We had arranged some more diving this morning, for a change… I’d suggested the Profun Divers shop however we wanted to dive on a wreck. Kari and Ted hadn’t done the wreck with Phil and I in Koh Tao and I think wished they had done after they saw the photos. Profun would have sorted us out, but it would have been via longtail boat. I can’t imagine climbing in and out of a wobbly little longtail with all the heavy diving gear on. It was hard enough without all that when we went Snorkeling yesterday. Instead we signed up with Island Divers who had a proper full sized boat going out. Awkwardly, I bumped into my guide from Profun, Vera, that morning at the bakery getting breakfast…
Dive 1 – Wreck Klead Geaw
Max depth 25.6m
Dive time 33 mins
This was a very cool wreck, descending down a marker buoy, we arrived at the bow. The water had an eerie murkiness as we glided down to the deck. As per diving protocol, we went quickly over the side and down to the deepest part of the dive. The hull was hovering about 40cm above the sand giving an excellent hiding spot for eels, snakes and the occasional ray. I’m sure other stuff likes this spot but we only saw a big cloud of yellow fin snappers, slowly drifting in the gloom.
We circled around the base of the wreck looking for life and ascended a little to look in the portholes. I was buddied with Ted and we both were enjoying taking photos on our gopros that we drifted apart a bit further than we should have on occasion. You’re meant to stay within one breath and a few kicks distance of eachother in case of emergency. I had to make sure whenever I noticed we had drifted that I came back to his side.
Up at the bridge of the ship, the water cleared noticably, just as my camera ran out of battery. Here there was an amazing school of fish weaving in and out of the doors and windows.
We were told that you used to be able to go inside the wreck (providing you have the appropriate qualification) but now it was full of lion fish making it too dangerous.
Dive 2 – Bida Nok Deep Side
Max depth 23.4 m
Dive time 41 mins
Bida Nok is a small island south of Koh Phi Phi with a reef all the way around it. I’d dived there earlier this week so made sure that our guide took us around the other side I’d not been. This was also a deeper area where the rock disappeared vertically into the ocean. It was like being a drone flying along the edge of a particularly fluffy cliff. It was a strange sensation falling in slow motion down the cliff face. All the fluff grew out from the rock in long tendrils of vegetation and fans of coral. Unfortunately were werent lucky enough to see a shark or a turtle.
Dive 3 – Garen Heang Pinnacle
Max depth 14.2 m
Dive time 34 mins
From the wreck we had taken a hour to go south to Bida Nok. Now this site was an hour back towards the wreck, and tricky to find being invisible from the surface. I imagine there is a way to navigate without GPS but technology is a great thing. He must have found the spot but in the time it took us all to jump in, we must have drifted. We descended into a very silty patch of water and got down to 20m without finding what we were looking for. We had to ascend to the surface and ask the captain which way to go. Again we missed our mark and now were quite off target. The captain threw us a rope which we all held onto as he pulled us back to the mark. Third time lucky and we only had to get a few meters underwater before we could see the top of the reef. We still had to descend relatively quickly to stop being swept away in the surface current.
Ted and I were much better as a buddy team this time, and I had nailed my buoyancy control. I had to shift my weight belt slightly higher on my waist, this stopped my legs sinking and meant I could keep the skydivers pose much easier. I had also found some lip balm to smear into my moustache. This prevented my mask from leaking as it now had decent seal against my top lip. These two small changes made the whole experience much more enjoyable and meant I used much less air adjusting my buoyancy and clearing my mask.
We floated around at about 8-12m depth. After our two false starts everyone had lost about 30 bar of tank pressure so we stayed shallow to have as longer drive as possible. This is the sort of depth where the life is most bountiful in anycase.
We had descended in reasonable visibility but it cleared up really nicely on one side of the reef, probably getting up to 30m which is incredible. At this sort of distance you can see loads of life all around you. We had fun swimming directly into a large school of fish and being surrounded on all sides. With good buoyancy control I was able to get really close to the fish and reef without making too many scary bubbles which was great. We even found a Nemo! It was an awesome way to finish my diving in Thailand. Perfect control, perfect visibility, wonderful sea life.
After 3 dives, I needed a sleep. I wasn’t going to make the same mistake as last time, I wanted to be able to go out that evening. It was my last night on Phi Phi and I intended to go large!
A few of the americans hadn’t gone diving with us so we met up and started the drinking. I was mindful of my flight to Chiang Mai, and the risk of decompression if the nitrogen wasn’t released from my tissues fully. I should be fine, as the flight was over 24 hours after my last dive, but I wanted to help the situation out so didn’t drink much. I just had a few sugary Sprites to wake me up fully from my nap and I was away.
Kari and Christy hadn’t managed to sleep so eventually flagged out and went home. Ted and I were out till close of business at 2am, watching fire shows, limbo competitions and dancing in the rain. We found some girls to dance with and Ted was a great wingman up till the point I forgot all the dance moves Phil had taught me. I’m going to have to learn properly when I get back to England. Luckily, the girl I was dancing with used to choreograph for her college or something so we made do and had a great time.