Friday, November 24, 2006

Dive Pics Southern Thailand: Koh Ha Noi

I went for my season-ending scuba dive trip last week in Southern Thailand. Some of my family members were a bit anxious for me when I told them of my impending trip as they had heard so much about the restive South. I told them I wasn't going to 'that side' of Southern Thailand, I was going to the west coast, the 'tsunami' side. Ok, maybe that wasn't the smartest choice of words to describe the place.

I had brought along some new 'toys' for this trip, namely my Sea & Sea strobe pack for my underwater photography and my Apeks dive computer watch which doubled as my regular watch for the trip.

This was a four-day liveaboard dive trip on the boat Seahorse (or Manam in Thai) which saw us setting off from Trang jetty into the open Andaman Sea. Our first stop: Ko Ha (or Five Islands in Thai). It's actually a collection of at least eight rocky mounds that jut out of the turquoise sea and is host to a large underwater reef. The first dive site is around Koh Ha Hoi (or Nail Island).

The visibility underwater was quite good, in the 10 - 15m range, but we were more interested in searching for the small stuff, the macro life. Like this cleaner shrimp who was hiding in a small cubby hole waiting for his next filthy customer to clean.

All sorts of creatures lurk in the nooks and corners, waiting to be discovered. This shy little moray eel just wouldn't come out no matter how many fish we dangled in front of him.

UPDATE: Ok, this nudibranch's name is a mouthful: Chromodoris annulata or more commonly known as the Ringed Chromodoris. If two of 'em get married they don't have to exchange wedding rings. Save money. Can go for more dive trips. Hehehehe

This one, I can say for sure is a family of Phyllidia varicosa. There's Papa nudi, Mama nudi, Brother nudi and little Baby nudi. Hmm... all it needs is Maid nudi (or Kakak nudi) and it will be complete Malaysian nudi family.

Ok. How come I can't find any pictures of this particular.... erm... coral? sponge? jellyfish eggs? in the underwater atlas? It's everywhere wherever I dive be it Redang, Sipadan or Koh Ha! Asther... help? UPDATE: It's called the Bubble Coral or Plerogyra sinuosa to be exact. Thanks Asther for the corrections. I guess that is why you're the pro! :-)

This is the marine equivalent of a locust swarm..... it's an ikan bilis swarm. They form a flimsy moving curtain in front of depressions in the rock face or in front of caves. Makes me hungry just looking at it.

This is a scrawled filefish... according to my Atlas of Indo-Pacific Marine Life by some Italian guy. It's a relative of the triggerfish and also the boxfish. And I thought it was a deformed pomfret. Silly me.

This bloated little ... blob.... looks like it has contracted a bad case of German Measles. Actually, it's a type of starfish called the Cushion Star. Doesn't it make you wanna hug it tight?

Now, this, I wouldn't wanna hug. Don't even wanna get too near this Scorpionfish. It sports multiple fern-like projections all over its body that is filled with poison to ward off would-be predators. Accidentally poke yourself with one and your hand will swell up like the cushion star. Now wouldn't that be nice to hug eh?

Guys, if I have made any mistakes in the nomenclature, do let me know and I will correct it. More coming soon.


Asther said...

Hehehe... Asther to the NUDI RESCUE!

Tis called the Ringed Chromodoris or Chromodoris annulata. NOT Hypselodoris bullockii.

Asther said...

Now... to the CORAL RESCUE. ;P

The bubbly thing is called Bubble Coral or Plerogyra sinuosa.

Shah said...

Wow! More beautiful pics for my wallpaper collection.

Borneoturtle said...

Dearest buddy
Thank you so much for joining me again on my trip to Hin Daeng Hin Muang.I hope you are happy on this trip and I can see that your photos are getting better and better each time.
Though you have spent quite a bit on your new toy heheh....the strobes and is well worth it.

You have been a great buddy and hope to be able to dive with you again and again huh?

Such a pity Chris and Terry were unable to join us on this one ....Missed them so much though.

Well dear, do take care and hugs always....

Your buddy
Yanni - Borneo Turtle