Whale Shark encounter on a night dive
Richelieu Rock is often the very reason divers want to go on a Liveaboard to the Similans & Surin Islands, it is the dive site people most want to visit and the reason is justified. The dive site itself is breathtakingly beautiful, covered in purple soft corals, Anemones, Gorgonian Fans, Knotted fans, Sea Whips and full of life, it is easy to see why divers want to come back again and again.
No two dives are the same, and it is impossible to see everything in just 1 dive, for that reason the Scuba Explorer spends a whole day at Richelieu Rock making 3/4 dives. We have had the added pleasure of doing a night dive on Richelieu Rock, very few Liveaboards offer this due to currents, depth, customer experience or time. So of course we all jumped at the chance, kitted up and jumped in before the tour leader could change his mind.
The excitement of descending onto Richelieu Rock in the dark was apparent in all us Instructors, I don’t think the customers realised that a night dive here was not often done as they laughed at us all fighting to get in the water first. As we all descended with our torches turned on the colour of the corals light up under the artificial light, glowing in the beam it looks even more beautiful at night. The peacefulness of the Ocean at night and the fact that we were the only Liveaboard diving there made me feel utter calmness, like I was floating through space. I love night diving and this dive was definitely one to remember.
Whale Shark in the Similan Islands
Sunset diving aboard the Scuba Explorer liveaboard
This story all begins with some very nasty weather, nasty enough to almost have our entire guest list and some of the crew hugging the porcelain and wishing they’d stayed on dry land. But we as divers were not about to let some ocean motion get the better of us. So we parked the Scuba Explorer in Bay 1 at Racha Yai, usually only 1 hr from Phuket, but it had taken almost 4 to get there this time fighting the ocean the whole way.
Thankfully Bay 1 was calm, conditions had funnily enough been great all day, with 15 + meters of visibility and no current at all, we’d managed a few really good dives, you certainly would not have guessed it was so nice under the waves if you had been looking at them from above. So we decided to do something a little different for the guests and organised a rare sunset dive. You jump in at around 6.30pm the sun sets around 7pm and your dive turns into a night dive, very fun and you get to see the reef night shift take over right before your eyes.
Hanging out with the night critters
To make this dive even more interesting for me, our tour leader had decided to throw his nice shiny torch off of the boat in a fit of bitter disappointment at losing the Texas Holdem tournament the night before, thankfully though he had also turned it off so that there was zero hope of ever finding it again. To this day no one knows how he truly lost it, but pretty sure he just wanted to test our searching abilities in case we ever lost anything important, you know, like another torch.