Nothing in human evolution has adapted man for life underwater, yet floating 60 feet beneath the ocean’s surface feels so natural to me. Perhaps it is genetic, my father loved to dive. When I was a young teen, he encouraged me to learn so he would have a “buddy” and I have been in enamored ever since.
When we left for Thailand, six years had passed since my last dive. Like many young loves a busy career, small children and general daily life took priority. However, last week the famous Similan Islands were just a short boat ride away and grandparents were happy to play with the children, so Andy and I embraced the opportunity. We signed up for a “refresher course” and found diving skills quickly come back.
One day we visited the remains of the tin mining boat Boonsong and Andy tackled another underwater first by renting a camera. The wreck is over 20 years old and has become an artificial reef in an otherwise vast sandy area. The little fish come for the protective niches and hiding spots and the big fish come to eat the little ones.
The sea was particularly rough which diminished the visibility at times we could only see about 20 feet. However, often I found my vision impaired not by silt but rather large schools which felt like becoming engulfed in a fantasy world of “fish soup”.
The Boonsong harbors impressive variety of eels.
Generally eels hide their bodies while peeking heads out of protective holes. This made the spotted one we saw swimming freely particularly impressive. It was about 3 feet in length.
There were many scorpion fish. They are quite poisonous so you have to take care with where you touch.
Stone fish were also plentiful, difficult to see, and dangerous. Their sting is known to cause excruciating pain and a great deal of swelling which rapidly leads to tissue death. Again we watched our hand placement closely.
My children love “Finding Nemo” so I have viewed this movie often. This one reminded me of the feisty aquarium fish Gill voiced by Willem Dafoe.
No amount of taunting this puffer fish would incite it to “blow up”. I suppose I was not scary enough.
The Boonsong wreck site was the location of our second day of diving. The first day we concentrated on the fundamentals of scuba not photography at Koh Bon island.
The visibility there was fabulous. I wish we had taken dozens of photos. One particularly unique and amazing sight were the giant manta rays. These gentle plankton eaters feed off Koh Bon island by floating gracefully through the water. We saw four and they were about 12 feet in diameter. One of the dive masters Tory from SeaBees diving was kind enough to share a few of his photos of the magnificent creatures.
Alas our time diving completed and we returned to the harbor full of beautifully colored long tail boats.
At the wharf I spied the Andaman Dancer II listed as a “Hot Sale”. I loved my diving experience and briefly considered the “fixer-upper”.
On second thought there is likely not enough left of her to fix so it is time then to move ashore. I only hope soon to return to the deep blue sea.