Having booked the komodo-flights just hours after coming back from the liveaboard, I was scrolling down my facebook-feed and noticed Phoenix Divers Koh Tao – whom I had visited the year before – had been posting whaleshark pictures for days in a row. Erik, my dive-buddy just said ‘can’t we go there?’ – And since we had 4 days before our flight to komodo, we started googling how to get to Koh Tao asap. Flights were expensive but we found a bus-ferry route and messaged the diveshop if they had beds in the dorm and spots on the boat. They did =). Delayed by a day due to the late kings funeral ceremony (may he rest in peace) and after leaving our krabi-hotel 3 days early, we were on our way to Koh Tao – anticipating to see those magnificent giant spotted whalesharks. A few hours of cab, bus and ferry rides we arrived in koh Tao in the evening and set up our gear. The next day we had 3 great dives – without whalesharks 🙁 . And the evening was overshadowed by backpackers and tourists deserting bars due an alcohol ban.
On the 2nd and last day of our ridiculously short trip over to Koh Tao we were on the boat again – enjoying coffee, the salty air and stunning view while making new friends among the other divers. Then we saw it: The captain lifted his hand sideways in front of his forehead – and people started getting enthusiastic while the diveguides tried to keep us calm since there’s absolutely no guarante these animals stick around. Luckily it did =)). When we reached chumpon pinnacle, we got ready and as soon as someone spotted the whaleshark jumped in.
It stayed with us for most of 2 dives, circelling in and out of sight and coming really close.
As mentioned previously; we didn’t get to see any manta rays during our liveaboard trip. But we met a few swiss people who told us about komodo… and once we were back on land and had wifi, we found (return) flights to komodo for ~160€. Glad that we hadn’t booked anything besides the liveaboard, we booked the flights and – after a short visit to Koh Tao (upcoming post) – flew over to flores to enjoy 2.5 days of diving followed by a visit in the national park to see the last living dragons.
Our boat was really comfortable with a sundeck complete with bean bags to enjoy the ~2h boat ride to the first dive site. Those were the first current-dives with hooking in for me and I saw sharks, mantas and lots of turtles. Komodo is definetly worth a visit but don’t go there just for the dragons.
In october 2017 I went on my first liveaboard heading for the famous richelieu rock. We decided to book the 5 day 4 nights trip from Khao Lak to the similand islands. This was the first and only prebooked part of a 2 week dive-trip to SEA. After flying into phuket in the evening, we spent the evening and the better part of the next day chilling by the pool or visiting restaurants nearby. We were picked up the next day around 5 pm and driven to Khao Lak where we boarded our home for the next 4 nights; the MV Pawara. Besides the crew of ~14 (boat boys, engineer, awesome cook and other helping hands, the captain, and our dive masters/guides) it offers cabins for up to 26 people, a huge dining area, a livingroom and a sundeck. Luckily, the season had just started and it was only half booked so we had lots of space. The following 4 days can be described in just 4 words:
DIVE EAT SLEEP REPEAT
We got up, had coffee, went for a dive and were welcomed with breakfast. After some deco time on the sundeck, in the shade or inside on one of the many sofas we went diving again – you get the schedule :-P. Besides me and my Buddy, there were americans, swiss, and even a professional underwater videographer (Alex del Olmo aka Naucrates ductor) who joined in for the dives. Long story short: We went diving in Koh Tachai, Koh Bon, the similan islands, Richelieu Rock and even the Boonsung wreck. We saw amazing sealife and had a lot of fun. The only downside was that we didn’t encounter any mantas or whalesharks.
Food was amazing; the divesites were diverse and offered plenty of new sights and Beto and the diveguides (especially Kewalyne and Liane) as well as the other guests made this an unforgettably awesome first liveaboard experience for me.
I was glad to get another chance to dive in Asia again. This time in the Philippines; more specifically in Malapascua, around El Nido and Port Barton in Palawan.
Those were also the first ocean-dives for my dive-computer – which was really helpful for monitoring depth and RNT. Thanks to the divemate-app, I can now log all my dives on my smartphone, including a depth-profile (though I couldn’t afford an air-integrated dive-computer to see my air-consumption at different points through the dive and depth-levels, which might be really interesting).
Anyway, I dived with four different dive-centers and all of them were awesome! I always had nice company and felt in good hands when crawling towards an eel garden or spotting thresher sharks.
Whilst I’m not sure which way to write this islands name*, I am sure that it’s an awesome place to chill and dive. After stepping off the plane in Ko Samui and leaving the open-space airport, I took a ferry to Ko Tao which – due to some exhaust problems – covered everyone inside in black particles. The next morning I started diving with a few friends with Phoenix divers – an awesome diveshop with a pink boat 😀 . Please excuse the bad image quality – I used a 70$ Actioncam whilst underwater.
*I’ve seen all of the above in different places.
This year I finally made it back to South East Asia! And of course I had to stop in Bali. This time a friend joined me for diving and we decided to book a day of ‘all you can dive’ and rented a computer and camera as well. We started at 7 in the morning and finished the day with a night dive. Below, you’ll find the best pictures we took with the Canon G-16. (the date wasn’t set propberly so just ignore that 😀 )
2 years ago I started diving while being in southeast asia. Sadly, it’s not that easy to go diving in europe. A friend of mine and me, we gave it a try in Corfu, Greece in may. It was a trip over on an extended weekend so we arrived thursday and left Sunday – leaving 2 full days for diving :). We didn’t plan much, but decided for Paleokastritsa in the west of the island. To get there, we took an overnight ryanair flight with a stopover in Milano Bergamo – but sleeping at the airport wasn’t a real option because the airport closed at night. So we went for a walk to and around Bergamo. Not much to see at night :D. After another few hours of waiting, a flight and a bus trip, we arrived on the west coast of corfu where the hotel’s owner picked us up from the bus stop to the hotel which was situated about 5 minutes uphill. We spent the next 2.5 days hiking around the island and diving below it’s waters including 2 cave dives. Visibility was awesome, so I could test my newly bought actioncam and the color-filters – but there were really few fish around.
While in vietnam, we went diving in Nha Trang 2 consecutive days. We had 2 Nitrox and 2 normal dives in divesites situated around a small island 30 minutes off the coast. The sight-distance wasn’t great but I still managed to make a few pictures of all the Lionfish we saw.