Phuket Diving Gossip

Happy New Year from Oui, Iain and Max

General News

Happy New Year to all our "extended family" and anyone else reading this blog from the Sharkey team. The year started off busy as usual with a great mix of existing customers and new. Visibility on the dive sites of Phuket and Phi Phi has been variable but never-the-less the variety of marine life has been as wonderful and exciting as ever with seahorses, pipefish, turtles and even a whaleshark sighting at the dive site of Koh Doc Mai by customer Stephen Pallot from Jersey. Of course, as always, neither Iain or Oui were present that day due to family commitments!

The Similans islands continue to blossom. We are now moving into the true "manta season" with many sightings in recent weeks at the islands of Koh Bon and Koh Tachai just north of the Similans but still accessible on a Similans liveaboard trip.

Max's birthday party

January is always a time of celebrations in the Sharkey household with two family members celebrating birthdays and on the same day! This year on the 19th Abbie turned two whilst Max celebrated his fiftieth (although he is trying to claim he is only forty!). We held two separate parties, the first for Max, and a few days later a separate one for Abbie. It was good to see Max's friends from the UK in attendance two of whom, Julian and Steve also celebrated the big four-zero! Remember this date for next year's calendar - everybody welcome to the celebrations!

Sharkey's Nursery

Eel catfish at Sharkey's Nursery, Kata

Finding ourselves with a spare morning (a rare thing nowadays) the Sharkey team of Iain, Oui and Max decided to do something we had never done before - go for a dive with just the three of us! We grabbed some tanks and headed to the north end of Kata Beach to dive "Sharkey's Nursery" so called because of the number of juvenile fish to be found there.

Despite the freezing water temperature of 26 degrees (freezing to us anyway) we still managed a dive of almost two hours in length. The dive was full of excitement and we were well rewarded for our efforts! The most extraordinary sight we saw was a massive school of mature eel catfish covering the sand like a dark cloud. Also, Max got his nudis, Iain got his bent stick pipefish and Oui her robust ghost pipefish. We also saw the cutest pufferfish ever - hardly bigger than a finger nail! All in all an excellent dive. Check out Max's dive report for more details.

Fish of the Month

Robust ghost pipefish, Kata beach

This month's fish of the month is the Robust Ghost Pipefish. Also known as the sea grass ghost pipefish it is rarely spotted due to it's amazing camouflage and movement that literally makes it look like an old leaf swaying in the current.

The picture on the right was taken on a dive at Sharkey's Nursery on the north end of Kata Beach. This one was on its own, quite unusual as they are almost always seen in pairs which means it's partner was probably somewhere close by. It was seen out on the sand at a depth of around five metres hanging around a hole most likely waiting for its prey to re-emerge. We have also seen this species on most other dive sites around Phuket and Phi Phi but in varying locations and differing depths between as little as one metre to as deep as thirty!

Smile Of The Month

Helena - January Smile of the Month

Once again there were many contenders for the "Smile of the Month" award but this month's winner is Helena from the Czech Republic. Helena came over to visit and take her PADI Open Water course with the Sharkey team, and in particular, Max. Her first two open water dives were at Kata Beach followed by two more at Racha Yai island. With cuttlefish, lionfish, pipefish, moray eels and many other aquatic animals on the list of things she saw it is no wonder she has such a lovely smile on her face. Come back soon!

Birthday Fun

Abbie and Max

It seems like only yesterday that Iain and Oui had the most wonderful experience of their lives with the birth of their beautiful daughter Abbie. It wasn't the best of timing for Max as it was his birthday too and his supposed "day off" ended up being extremely hectic in between helping with transport to the hospital and taking over Iain's courses.

Two years on the pleasure just increases as Abbie develops into a beautiful, charismatic child who always seem to manage to win the hearts of our visiting guests. Not only that but as you can see from the picture above she is almost as tall as Max "the hobbit" already!

Thailand liveaboard

PADI student

Whale shark

Manta ray