MV Giamani Liveaboard Trip Log: 29 Nov to 1st December 2013
Port of departure: Chalong, Phuket.
Weather Conditions: Blustery winds.
Sea Conditions: Over a meter swells coming in from the east.
On-board we have customers from: Singapore, Spain, Italy and Germany.
Chalong is very windy this evening, although there is no rain. Over a meter swells. We left at around 8pm. Dinner was served; we then set up the equipment for the next day’s diving. Although we were not sure whether we could go to Hin Daeng the next day, we would sure try. We slept the night in the safety of Phi Phi Islands, Maya Bay.
Diving Day 1 – 30th November 2013
The next morning we were greeted with more traditional high season weather of calm seas, blues skies and a gentle breeze. What a relief, we can go to Hin Daeng / Hin Muang after all, and what a treat that would turn out to be.
Dive 1- Bid Nok – Viz only 10 meters which is due to the weather and strong winds. The water temp is still the same a warm 29 degrees. We managed 55 minutes dive time. Giant Moray, was the first thing we saw, Black Tip reef Shark are busy early this morning too. A huge Group of Yellow Snapper, Fusilier’s and loads of different Nudibranch’s.
Also we had Bearded Scorpion fish and a school of Hunting Jacks buzzed us at the end of the dive. But the highlight had to go to the Reef Stonefish we saw walking along the bottom, looking for a new place to sit and catch breakfast no doubt, a fantastic and rare sight indeed.
Dive 2 – Koh Haa Neua (The Chimney) – Viz 15 meters which is not great for Koh Haa as it usually produces at least 25 meters visibility, again all down to the weather; another 55 minute dive. We started at the entrance which is at 5 meters, a huge funnel like cavern which stretches down to 17 meters and is literally full of fish.
After exiting the Chimney there are several other exciting swim throughs to enjoy. Which are full of small Glass Fish all darting around trying to avoid the hungry Groupers in search of a mid-morning snack.
Dive 3- Hin Muang Again the vis 15 meters and is not what it should be here, with the water taking on a green tinge, meaning a large Plankton bloom, hustled in by the recent strong winds. As we descend to around twenty meters the water starts to clear and it is possible to see the murky water layers on top of the more crystal clear blue, usually associated with this area.
The current was quite strong and building, however as this site lies east to west it is easy to shelter from the strong currents.
We had Giant Trevally hunting and also we saw a huge Jelly Fish being eaten alive by four File Fish, after around 15 minute we ascended to a shallower part of the site, and there coming up like a huge cloud from the deepest depths was a 4 meter wide manta Ray. It swam over our heads by no more than a meter and disappeared as quickly as it appeared – awe inspiring.
After about 20 minutes of the dive we ascended further to around 12 meters, it appeared again, but this time it stayed, there feeding in the current, really disinterested in us, just happy to be feeding on the masses of plankton. We hung out with it till our air ran almost dry.
It is easy to lose oneself in a situation like that and not concentrate on gauges. We got a much better a look at the huge fish, it had been obviously bitten by a Shark, on its left side fin at some point on its travels and its right front lobe had been damaged too. The huge female was still in excellent shape. And she gave us a dive experience of a life time.
Dive 4- Hin Daeng Viz 15 meters this was an excellent choice as a sunset dive, there was very strong current ripping in now, but there are many place to hide on this devastatingly deep dive site. The action at this time of the day is mesmerizing to say the least. The action here is fantastic, Blue Fin Trevally greeted us on our entry to scope us out, they then disappeared and a huge Giant Trevally came in for inspection. The bait fish that were being stalked by these predators never stood a chance. Also looking for supper were some great Barracuda and Dogtooth Tuna.
Diving Day 2 – 1st December 2013
Another beautiful start to the day as we woke again in Maya Bay, and after a light breakfast we headed out to the Bida Island for our first dive
Dive 5 – Bida Nai Viz only 10 meters here, and the current was strong, as we turned south towards fantasy reef, it was a drifting experience as we cruised along the bottom looking for the elusive Leopard Sharks. There was not much life to see here as we needed to head back to the main part of the site the current was growing stronger, so we had to be careful, we managed to get over to the swim throughs and admired the huge Gorgonian sea fans.
Dive 6 – Phuket Shark Point Viz 10 meters No current as we entered on high tide. We stayed around the main pinnacle, looking for Nudibranch’s and Seahorses we also got some great pictures of an Ornate Ghost Pipe Fish, a very beautiful and quite rare member of the Seahorse family. Also Huge Porcupine Box Puffer, Sea Snake, and a fine selection of Morays too, alas no Sharks.
Dive 7 – Koh Doc Mai Viz just 10 meters, this is a great wall dive, especially looking for macro life, so the diver needs to be close to the wall searching every nook and cranny along the way. The current gave us a decent drift so little effort was needed from our group finning wise. Many different species of Nudibranchs, Durban Dancing Cleaner Shrimp, Jens Pipefish, Common Pipefish (not so common) were also spotted.
Not 1, not 2 but 3 Tiger Tail Seahorses all in different areas of the reef, a testament to the dive guides eye sight which is surely not fading with age. One of the Sea Horses was a juvenile and half the size of the other two. We also took a look inside the 2 huge caverns, very dark and eerie, wonderful dive to cap a quite fantastic trip.
We headed back to Chalong for 3.30 pm to pick up a couple more customers and head out to the Similan Islands in the evening.