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General News

Sunset at Karon Beach, Phuket

Greetings from the Sharkey team here in Phuket. We have had yet another superb month here in Phuket. The good weather has continued with sunny days and beautiful sunsets although there was a slight blip in the middle of the month when a large storm came in. With wave levels on the sea estimated at over 3.5 metres, the biggest we have experienced in our time here, unfortunately all trips were cancelled for a couple of days for safety reasons. Fortunately the storm soon blew away, the sea calmed and business resumed as usual!

Undoubtedly the most exciting event of this month was the discovery of a Thorny seahorse at Racha Yai island. It's cousin, the Tigertail, is regularly seen around these waters. However, in more than seven years of diving here and thousands of dives it is the first time a member of the Sharkey team has seen this particular species in this region (diving Phuket, Phi Phi and Similans). The search is now on to see if this individual has a partner hiding somewhere close by. More details in "Fish of the Month" below.

Gary and Steve with Iain, Oui and Abbie

Overall the month has been pretty busy with yet again more new guests from a variety of different countries. Gary and Steve from the US dropped by to learn to dive during a whirlwind tour of Thailand whilst certified divers Ola from Sweden and Joost from Holland also came to experience the local wonders of the Andaman Sea. We also had the pleasure of two families learning to dive with us with the Attewells from the UK getting wet AND the Collins family from Australia. More on the Collins family below.

The Right Medicine

Ben Collins with hawksbill turtle

It is often said that Australians are the most laid back people on the planet and this was certainly true of the Collins family from Port Lincoln, South Australia. With middle son Joel already a certified diver, father Jim decided it was time that he and the eldest son, Ben, played catch up. With the whole family filled with a love for the water it was no surprise to see the father and son quickly excel in scuba diving. Their enthusiasm and passion was infectious and they were aptly rewarded with many beautiful marine encounters including an especially large Hawksbill turtle. Joel also joined in the dives whilst mother, Heather, daughter, Emily, and youngest son, Levi, decided to make the most of the many good shopping spots around Patong!

Interestingly all the all the adults in the family (mum, dad and two eldest sons) are all currently in the medical profession. Jim is a paramedic, Heather is a midwife, and Joel and Ben are currently studying. This was Jim's first trip abroad for 25 years but we were glad to hear his Arnie Schwarzenegger impression when stating "I'll be back!". We certainly hope to see you all again soon. Abbie will especially look forward to the return after grabbing the hand of youngest son Levi whilst we all enjoyed an excellent Thai meal together!

Fish of the Month

Thorny seahorse

This month's Fish of the Month is the Thorny seahorse. Although not particularly rare in general this seahorse is extremely rare in Thailand with many marine biology sources even commenting that it "may or may not be present". Well the photo on the left is proof if needed. We believe this specimen to be a lone female but, as mature seahorses normally come in pairs and are monogamous for the duration of their lives, we are hoping that there may well be another one in close proximity. The search is on!

This photo was taken at the island of Racha Yai, Phuket. The Thorny seahorse was first discovered early July and sits at a depth of around 21 metres in the middle of a bay area using small pieces of coral to secure itself to the substrate as can be seen in the picture. A true bony fish, the seahorse is quite unusual for any fish species due to the fact that it is the male who gives birth. After the female places the egg in a special pouch just below the male's belly, he then fertilizes the eggs with his sperm and incubates until birth. A labour process is even gone through with the male having to forcibly squeeze out the little ones on hatching. How's that for equality of the sexes!

Smile Of The Month

Casey Battey

This month's Smile of the Month winner* is awarded to Joost Bosma from Holland. Whilst on a business trip around south east Asia Joost took the opportunity to pop to Phuket on a spare weekend and take advantage of its underwater offerings. The effort was well rewarded with a variety of marine life including a Tigertail seahorse and frog fish. Unfortunately Oui the "Shark Queen", named after recent encounters with leopard sharks, was unable to live up to her normal reputation with not a single sighting throughout the day. I told her not to change her perfume!

Abbie in Da House!

Abbie in Da House!

Although still small for her age Abbie seems to grow so quick to us, now measuring in at 90 cm tall. Another couple of centimetres and she would have overtaken her Uncle Max! Her main hobbies continue to be the same: swimming, dancing, climbing and making as much mess as is humanly possible.

Abbie also loves music and singing. Whilst Oui recently created a new promo video for Sharkey Scuba, Abbie couldn't resist joining in. DJ Abbie was insistent on choosing the music to accompany the photo and video clips that Oui had compiled together. However, after some consideration by the Sharkey team, it was decided that Abbie's favourite song of "It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring" was neither a good advert for Phuket or for her "siesta loving" Pappa! Keep working on it, girl.

Thailand liveaboard

PADI student

Whale shark

Manta ray