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Similan Islands Liveaboard Trip Report: Day 3



Similan Islands

Read the prologue to this trip report here.

Read Day 1 here.

Read Day 2 here.


Richelieu Rock

Today for me was going to be the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ of Thailand’s diving: three dives on Richelieu Rock. Richelieu was our most northerly dive site on this trip, located east of Koh Surin at 09 218N 98 013E. It has a pinnacle that breaks the surface at low tide; other than that it is in the open seas. My previous visits to Richelieu have always been very productive when it comes to photography – it is covered with life of all shapes and sizes, and I was hoping things hadn’t changed. I even changed the memory card in my camera so I had plenty of space.

“Dive Briefing!” It was 7:30am already. As Mats started with the briefing for dive number 9, all I could think was “Hurry up and let’s get in!” My camera was at the ready and itching to get wet.

Descending on the mooring line was a must in case of any currents, however there didn’t seem to be much of one. My first sight was of two large groups of long spined sea urchins on the sea bed at around 29m. If they cannot find places to hide they travel in large numbers to create as much protection as possible. On this occasion, a hundred or so could not find a home!

Thailand 2

Our first mission was to find seahorses. We scoured the area where they normally hide but couldn’t find them, so moved onward.

It seemed almost everywhere we looked there were ornate ghost pipe fish, lots of them, some even in pairs. Moray eels were sticking their head out of nearly every crack, and scorpion fish lay in camouflage, especially in the shallows. Dancing Durban shrimp and banded cleaner shrimp laid waiting for their next job. “I think I’ll have my nails done please,” I thought to myself. I reached out my hand and out they came, seeing what they could pick out from under my nails. Mantis shrimp were spotted scurrying along (they always seem so busy).

As we got shallower you could sea shoals of barracuda and big-eye trevally. Finally it was time to get breakfast out of the way so we could get back in!

Dive number 10

“Dive Briefing!” It was 10:30am. It was time for dive number 10, and again, I couldn’t wait. Our group went in first. I had been set a challenge by Mats to take a photo of a two colour blenny; he had tried and failed to get a shot of one himself, but they always shot off before he got close enough. I did try to look for one, but they are small and fast… and all the ghost pipe fish were looking like they wanted to have their picture taken. At least 12 ghost pipe fish were spotted on this dive! More morays, clown fish in every anemone, a spindle cowrie, and at last a two colour blenny that stayed still. I did try to take a photograph of a small thin black fish that was hiding within the spines of a long spined urchin. It was shooting up and down near the other side and very hard to get a photo of – I did get one, but it’s not clear enough to see what it was.

Thailand 7

All in all, another great dive. I needed a decent surface interval to get the most out of the last dive on Richelieu, so I didn’t hang around in the shallows too long and came up.

Another huge lunch; I scoffed down what I needed, went back to my bunk and sorted out my photos, prepared the video camera for the next dive, then took a small nap.

Dive number 11

“Dive Briefing!” Dive number 11. What was in store this dive? I took another look for the seahorse, and, at last, it was there. A large shoal of squirrel fish swam past; as I pursued them I noticed something moving behind a large shoal of glassfish above me, and as they parted I could see a turtle making its way looking for something to eat (it should have been on our boat – it wouldn’t have had any problem finding food there!). There were angel fish of every kind, more scorpion fish, and more lionfish than you would ever want to take pictures of. One more nudibranch – that made a grand total of two for Richelieu. I like nudibranchs, because they don’t swim away when you take their picture.

I was done – or at least my air was – which meant the end of my dives on Richelieu.

As we motored away I looked back; I was sad to leave what is probably the best dive site in Thailand, and probably one of the best in the world when it comes to variety of marine life and colours – a top dive site.

Dive number 12

“Dive Briefing!” 6:30pm. Dive number 12! Still another seven to go – phew!

We had arrived back at Koh Tachai for our night dive. We were going to dive a reef off of the island rather than the pinnacle this time.

Thailand 6

We entered the water at 7:00pm. It’s funny how things can affect you; I didn’t write down much about this dive, and I can’t remember much about it either. Compared to the rest of today’s dives anything was going to be second class. I have to look at my photos to remind me what I saw! Parrot fish hiding in reefs with their protective mucous bubbles, a reasonably large red crab backing itself under a piece of coral, a tiny young devil scorpion fish laying on an open piece of sea bed, and a puffer fish that didn’t swim away. I hadn’t even taken many photos. Oh well – tomorrow is another day.

To be continued…

Mark Milburn is the owner of Atlantic Scuba in Falmouth, Cornwall, England, and is an SDI/TDI/NAS/RYA Instructor and a Commercial Boat Skipper. Although often referred to as a maritime archaeologist, he prefers to call himself a wreck hunter. Find out more about Mark and Atlantic Scuba by visiting


Nauticam announce NA-A7C Housing for Sony a7C Camera



Sony’s latest full frame mirrorless camera, the a7C offers the underwater image maker one of the most compact and travel friendly full frame systems available on the market today.  The a7C features Sony’s latest stellar autofocus and a much improved battery life thanks to its use of the larger Z series battery. The BIONZ X processor delivers superb low-light performance and faster image processing. For video shooters, the a7C features internal UHD 4K capture in the wide-dynamic range HLG image profile at up to 30p.

Nauticam has housed more mirrorless cameras, and more Sony E Mount cameras than any other housing manufacturer. This experience results in the most evolved housing line with broadest range of accessories available today.

Pioneering optical accessories elevate performance to a new level. Magnifying viewfinders, the sharpest super macro accessory lenses ever made, and now the highest quality water contact wide angle lenses (the WWL-1B and WACP-1) combine with the NA-A7C housing to form a complete imaging system.

Nauticam is known for ergonomics, and an unmatched experience. Key controls are placed at the photographer’s fingertips. The housing and accessories are light weight, and easy to assemble. The camera drops in without any control presetting, and lens port changes are effortless.

NA-A7C features an integrated handle system. This ergonomic style provides exceptional control access, even with thick gloves, with ideal placement of the shutter release and a thumb-lever to actuate the AF-ON button from the right handle.

Nauticam build quality is well known by underwater photographers around the globe. The housing is machined from a solid block of aluminum, then hard anodized making it impervious to salt water corrosion. Marine grade stainless and plastic parts complete the housing, and it is backed by a two year warranty against manufacturing defects.

For more information in the UK visit the Nauticam website by clicking here.

For more information in the USA visit the Nauticam website by clicking here.

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BLUE EARTH – Future Frogmen Podcast Series – The Next Generation of Ocean Stewards: Lauren Brideau



A series of conservation educational podcasts from Future Frogmen, introduced by Jeff Goodman.

The Next Generation of Ocean Stewards: Lauren Brideau

We have a new host, Dr. Colleen Bielitz, and today we’ll be interviewing a recent college graduate as part of our once-a-month episode that focuses on students: the next generation of conservationists, researchers, and activists.

What are the next generation of ocean stewards doing to protect our Blue Earth? Join us as we find out by speaking to Lauren Brideau, a recent graduate of Southern Connecticut State University. Lauren started as an undeclared major but soon found her calling, now she is part of a research team conserving life below water.  She is a prime example that if you want to defend our oceans and the creatures that depend on the sea to survive, now is the time to become part of the solution.

Richard E Hyman Bio

Richard is the Chairman and President of Future Frogmen.

Born from mentoring and love of the ocean, Richard is developing an impactful non-profit organization. His memoir, FROGMEN, details expeditions aboard Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s famed ship Calypso.

Future Frogmen, Inc. is a nonprofit organization and public charity that works to improve ocean health by deepening the connection between people and nature. They foster ocean ambassadors and future leaders to protect the ocean by accomplishing five objectives.

You can find more episodes and information at and on most social platforms @futurefrogmen.


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