Monday, 20 November 2017

Diving Again...Hurrah

 One of the main reasons for coming to Phuket, Thailand, is that the sea is in 30 degrees! The visibility is usually pretty good and sometimes amazing and there is stacks to see.

We started off our check-out dives in the house pool....seeing if all the gear still works etc etc. One of our guests is Mark Burton from Bath, Somerset, who trained years ago with B.S.A.C. (British Sub Aqua Club). B.S.A.C's training was noted for its thoroughness and rigour! Successful BSAC divers could go on to earn fortunes in James Bond films as underwater stunt men.

Mark hadn't dived for over 20 years but the BSAC training soon came back and he was clearly a very able diver.

Mark has brought along three charming ladies to carry his bags and admire his underwater prowess. L to R we have Elaine, Debbie and Jane. Elaine and Debbie were keen to have a try so we have started our in-pool training and I will try to get the ladies in to the sea before their holiday concludes. Jane advocates the Panoramic View and prefers to snorkel.
We were diving with 'All4Diving' and were aboard their excellent dive vessel called 'Mermaid'. Our Guide  was Steve Antcliffe who is  vastly experienced and a very fine chap whomore importantly  knows where all the best places to eat and drink in Phuket are.

After an hour's steam to the south east we came to our first stop known at Anemone Point which is full of corals and masses of diverse fish life. Everywhere you look there's something colourful happening....and there are so many species of fish that after all the years I have been coming here I still do not know the names of many of them. But who cares.....just being down there with them is more than enough.

And..look at this for a very first dive bonus....a bright yellow seahorse. I spent some time with this little seemed to quite enjoy having its photo taken. And for those of you that burst into tears over, I didn't hurt its little eyes by using flash. Although we were down at about 20 metres, the natural light is amazing. So, no strobes...nothing. Just my little 'Point and Shoot' camera protected by an underwater housing.
Clown fish...always friendly...come to meet you. There were no eggs for them  to protect in amongst their anemone their proximity to my mask was not aggressive in any way...just an expression of sheer joy that their old mate had returned to see them.
I don't know what these things are called. No doubt the divers out there will. I just know that they are very nice colourful things to photograph. My photo does not capture the striking blue colour of this.....and nearby there was a bright white one and then a green one. It is all very visual 'down there' and having a camera makes one stop and admire when trying to get a reasonable photo without head banging into a rock.

 It is also surprising how much less air is used when trying to take photos than when diving without a camera. The emphasis is on slow, gentle movements....or trying your best not to move at all....breathing makes you breaths are very shallow and all the concentration is on trying to get a reasonable is easy to forget you are actually underwater.
After Anemone Point we moved further out to sea towards the famous Phi Phi Islands to see if we could find turtles and black to reef sharks....and we were lucky with some great close up encounters with the turtles.

The viz was shutting down and it was difficult to spot any sharks and many of our dive group were not lucky enough to see one. I was very fortunate to catch a glimpse of two sharks but they were travelling so fast I had no chance of a photo...but at least I saw them,  albeit very briefly.

I like Nudibranchs. Apparently there are 2,500 diferent species of Nudibranches in Asian waters.....and some keen observers know the names of all of them. I do not. I know only that I saw this charming little creature...probably a centimetre in length, that's all.

And, set against the pink of the coral, it shows up very well.
These starfish are abundant and possess a vivid electric blue colouring. They make great subjects for photographs.
This is the above water scene that greets us as we surface at Phi Phi. These mountains or whatever you like to call them are sheer faced remnants of what was, according to the experts and as highlighted in many of the brochures you can read, the longest coral reef ever to exist stretching for over 3,000 miles through Thailand and way up into China.

You can imagine that this sheer face continues under water.
And here are have the delighted diver...Russell Shaw from Bournemouth in this case...throwing up his arms at the conclusion of a wonderful three dive day packed full of unforgettable sights.

Diving ain't a cheap day out for us poor impoverished Brits suffering as our Pound crashes in exchange value. This day works out at a tad over a £100 (and that's with providing your own dive gear) but what price an experience like this, eh? And the customer is seriously well looked after on these dive boats. Great boat crew carried all your gear on board and checked it out, fantastic food throughout the day and a great atmosphere....Well Done the 'All4Diving' team.

I read on Facebook how many people are grizzling about not being able to sleep at night. Well, who wants to waste yet more of one's life by sleeping...much better to look over the photos of an amazing day and write a Blog that you hope might convey some of what scuba diving in this part of our world is all about.'s less than £500 return from Heathrow to get here...that's cheaper than it was back in 2004 when I started this adventure. Come on, forget about boring sleep...get on over here and get diving.

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