Dive 274: The Ridge, Koh Bon (Thailand)

Dive time: 00:41:00
Max depth: 28.0 metres
Temperature: 29 C
Visibility: 15 metres
Buddy: Sophie
Surface interval: 03:09:00

Our second dive of the day and we dropped down in a similar spot to the first, descending down near the ridge and then having a relaxed pootle around.

As soon as I came around the tip of the ridge, I could hear frantic tank banging so I followed everyone’s gaze to see a MANTA RAY!! It was a bit of a way in the distance, further away than yesterday and with poorer visibility but it seemed to just be hovering in midwater above our heads. The current was absolutely ripping past the point and I actually had to hold onto the rocks to stay in the same spot if I wasn’t going to get swept out past the point. Wish I had been a little closer to it!

After this we hovered over the ridge and the reef for a while, checking out the cleaner wrasse, napoleon wrasse, bluefin trevally, angelfish, a couple of smashing mantis shrimp scurrying along the gravel, juvenile anemone fish, fusiliers, and a purple ribbon of nudibranch eggs swaying on the reef.

About half an hour into the dive everyone swims off into the blue, presumably to look for the manta again. Our dive guide James signals that we make a safety stop, at which point I’m mightily annoyed since I still have 100 bar and we were only 35 mins into a 50 min dive plan. I even signalled to him that I still had 100 bar and he just told me to ascend a little. Was pretty incensed during the safety stop (made for interesting buoyancy control) and came back to the boat with 80 bar and still 9 mins of dive time remaining.

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Dive 272: The Ridge, Koh Bon (Thailand)

Dive time: 01:00:00
Max depth: 27.1 metres
Temperature: 29 C
Visibility: 40 metres
Buddy: Axl
Surface interval: 02:37:00

MANTA!!!! After Axl going through the dive brief without mentioning the M word in case he jinxed us, we descended onto the ridge and within 1 minute of hitting the bottom at around 20m, On banged furiously on her tank and signalled a ray. We followed her pointing and sure enough there was a manta ray swimming at our depth coming within 10 metres of us. It was accompanied by a couple of pilot jacks. It was so beautiful, with black and white markings on its body. It swam past us, did a u-turn then swam past us again before disappearing into the blue. We all cheered!!

We continued swimming along the ridge, saw a banded snake snake and a big giant moray close to the sandy bottom, along with a peacock mantis shrimp scurrying along the sand. I heard someone squeal behind me and saw an eagle ray swimming by. Score! Already an amazing dive and we were only 10 minutes in.

We came up to the top of the reef and pottered around a bit where we saw a couple of Napoleon wrasse, a big blue one and a smaller more coloured one. Also saw another giant moray, loads of moorish idols, a hermit crab, juvenile trevallies schooling juvenile fusiliers into balls and then attacking (a bit like our own nature documentary happening in front of us), a few lionfish, a porcelain crab hiding in some fire coral, anemonefish, some large groupers, butterflyfish and angelfish, some black snapper, and some barracuda at the surface. Amazing dive!