After many years of hearing that the Similan Islands in Thailand were a must-dive destination from my diving friends, I finally managed to make my way there this month. It was pretty late in the season, which was beneficial in getting a half-empty (or is that half-full?) liveaboard boat and a cabin all to myself, however the weather was starting to turn slightly foul, with cloudy skies most of the time and lashing rain on occasion. The glimpses of blue sky were very welcome.
The diving was quite easy, although there was often a bit of current at the sites to keep things interesting. The visibility ranged from 20-40 metres and the water temperature hovered around 29C, which made for easy and comfortable diving.
I love seeing big stuff and colourful reefs, and the sites here were not disappointing. The coral growth on the reefs was looking pretty healthy, apparently making a good recovery after the tsunami of 2004. The reefs attracted loads of colourful reef fish, which in turn attracted some bigger fish such as trevally and tuna. On one particularly memorable dive we saw a majestic manta ray that slowly checked us out, before turning around to swim past us again, then swimming off into the blue.
Liveaboard diving is a continual cycle of diving, eating, sleeping/reading, diving, eating, more sleeping and reading. The diving can get a bit tiring at the end of the day, but it’s definitely worthwhile. We even checked out one of the white, sandy beaches of one of the islands, which had the whitest powdery sand I’ve ever seen. It felt like I was standing on a large strip of flour!