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Thailand Aggressor Captains Log
December 29 – January 5, 2019
North Andaman Sea
*Air Temp. 30c
*Water Temp. 29c
* Visibility 15-20m
Cruise Director: Glenn
Second Captain: Rong
Deck hand: Eak
Chef: P. Chatt
Dive master: Jai
Dive Instructor: John
Dive Instructor: Fernando
Dive Instructor: Dan
Guests: Sara, George, Ken, Karyn, Pam, John, Zach, Erin, Shannon, Jessica, Audrey, Jerry, Vivian, John, Lindsey.
Sunday – Zodiac, Shark Fin Reef, Boulder City, Stonehenge, Night Dive at Stonehenge.
Monday – West of Eden, Deep Six, South of Eden, Anitas Reef, Night Dive at Zodiac.
Tuesday – Elephant Head Rock, Christmas Point, Three Trees, Koh Bon, Night Dive at Koh Bon.
Wednesday – Koh Bon West Ridge, Koh Tachai Pinnacle, Koh Tachai Pinnacle, Koh Tachai Pinnacle/Reef.
Thursday - Richeliue Rock x4
Friday – Boonsung Wreck x2
Saturday 29th December 2018
The guests are met by a warm welcome aboard Thailand Aggressor as they arrive by dingy at around 5.00pm at Thapmalu Pier. There is time to settle in and set up dive gear before gathering in the saloon at around 6.00pm for a meet and greet. A Yacht briefing is given by the Cruise Director and a traditional Thai fireworks ceremony to bless the journey ahead. Followed by a delicious four course meal from the chefs in the galley as we set off for the Similan Islands.
Sunday 30th December 2018
We wake up to freshly brewed coffee, a light breakfast and a beautiful Similan sunrise which sets the perfect welcome to the Similan Islands. After our Dive Safety Briefing and Dive Site Briefing we jump in to do our check dive off islands five and six at a site called Zodiac. We start with a quick buoyancy adjustment at the surface then descend into the beautiful Andaman Sea. This dive site being called so due to the big Chinese Zodiac type plaques set in the sand as a memorial for the tsunami that this area suffered in 2004. The reef here is healthy filled with Five Lined Snappers, Yellow back Fusiliers, Titan Triggerfish, Humphead Banner fish, Moorish Idols and covered with nice hard and soft Corals. We encountered a beautiful Juvenile Razor Wrasse gliding across the sandy bottom along with a couple of white-Seal faced pufferfish bobbing about around the hard coral heads. A scrumptious cooked breakfast with eggs “cooked your way” after the dive and we head to our next dive sight called Shark Fin Reef.
Shark Fin Reef is named so as the monstrous granite boulders sticking out of the surface of the water on low tides, looks just like the dorsal fin of a shark. We dropped in by dinghy and descended down to depth, immediately finding a couple of very beautiful Andaman Jaw Fish peaking out of there borrows in the sand, there are stunning hard corals and chubesta corals growing all over the massive granite boulders here as well. A couple of very large dog tooth tunas cruising by and hunting all around us. Our groups found a very large magnificent anemone with 4 very beautiful false anemone clown fish (Nemos) dancing around inside this beautiful anemone. We Also spotted a couple of very cute adult box fish picking at the algae growing on top of the massive granite boulders at this site. A very nice Buffet Lunch is served after this dive, time for some rest and then we go just a short distance to our next site called Boulder City which is just east of Shark Fin Reef. Briefing is given and we head out to the drop point, descending down to absolutely monstrous Gorgonian Sea Fans, Stunning Chubesta Coral, and huge Granite Boulders. Our guests had a very nice surprise early on into the dive when they came across a huge Marbled Stingray resting in the sand. Along with a large school of Pickhandle Barracuda resting in the midwater waiting for there next meal to make its way to them. We also came across, Clown Triggerfish, Redtooth Triggerfish and a plethora of other reef fish swimming about as well. We then head to Stonehenge for our fourth dive of the day where we stay to do our night dive as well. The boulder formations here are truly spectacular, as the ocean has carved out Neolithic markings on the boulders and one very large boulder rests only on two points to where you are able to see all the way under the massive rock all the way to the other side of it, this makes for a very good home for a lot of the smaller fish and nudis we find here in the Similan Islands. A very nice hard coral sloping reef with Kuhls Stingrays resting in the sand, with the giant granite boulders and huge swim throughs covered in Gorgonian Sea Fans, whip corals, soft corals and sponges it makes for a most amazing dive for our guests. For our night dive we stayed at Stonehenge, which made for a spectacular night dive site. We found many different types of reef crabs, Moray Eels out hunting, Painted Spiny Lobsters cruising the reef and just an all around awesome night dive. After the night dive guests were served a delicious cup of hot coco with a splash of kahlua if they so choose.
Monday 31st December 2018
The day starts once again with a beautiful sunrise and our first dive of the day at a site called West of Eden. This site is a hard sloping coral reef extending down to 110 feet and deeper. As we dropped in from our dinghys we were greeted by a lovely White Banded Sea Krait sliding through the coral heads looking for its next meal. A short distance later we came to the large channel running between two massive granite boulders where we showed our guests one of the smallest head shield slugs we find here in the Similans the ever so speedy psychedelic batwing slug, then moving down to the bottom of the channel that lays at around 80 Feet we found a very well camouflaged Spearing Mantis Shrimp hiding in its burrow which made for some very nice photos for our guests. Moving down towards the end of the dive site we came across a few more beautiful Nudis, a Giant Moray Eel, a couple of very large Dog Tooth Tunas, and many blue fin Trevallys hunting in the mid water.
Back on the Mother Ship and Chef makes Pancakes, toast and eggs your way as well as a breakfast buffet complete with fresh fruits, granola, homemade bread, hash browns, and bacon.. After that wonderful breakfast, all guests were ready for our second dive of the day at a site called Deep Six on the North West side of Similan Island number 7, dropping in to the beautiful blue water there were an abundance of reef fish all around us, along with the most stunning hard and soft corals on this slopping reef.
This site is a fantastic site for its really great swim throughs and larger marine life usually hunting around the huge boulders. Giant and Bluefin Trevallys in the shallows and Dogtooth Tuna cruising over head made for a really exciting Dive.
The Forth dive of the day was at Anitas Reef, which is a site just off the east side of Island number 5, Dropping into Anitas Reef we had a nice little drift dive through the site, almost immediately we came across several kuhls stingrays hiding on the ocean floor and a really beautiful juvenile razor wrasse bobbing about in the sand. Making our way down to a particular coral head that we have been finding a large family orange spotted pipefish and there they were, must have been 8 of them hanging around just under the this beautiful coral head. Continuing on farther south we found a couple of Coral Banded Cleaner Shrimp in this huge crack in the rock wall and we also spotted a Multi Barred Pipefish swimming up and down this large crack in the rock. Just around the bend from there we found the almost resident Black Male Ribbon Eel that has been inhabiting this area for almost 2 months now. About 8 meters up from the ribbon eel we found again 3 pygmy pipe horses attached to very tiny whip corals just under a very large over hang that has some of the most beautiful soft corals and quite a few nudibranchs, we all then shallowed up, did our safety stop and back to the yacht for dinner. Night dive at Zodiac, A nice little shallow bay to protect us from any current makes for a most enjoyable dive. Our guests saw some really beautiful Nudis and also a quite large decorator crab making its way across the huge boulders lying just below the surface. A couple of Painted Spiny Lobsters were out cruising the reef and with them a large moray eel out hunting, the sights were welcomed by all and really put a very nice end to our days dives. Back to the Thailand Aggressor where Hot Coco awaits and our guests called it a night.
This site looks like an elephant sticking out of the water with the huge granite boulders sticking out of the Sea. The formations of these boulders stacked on top of each other over the years add to a great feeling when diving through here. Once we made it to depth we quickly spotted a pretty Blue Ribbon Eel hiding behind a small coral head. As we continued on through the channel on this site we stopped to see a very tiny but beautiful Ankers Whip Coral Shrimp that is very well camouflaged on a single piece of whip coral in the channel. At the end of the channel is a nice hole cut out by the water movement where are divers were able to look through to the other side which made for very nice photos and videos for our guests. Seeing a Whale Shark the week before at this site makes us hopeful to encounter this magnificent creature again. Porcelain Anemone Crabs and Dave our resident Great Barracuda hanging out on top of the boulders awaiting his next meal. Shallowing up to make our safety stop and end our dive we found a really awesome Nudi called the Cromodorus leopardus. Our guests were buzzing about this dive and said it was a truly magnificent site.
As we move further north to Three Trees for our third dive of the day. With the land mark of three very distinctive trees directly above the site, this is how it lends its name.
Three Trees is truly a great site to dive. There is a vast sandy patch filled with many Kuhls Stingrays and Gobbies of all descriptions. Right below our drop point was a massive school of Chevron Barracuda, would say about 300 or so, our guests were able to approach nice and slow and almost become part of there school, what an amazing feeling that is. Making our way farther out on this beautiful hard sloping coral reef, out to a very large corral bommie the shape of a hamburger bun. This bommie is full of an abundance of small life and a macro photographers dream come true . To continue further out to what some consider one of the most beautiful coral gardens in the Similan Islands. Filled with many Marbled Groupers, Gorgonian Sea Fans, almost pure white sand giving a somewhat mystic feel surrounding the granite boulders, one of the biggest barrel sponges in the similans dwarfing most divers.
The fourth dive of the day at Koh Bon West Ridge was a pretty swift drift dive over this site of lime stone layers with all its nooks and crannies for the smaller marine life to live in. Its also a world famous cleaning station where Oceanic Manta Rays come every year to socialize and get cleaned by the many cleaner wrasse that live in this one particular coral bommie. We had encountered this magnificent creature the week before but unfortunately luck was not on our side for this dive. Still a truly amazing place to dive and with an abundance of all varietys of fish
The night dive in the North Reef of Koh Bon, after once again a delicious dinner, was filled with Giant Moray Eels out hunting, as big an Octopus as can be found camouflaging itself into the coral seabed floor, the tiniest shrimp in plentitude cruising around, a Fimbriated Moray Eel out looking for its next meal, 4 or 5 lion fish and the same for scorpionfish awaiting their prey. And to finish another great days diving with a cup of hot chocolate and a little Kahlua and plenty of laughs was a nice end to our day.
Wednesday 2nd January 2019
The first dive of our day was again at Koh Bon West Ridge. The current was not as strong on this dive as the previous day which made for a nice gentle drift along the North Ridge. We drifted nice and slowly down to the west ridge pinnacle hoping to catch a glimpse of the Giant Oceanic Mantas that have been frequenting this site. Unfortunately we did not get to encounter these massive pelagic animals but we still had a really awesome dive finding a white banded sea krait, a very big napoleon wrasse, and two reef octopus mating amongst the coral and boulders.
We set off for our second dive of the day whilst having breakfast to the island of Tachai, or Koh Tachai. Koh meaning island in the native tongue of Thai. These big huge granite boulders that form a pinnacle a few hundred meters off this island is an absolutely great site with so much sea life. Lobsters under many rocks, schools of Longfinned Batfish, Nudibranchs, Marbled Grouper, Emperor Fish, Giant Trevallys, Bluefin Trevally, Clarks Anemone Fish, Devil Scorpionfish, Chevron Barracuda, Blue Back Fusiliers, Yellow Back Fusiliers, Blue Dash Fusiliers, Yellow Dash Fusiliers, white banded sea kraits, and much much more. We happily did two more dives at this site hoping to catch a glimpse of either the whale shark or mantas that have been hanging around this pinnacle, but as luck would have it, we did not get the encounter we where all hoping for. But still one of the top dives and dive sites we have on our route and all guests were absolutely buzzing with joy about their dives here. The last dive of the day along the Eastern Reef of Koh Tachai, was a very nice and relaxing diver to finish off the day. All guests onboard are thoroughly enjoying their dives and loving the abundance of marine life we haver here in the Similans.
Thursday 3rd January 2019
Richelieu Rock really does have the wow factor going on. About 10 minutes into our dive we had defended down to a depth of about 70 feet, while showing our guests four cuttlefish hanging about on the wall of the pinnacle one of our guides looked up just in time to catch a glimpse of the magnificent whale shark swimming over head, it was a quick pass and only a few of the guests were able to see it before it went out of sight, but upon surfacing a majority of our other guests in other groups had the very unique experience of actually getting a close up encounter with this five meter ( 15 foot) fish, All on board were super excited and it really did make for one of the best highlights of our trip. Someone commented after the first dive when going through the extensive fish identification books that it would be easier to say what we didnt see then to identify what we did. The outer pinnacles covered in beautiful hard and soft corals, Bearded Scorpionfish, Cuttlefish and in their mating season. Big Schools of Big Eye Trevally and Emperorfish hunting, millions of fish sweeping over the site, which makes it look like the pinnacle is moving. Chevron Barracuda in large schools, Pick Handle Barracuda, Crocodile Needlefish, Ornate Ghost Pipefish in the well camouflaged coral, Glass fish everywhere. The third dive here was just as great. A sunset dive on this site where the Trevallys go into a feeding frenzy is very exciting. Getting their last meal before going to bed for the night with full bellies. The highlight of this site being the incredibly rare Harlequin Shrimp, which we were able to find three different spots where the Harlequin are hiding. A relaxing cruise back towards the mainland for our final days diving at a site called Boonsung Wreck.
Guests woke up to a phenomenal view of the coast of Thailand today, anxious to get into the water for our two dives at Boonsung Wreck. Which is an old Tin Mining ship sunk in 1984 as one piece but then in 2004 there was a massive tsunami that hit Thailand and broke the Tin barge into several different pieces. We do not necessarily dive this wreck for the wreck itself, but more for the marine life that call this place home.
Groups descended down onto the wreck to find hoards of scorpion fish, lion fish, schools of giant porcupine pufferfish, massive schools of snappers, and barracuda. All groups saw as many as four cuttlefish as well. A real treat for this site that we found on our second dive here was an ornate ghost pipefish dancing around a piece of whip coral just inside an over hang of the wreck. Are guests said that the amount of fish at this site was just unreal and that they were very happy that we were able to do two dives here to finish off our cruise for the week. Last dive of our trip and heading back into Tablamu for our BBQ and Movie night.
Saturday 5th January 2019
It was sad for us all to see the guests leave in the morning. We had a really great weeks diving with you all and from us all aboard Thailand Aggressor a very warm thank you. Hopefully see you all again some time soon. Safe travels and Happy Bubbles.
Thailand Aggressor Staff