Hello and welcome to our community! Is this your first visit?
Fin walking @ the Similans
As I make my way to the platform its hard to look my fellow divers in the eye as I clamber over their fins. I am of course involved with what can only be described as a world record attempt to get the most people under water in one hit. The 15 minute briefing I had just received on the great Manta ray is already starting to feel more like a sales pitch rather than a reality. If this is one of Thailandís greatest dive sites this is no way to see it.
This is Koh Bon
I must be the 20th diver to make the splash and could not see the end of the line behind me that were yet to join in. Finally having the space to move freely I sort out my weight belt, BC and adjust my fins ready to decent into what looks like some gin clear abyss.
The buoyancy check seems pointless so I take the time at the surface to introduce myself to my insta buddy who although was just 2 tanks away from me on the boat had no way to get to me to say hi. She seemed relatively at home with the proceedings thus far and was ready to go.
The hiss of my jacket deflating was followed by the relief that I indeed had enough lead to see me through. The clarity of the Similans was testament to the many reviews, endless visibility. I was overcome with the sheer distance I could see. The bottom didnít look like much from 30 meters away and I as I got closer that sentiment did not change. All this visibility was clarifying that I was descending on a rather disappointing dead zone. Where are the Ö..,,, well anything. The results of dynamite fishing was evident everywhere mounds of scrap coral that was so bland the Scorpion fish had trouble hiding. Finally I spotted something to stop and look at. The sucker filled arms of the boneless beast disappeared into a hole a tenth of it size leaving just a pair of eyes looking at me looking at him. Slowly the little octopus made his way back out and was inquisitive enough to give me a full body shot. Shimmering through a kaleidoscope of reds and browns It was clear that this creature was getting a little intimidated so I backed off as it shot back into its den. I was happy now. 15-20 minutes in I had experienced my first two way interaction with another species. Little did I know I was half way through my $75 dive. We reached the pinnacle of the wall that then turned and followed the other side of the little island.
The less experienced divers were making their way back to the ascent line I was guessing they had seen no Mantaís. A bunch of white tentacles poking out of a crevices lead me to a pair of boxer shrimp and out of the middle of the highway. I guessed if I gave it a minute it would be safe to cross. I looked up to see my guides Ďjetsí heading off up the face of the pinnacle so I followed. Looking up I failed to see the slender curves of my dive master attached to the said jets. It was replaced the hairy arms of a pale European. Bollocks!!! Iíve lost my group. Iím at 15 meters and no matter where I look I am completely surrounded by divers. The asian eyes looking back at me tell me that we have just been joined from the other side by the other can of beans. Soy beans. There must be at least 50 divers swimming around me. Blinded by bubbles I head up to a vantage point from where I can see both sides of the reef and search one group at a time for my team. After a minute I am contemplating sending up the SMB when at the last moment I spot a pair of flashy Mares fins attached to my Bald German counterpart. Next to him my Buddy and a worried looking DM. I descend back down to join them. I feel like a bit of a nob but that was just like being in a nightclub.
Were all back on track and make our way to the Manta cleaning station. Times where we should really be searching the nooks and crannies are spent making are way on a hopeless journey to find the Great Mantas. My thinking is that with this many divers a Manta is going to come looking for our 90 strong army rather than us finding them.
It Ďs almost a relief to see one of the others hit 50 Bar even if it is after 40 minutes, so we make our way into the blue to take our safety stop. I am surrounded by bubbles. I have never dived in a jucuzzi before but am guessing I have experienced it now. It is quite literally affecting our buoyancy. How many divers are down there?
After a hypnotic 3 minutes of expelled air treatment we head for the surface and hail our sardine can. We are joined by another 2 boats of Neoprene clad servicemen. There must be 100 divers on one dive site.
They haul us on and we take our surface interval. Looking around the boat now I wonder if the Instructor certified, DMís are actually enjoying this lifestyle. I know itís put me off.
I finally get to chat to my excited dive buddy who thoroughly enjoyed the mass migration of an Aqua lung army. I didnít have the heart to tell her that was the worst dive I had ever done in my life.
Iíll trade low vis over 100 tanks of compressed air any day.
You will always read how Koh bon is the best place in Thailand to see the great Mantas. That maybe true. If they arenít there thereís nothing else there to warrant spending 1 day and $150.
I wanted to get a taste of the similans before commiting to an expensive liveavored in 2014. If Richeliu rock is anything like this I'll be heading somewhere else.
Tags for this Thread