Diving in the rain.
Phuket Travel Blog› entry 53 of 251 › view all entries
May 5th, 2008 – by: cmgervais
Happy to report the van didnâ€™t forget us today, and at 8:00 am we were on the road to Chalong Bay, where the dive boats put in. We arrived to a flurry of activity and a crowd of people. Are ALL these people going on one boat!? (They werenâ€™t).
Our intended site was Racha Yai, which I determined must be an easy dive, since the others on the boat were students doing their check out dives. There were a total of 3 dive instructors on boardâ€¦ for just 5 divers! Those are nice numbers.
Steve and I have become accustomed to diving the Caribbean, which means a 5- to 20-minute commute from land to the dive site. Our ride to Racha Yai was about 1:30, and a little choppy. If it had been sunny and fair, this long ride would have been a good thing, but it was rainy and gray.
Our rental equipment was well worn and very old (we have none of our dive gear with us) and I was worried about wearing a shortie because I always get cold when I dive. But the water at Staghorn Reef was like bath water (such a clichĂ©, but it WAS!). Incredible! I descended into a cloud of jelly fish, and immediately covered my face and mouth area, which always seem to attract those little jellies. The entire dive featured patches of jellies like this, but I didnâ€™t feel any stings. (Another diver was not so lucky; she came up with many stings and some nasty looking red blotches all over her skin!)
The depth at Staghorn Reef was about 60 feet. Underwater was just as gray as above water.
We had lunch during our surface interval, then it was back in the water at Home Run. This dive was even shallower than the first, and this time the jellies did get me! I got it on the upper lip, and several times on my legs.
This dive featured a swim out against heavy current, lots of jellies the whole way, and not a whole lot else. I did see the biggest green eel I have ever seen in my life. Enormous! There were also some peacock mantis shrimps, one of which was making a very loud noise as it attempted to crack into some delicacy. That was very cool. On the way back to the boat, we saw a group of divers taking pictures of a tiny nurse shark. The nurse shark was just sitting there on the sand -- very unusual. When we got back onboard, our guide Rachel said the shark was dead! I donâ€™t think those other divers realized it because they were waving their hands around trying to make the shark move. Kind of a sad deal to see a dead baby shark like that.
The ride home was much more choppy, and the entire crew abandoned the â€śdesignated smoking areaâ€ť policy (since it was cold and windy on the top â€śsmoking deckâ€ť I guess) and just smoked at will, wherever.
So, diving was supposed to be the â€śsaving graceâ€ť of Phuket. â€śSure itâ€™s touristy, but the diving was spectacular!â€ť I would later recall about my time on Phuket. Well, today just didnâ€™t prove out. The dive was expensive, it took a long time to get to the site, and the sites were just not that great. I think there must be better areas to go, so I am going to try diving again on Wednesday. Steve was fed up with the on-board smoking business, and is not a fan of long boat rides, so he will probably pass on dive trip #2.
Tomorrow we hope for a road trip and for the monsoon to let up just enough to allow us to do some hiking!
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