Phuket Diving Gossip

General News

Happy New Year from Oui, Iain and Max

Happy New Year to all our "extended family" from the Sharkey team and to anyone else reading this column. This year's New Year's celebrations in Phuket were nothing short of spectacular with an amazing firework display all around Karon and Kata beaches. As we watched from our balcony the sound from the fireworks reverberated so much from the surrounding hills that the earth literally moved! It was as if each hotel was competing against the others which may also account for the display starting 10 minutes before midnight! This was much to Iain's annoyance as he was still in the process of making his last G & T for the year when the proceedings started!

Leopard shark, Anemone Reef, Phuket

The diving year started off busy as usual with a great mix of existing customers and new ones again. Interestingly our favourite site was at Sharkey's Nursery (Kata beach) with an amazing array of macro life including nudibranches pipefish and even a very cute leaf fish (see below for "Fish of the Month"")! Our customers were in agreement with Jeff from Singapore and Jakob from Denmark both hooked. Jakob eventually completed 15 Kata beach dives alone during the course of his stay!

Not forgetting all the other wonderful sights, the usual suspects were ever present with leopard sharks at Phi Phi, seahorses and pipefish all around Phuket and Phi Phi and even manta sightings for both Iain and Oui at Racha Noi and Racha Yai islands respectively. Of course, all this and more were spotted on Similan islands liveaboard trips too. What a great start to the year!

Sharkey's Nursery

Blue spotted stingray at Sharkey's Nursery, Kata

We thought last year at the north end of Kata beach was great but this year is just unbelievable. With many of our regulars opting for the occasional beach dive as well as the usual boat trips, Ian and Oui both spent many dives searching both on the reef and over the sand. It is often on the sand that the less obvious discoveries are made. One one dive alone we were lucky enough to find fourteen ornate ghost pipefish AND so many blue-spotted stingrays that we lost count. Watch out for our upcoming article "Sharkey's Nursery - Take Two" including photo gallery!

Fish of the Month

Leaf Fish, Kata beach

This month's fish of the month is the Leaf fish. Also known as a Wasp fish this beautiful, cute-looking fish is actually a member of the Scorpaenidae class, the same family as lionfish and scorpionfish so don't get too close! Generally found around sandy patches on or near to coral reefs their disguise is superb as they really do look like a leaf (hence the name). They also add to this trickery by lying on their sides on the sand and swaying with the surge.

The picture on the right was taken on a dive at Sharkey's Nursery on the north end of Kata Beach, Phuket in January 2010. Just a few centimetres in length this one was on its own and always located within a few metres of the last sighting. It was seen out on the sand at a depth of around eight metres in the middle of nowhere. This was Iain's first ever one and he managed to find it again many times after the initial sighting. Previous individual sightings have been made by both Max and Oui at Racha Yai island and Kata Beach, Phuket, respectively but it's nice to have a repeat visitor!

Smile Of The Month

Toby - January 2010 Smile of the Month

Whilst flicking through all the photos taken during January I came across the photo to the left taken during a recent trip to Phi Phi. As soon as I saw it I knew I had found a "Smile of the Month" winner! The handsome gentleman (second from right) is Toby and his smile, as well as everything else about him, just broadcasts the message "I am going diving and I just can't wait"! Toby, originally from Malaysia but now living in Canada, was joined on the trip by friends (l-to-r) Edward, Mikhail and Joy. After experiencing the wonders of Phi Phi, including sharks, seahorses and frogfish, the group then spent a fabulous overnight trip in the Similan islands on the spacious Somboon 3 liveaboard. Don't forget to claim your free merchandise, Toby, on your next visit.

Birthday Fun

Abbie, Oui and Iain elephant trekking

How time flies. Yet another year passes and our daughter grows yet another year older. Our "little fish" has now reached the grand old age of three and just keeps growing and growing. With her birthday following not too long after Christmas the expectation was already there for presents but the day was not to turn out as well as planned. Unfortunately, her favourite Uncle Max who celebrated his "fifty-something" birthday on the same day, was absent due to being on an extended Similans trip. Added to that, just minutes before her party was due to start Abbie fell sick with a fever and had to retire to bed with many presents unopened.

On the weekend following we were able to repair some of the damage by opting for a morning elephant trekking, something new to both Abbie and "Pappa". Abbie, as with anything, took to it straight away whilst Oui performed like she had been an elephant carer in her former life, happily sitting on its neck and steering by rubbing her feet on its ears. Meantime, Pappa looked decidedly unsure of the whole experience as the seat slipped from side to side. His excuse for the uncomfortable look - "I once fell off a camel"! Thanks to all who came to Abbie's party and to those that sent presents and wishes too.

Thailand liveaboard

PADI student

Whale shark

Manta ray