Phuket Diving Gossip
Author: Iain Page, January 2007
- Wedding Festivities - Brian and Lada tie the knot in Phuket
- Our New Arrival - Baby Abbie
- The Perfect Charter - Whale sharks and more on a trip to Phi Phi
- Manta Madness Returns - Similans islands at its best
The New Year started in excellent form with the marriage of Brian Rovetta and his Thai wife Lada. Brian and Lada met in Phuket when Brian was working as a dive instructor. Since those early days Brian has since re-located to Moscow where he now works for a top head-hunting firm. Bit of a change of climate for Lada who assures me she has now managed to acclimatise well!
The wedding itself was held on Phuket and followed by a afternoon and evening harbour cruise of Patong on board the luxurious liveaboard boat The Junk. Built in 1962 for charcoal transportation the "June Hong Chian Lee" was part of a small merchant fleet that traded up and down the coastline of Burma to Malaysia. It was mainly used to transport mango wood charcoal until 1985 when it was restored and redesigned to serve as a classical yacht.
Other guests included one very famous person indeed, namely Georgy Grechko. Check him out on the internet and you will soon discover what a remarkable man he is. As well as visiting space three times AND holding the record for the longest stay in orbit (96 days), he was also an instrumental figure in many other areas of space exploration. An unassuming man we tried not to bother him too much but did have some interesting conversations with his beautiful and charming wife Lyudmila, a space doctor in her own right. With Oui over 8 months pregnant Lyudmila offered some excellent advice on the use of pressure points to help relieve child birth pains. Better ask Oui whether they worked!
On 19th January at 3:30 p.m. the moment that we had excitedly been waiting for finally happened, the arrival of our first baby, Abigail. Weighing in at 2.89 kg (approximately 6.5 pounds) and 48 cm tall she was smaller than expected but still absolutely beautiful. The birth was very quick to Oui's relief and so fast that I nearly missed it. With contractions still in their early stages I popped out to say goodbye to Oui's sister Oor who had to return to work. 10 minutes later on my return I found Oui's bed missing and realised she must have gone into labour. Quickly donning mask, gown etc. I rushed into the labour room just in time to watch Abbie pop out. So eager was she to meet her parents that she flew out like a cork from a champagne bottle! Probably just desperate to get diving!
Whilst in hospital with mother and child we had to ask our colleague Max to step in and take over the running of the business. After completing an EFR and Rescue course and sacrificing his birthday celebrations in the process (19th January, same day as Abbie) this was then followed with a speedboat charter to Phi Phi islands. And what a trip was had by all. Two of the three customers, Holly and Brent, were off to try Discover Scuba Diving, a program designed to get first timers in the water quickly without compromising safety by having them under the direct control of their instructor. The third, Ryan, an advanced diver, was also about to have an experience of a life time. On the way to Phi Phi the tour guide Daniel spotted something on the surface nearby. As the boat pulled closer everyone realised that swimming just beneath the surface was a 6 metre whale shark. In no hurry to move away the group managed to snorkel with it for over 30 minutes. Over their two dives the group then managed to see many more wonderful creatures including a turtle and leopard shark. To cap the day off on the journey home they then also saw a pod of dolphins and a minke whale! Don't expect that every trip!
Last March we gave mention of the sudden appearance of our favourite underwater animals. This year they are back in force with numbers never experienced before. The most common place to see them is at the small island of Koh Bon just to the north of the Similans islands.
Sightings in and around the Similans islands to the north of Phuket have become such a regular occurrence that one liveaboard was even giving money back guarantees if you didn't see them. Add to that frequent sightings of whale sharks and other pelagics such as grey reef sharks and it all adds up to the perfect diving destination.
Sharks around Phuket
|Length||To 20 m|
|Prey||Small fish, squid, crustaceans and plankton|
|Dive Sites||Possible at all sites but most commonly at Hin Daeng/Muang and Similans|
|Length||To 3.5 m|
|Prey||Crustaceans, shrimps, bony fishes|
|Dive Sites||Possible at all sites but most commonly at Phi Phi, Hin Daeng/Muang and Similans|
Grey Bamboo Shark
|Length||To 75 cm|
|Dive Sites||Most commonly at Shark Point, King Cruiser and Phi Phi|
Blacktip Reef Shark
|Length||To 1.8 m|
|Prey||Bony fishes, squid, crustaceans and sea snakes|
|Dive Sites||Most commonly at Phi Phi and Similans|
Whitetip Reef Shark
|Length||To 2.1 m|
|Prey||Bony fish, crabs, lobsters and octopi|
|Dive Sites||Most commonly at Racha Noi and Similans|