Dive 281: Richelieu Rock, Andaman Sea (Thailand)

Dive time: 00:48:00
Max depth: 28.0 metres
Temperature: 30 C
Visibility: 20 metres
Buddy: Sophie
Surface interval: 02:49:00

A nice way to end the dive trip with a relaxing dive around Richelieu Rock. There is just so much to see in terms of hard and soft corals, and then fish of various sizes and colours.

As soon as we descended to around 26 metres, I saw a little moray eel freeswimming around with a coral grouper following it around as if it were hanging around for scraps. Then under a ledge I saw two white-eyed moray eels poking out of the same hole checking me out. So cute!

I also saw quite a few little yellow cube boxfish as well as some dark, white-spotted boxfish, pufferfish, a large porcupinefish hiding in a hole, massive schools of fusiliers, a scorpionfish, a few little shrimps hiding in the cracks, a pineapple fish, colourful damselfish.

Annoyingly, the dive guide James managed to piss me off one last time before we finished the trip. He’d signal for a safety stop so we’d swim out into the blue but I like to ascend slowly from whatever depth to 5 metres. He seemed to want me to rush the whole time, even from finishing the safety stop to hitting the surface he’d pop up straight away whereas I liked to take my time. As soon as the safety stop finished he was up on the surface, peering down at me and telling me to hurry up and get to the surface. Annoying.

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Dive 280: Richelieu Rock, Andaman Sea (Thailand)

Dive time: 00:54:00
Max depth: 27.1 metres
Temperature: 29 C
Visibility: 20 metres
Buddy: Sophie
Surface interval: 13:48:00

A fantastic dive site with so much to see. There are so many beautiful soft corals and fish life on the top of the rocks and loads of other schooling fishlife swimming around the rocks.

We started the dive swimming off behind one of the big rocks and dropping down to about 25 metres where we saw a yellow tigertail seahorse. We then slowly made our way back to the top of the reef and back to the boat poking our heads around and looking for cool stuff.

Sophie saw an octopus out and crawling over the reef, changing colour and texture as it went along – fascinating stuff.

I also saw a few of the cute little yellow cube boxfish, lionfish, barracuda up near the surface, a couple of little freeswimming moray eels, a blue and white harlequin shrimp, two cleaner pipefish swimming together, tiger egg cowries on a far, lots of coral grouper and parrotfish, ring angelfish, emperor angelfish, lots of anemonefish including a tomato anemonefish, and an adult bent stick pipefish.

Dive 279: South East Rocks, Koh Torinla (Thailand)

Dive time: 00:49:00
Max depth: 20.4 metres
Temperature: 30 C
Visibility: 20 metres
Buddy: Sophie
Surface interval: 04:00:00

A nice relaxing dive on the site, which is basically a whole lot of big granite boulders starting at about 10 metres sloping down to around 25 metres.

I saw loads of fusiliers, a very cute baby bent stick pipefish, a Schultz pipefish, quite a few hunting flutemouths, a couple of spider crabs sitting on a sea fan, partner gobies with their little shrimp companions, a pretty flatworm, phantom bannerfish, lionfish, a couple of decent sized moray eels including one that looked like it was about to have a square off with a grouper, garden eels poking out of the sand, cute little yellow cub boxfish, pufferfish, a big porcupinefish hiding under a rock, 5-line snapper, oriental sweetlips, a few dogtooth tuna, lots of black and white striped cleaner shrimp and a few batfish.

 

Dive 278: Turtle Ledge, Koh Surintai (Thailand)

Dive time: 00:45:00
Max depth: 24.1 metres
Temperature: 29 C
Visibility: 20 metres
Buddy: Sophie
Surface interval: 02:54:00

A fairly nice dive despite a some marathon swimming against a mild current. I don’t like diving for the bloody exercise!

We jumped in and descended onto some big boulders. There was a bit of current swirling around the boulders but usually just a few big fin kicks would get you back behind a big boulder to hide from it.

A third of the way through the dive, the DM James swims off into the blue. He mentioned before we jumped in that if the current was OK then he would do this and we were to follow him, which we did, but he quickly swam out of sight and we could only spot him from his bubbles. We finally caught up to him at a massive boulder that was the size of a small house (perhaps a single room cottage sized house) but we swam around it and then drifted back with the current back to the reef.

He later told us back on the boat that we should’ve kept up with him so that we would have enough bottom time to hang out there to look for big fish and rays but since we swam so slowly then we didn’t have time to stay out there. He seemed pretty shirty about it but hey, we weren’t bloody told that we had to keep up so we just did our usual leisurely paddle pace.

Still, a good dive with lots to see – a couple of big morays, some cute little cube box fish (a little juvenile yellow one and a dark one whitespotted one), a couple of lionfish, lots of little garden eels poking their bodies out of the sand, a cleaner pipefish, a big spotted grouper underneath a rock, oriental sweetlip and schools of grey sweetlip, ring angelfish, batfish, giant triggerfish, and big schools of yellowback fusiliers. Kept looking in the sand to find some partner gobies but no such luck.

 

Dive 277: Batfish Rock, Koh Tachai (Thailand)

Dive time: 00:46:00
Max depth: 27.7 metres
Temperature: 28 C
Visibility: 20 metres
Buddy: Sophie
Surface interval: 12:09:00

A nice dive back at Batfish rock. We descended down the mooring line where there was a fair bit of current on the surface, which died down a little on the bottom. We swam around the big boulders, finding lots of batfish, bluefin trevally, giant trevally, coral groupers, large brown groupers, fusiliers, a mantis shrimp scurrying along the sand, giant triggerfish, a banded sea snake free swimming in the water, and lots of colourful butterflyfish and angelfish.

We swam out into the blue a few times, seeing more giant and bluefin trevally patrolling amongst the schools of fish. Saw a school of barracuda in the distance. The whole time a couple of friendly batfish followed us around, swimming right up to our faces, and Sophie and I would have a giggle as they would check us out.

Got annoyed at the dive guide James again, who kept on telling me to come up shallower as we were heading back to the mooring line at around 8 metres. No idea why he has a problem if I want to have a slow ascent rate. We were still at 41 minutes of a planned 50 minute dive so there was no fricking rush. What the…