Diving With Sharks And Rays In Thailand

We just got back from Scubalov’s second international triof the season! We were hosted by a warm and eco-friendly operator on a well equipped, comfortable boat from the 20th – 23rd April and the experience was pure bliss. We were fortunate enough to dive the best Thailand had to offer. The trip took us around to the Surin Marine National park, Richelieu Rock, Koh Tachai and Koh Bon. The dive sites around these islands have very distinct, gorgeous topography and some brilliant sightings around this time of the year apart from the abundant variety of big and small fish. The good thing about diving this part of Thailand is that it is perfect for experienced as well as open water divers, but we chose to take divers with a minimum of Advanced Open Water certification so as to keep the group together.

 

Day 1 – Ray of Sunshine

The first day turned out to be a ‘Ray-day’ diving around the Surin marine national park. We did three day dives during which we spotted Kuhl’s Maskrays by the dozens and six Jenkin’s Whiprays openly perched on the sand. We ended the day with a dusk dive and were greeted by one of the biggest OCEANIC MANTA RAYS I have ever seen. Time stopped as it gracefully flew by against a mild current. To top off the day, we surfaced from the dive to bask in the warmth of a glorious sunset.

 

Day 2- Schools of Richelieu Rock

The second day turned out to be a treat for not just the fun divers but also us professionals. Our dives at Richelieu Rock had all of us squealing like crazed fan girls! These pristine blue waters had it all; healthy coral, macro life and larger than life pelagics. This is when we saw the biggest of them all, the WHALESHARK! Their sheer size combined with the way they gracefully glide through the water feeding on plankton is a treat to watch. The dive site was buzzing with action as schools of Big-eye Trevally hunted fusiliers and glass Fish. Small creatures like Seahorses, Ornate ghost pipefish, and colorful nudibranchs were a delight to spot on a reef full of both, healthy soft and hard coral. As we sat for an informative talk about sharks we saw a Marlin jumping out of the water not too far away from the boat.

The last dive of the day was a night dive at Koh Tachai reef, which was a first for many on the boat. After the initial jitters of focusing in total darkness, everyone started enjoying the nocturnal side of the ocean. Amidst the lobsters, shrimp, sea urchin, and lionfish all out on hunt we encountered two BLACKTIP REEF SHARKS moving swiftly in search of dinner! All in all a good day of diving for new as well as seasoned divers as they faced and aced some challenging conditions underwater and on the surface.

 

Day 3- The only kind of traffic jam I like

The last day was full of more sharks and rays. Our morning dive at Koh Tachai pinnacle was briefly interrupted by a wall of barracuda. We saw sting rays, schools of trumpet fish, cornet fish and boxfish before we were left stumped by a runaway Blacktip reef shark. We then sailed on to Koh Bon which had delightfully low visibility. That was because the dive site was covered in glassfish being hunted by schools of Yellowfin Tuna and Trevally. A surge over the shallow part of the reef made us explore deeper where we encountered a Leopard shark and more stingrays.

 

Eco diving and food

A definite shout out to the knowledgeable and experienced liveaboard crew for having interactive talks on coral reef conservation and being eco-friendly by using reef safe shower gels, shampoos and soaps, it was much appreciated by all. And last but not least, the tastiest Thai curries I have ever eaten accompanied with continental and local delicacies just made the trip complete. 

To sum it all, a short but extremely eventful dive trip with everyone returning to their land jobs completely content. We look forward to our next international trip, until then.