KM Raja Manta Trip Reports

Jan 14, 2015

WMT 14

2015 is upon us, a New Year and White Manta is now two months into the Similan 2014/15 season! Despite a spell of windy weather over December the diving has already thrilled and satisfied guests from across the globe. We’ve had Mantas, Whale-sharks, even rare sightings of guitar sharks, whilst for macro lovers, seahorses, harlequin shrimp, pygmy pouch pipe horses, ghost pipefish and a multitude of nudibranch have kept the trigger fingers of underwater photographers busy all season!

On our most recent trip (10-14th Jan) the crew were happy to welcome a group of Chinese divers from one of our agents in China - Xpert Diving- led by the ‘superstar’ UW photography team of Yorko and Leonard this was clearly a group who had arrived with the intention to partake in some serious UW photography! Almost every diver was armed to the teeth with some extremely expensive DSLR equipment, each rig expertly and carefully managed by our experienced deck  hands, the dive deck at times resembled something from the film set of Titanic! 

The schedule for this trip was planned as a ‘reverse route,’ meaning we would start the diving at the Northern most point of the safari in the beautiful and secluded ‘Surin Islands,’ with no other boats around, stunning weather and perfect conditions these islands would prove to be the perfect place to begin our dive safari with a couple of relaxed check out dives. The two dive sites we chose also provided some great subjects for all those expensive macro lenses onboard; Harlequin shrimp,white banded cleaner shrimp, ribbon eels and pygmy pouch pipe horses to name just a few!


On then to Richelieu where world class diving for both macro and wide angle enthusiasts has given the site a deserved rating of the best in Thailand and one of the best in the world. Huge sea fans, abundant purple, orange and red soft corals along with schools of jacks, barracuda, snapper and batfish provide an incredible underwater canvass and with clear blue water conditions it was great to experience this dive site at it’s best.


Day two continued around Surin, Richelieu, Koh Tachai pinnacle and finally Koh Bon West Ridge, a days diving around some of the top sites in Thailand. Although the ‘Big Fish’ were remaining elusive, Maori Wrasse, Octopus, Ghost pipefish,Banded Sea Krait, shoals of snapper and fusiliers  along with hunting jacks kept those camera shutters busy! 


The highlight of day three was probably the first dive of the day at Boonsung wreck, arguably the ‘fishiest’ dive site on the safari. Occasionally here the vis can be less than perfect, but today we had stunning visibility, clear blue water and marine life to please even the most experienced and hardened diver. Amongst all the dense schools of fish three huge Cobia circled the wreck for the entire dive, over a metre long each individual was happy to investigate our divers, providing some fantastic photo opportunities.


The final day at the Similan Islands was all about wide  angle reef scene photography, and with the abundance of beautiful, large gorgonian sea fans along the reef systems here our divers were spoilt for choice in terms of where to point their cameras! After washing and drying all the dive gear it was time to sail back to Phuket, giving everyone a chance to enjoy a cold drink and toast the memories collected on another amazing dive safari experience in the land of the smiles!


Thanks to Yorko, Leonard and Emily from Xpert Divers.. we hope to welcome you and your guests back to dive with us again soon!!


Trip: WMT14
Author: Mike