Diving in the rain.

Phuket Travel Blog

 › entry 53 of 251 › view all entries
Where the divers converge... Chalong Bay.
Happy birthday, Mom!

Happy to report the van didn’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 weren’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 board… 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.
On our way out of Chalong Bay.
It wasn’t miserable, but it was definitely approaching miserable.

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 didn’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.
Suited up for the first dive!
Mainly was found large fields of sand littered with broken bits of coral, with some crops of larger coral growth scattered around. The coral was not colorful, but that could because there just wasn’t much light. It was interesting to see some new fish species down there -- lion fish, for example. I loved the huge school of silvery-white fish that moved as one amorphous unit. There were also some large blue sea stars, draping all over the coral like Dali had painted them. You don’t see these in the Caribbean. It wasn’t a great dive, but it was pretty cool in that is was completely new and different.  

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.
Nice palmy beach, but lots of litter.
Another reason I like the full length wetsuits!
 
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 don’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 “designated smoking area” policy (since it was cold and windy on the top “smoking deck” I guess) and just smoked at will, wherever.
Fishing boats near Racha Yai dive site.
Every single employee smoked, but none of the divers did. We were outnumbered, and as a result it was impossible to find a smoke-free area. I think it was really rude. Combined with the roiling seas, I didn’t feel all that great.

So, diving was supposed to be the “saving grace” of Phuket. “Sure it’s touristy, but the diving was spectacular!” I would later recall about my time on Phuket. Well, today just didn’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!
 
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Where the divers converge... Chalo…
Where the divers converge... Chal…
On our way out of Chalong Bay.
On our way out of Chalong Bay.
Suited up for the first dive!
Suited up for the first dive!
Nice palmy beach, but lots of litt…
Nice palmy beach, but lots of lit…
Fishing boats near Racha Yai dive …
Fishing boats near Racha Yai dive…
Waiting for our ride.
Waiting for our ride.
Steve, Rachel, Lisa on the shuttle…
Steve, Rachel, Lisa on the shuttl…
Me on the dive boat.
Me on the dive boat.
Steve on the dive boat.
Steve on the dive boat.
Surface interval lunch.
Surface interval lunch.
Fishing boats near Racha Yai dive …
Fishing boats near Racha Yai dive…
Steve plays harmonica and waits fo…
Steve plays harmonica and waits f…
Squid fisher near dve site.
Squid fisher near dve site.
Me at my desk. What a mess! My h…
Me at my "desk." What a mess! My …
Phuket
photo by: Aclay01