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28 Feb – 02 Mar 2014 – Hin Daeng / Hin Muang & Koh Haa

/ MV Giamani Log Book

MV Giamani Trip Log: 28 Feb – 02 March 2014.

Port of departure:  Chalong Pier, Phuket, Thailand.

Conditions: calm and settled.

On-board we have customers from: Italy, Japan & Finland.

We checked everyone’s equipment; all is well, fireworks lit for the blessing of the boat, dinner served and customers chilling out watching the back drop sunset over Phuket behind us.

Diving Day 1 – 1 march 2014

We wake to a beautiful morning, very few clouds and calm seas. Coffee and a light breakfast set’s us all ready for our first dive. After our boat and dive briefing we are set for our first dive of the trip. The excitement is higher than normal, due to the fact that Whalesharks and Mantas Rays have been seen on the last couple of trips. So let go diving and see what we can find.

Dive: 1 Koh Haa Jay Viz 25 metres slight current running south. Our small group headed down, straight on top of a marauding school of Blue Fin Trevallies we watched on helplessly as they laid into the hapless glass fish, it was a massacre.
Further along the reef we saw several species of Moray eel, Giant Yellow, edged and the White kind, there was a small team of Yellow Tailed Barracudas on patrol. A Coral Banded Sea Snake came by; we watched it as it searched the small crevices for its breakfast.

Dive: 2 Hin Daeng, Viz 20 metres strong current there was no point in fighting it so we just went with the flow. We hit around 20 metres depth and went in search of the big boys. Following the reef towards the north end of the dive site, we saw a couple of Scorpion Fish lurking on top of the rocks waiting patiently for their next meal.

A Giant Moray and I do mean Giant Moray Eel with his head out of the rock looking menacing, all the teeth showing as if to say look at me. Further on round the reef the current changed directions, so we had to turn around and head back. Then out of the blue, the biggest Manta of the season so far, maybe 5 metres plus, huge, he gave us a fly by then was gone. Let’s see if we can find him on the next dive.

Dive:3  Hin Muang The current was strong and allowed us to drift quite quickly from one end of the site to the other. The Viz was very good, the bottom at over 65 metres and the magnificent marine life.

We had heard that there were four Manta’s in the area, we searched and searched but to no avail. What we did see was several very large Titan Triggerfish, and Filefish. I suspect however, that a Pod of Dolphins are in the area, I heard a couple of squeaks and clicks and as a lot of the usual reef suspects were not in residence could indicate some large predators in the area.

We will try our luck on Hin Daeng next dive, maybe we can have a little chat with the Manta from the dive before.

Dive: 4 Hin Daeng– Viz 25, no current, after a tricky dive on Hin Muang we decided to enter the water a little earlier to take advantage of the low tide. The instant we went down a two and half metre Manta Ray was waiting for us, she stayed with us for 12 minutes at a depth of 10 metres.

Then, from nowhere, two more Manta’s came by one about 3 and half meter the other maybe 5 Metres. The larger one for some reason seemed to chase the small one away, interesting behavior. All 3 Manta’s were female.

The dive seemed like a dream, surreal in fact, two Manta Rays kept following us, they came around and around. The whole dive, they stayed with us, a dive of a lifetime, the only reason we came up was we all had finished our air; otherwise, we would still be dancing with the Manta now.

Diving Day 2 – 2 mar 2014

We awoke in the shadow of Bida Nok, Phi Phi Islands: 6:30 am after yesterday’s excitement, everyone was ready early and could not wait to get into the water. So let’s see what Bida Nok can turn up..

Dive: 5 Bid Nok Viz varying from 15 meters down very little current. Bid Nok another great wake up dive Bida Nok as usual teeming with life, Yellow and One spot Snappers everywhere, Hawksbill Turtle seem to follow us for about 5 minutes.

A young Great Barracuda came by to see what we were doing and I had no answer for him. Several species of Scorpion Fish including Lion Fish heard small fry into its lair. Unfortunately no Manta’s on this dive, but we have been terribly spoiled already. On to our next dive, breakfast first, and then we will go hunting ghost pipefish and seahorses.

Dive: 6 Phuket Shark Point strong current and Vis 10 metres+. We saw many Moray Eels, but the highlight of them was the Fimbriated, hiding inside a large sea sponge.

We also saw a Tiger Tail Seahorse, Durban Dancing Shrimps and a Jens Pipefish. There was a small school of Yellow Tail Barracuda and some Blue fin Trevallies.  Several Lion Fish and a very unhappy Scorpion fish, reason unknown.

Dive:7 Koh Doc Mai this is the home of the Ghost Pipefish, so we set out with intention. However it soon became obvious that we would not be able to find them due to the current. Normally the current runs from north to south and vice a versa, however today it decided to run in two different directions, strange but true.

As we descended we set off into the current  gently going with the flow, then it changed and started pushing us back from the direction we came from, after about 30 metres it changed again pushing us back the other way. Anyhow we managed 57 minutes the Viz about 8 metres, maybe less.

We did see Jens Pipefish, a very large school of juvenile Barracudas the Small Mackerels were in abundance, they seem to love the strange flow of water, they were hunting feverishly bombing the small baitfish and snapping up and any poor strays.

All in all another great trip aboard Giamani, the boat sails tonight for the Similans and beyond. Will they find more Whalesharks and Manta’s only time will tell; so, until the next time, its good bye from me and goodbye from him, Goodbye!