KM Raja Manta Trip Reports

Feb 24, 2015

WMT CNY 19-25th Feb


This new lunar year marks the start of the Chinese year of the goat and White Manta was ready to celebrate the dawn of a New Year with a large Chinese contingent of divers led by our friend Zhang Huimin (or Yoyo as she likes to be called!) We also welcomed Ryan from the United states, Genie from South Korea, Patricia from Singapore and returning friends Dow, Dome and Mon from Thailand who brought along some new friends, Amp, Karn and Nan. It would seem that the Chinese New Year brought us some amazing luck, as this would turn out to be one of the most spectacular trips of the season!

 

As we would be running a longer schedule for this Chinese New Year holiday trip, we embarked from Tap Lamu Pier on the first night, setting sail not, as usual for the Similan islands, but Northwards to the magical Surin Islands, situated on Thailand’s border with Myanmar. As we would be covering a much larger area than usual, encompassing the Surin national marine park, Similan national marine park and the South Andaman sites of Hin Deng, Hin Muang, Koh Haa and Phi Phi islands, we would start in the North and work our way South.

 

 

From day one the diving proved to be incredible, with plenty of rare ‘big fish’ sightings along the way. After a nice relaxed check out dive at Koh Chi we headed to the world famous Richelieu Rock where stunning visibility and beautiful surface conditions allowed us to explore the dive site at our leisure, searching for small macro finds amongst the huge schools of fish and lush coverings of soft coral. However it was a much larger fish that stole the show, over three dives everyone onboard got to enjoy the sight of Whale Sharks (plural!) cruising around the pinnacle, an auspicious start to the trip indeed!

 

Whilst Richelieu proved to be an amazing place to start a dive safari, the highlights did not stop there! On to Tachai where we caught our first glimpse of a giant Manta Ray cruising over the pinnace through schools of barracuda and trevally, rainbow runners and immense schools of fusilier, even the chilly thermoclines that occasionally swept over the site couldn’t diminish our diver’s excitement. The excitement only grew, as we dived Koh Bon West Ridge, welcomed underwater by another TWO giant Manta’s who kept our divers company for most of the dive!

We even had a fourth dive with a manta as the next morning, again at Koh Bon, a giant manta came and waved us goodbye as we enjoyed a safety stop over the top of the ridge!

 

After a couple of reef dives around the Similan islands where Turtles, White tip sharks, Groupers, ribbon eels and stunning schools of fish kept the excitement levels up we sailed over night to the Southern waters of the South Andaman sea where the twin pinnacles of Hin Deng and Hin Muang awaited. During the sail we were accompanied by pods of dolphins and even a minkie whale, escorting us to our destination, continuing the incredible marine life sightings we were all enjoying! 

 

Diving into the waters around Hin Muang, it was clear the highlights were to continue as we were greeted by the sight of a resting leopard shark, a once dominant shark species in these waters, they are increasingly hard to spot as their numbers dwindle… lets hope that as divers spread the word across the world about the importance of saving our marine and Ocean eco systems such sightings can long continue and our oceans continue to amaze and delight divers and snorkelers alike!

 

Thanks to everyone who joined this trip and made it such a magical experience! We hope to see you all again soon, especially if you bring such luck with you again!