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Similan Islands Liveaboard Trip Report: Day 4

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Read the prologue to this trip report here.

Read Day 1 here.

Read Day 2 here.

Read Day 3 here.

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We were now heading back towards Phuket, three days of solid diving done and only two more to go. Everyone on the liveaboard was friendly enough, and by now we knew each others’ names and would have conversations about all sorts of things (and not just diving). Even after twelve dives everyone was still looking forward to the next one. For some reason I was up early, and so was nearly everyone else – all drinking tea or coffee and eating toast while waiting for the morning’s briefing to start.

Koh Bon Pinnacle

Dive thirteen was on Koh Bon Pinnacle. Pinnacles usually have an abundance of life, so we were looking for a good start to the day. We entered the water and headed down the mooring line. As we were descending, Sharky and I noticed a Zebra Shark lying on the bottom. As we headed towards it, it moved off; they do get spooked easily, but we were quite a distance from it at the time. We watched it make its way down into deeper water and followed it. This time it stayed put. I looked around to see if anyone else had followed us down, but at 45m, it wasn’t likely. We didn’t have too much ‘no deco’ time at this depth, so after a few photo’s we headed back up the pinnacle to the others. There were lots of life, all of which we had seen before (that was the first shark I’d seen, however another group had seen a zebra shark on an earlier dive).

Dive Fourteen was going to be back on the ridge, once again trying to see something big; however, our luck on trying to see something big hadn’t been going so well. I hoped our luck would change, as ‘something big’ always refers to either Manta rays or Whale Sharks. Unfortunately not though; quite an uneventful dive really. We saw all the usual fish and a lobster, but nothing too memorable.

Mark 3

Beacon reef

Dive Fifteen. This time it was going to be Beacon Reef. I had never dived Beacon Reef as it had suffered from quite a lot of damage from bad fishing methods, and was not known for its beauty. The main interest on this reef for us was the wreck of a dive boat that sank several years previously. At last, a wreck! I had missed diving wrecks on this trip; and OK, it was only small, but hey – it was still a wreck.

We all made straight for the wreck, which even after several years still looked like a boat. It had been well stripped, apparently by the divers who were on the boat when it sank; they had made several trips back to recover their belongings and equipment. The wreck lays at an angle of about 30 degrees. The stern is at around 28m depth and the bow around about 14m. We had a good look around and headed down towards the dive deck. As we entered the dive deck area we were greeted by a few batfish. We swam into the wreck and came out through one of the broken perspex windows half way along the boat. We did look into the bridge area but there were cables hanging down and thought better of it. A very enjoyable little wreck, short and sweet. We then headed along the reef. There was a lot of life on the reef, although it wasn’t the prettiest, but we did see the full range of reef fish.

It was now time for our second hour on dry land in four days. We were set ashore by the tender in what was quite choppy for the Similans at this time of year (no worse than a flat day in England, but the Thais were concerned). We wandered around the island and along a path to a beach the other side called Honeymoon Bay. The sea this side was considerably flatter; we all thought it would have been a whole lot easier all around if we had been dropped off on this side. Our hour was almost up, so we headed back through the jungle to where we had landed. As the tender made its way towards us they shouted “go round the other side”.  It was too rough to land the rib, so off we went through the jungle back to Honeymoon Bay again.

Mark 2

Honeymoon Bay

Dive Sixteen. As the wind had now blown out our night dive site it was decided to dive the reef by Honeymoon Bay. No one knew its name. The brief was to jump in, swim around and come back. It was the usual entry time of 7pm, and we descended where the boat was moored. The reef looked quite pretty; lots of hard corals, a few fish in hiding. A hermit crab was sitting on top of a rock, dark red in colour, posing nicely for the cameras. A cuttlefish changed colours as we passed our torches over it , struggling to work out what colour would best disguise it. Torches flashed everywhere as more lionfish were found, but I was more interested in the biggest crab I had ever seen – it was trying to back into a small recess under some coral, but it was far too big. I would estimate that it was between 40 and 45cm across. Time was up, so we all went back onto the boat for even more food.

The main talking point of the day had to have been the wreck; although the other dives had been nice, the wreck made a change.

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 www.atlanticscuba.co.uk.

News

Nauticam announce NA-A7C Housing for Sony a7C Camera

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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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Blogs

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

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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 www.futurefrogmen.org and on most social platforms @futurefrogmen.

 

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