Posts Tagged ‘Chalong’

WOWZER!!! – Manta Madness

Posted on March 8th, 2014 by admin-scubacat-dw  |  Comments Off on WOWZER!!! – Manta Madness

MV Scuba Adventure South  1st March – 4th March 2014

This South Andaman trip on MV Scuba Adventure was a reunion trip of previous customers with a few more joining us. Kath, the tour leader was so happy to see Peter, Hannah, Andre, Matthew and Gareth who had dived with us previously. They were joined by Atle, Kristin, Liina and Orjan.

MV Scuba Adventure left Chalong Pier with flat calm seas and headed to Phi Phi where the first dive was going to be as a check dive.

Phi Phi

Phi Phi

The first dive of the day was Koh Bida Nok. We were woken early so we would miss the day boats from Phi Phi. As we dropped in along the NW side we saw a leopard shark just sitting on the bottom. The customers were able to take their photos easily and then we continued the check dive. We really enjoyed this dive as there is so much to see on Bida Nok. This dive site offers a diverse topography and marine life, so macro is great as well as looking out into the blue to see trevallies and other predators hunting their prey. Dive 2 was on Koh Bida Nai, a sister Island to Kho Bida Nok. So the topography is virtually the same. A few minutes into the dive we were graced by the resident black tip reef sharks. We had 2 swimming around us. Three sharks in two dives…..must be a good luck omen!!!

Leopard Shark

Leopard Shark

After the dive we headed for Koh Haa. We were going to dive Koh Haa Yai (The Cathedral). When we arrived the National Park boat came to us to collect the money. As they were alongside we heard Captain Pu screaming that there was a Whale Shark and we should jump in and snorkel. Kath jumped in first, but unfortunately it went deep. It was seen by everyone from the surface. Fingers crossed that it would return. We did the caves at Koh Haa and then continued the dive along the reef. The soft corals here are stunning with a spectrum of colours. A great dive site for macro. Andre and Onjan were so lucky that they saw the whale shark on the safety stop.

The Cathedral Koh Haa - Cedric Saveuse

The Cathedral Koh Haa – Cedric Saveuse

The night dive on Island 2 was just as exciting. Kath had found Harlequin Shrimps a few weeks ago so she was on a mission to show the divers these rare crittiers and she did. Gareth managed to get some fantastic shots which we hope we will see later. Liina did her night dive for her AOW and Matthew completed his

Night Dive Speciality. The rest of the group surfaced and then Matt and Kath had lights out for 3 minutes. A very enjoyable experience….lots of sparkles in the water.

Hin Muang

Hin Muang

Day 2 and we headed out to Hin Muang and Hin Daeng . Our first dive on Hin Muang was a lovely dive with minimal current and then surprise a manta cruising by. The manta didn’t return and it did look as if it was on a mission!!! Gut reaction was that it was heading to Hin Daeng. Dive 2 with flat calm seas and the sun beating down…need to get into the water. We started the dive along the wall and then…..MANTA!!!! Kath briefed about a cleaning station on Hin Daeng and low and behold the mantas were there all 4 of them. What an incredible sight. Words will never express the experience the divers had. One manta just hung for 20 minutes above a rock whilst being cleaned by cleaner and moon wrasse. The divers were able to take photos and witness something they may never see again. The tour leader was blown away!!! Reluctantly we had to end the dive but we were hoping for more on the next dive and it delivered!!!

Hin Daeng

Hin Daeng

Next dive on Hin Daeng and a few minutes in the water and then MANTA…sorry no MANTAS all 4 of them just circling on the sloping reef. No need to go any further. The mantas were amazing!!!!! What a fantastic experience. Who needs to see the rest of the dive site? We came for this and Hin Daeng delivered!!! Pete, Hannah and Kath did the safety stop with mantas surrounding them. It has to be the longest safety stop on record. How can you end a dive when there are 3 majestic creatures playing with you? Time to end was when Peter was on 10 bar…..

Manta Rays

Manta Rays

The last dive of the day was Koh Haa Neau. Here there is diverse topography from the limestone to the plate reef. There are copious amounts of anemones here and at sunset they start to close like cocoons showing their beautiful colour. There is a huge school of resident 5 line snappers and twin spot snappers which is a sight to be seen. The reef is lovely offering big eyes, lion fish, moray eels and we also saw 2 banded sea snakes. Part of the group turned back at 100 bar to do a leisurely dive back to the limestone area where the chimney was. Kath, Andre, Matt and Peter did the chimney. It goes from 16m to 7m and opens up into a chamber full of big eyes. A lovely experience for divers.

Koh Haa - Cedric Saveuse

Koh Haa – Cedric Saveuse

Day 3 and first dive on King Cruiser Wreck. It has now become a lovely artificial reef with lots of soft corals and marine life. Nudibranch are prolific on the walls and the honeycomb moray eel has been seen here, which is quite rare in Phuket waters. The current was minimal and the dive was great. Next dive was Shark Point. Oh my, what a current…we flew around part of the pinnacle, but then we had calm. Each and every diver was looking at the finer things in marine life. Garth found a nudibranch Kath had never seen before on one of the lines on Shark Point. Shark Point ha such an abundance of marine life. The corals and barrel sponges are stunning. A beautiful dive site even in strong current. Final dive at Koh Doc Mai and a wonderful one it is for macro. We  had an easy drift checking out nudibranch, banded coral shrimps, white eyed moray eels, yellow margin moray eels and so much more. Gareth found a nudibranch that Kath had never seen before.

Nudi - Koh Doc Mai

Nudi – Koh Doc Mai

Kath has done the South trip many times, but this was her best yet. Hannah described it as  a  “WOWZER” trip ………………..Kath would totally agree with that!!!!!! Let’s hope that manta madness doesn’t stop in the South

The WOW Factor !

Posted on March 8th, 2014 by admin-scubacat-dw  |  Comments Off on The WOW Factor !

MV Scuba Adventure North Andaman 19th Feb to 23rd Feb 2014

We were joined by our new customers on MV Scuba Adventure at Chalong and then we headed overnight to the Similans with calm seas. Our check dive was on Anita’s Reef. This is a beautiful sloping reef with pristine white sand that is home to many garden eels and rays. The main feature is the stunning coral pinnacle that is covered in a gorgeous plethora of corals. The trevallies and rainbow runners were in hunting mode as there were so many glassfish. After the dive we headed to Koh Bon were we did two dives on the Reef and the West Ridge. Lovely dives with fantastic visibility, but alas no mantas. However, the marine life was prolific with beautiful schools of five line snappers, golden trevallies, lion fish, mantis shrimps and so much more. We then heard a whale shark had been a spotted at Koh Tachai Pinnacle on the radio, so we headed there for our last dive of the day. Koh Tachai Pinnacle is Kath’s favourite dive site and for good reason. It is a dive site that can throw the unexpected. With no current it was kind to the divers as it was minimal however, the action was amazing with the predators hunting in a frenzy and the resident huge school of barracuda was spiralling close to the pinnacle in a hypnotic way.

Scuba Cat Diving, Phuket, Thailand MV Scuba Adventure

MV Scuba Adventure

Day 2 and it was decided that if there was a chance to see a whale shark we would do our first dive on Koh Tachai Pinnacle. We were the only divers initially on the pinnacle and it was the most amazing experience ever….1 whale shark great!!!! 2 whale sharks!!!! 3 whales sharks!!!! 4 whale sharks on the same dive….How fantastic is that?? We were blown away. When the divers surfaced a group decision was made to spend the rest of the day on Koh Tachai and every dive delivered multiple whale sharks, trevallies, and huge school of barracudas. This was Koh Tachai at its’ best.  During the surface intervals we were snorkelling with them as Captain Pu managed to secure the prime mooring. What a fantastic experience for the non divers and the crew on the boat. Kath was one of the first in the water after breakfast with the snorkelers.



The next morning the engines started at 5am and then we motored to Richelieu Rock for 2 dives. This is a gorgeous pinnacle in open sea. The diving was excellent with wonderful visibility. Richelieu is great for all marine life from predators to macro. We saw a host of things including barracudas, banded pipe fish, seahorses, cleaner pipe fish, a brown and white bent stick pipe fish, mantis shrimps, many different shrimps, the list is endless. Then back to Koh Tachai for whale sharks and yes we got them as soon as we jumped in 3 in total!!!! They are the most beautiful creatures. To see them glide through the water effortlessly is a delight for any diver. Kath and Matthew Cooper had the most incredible end to a dive when they were on the top of the pinnacle. Kath turned around to see the biggest manta she had ever seen coming straight for them. Screaming through the regulator Matthew turned to see this magnificent beast coming directly at them. A great way to end a magical dive!!!  When we left the site as there were many boats and we decided to leave on a high and head for Koh Bon. This was a great decision as we had heard on the radio that there were manta rays. Maybe they would still be there. Captain Pu told us he was going to drop us on the reef and all we can say is thank you Pu. We were in the water for a very short time when we saw a glimpse of a manta in the distance. A few moments later we were interacting with 2 mantas spiralling amongst us. These majestic creatures were putting on a show and they did it so well. What a fantastic end to a wonderful day….couldn’t beat that.



Day 4  and back to the Similans. Our first dive on West of Eden was a gentle dive with very little current and great visibility. This has some wonderful coral blocks and massive granite boulders which is home for a host of beautiful smaller reef fish and tiny critters such as nudibranch. A good start to the day. Then to our final dive on Shark Fin Reef, a gentle drift along the fantastic granite rock formations. Shark Fin is a stunning dive site for the topography. The amount of fusiliers on this dive site is incredible, they are like a train that never stops… The powder blue surgeon fish are amusing as they try and play with the bubbles exhaled from the divers. A lovely dive for the end of a wonderful trip.

It has to be said that this trip was exhilarating, exciting and it certainly had the WOW factor. How many whale sharks do we normally see? This was one that gave us 4 on one dive site. We did 6 dives on Koh Tachai Pinnacle and 5 of them delivered the most amazing experience that we will never forget….multiple whale sharks!!!!

Enriched Air

Enriched Air

There is also congratulations to be given to Matthew Cooper who completed his Enriched Air Speciality on MV Scuba Adventure. All the customers walked away very happy people and so did the Tour Leader.

Things to do in Phuket

Posted on June 1st, 2012 by admin-scubacat-dw  |  Comments Off on Things to do in Phuket

Phuket is a jewel in the Andaman Sea offering tourists a multitude of things to do whilst visiting the Island. Here are a few suggestions…. good to do when you are not diving.


Phuket Fantasea

This spectacular Las Vegas style cultural show is the largest on the Island.  The show itself is set in a theme park which offers carnival games, shopping and a choice of restaurants. The show is a colourful tale of Thai fantasy, adventure and romance with trapeze artists, performing elephants and other animals.  The show also hosts the largest buffet in Thailand.


Things to do in Phuket

Big Buddha is a serene statue situated on the Nakkerd Hills between Chalong and Kata and can be seen throughout the southern part of the Island.  Surrounded by beautiful tropical rainforest the views from here are spectacular. It is considered that the Buddha is a natural symbol of hope. Big Buddha, standing 45m high with a 25m base is officially called Phra Puttamingmonkol Akenakkin Buddha.   It has been built purely by donations out of Burmese white marble, which shimmers in the sun.  Big Buddha is dedicated to the King of Thailand, whereas the smaller brass Buddha image on the same site has been dedicated to the queen.


Scuba cat Diving Phuket Thailand Things to do in Phuket

Wat Chalong is the largest and most visited of the Island’s Buddhist temples. Wats, or Buddhist temples are important symbols in Thailand as the majority of the population are Buddhist . The Wat is open to on a daily basis from 7am to 5pm. Wat Chalong is associated with the revered monks Luang Pho Chaem and Luang Pho Chuang who were famous for working with herbal medicine and attending to the sick and injured.  During the tin miners rebellion in 1876 they tended to the injured on both sides and were active in mediation to bring the warring parties together to resolve their dispute. Many local Thais are blessed by monks and receive a string tied around their wrist to protect against illness and injury.  Since 1954 the temple has hosted an annual fair around Chinese New Year. There are many stalls selling local products, fairground rides and live music. Please remember when visiting the Temple that it is a place of worship and to act and dress accordingly.


Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Things to do in Phuket

Phuket Aquarium is located at the end of Cape Panwa and is directly under the control of Phuket Marine Biology Centre, the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources and the Ministry of Natural resources and Environment.  The aim of the aquarium is to provide education and knowledge on the diversity of marine life, flora and fauna. There are over 30 tanks of fresh and salt water exhibits, all labeled in English and Thai with facts about the creatures. The star attraction is a large tank with a tunnel through the centre allowing people to walk through and be surrounded by sharks, groupers, wrasses to name a few. Outside there is a nature trail that leads to large pools with baby green and hawksbill turtles.  Injured adults are tended to in the rehabilitation area. The facility also has a marine biological centre with an endangered species unit. Other facilities include a small children’s playground and a coffee shop.


Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Things to do in Phuket

Phuket has amazing natural beauty. This can be appreciated by visiting one of the viewpoints around the Island.  Phromthep Cape is the Island’s most southerly hill. The cape also has a lighthouse, which is open to the public. It houses some interesting historical maritime artifacts.

Radar Hill view point is the highest point in Phuket at 529m. It has incredible views and is accessible via Chao Fa West Road. From here you can also see Phuket’s Bang Wad reservoir.

Kata viewpoint, locally known as Khao Saam Haad (3 beach hill) has great views of Kata Noi, Kata Yai and Karon beaches It is located between Nai Harn and Kata Noi beaches.

Windmill viewpoint is between Ya Nai and Nai Harn, where the large white windmills are facing out to sea. This is a quiet area with a covered sala with a seating area.


Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Things to do in Phuket

Phuket has 4 waterfalls, Bang Pae, Ton Sai and the lesser known one, Ao Yan. Bang Pae and Ton Sai are in the Khao Phra Thaeo National Park on the east of Phuket. This area is virgin rain forest and is host to many birds, monkeys and barking deer. Bang Pae is north of Phuket Town and is the largest of Phuket’s waterfalls. Bang Pae is particularly popular with local Thais for swimming during the wet season and picnics.

Ton Sai, also known as Banyan Tree Waterfall is west of the National Park. It is possible to walk through the forest with a hired guide to Bang Pae. This waterfall is more family orientated with facilities including toilets, restaurants and a small children’s playground. The waterfall is easily accessible but it is not as impressive as Bang Pae. There is also a well signed trek 2km long behind the waterfall. It is easily found by taking the road east at Thalang’s main traffic lights. It is well signed.

Kathu waterfall does not have a lot of water during the dry season, but it helped by 2 artificial pools halfway up. The waterfall has stairs and several levels leading to the cascade. It is possible to rest at the tables and chairs on the way up. Kathu waterfall is easy to find, turn left at Caltex onto Route 4020 if you are coming from Patong continue for 1km until you see the black marble sign.

Ao Yan waterfall is very quiet and not visited a lot. It is located behind the beach next to Ao Yan near Cape Panwa. To reach the waterfall is it essential to have good shoes as the trek is difficult. There are several drop pools, all small but it is possible to bathe in them. The waterfall can be found by taking the small road at the western end of the beach by the prawn farm. At the end of the road there is a parking area. The path leading up the hill is 100m to the right of here.


Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Things to do in Phuket

Unfortunately, Thailand’s wild gibbon population suffers at the hands of poachers they often kill the mother to take the baby, which is then sold into the illegal pet trade. A young gibbon is “cute”, but at the age of 5 years they can become aggressive and develop sharp canine teeth that inflict severe injury. This leads to abandonment or killing of matured aggressive pets. The centre in Khao Pra Thaeo National Park, near bang Pae waterfall tries to rehabilitate abandoned pet gibbons back into the wild. This is a long process as often the gibbons have to learn what to eat in the wild, regain strength and mobility and basically learn how to become a gibbon!! The centre is staffed by European volunteers who pay to work at the sanctuary, which is open  daily between 10am and 4pm. As it is a nonprofit organization donations are always welcome.


Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Things to do in Phuket

Mangroves are a crucial part of Phuket’s tropical and coastal ecology. They are important as nurseries for fish and crustaceans. In recent years mangrove areas have been replanted as they are a natural defense against large waves and flood damage. This became apparent following the 2004 tsunami. The mangrove is also a good natural filter of impurities in the water and can hold large amounts of carbon in the roots.

There are several ways of seeing the mangroves. Tours using ATV’s is perfect for families. An ATV can carry two people. There is an ATV camp in the Thalang district whose tours include rubber plantations and deserted beaches fringed with mangroves. It is also possible to visit the mangroves on bikes. The tour companies provide top of the range light weight mountain bikes with a suppoet vehicle and an English speaking guide. Kayaking in the mangroves is also another popular activity. The journey is about 2 km along the Klong Mudong which is alive with bird life, macaque monkeys and many other animals.