Phuket Diving Gossip

General News

Nemo at Home run, Racha Yai island, Phuket

Greetings from the Sharkey team here in Phuket. With the alleged "rainy season" now well and truly upon us the weather has been superb - hot days, cloudless skies and calm seas. The underwater visibility has been outstanding too, more reminiscent of the Similan islands than that of Phuket and Phi Phi. Racha Yai has continually had 30 metres plus and we even experienced 40 metre visibility at Koh Doc Mai!

All the usual marine suspects are still around: leopard sharks, frog fish, seahorses...and don't forget Nemo! We have also discovered various never-before-seen nudibranches with some amazing patterns and colouration (see Fish of the Month). This is one of the great things about diving. Even though you may have dived a particular site a thousand times before you can still come across something new!

Although June was an extremely quiet month compared to normal we were very pleased to see some new faces including Ken from Singapore, and Thomas from Scotland who recently completed his engineering degree. We also welcomed back our friends from the American aircraft carrier, the USS Boxer, and this time they brought even more of their colleagues along!

Land Ahoy

Daren, Jason, Matthew, Shawn, Casey from USS Boxer

We were extremely pleased when we received an e-mail from our friends on the American aircraft carrier the USS Boxer. Regular readers of our Gossip column may remember a mention of then in February's write up so their return so soon was very unexpected but very welcome. After chasing pirates off the coast of Somalia the crew were very much looking forward to getting both on land and underwater.

This time there were even more recruits to the Sharkey club. On the first day we got to meet up with the big man himself, Casey, with four colleagues ready for their first underwater experiences: Daren, Jason, Shawn and Matthew. These guys took to the water immediately (as was expected) and a lot of fun and games ensued. Loop-the-loops, headstands, pirouettes...and I swear I even saw them arm wrestling at one point!

Jaon, Zach, Will, Brad, James, Iain, Oui, Marty, Josh

The following day saw the more experienced guys arrive, this time six in total, plus another first timer, Brad. With leopard sharks free swimming on a variety of occasions, and exceptional visibility, the best way to describe the day was "spectacular". Staff Sergeant Zachary Marks commented in an e-mail afterwards: "Thank you so much for taking us diving! I had the best time of my life, I really wish I could have stayed there longer to do more dives." The feeling was mutual and we eagerly await the return of the guys again.

Special thanks go to Corporal Casey Battey and Staff Sergeant Jason SantaMaria for their hard work in organising the crew from their end. Thanks for the USS Boxer t-shirts too, guys. We will wear them with pride!

Fish of the Month

This month's Fish of the Month is the Nudibranch family. These colourful slugs get their name from the words "nudi" meaning "naked, and "branch" meaning gills. This is because of their exposed gills located on their backs which form a flower-type appendage. Nudis (for short) are very poisonous to fish if eaten which is a great way to limit the number of predators. However, some have cannibalistic urges that cannot be resisted!

The photos below were taken on our favourite 3 dives day to King Cruiser, Shark Point and Koh Doc Mai. Nudibranchs tend to fall into that category of "you either love them or hate them". Some divers act like they just discovered a gold mine and want to give them really big hugs whilst others get the urge to bash them with their torch! Personally we fall into the "love them" group due to the variety of patterns and colouration that they display. Check out our Nudibranch article and maybe you too will soon be mining for gold!

Nudibranch at Shark Point Nudibranch at Koh Doc Mai Nudibranch at Shark Point

Smile Of The Month

Casey Battey

This month's Smile of the Month winner* is awarded to Casey Battey of the USS Boxer. Casey took his first ever dive with us back in February of this year and promptly came back for more. Unfortunately with only two days on land we were unable to complete his full PADI Open Water course as he would have liked but did still manage to get him submerged once again. Last time we visited Shark Point and Koh Doc Mai, this time was Racha Yai island. Casey was aptly rewarded with superb visibility and interesting marine life including schools of snappers and goat fish, and Nemo too! This is a big man with a big smile!

Monday Morning!


It was another typical Monday morning in the Sharkey office. With a non-diving day ahead Oui and Iain were both chained to desks, the focus of the day being on web site updates. Work was progressing well when both noticed that there was an eerie silence, particularly unusual as daughter Abbie was known to be around somewhere.

Close by a shuffling noise was heard, appearing to be emanating from the equipment area. The sound grew louder and louder and both were perplexed by its source when all of a sudden a familiar figure wandered into view. There was Abbie dressed in scuba gear ready for a dive! All by herself she had managed to don mask, BCD and fins and was confidently strolling around in her new gear. All in all quite amazing considering she can't even dress herself in her normal outfits. Just how are we going to keep her from scuba diving until she is eight? Answers on a postcard please!

Thailand liveaboard

PADI student

Whale shark

Manta ray