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Thailand Aggressor Captains Log
2nd-9th February 2019
North Andaman Sea
*Air Temp. 30c
*Water Temp. 25-29c
* Visibility 15-40m
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: Sung, Sue, Joe, Jean, Diane, Francois, Diane, Kyungbin, Dana, Mark, Kathy, Lori, Greg, Nik, Anneliese,
Sunday – Zodiac, Boulder City, SharkFin Reef, Stonehenge x2.
Monday – West of Eden, Deep Six, South of Eden, Anitas Reef, 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 Reef.
Thursday - Richeliue Rock x4
Friday – Koh Tachai, Koh Bon
Saturday 2nd February 2019
The guests are met by a warm welcome aboard Thailand Aggressor as they arrive by dingy at around 5.00pm at Thaplamu Pier. There is time to settle in and set up dive gear before gathering in the saloon at around 7.00pm for a meet and greet. A Yacht briefing is given by the Cruise Director. Followed by a delicious Three course meal from the chefs in the galley and there is plenty of time to socialize and get to know each other before we set off for our cruise.
We wake up to freshly brewed coffee, a light breakfast and a beautiful Sunrise in the Similan Islands. After our Dive Safety Briefing and Dive Site Briefing we jump in to do our check dive at a site called Zodiac. The dive site got its name for the large concrete Zodiac Plaques that were put in the shallows here for the remembrance of those lost in the big tsunami of 2004 here in Thailand. Zodiac is positioned just on the south side of Islands number five and six here in the Similan Islands. This site is a perfect site to do our first dive of our cruise and our check dive. Zodiac is a hard coral slopping reef, with beautiful hard corals such as stag horn, leaf coral, and nice coral bommies that have a plethora of various reef fish living in and around them. After descending into the beautiful Andaman Sea with awesome visibility on this dive, around 30 Meters or so ( 110 feet) our guests quickly came across a Juvenile Razor Wrasse bobbing around in the sand, a couple of very pretty kuhls stingrays, a Giant Moray Eel, and quite a few different types of shrimp. A pretty rare find on this dive, one of our guides spotted a super tiny Winged Pipefish with a Beautiful Nudibranch right next to it. Towards the end of our dive we shallowed up and guests were able to check out the plaques and concrete temples that are positioned in the shallows here. After doing our safety stop and surfacing we made our way back to the mother ship where breakfast awaits. Staff serves the guests “Eggs Your Way” along with Bacon, Ham, Sausages, and Hash browns.
After Breakfast and our surface interval we head for our next site of the day at a site called Boulder City. This site is known for its giant gorgonian sea fans and huge granite boulders on this sprawling submerged pinnacle just south of Island number 3. Upon descending into the blue a couple of our groups quickly came across a very large reef octopus cruising over the reef before making its way under a very beautiful coral bommie. Also finding a small school of Chevron Barracuda, quite a few different types of lion fish and many schools of blue and yellow back fusiliers hanging about just above the pinnacle.
After about a two hour surface interval it is time to head to our next site of the day which is just south of Island number three known as SharkFin Reef. This site is named so as when it is low tide the huge granite boulders pert-rude up out of the ocean by about 2 meter (6 feet) and they look like the dorsal fins of a Shark. Definitely a few awesome highlights of the dive were a very large Napoleon Wrasse hanging about on top of the massive granite boulders and also a few very photogenic hawksbill turtles.
Moving up to Island number four to a site called Stonehenge, this site is known for its hieroglyphic markings on the rocks both above and below the surface. Dropping in by dingy we quickly encountered a quite speedy school of Long Nosed Emperor Fish. Checking under all of the hard coral bommies that are spread out throughout this site are guests are treated to a hard to find species known as the crocodile flat head fish. This creature is the master of camouflage. Only really being able to make out the face and mouth as this guy likes to burry itself in the sand and blend in with its surroundings.
We also choose to do our night dive here at Stonehenge and we were all glad we did as we encountered a cuttle fish hanging out just below where we dropped in, a real treat for sure. Also finding a couple of Giant Morays out hunting along with 2 Painted Spiny Lobster, amongst the hundreds of different shrimp and crabs that cruise these reefs at night. A really awesome night dive for sure. Back to the yacht to dry off and have a cup of Hot Chocolate and Kahlua. Guests called it a night, and every one went and got some rest for the next days diving experience.
The day starts once again with a beautiful sunrise and our first dive of the day at a site called West of Eden, known for its hard sloping coral reef extending down to 110 feet and deeper. As we dropped in from our dinghys we were greeted by a lovely small green turtle gliding over 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. Slowly making our way down towards the end of the dive site we came across a few more beautiful Nudis, and a pygmy pipe horse hanging on a small piece of whip coral, along with a really rare find, which was an ocellated scorpion fish only about an inch in length, a Giant Moray Eel peaking out of his den on the hard coral heads on top of the huge granite boulders, a couple of very large Dog Tooth Tunas passing by in the blue, and many blue fin Trevallys hunting in the mid water. Also encountering 4 more turtles, and finding a really well camouflaged Netted Ceritasoma Nudibranch. What a truly fantastic dive this was for sure.
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. We made our way out to one particular coral head as that is where we have found a couple of large White Stonefish. Finding one of the stonefish was quite tricky as they are the masters of camouflage and also the most poisonous fish in the Sea. We where successful and all of our guests had the opportunity to see and film this amazing creature.
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.
Staying at Island 7 for our third dive of the day at a site called South of Eden which is on the South West side of Island number 7, Dropping into the blue we are treated to awesome visibility and super colorful soft corals all around us. Continuing on with our dive we encountered a White Banded Sea Krait, many clown trigger fish, a giant moray resting under a sprawling table coral, a family of 4 Painted Spiny Lobsters and a plethora of other reef life. After surfacing we head back to the mother ship where a massive buffet style lunch is hot and ready for our guests.
On to our next dive of the day which 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 of orange spotted pipefish and there they were, must have been 5 of them hanging around just under 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 in the large crack in the rock. But the most special find in this large crack….There was an Ocellated Twin Spot Dwarf Lionfish hiding just in the bottom corner of this crack. A real treat for sure as they are ultra rare here in the Similans. Making our way up the channel we found 2 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.
Tuesday 5th February 2019
Elephant Head Rock for our morning dive today. This site is said to look 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 100s of thousands of years add to a great feeling when diving through here. We have had numerous encounters with the big fella (Whale Shark) here as well. About 18 meters or 60 feet into our decent one of our groups looked up and into the blue and to every ones surprise bam….. there it was. A huge Whale Shark gracefully cruising over head, completely unexpected for sure but definitely welcomed by all. All groups got to see this magnificent creature but unfortunately it did not hang around to long as it just cruised by the one time. After the excitement of seeing the big boy our groups continued the dive and once we made it to depth we quickly spotted a bright yellow Ribbon Eel peeking out of the sandy bottom and also the very large resident Great Barracuda (Dave) that calls this site its home. As we continued on through the channel at 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. Porcelain Anemone Crabs, Harlequin Sweetlips, Andaman Sweetlips, Lion fish of all varietys and Giant Black and Silver Trevallys are just some of the species we saw on this dive. 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 dive.
After our dive guests were served breakfast which included “Eggs your way” Waffles, Ham, Sausages, and Hashbrowns. We were then on to the next site of the day which is a site we know as Christmas Point. Situated just on the north west point of Island number 9, this stunning site has a lot in store for our guests. We dropped in by dinghy and upon looking down below during our decent we could see the bottom of the ocean from a good 30 meters or 100 feet above the ocean floor.
About half way down on our decent we where greeted by a very large Dog Tooth Tuna hanging in the huge channel. There is a small whip coral garden that lyes just below our drop point, making sure we do not pass anything by, we found a very large White BentStick Pipe Fish. Continuing down to a depth of around 25 meters or 85 feet we quickly came across a very colorful peacock boxing mantis shrimp along with a very beautiful juvenile lion fish with its very long fins compared to its body size. A huge highlight for sure was when one of our guides had spotted 3 WhiteTip Reef Sharks hanging around in the deep blue. Getting the other guides attention all groups made their way out to see what was going on, as we looked down we could all see 3 White Tip Reef Sharks laying in the sand. One of which was absolutely massive and we could not believe that it was actually a white tip as it just looked absolutely way to big to be one, but after some research upon surfacing we were all agreed that it in fact was a white tip, most likely just a very old and wise one at that. Ok Getting back to the dive….. Haha….Just after that we headed for a massive swim through that has an air pocket above your head from the exhaled exhaust of divers which is quite impressive to see as well as it makes for some really cool photos. After all groups went through the swim through we encountered a very active reef octopus sitting on top of a nice coral head. The photographers in the group were able to get some really beautiful shots of this highly intelligent creature. Shallowing up and doing our safety stop this dive was definitely one for the record books.
As we move just north west of Christmas Point we come to our next dive site of the day known as 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. Which also marks are entry point onto the site.
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 200 or so, our guests were able to approach nice and slow and almost become part of there school, what an amazing feeling that is. We continued further out to what some consider one of the most beautiful coral gardens in the Similan Islands. Filled with many Brown 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. One of our groups found a Nudibranch Hotel of sorts, there were several psychedelic batwing slugs, along with a Netted Ceritasoma Nudi. Another group found a small white whip coral and a tiny but cute Ankers whip coral shrimp scurrying up and down this coral. Making our way back up onto this stunning hard coral reef, we come to a very large corral bommie in the shape of a hamburger bun some might say. This bommie is full of an abundance of small life, and a macro photographers dream come true, with very bright and beautiful soft and hard corals growing all around and in this bommie.
The fourth dive of the day at Koh Bon West Ridge was a nice slow drift dive along the massive and stunning wall that makes up west ridge. Lime stone layers with all its nooks and crannies for the smaller marine life to live in makes for a very nice treasure hunt trying to find as much macro life as possible. 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.
Descending down into the Blue the visibility was a stunning 35 meters plus ( 125 feet or so) as we were making our way down the massive rock wall that turns into a magnificent hard sloping coral reef at about 14 meters or 50 feet, filled with layers upon layers of leaf coral. We found all kinds of life ducking in and out of the many cracks and crevices, such as a Huge Malabar Grouper, Five Lined Snapper, RedTail Butterfly Fish, Giant Sweetlips, coral banded cleaner shrimps and even the Maldivian Sponge Snail that is endemic to the Maldives and here at Koh Bon. Making our way onto west ridge we were surrounded by schools of bluefin trevallys, long nosed emperor fish, yellow fin trevallys and many varietys of fusiliers. Hoping to see a Manta our groups hung around the ridge for quite some time before making our way up onto the west side of the Island that has a very very healthy coral reef growing all around it. Shallowing up to do our safety stop we were greeted by 4 very large dog tooth tunas swimming by as well.
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 way to end our day.
Wednesday 6th February 2019
The first dive of our day was again at Koh Bon West Ridge. We dropped in the bay here at Koh Bon for a nice drift dive down the wall again to the west ridge pinnacle Making our way down the massive rock wall and hard slopping coral reef we came to the west ridge of koh bon, Continuing our dive we found a white banded sea krait, a very big napoleon wrasse, and the infamous Maldivian Sponge Snail that is to only be found in the Maldives and here at Koh Bon.
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 marine life. Making our decent down onto the site we immediately encountered a massive school of Chevron Barracuda….would say some where in the neighborhood of about 4-500 of them making very nice tornados just above our heads, quite the sight for sure. Along with 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 dive to finish off the day. All guests onboard are thoroughly enjoying their dives and loving the abundance of marine life we have here in the Similan Islands.
Richelieu Rock really does have an awe inspiring wow factor going on. As we dropped in by Dinghy making our way down the mooring line we encountered about 50 Trevallys schooling all around us. Reaching the bottom of the pinnacle at a depth of around 90 feet we quickly spotted 2 Broad club Cuttle Fish mating, which made for some really amazing photos for our guests as they were able to get fairly close with out them swimming away. Many groups made it around the pinnacle finding many Nudibranchs and also large schools of fusiliers, with barracudas hunting and Trevallys schooling.
We do 4 dives at this sight during our cruise and there is still plenty to see for our other 3 dives here today. The outer pinnacles covered in beautiful hard and soft corals, Bearded Scorpionfish, Cuttlefish and in their mating season this time of year. 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. All of our guests were very happy with all of their dives here at Richelieu Rock, and they were truly amazed at how much and how diverse this site truly is. After our amazing days diving we set off for a sunset cruise back to the Island of Koh Tachai, were we will do our first dive of the day tomorrow. Hoping to run into some of the larger pelagic marine life again.
Friday 8th February 2019
Guests woke up to a phenomenal Sunrise View of Koh Tachai this morning, anxious to get into the water for our first dive of the day. As our guests descended down to this submerged pinnacle using the mooring line to help pull them selves down as there was a bit of current moving in the midwater. But once we were down onto the site we were able to play a game of hide and seek with the current, using the massive granite boulders as protection from any current moving over the tops of these boulders. One group quickly spotted a White Banded Sea Krait making its way up the pinnacle searching for any food or little critters it could find. As large Trevallys circled over head one of our other groups spotted two white pipefish swimming across a large boulder and just a few centimeters below that we spotted a very cute Nudibranch making its way across this boulder as well. Just a few meters up from that we found 2 Nudis that camouflage them selves as a very common type of wart slug, but upon taking a closer look they were in fact nudis with their gills flapping in the current, which was a real treat to find. Making our way through the dive site, we encountered all of our usual marine life and the quantitys of life here are quite amazing. A real treat of a dive today. Heading for our final dive of our cruise back to Koh Bon now, hopefully to find an Oceanic Manta or even a Whale Shark to end our trip would be a great grand finale. Sadly it is not to be but we do two more dives at Koh Bon one of which was a Dive Against Debris with the most awesome vis, about 40 meters-125 feet or so. We had a great barracuda hanging above our heads and many schools of fish playing around us. We could see how very healthy our reefs looked teaming with life. A really awesome way to end our dives and cruise. Heading back to Tablamu Pier for our final night on the yacht, our BBQ and Video Show.
Saturday 9th February 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.