morning tea and toast, we chatted about what would be in store for us today, at one of the best dive sites in the world Richelieu. But before that we still had the little matter of attacking the Tachai Pinnacle again.
Dive: 16 Koh Tachai Viz this morning not as good as yesterday but it was still not fully light. Tachai is still amazing any time of the day, with the current blowing cross the reef we fought it for a little while then let it bring us back to the mooring.All the usual suspects were out hunting breakfast Giant Trevallies large Blue Fin Trevallies Rain bow runners and Tunas causing havoc amongst the more vulnerable fishes of the reef. Also we saw a Clown Triggerfish these little triggers are by far the most easily identifiable triggers of the entire family. Another great dive now and when we surfaced there was a huge pod of Dolphins performing acrobatics for, what seemed like, our entertainment.
Dive: 17 Richelieu Rock Viz 30 metres slight current on one side of reef. Richelieu, showed, it is still the daddy of dive sites in Thailand today. Absolutely stunning are two superlatives and there are many to describe this site.Huge 50 kilo Grouper, Yellow tail Snappers, Juvenile Barracudas, Trevallies, Mackerels Tunas, further down the chain to the smaller stuff, Pipe Fish, Nudibranchs, Gobies, Dart Fish, Cardinals, Sweet Lips.
Dive: 18 Richelieu Rock all the same as we left it. This dive we saw Tomato Anemone Fish, Eastern Clown Fish (Nemo), Durban dancing Shrimp Box Shrimp mantis Shrimp, Cleaner Shrimp, Jens Pipefish, Albino Pipefish, Hawk Fish.Spanish mackerel came spinning by to, a big one, a solitary predator looking for a early dinner. The Trevallies of course were out to. One more dive on Richelieu then we head off closer to home.
Dive: 19 Richelieu Rock another amazing dive on the rock. We dropped down right in the middle of a feeding frenzy Trevallies, Tunas and Emperors all using the current as a springboard to attack attack attack. As we made our way through those rascals, we found ourselves in the middle of a hungry pack of Barracudas all 50 of them and all over 1.3 metres in length. We swam with them for ten minutes just watching observing them as they did us, with their black eyes, simply stunning.
Diving Day 6 – 13 Februar 2014
After our 5 day trek we found ourselves on day 6 moored up just outside Tab Lamu Pier on the mooring of the Teak Wreck
Dive: 20 The Teak wreck sits down at 40 metres, the Viz was at 10 metres which is good here. As we descended down to 24 metres we found the wreck just where we left it last time, not surprising really as it is over 80 metres long full of Timbers and festooned with marine life. Batfish, scorpion fish, Yellow Snapper and one spot Snapper.
Dive: 21 Thai Muang (old Thai Tin Mining Dredger) Viz 8 metres this dive site is a nursery for juveniles. We saw loads of Grouper, Lion fish, Snappers, parrot fish and wrasse and of course the huge school of Juvenile Barracudas.