DIVE 5 – Stok or now known as Stork
The current check discovered that it was running both sides of the island & the intended route of being dropped on the east and drifting south would prove difficult for exit from the boat due to the waves. Safety being the number 1 priority we elected to drop in the shelter of the south and go with the flow. When we descended it became apparent that the current was in fact taking us around to the east. Down at 25m the seabed was littered with large boulders and plenty of overhangs and cracks to peek into, with a gentle current flow we had the first 25 minutes hunting for macro and was we ascended the dive profile the visibility and colors increased. More macro, more fish and even a sleeping White Tip Shark. A nice little dive site with the best of it being the varying colors of soft and hard corals
DIVE 6 – Torinla Pinnacle
Inge “Are you ok with a bit of current guys?” to my group, a unified “No probs” reply.
The current was running North to South and it was clear that the boat was not going to be mooring up so we dropped slightly North and coasted back during a negative entry aiming for the buoy line as a visual reference. Very quickly we realized that the visual reference was just wishful thinking, grabbing hold and pulling ourselves along it whilst looking like flags in a strong wind we hit the base with some shelter behind the boulder it was attached to. Ok, time to get those engines working, we kicked hard, hugging the lie of the land sneaking between shelters and using any ebb to move further North. The intention was to reach the northern most point and make our way back along the western side; 11 minutes into the dive and we where still fighting current, quickly signalling to the group we agreed to ‘go with the flow’ which if you are like me – a kid at heart – was fantastic fun. The flow took us through gaps in the rocks and over boulders to the slack water on the south side of the pinnacle, I could hear myself thinking “Again, again!!” and sighting the rest of the group appearing I could see that the thought was mirrored by all. We mooched around the various outcrops and again hunted for macro, Justin found an amazingly colored Nudi-branc of around 6mm in length clinging on for dear life even in the slack water. A shorter dive this time due to the current we headed up to our safety stop and drifted away from the dive site. Not as many fish to see in the blue this time but as the sea bed fell away you could make out the lines of small rocks and old coral that where lay in almost military unison pointing in the direction of the current flow. Not everything underwater is about the wildlife, this for me looked pretty spectacular.
DIVE 7 – Ao Tao
Drifting along the west coast of the island Ao Tao is a relatively small boulder area that looks vaguely similar to a turtle, hence the name Tao (Thai for turtle). A little murky on the visibility we coasted around the rock clusters seeking out yet more macro but with little glimmers out in the blue we knew their was larger stuff out there just hanging around. This would be a great site to visit when there is good clarity. After mooching around the rocks the current took us around the south of the island over some patches of dead coral and more boulders increasing in size as we progressed. Towards the end of the dive we found some Scorpion fish, not uncommon in these waters but they where tiny, maybe 2 inches long which just echoed the “Awwwww, they’re so cute” thought ringing through my head.
The sun was ready to set, Simon had clearly had enough and written on his slate “Beer O’clock & I’m buying”
All in agreement & keen for a free beer we commenced our safety stop as a school of Chevron Barracuda appeared and coasted with us for a few minutes, unlike other Chevrons I have seen before these boys had clearly been shooting the steroids, biggest I’ve seen so far and really cool to be drifting along with.
Written by Matt. Photos by Inge