DIVE 8 – Richelieu Rock
With its name granted by the father of diving, Jacques Cousteau and named after his good friend the Cardinal you can quite easily see how some of the dive site appeared to remind him of a cathedral or a place of worship. This is by far one of the greatest dive sites of the area and with an air of excitement the briefing takes all of 10 minutes before we are scampering down to the dive deck ready to kit up and get descending. Having dived this site many times I knew it was going to be good, the bonus being that we were the first boat on the dive site and had her completely to ourselves. An amazing dive with a medium paced current we again searched for the macro hidden within the abundance of swaying Gregorian Fans and colorful soft corals; Surrounded by a copious amount of wildlife it really didn’t matter where you lay your eyes there is always something to see. The best was yet to come….
DIVE 9 – Richelieu Rock
You could spend a day or 2 at Richelieu, not the largest dive site in the world but with so much activity you just cannot register a full appreciation in just one visit. This dive proved to be the best one for me by far. The wave height had increased so we left the dive deck directed ourselves at the buoy line and deflated heading for the sea bed, 30m later and we where at the southern wall intending to hunt for macro once again. It quickly became apparent that the dive focus needed to change.
Whilst looking down as we gracefully utilized the water movement between natural miniature valleys created by the main pinnacle and outlaying landscape, the lifestyle of the fish became very apparent. Much akin to a scene from Finding Nemo & a road traffic theme of fast moving chaos, schools of all types where flowing in our direction to the left and fleeing the opposite on the right. We saw slip roads of fusiliers joining the main carriageway and the odd oversized body to fin ratio Box Fish carving a route of devastation in the wrong direction.
Sod the macro, this is awesome! Further out and slightly above us, huge schools of Yellow Fin Trevally took their time in picking out a target and blasting into the glass fish creating an explosion of miniature fins doing their upmost to escape being today’s snack. Sorrel became a bouncing board for a school of hunting Big-Eyed Trevally slapping at her arms with their fins and a school of juvenile Trevally attempting to hunt glass fish, who where clearly laughing at them with a turn of speed out-weighing that of the kids having a go.
The shear quantity of hunting (and escaping) fish on this dive was insane and to add to it we had the pleasure of two pairs if Cuttlefish displaying their color changes and riding the flow and ebb to hold their own position over the rocks. A true delight and a fantastic way to end a 3 day trip but alas, still no turtle for Sorrel even though the rest of the boat saw quite a few we quickly decided that if you want to see turtles then don’t dive with Sorrel.
The journey back to the mainland provided us with sufficient time to clean and dry our equipment, relax and eat even more of the fantastic food provided by the kitchen staff. Needless to say, we were all extremely happy with our adventure, making new friends, discovering new relationships and above all enjoying a ridiculous amount of banter……but that’s another story for a later blog.
Not only do Wicked Diving take you there but they are the first dive company in Khao Lak to actively support the Moken People (Sea Gypsies) that reside on South Surin. You can have a guided snorkel of the islands with a member of the Wicked staff acting as interpreter and the Sea Gypsies, lets face it, these guys know the area and the seas better than anyone else around. Any booking made via Wicked also contributes to the local community, 2% of your money will be used for charity work assisting the locals in a better lifestyle without forcing them into an unknown western world.
Written by Matt. Photos by Inge