Welcome to our latest gossip page, last updated May 25th 2005.
Wet, wet, wet! - May 2005
As the low season approaches we are starting to experience the usual changes in weather. The second week of May saw the first real rain this year, and boy did it rain! With waves changing direction some diving areas are becoming inaccessible until October whilst other areas continue to operate without effect. No matter what the weather on the surface, underwater we still have the best diving in Thailand.
With the Similans now inaccessible due to rough weather conditions until October check out our liveaboard section to see the alternatives including trips to Racha Noi, a mini version of the Similans close to Phuket, and the fantastic sites of Hin Daeng and Hin Muang, recently the most likely place to spot that elusive whale shark!.
Happy Thai New Year: Songkran Festival - April 2005
April saw the annual mixture of madness and fun known as the Songkran Festival. For those water lovers this is another opportunity to get completely wet without getting anywhere near the sea.
The Songkran festival, a celebration of the Thai New Year, is basically a nationwide water fight. Everyone from the youngest to the eldest take part. Watch out, however, as the national accident rate soars during this period, not surprising really, as you are attacked from all directions with water pistols, ice-cold buckets of water and even high-pressure hose pipes! Watch this space for a full article of our experiences including some wacky photos and video clips.
The Similans is dead? Long live the Similans! - March 2005
So who said the Similans is no more? Last week I experienced possibly the best Similans trip I have ever been on (and I've been on a few!). With visibility sometimes reaching 40 metres and an amazing variety of marine life it is difficult to imagine how diving can get much better.
Over a three day/two night liveaboard trip my group experienced the little and the large: frogfish, ornate ghost pipefish, three species of sharks and so much more. Did I mention the three manta rays with 4 metre wing spans that circled us for fifteen minutes? Watch this space for a detailed account of our experiences including photos and the ultimate manta video clip.
Hin Daeng, Hin Muang : hidden treasures of the south - February 2005
With everything rather quiet on the work front post-tsunami, Oui and I took an opportunity to jump on a private charter down to the fabulous but not so well known dive sites of Hin Daeng and Hin Muang. Located in the Andaman Sea to the south of Phi Phi these two dive sites are hidden treasures rarely discovered by visitors to Thailand.
Over a three day/two night liveaboard our group encountered breathtaking dive sites with a fantastic variety of marine life ranging from the very rare harlequin shrimps to the even rarer and hardly ever seen black marlin! Throw in a manta ray and limestone pinnacles covered in colourful soft corals and sea anemones, ...what more can you ask for! Watch this space for a detailed article with photos of the trip and information on how you too can experience these unbelievable dive sites.
Similans Cleanup Operation - January 2005
On 19th January a 3rd cleanup operation to the Similans was organised and Oui and I were privileged to be involved. The 4 day trip to the Similans involved Thai marine biologists, administration staff and approximately 140 divers from Bangkok and Phuket. All members of the group stayed on the Andaman Princess cruise ship with three Phuket day trip diving boats used to ferry divers to and from the individual dive sites.
The priorities of the trip were to:
- Save the many sea fans that had been snapped off rocks by propping them upright in the sand, a temporary measure until they can be fixed back onto the rocks using a special type of cement.
- Save surviving corals by up righting table corals and removing dead corals that were lying on top of still-living corals.
- Clear rubbish from underwater including removing large trees from bay areas that could cause future damage when the wind and waves get stronger in the monsoon season.
Many interesting objects were recovered including tyres, mattresses, a tent and even an unopened pack of tourist t-shirts! Much good work was done and some serious fun was had by all. In fact, during the cleanup operation our groups saw a wonderful variety of marine life including a leopard shark, turtles, cobias and even a large Jenkins whip ray.
Further trips are planned in the near future to continue the good work.
Tsunami disaster - December 2004
Our prayers and thoughts go out to everyone around the world who has been affected by the tsunami disaster. In these difficult times all we can do is to help those who have survived and try to get our lives back to normal as soon as possible.
We are glad to say that the recovery in Phuket has been swift with many of the damaged properties repaired or in the process of being repaired.
Fortunately for Oui and I, we were out diving near Phi Phi islands and were only affected by an aftershock a few hours after the main waves hit. Check out our article Tsunami Day Diary for detais of our experiences on that day.
Wedding news - updated October 2004
For those of you who are unaware, Oui and I got married in 2004. With two weddings (Phuket, Thailand and Tonbridge, England) and three honeymoons (Scotland, Iceland and Indonesia) it was a hectic but fantastic time. With friends and family coming from all over the world it was a multi-national event.
Special thanks go to my parents who paid for almost the whole lot. Also, thanks go to Noel, Emma, Jeab, Elaine and Clare for their organisational efforts, and to Damon and Dave for their musical contributions!