Phuket Diving Gossip

General News

Manta ray at Koh bon island, Thailand

It has been another typical March here in Phuket: very hot days with cloudless blue skies, balmy evenings and, of course, absolutely amazing diving! As the temperatures rise above water so the excitement rises below as this is the time of year for the big boys to show up on a very frequent basis. Koh Bon island to the north of the Similan Islands once again saw manta rays appearing on almost every dive. Also those elusive whale sharks decided to put in appearances up at Richelieu Rock (except, of course, when Iain was there!).

Around Phuket and Phi Phi there have been an abundance of seahorses, pipefish, and all things small including three tiny frogfish at Sharkey's Nursery. The reefs have been full of life as large schools of glass fish covered the corals leading to feeding frenzies by jacks, tuna, wrasse, moray eels and more!

Similan Islands Liveaboard

Amazing boulde landscapes at Shark Fin Reef, similan Islands, Thailand

After Abbie's birth Iain vowed not to go on any liveaboard trips for the first three years of her life to ensure he did not miss those wonderful daily changes and experiences with a rapidly growing child. Finally the three year period ended in January 2010 and Iain was fortunate enough to take three trips in March whilst teaching the PADI advanced course. It was everything that he remembered and more!

We have always believed that mid-February to mid-April is the best time to dive the Similans. This is when the sea is at its calmest, the visibility is at its best and sightings of large pelagics are at their most frequent. With many "close encounters of the manta kind" both Iain and the customers were absolutely thrilled. However, for Iain the highlight was just re-experiencing the amazing underwater landscapes ranging from fantastic coral gardens overflowing with marine life to the large boulder sites that made you feel like you were flying above the top of a mountain range looking down to the earth below! If you have never dived there then it really should be top of your list. It is no wonder that this stunning marine park is considered to be one of the best dive spots in the world! More information can be found in our Similan Island liveaboard section.

Fish of the Month

Porcupine pufferfish, Phi Phi islands, Thailand

This month's fish of the month is the Porcupine Pufferfish. As you can probably tell by the photo this species gets its name due to two things: the spines all over its back similar to a porcupine and it's ability to puff itself up to nearly twice its original size by either swallowing water or air. Together these two assets act as a great defence against any potential predators.

The pufferfish in the photo to the right was spotted resting in a barrel sponge at the island of Koh Bida Nok near Phi Phi. A relatively shy animal, this particular type (the masked porcupine pufferfish) can be found all around Phuket and Phi Phi either swimming around the reefs or tucked up in crevices or corals. Like most pufferfishes the internal organs of the porcupine pufferfish is very poisonous to eat. Any unfortunate animal that does manage to eat one will most likely die from the effects of its toxins within 30 minutes of digesting!

Smile Of The Month

Dan - March 2010 Smile of the Month

This month's Smile of the Month award goes to Dan Gunter of the USA. Dan is an IT guy currently based in Iraq who is a frequent visitor to Phuket and now a fully fledged member of the Sharkey family.

The photo to the left was taken with Iain whilst on an overnight trip to the Similan Islands. The smile is not so much from the mouth but in the eyes and no wonder. During the six dives on their Similan liveaboard trip on Somboon 3 Dan and Iain saw manta rays on three of the dives including swimming right next to one for a period of 15 minutes! Don't forget to collect your free merchandise on your next visit, Dan.

International Friends

Abbie and Elin

One of the many great advantages of our work is that we get to meet interesting people from all different backgrounds and all different nationalities. In March we had guests visit from England, Wales, Norway, Sweden, Germany, South Africa, USA, Ecuador, Thailand and Australia! Of course, Abbie gets to benefit from that too.

In the adjacent photo is Abbie with one of her many international friends, Elin from Sweden. During one of our many evening gatherings the two hit it off straight away and spent a joy-filled night of colouring and playing games. No wonder Abbie's language skills are progressing nicely. She is now able to count from one to ten in English, Swedish and Thai!

Thailand liveaboard

PADI student

Whale shark

Manta ray