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Thailand Aggressor Captain’s Log
February 25 – March 4, 2017
North Andaman Sea
*Air Temp. 30c
*Water Temp. 29c
* Visibility 20m
Cruise Director: Clive
Second Captain: Rong
Deck hand: Hem
Chef: Pi Phorn
Dive instructor: Patrick
Dive instructor: Bank
Dive Master: Ashley
Guests: Barbara, Michael, Cheryl, Pat, Jill, Bob, Kathy, Kathy, Chuck, Karl, Cathy, Karen, Mike, Mark, David, Suzanne
Sunday – West of Eden, Deep Six, Anita’s Reef, Zodiac, Hideaway
Monday – Sharkfin Reef, Boulder City, Elephant Head Rock,Turtle Rock
Tuesday – 3 Trees, North Point, Christmas Point, Koh Bon West Ridge, Koh Bon Bay
Wednesday – Koh Tachai x 2, Richelieu Rock x 2
Thursday - Richelieu Rock x 4
Friday – Koh Tachai x 2
Saturday 25th February 2017
‘Sawadee Kap’ from Thaplamu Pier, Thailand! The pier is bustling with many day trip boats and local fishing boats coming and going. The guests arrive to the Thailand Aggressor around 4:00pm and are greeted by our friendly staff. The trip leader briefs the guests on the boat and their staterooms and then everyone start setting up their equipment. A proper boat brief and an overview of the schedule are given and then a multi course Thai style dinner is served whilst the Thai crew sets off celebratory firecrackers on the bow to ward off “evil spirits”. We set sail for the Similan Islands and another week of diving, eating and sleeping.
Sunday 26th February 2017
We wake up at sunny Similan Island #7, where the guests eagerly make their way into the saloon to hear the dive safety briefing and procedures on how to dive off the Thailand Aggressor. They then gear up and make their way into the waiting dinghies for the short ride over to West of Eden. We start off with a check out dive and make our way to the resident spearing mantis shrimp. Red Fire Gobies are on the gravel bottom guarding their holes and a light current pushes the divers gently North along the site. Giant Trevallies were cruising by looking for breakfast. Next dive was just around the corner called Deep Six. A few big swim throughs littered in giant gorgonian sea fans make up the Northern part of Similan #7. Huge Dogtooth Tunas just hung about in the current waiting for something to eat to swim by. After lunch we headed over to Anita’s Reef to check out ‘One Roll Rock’, the rock with so much life on it that one could use an entire roll of film just there. Small cleaner Wrasse came up to the divers to nibble their ears making for a fun event. Kuhl’s Stingrays were laying on the sandy bottom and a special find of a juvenile rock mover wrasse was swaying about on the bottom at the end of the dive. Fourth dive was inside the bay of island #6 called Zodiac. A nice shallow sloping sandy reef with some concrete figurines placed on the bottom in a kind of memorial for the tsunami. After the night dive at Hideaway Bay, guests have a cup of hot coco with a little bit of Kahlua, then off to bed for another great day of diving tomorrow.
Monday 27th February 2017
It’s another beautiful morning in the Similan Islands where we start the day with a dive at Sharkfin Reef. Here divers enjoy the dramatic topography formed by massive boulders almost making it look like steps carved in the boulder. One group saw a Leopard Shark swimming calmly in the shallows. Back on the boat, chef has prepared a hearty breakfast complete with bacon, sausage, hashbrowns, home made bread, and French toast and eggs made to order. Dive two is at Boulder City, just next to Sharkfin Reef. Great big boulders all around the site make up a very interesting site with large gorgonian sea fans silting away at the moving water. Elephant Head Rock was the next on the list. Massive boulders stacked on top of each other in between islands #7 and #8 that make for almost one continuous swim through. Both a blue and yellow Ribbon Eel were spotted on the bottom and some nice nudibranchs on the rocks including a Twin Magnificent Slug. After a long, two hour surface interval we head to Island 8 and dive Turtle Rock as our sunset dive. A big Spiny Lobster was spotted under an overhang and two Ornate Ghost Pipefish were hiding in among a gorgonian seafan. Another great day of diving in the North Andaman Sea.
Tuesday 28th February 2017
Guests wake up to a beautiful sunrise and the smell of fresh brewed coffee. We gear up and jump in on the Eastern side of island #9 were the rising sun gives us good light on a site called 3 Trees. Nesting Titan Triggerfish kept guard of their eggs close to the bottom and tried to scare off any diver coming too close to their liking. The site is teeming in blue and yellow fusiliers. 3 Bumphead Parrotfish were cruising along in the shallows of the site. Next we head to North Point, which is home to 2 Pygmy Pipe horses, a close relative of the Sea horse family. The big channels on the site intrigued the divers and made for some very good pictures. Dive 3 was over on the West side of island #9 called Christmas Point. The site has a unique feature with some of the boulders looking like someone had taken a giant ice cream scoop to them. A black Ribbon Eel was on the bottom and the airpocket formed by diver’s bubbles was popular among photographers. Right next to the airpocket under the rock a large Mangrove Whipray was laying asleep and wasn’t bothered by the interested divers taking photos. Next we left the Similan Islands, to Koh Bon Island where we spent the remainder of the day. Koh Bon is a small sedimented limestone island which forms a ridge starting at 30 meters above sea level and tapers down into the sea reaching a deep sandy bottom at about 40 meters. Here there is a cleaning station which sometimes attracts the larger marine life. We made one day dive and one night dive and see a variety of creatures including the Maldivian sponge snail, an octopus, a juvenile black snapper, a banded sea snake, and a cuttlefish. Divers unanimously decide that this is the best night dive so far and are, once again, very happy with the diving.
Wednesday 1st March 2017
Today we spend the morning with two dives at Koh Tachai Pinnacle. Using the mooring line we descend to 25 meters where we try to find shelter from the strong current. The conditions are trying, but the divers understand current is our friend as a Giant Manta Ray loops around and a massive school of Chevron Barracuda loom effortlessly on top of the site. Trevally patrol the top of the pinnacle on the hunt for fusiliers and other small fish. A green sea turtle swims nonchalantly below us. What a beautiful dive site! In the afternoon we arrive at Richelieu Rock, our most northerly diving destination. Richelieu Rock is known to be Thailand’s most beautiful dive site, and today it certainly holds up this reputation. The rock is completely covered in purple and pink soft coral and thousands of glass fish. Small schools of Pickhandle Barracuda circle in the bay and divers count about a dozen scorpion fish in just one dive. Lionfish congregate and ambush smaller prey with their quick attacks. 2 Ornate Ghost Pipefish were hiding in a sea fan almost totally blending in. A Napoleon Wrasse swam by totally unbothered by the divers taking pictures. Divers love this site and look forward to spending the day here tomorrow.
Thursday 2nd March 2017
With a late wake up of 7:30 am, guests are able to sleep in before the first dive. Richelieu Rock never ceases to amaze us! We start with a deep dive down to 32 meters for a super special find of a thorny seahorse. In the same area dozen of emperor fish are on the hunt. In all the chaos it is hard to chose what to look at because so many amazing things are happening at once! We head back over the main rock where we find several flabelina nudibranchs, a variety of cowrys, and banded cleaner shrimp. A Peacock Mantis Shrimp was going about it’s business and amazed all by how it was totally oblivious to all the photographers taking its picture. Chef prepares a delicious lunch of cashew chicken, minced pork, and baked macaroni and cheese then we are back in the water. During the second half of the day we see the resident Napolean wrasse, a peacock mantis shrimp, huge schools of snapper, and many marbled grouper. The last dive was just one feeding frenzy on the outer side of the rock, that most of the divers just hung in mid-water most of the dive admiring the trevallies and tunas wizzing by. One more Ornate Ghost Pipefish was spotted. This time a yellow one. It has been such a wonderful day we are all sad that it had to end.
Friday 3rd March 2017
Guests sleep in again today and wake up to a beautiful sunrise over Koh Tachai Island. Some of the group opted to go to the reef close to the island, as the pinnacle was experiencing quite a bit of water movement. The groups that dived the pinnacle saw a Manta Ray circling around the pinnacle among the huge school of Barracuda, so everyone decide to stay at Koh Tachai for the last dive. What a dive that turned out to be!! A Manta was spotted from the surface by the boat crew and it circled the pinnacle for most of the dive not bothered by the divers at all. That just made the trip and the smiles on the divers’ faces bigger, if possible… We arrive to Thaplamu around 4.00 PM and have a seafood barbeque farewell dinner in the evening. We congratulate our iron divers with an Iron Diver Medal and guests enjoy their last night on the boat together comparing Manta Ray footage and other shots taken during the trip.
Saturday 4th March 2017
Guests wake up and have their usual made to order breakfast. Our friendly crew helps get their luggage to the pier and guests depart the vessel at 8:00am. Their prearranged taxis are already waiting for them, we say our final farewells, and they are off to their next destination. Thank you everyone for another amazing week on the Thailand Aggressor with an awesome group of divers! Kop Khun Krap!