I loved my last dive trip to the Similan Islands on the Manta Queen I so much that I decided to do the whole thing again one month later. This time I loved it even more.
There were a few reasons for this. Firstly, we had three days of glorious sunshine and calm waters, so I could really appreciate the beauty of the islands. It was such a pleasure to wake up at sea on the first morning and brush my teeth on the dive deck in the sunshine, looking out into a bay of bright turquoise sea and getting excited about my first dive of the trip.
The diving got better and better too. I had another fourteen more fabulous dives to relish, and this time I felt more relaxed well-prepared. I had the confidence to explore a bit, rather than sticking directly behind my dive guide Neal (a crazy American with a vast repertoire of cheesy songs). It’s so much fun to go on little ‘underwater treasure hunts’ and if you’re the first to spot something cool it’s always a kick.
I didn’t have an underwater camera, so the following great pictures are borrowed from other divers…
Last trip we didn’t make it to the famous Richelieu Rock because of bad weather, but this time we got three dives at this amazingly beautiful site. It was so packed full of life that I didn’t know where to start looking. You could spend an hour exploring a square meter here, but there’s so much more to see. We spotted a seahorse, harlequin shrimp, ornate ghost pipefish, giant chevron barracuda, smashing mantis shrimp, a whole load of nudibranchs and all sorts of other great stuff within minutes of being down there.
It was also a whole lot of fun just hanging out on the boat in such great company. My beer tally definitely went up this trip, and sleep hours went down, but I still had plenty of energy for diving. I helped Julian draw his amazing dive maps (well, I hindered more than helped… his drawing talent far exceeds mine) and really enjoyed hanging out with another German room mate, Tina. The two of us are getting so addicted to diving that we’re plotting a possible return before the end of the season to do our Dive Master qualification. Maybe this is just a dream at the moment, but I certainly have some serious thinking to do when I return to Europe!
My only regret is not spotting a Manta Ray, which was top on my wish list. I suppose this just gives me the perfect excuse to come back…..