Tuesday, September 10, 2013

MV Sai Mai - Private Diving Liveaboard Cruise to Similan Islands, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock - Day 2

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5-6

We took it easy and got up around 8:30 as we decided together the night before, one of the great benefits of a private boat charter is the fact of not having to follow a strict schedule, it can be tailor made to suit the personal needs and preferences.

There's nothing better then having the chance to wake up in a tropical paradise, which in this case was Similan Island #4 where we were moored during the night, and have right away a nice refreshing dip in the turquoise sea.

After a generous and delicious breakfast prepared by our cook and a few minutes of relaxation we set up our diving equipment. Once ready we gathered for a quick but detailed dive briefing from Jason and around 10:00 the captain finally dropped us at the entry point of of the first dive of this fantastic cruise, on Island #7. As usual Similan Islands offer the best conditions with good visibility and lots of fish, Stefano and Giovanni are very experienced divers so we easily managed to do a very nice 60 minutes dive without having to worry about air consumption.

After we got back on board, dried out and exchanged the typical comments about the exciting dive, we climbed to the upper deck and quickly after that we saw the caring cool Ms. Rat coming up the ladder with a tray full of ham & cheese sandwiches as previously requested by Stefano and Giovanni who prefer to eat light things for lunch, as anyway on Sai Mai there are always plenty of fruit and snacks available so it's impossible to get hungry.

In early afternoon we decided to move and more in the northern bay of the Island #8 also known as “Donald Duck Bay” due to a granitic boulder which shape really reminds the head profile of a duck .

Donald Duck Bay - Similan Islands
Duck head shaped boulder

This part of the island is nothing short of spectacular, the beach is white, the water is turquoise and everything is surrounded by majestic boulders of granite rock formations scattered and arranged in a very particular way and mixed with the lush vegetation of the island. It's like if a giant hand put them there for some reason, and all this makes an amazing play of colors.

After we rested for a while in the shades to let the hottest time of the day to pass we decided to set foot on the island to have a look around, wo with camera and sunglasses at hand we jumped on the dinghy boat always available as support on Sai Mai and the seaman accompanied me and Giovanni to the beach, while Stefano preferred to stay on board to chill out and enjoy the views.

Island #8 is equipped with some Bungalows, tents and other facilities provided by the National Park to receive the numerous visitors of the day trips departing from Khao Lak. They also built a trail that allows to reach the top of the highest pile of granitic boulders, from which you get a breath taking view over the bay. 

SImilan Island Number 8 - Donald Duck Bay View Point
View point over Donald Duck Bay

The trail itself is very interesting because sneaks through the narrow passages and tunnels between the boulders.

Similan Islands View Point Trail - Boulders
Narrow pathway through the rocks

After an hour spent taking awesome pictures and getting our skin cooked under the heat we decided to return on board because here in Thailand sun sets quite early around 18:30 and we planned to do one more dive before it got dark.

As soon as we rejoined with Jason, Stefano and the crew we untied the mooring and moved towards the nearby Similan Island #9 which also delimits the northern end of the archipelago. Short briefing, all ready and jump for the second dive of the day, this time on the site called “Breakfast Bend” on the north-east corner of the island.

Also this one has been a pleasant dive, the site is characterized by a slope that starts from the surface and meets the flat and sandy bottom at a depth of about 20-25 meters, on the slopy part there are many coral pinnacles creating the perfect environment for the typical varieties of tropical reef fish.
Later in the dive, while we were at a depth of 20 meters on the sandy bottom, our attention was seized by a strange and heavy rectangular shaped object partially buried in the sand, on which grew a thin layer of coral. Shape, size and texture made us one think of a small metal hermetically sealed box. Unfortunately the air in our tanks began to run low and we were now close to the no-decompression limit so we had to abandon our short "archaeological" experience and ascend to make the safety before surfacing.

The fanciful hypotheses on the possible identity and contents of the "mystery box" have been funny subject of discussion almost for the entire cruise.

After admiring the typical breathtaking sunset that the sea always gives at the end of a sunny day, we sat at the table to taste a delicious Thai dinner. Quality of food on Sai Mai can match the best Thai restaurants in Phuket. Don't necessarily need to do a long cruise to experience this. it's easy to try the daily Sunset Cruise and Dinner on MV Sai Mai.

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