Sunday, March 11, 2007

Similan Liveaboard 2007: Koh Ta Chai

We arrived at Koh Ta Chai at a very early 4.00AM the next day. Everybody woke up groggy and a bit seasick after an entire night's rocking and swaying. A couple of coffees and Stemetyl later, we were sober enough to attend our first pre-dive briefing.

The early morning dive is often the best and also the coldest. The best because the visibility is generally good and the dive sites are generally less crowded. Plus lots of the pellagics are out for their morning feeding frenzy, so we get to see schools of tuna, jackfish and rainbow runners ready for breakfast, both their own and their predators.

I was again getting reacquainted with my underwater camera gear which included the u/w casing, the external strobe and its mounting and arm. It was quite embarassing when I kinda forgot how to put together the various parts in front of my fellow divers. Thankfully Joseph, another avid u/w photographer had a similar set-up, so he was able to help me figure out how to put together the whole jigsaw puzzle.

And this (above) is the divemaster who was assigned to us cameros, as we were lovingly called. Yeah, nobody wants to dive with us cameros, as we usually go at a very, very slow pace and tend to wander off where our viewfinders take our fancy. So, the whole lot of us were lumped together and thankfully we had Gan as our ever patient and able divemaster.

There were lots of beautiful fish and corals everywhere, a sign of a healthy coral reef, still unspoilt by the scores of divers who jump in these waters everyday. This is a Moorish Idol, a type of Angelfish that was made famous by the hit Pixar animation feature, Finding Nemo.

One very significant part of the coral reef is the sea fan. They form the canopy of the sea, much like the rainforest on land and can grow to very large sizes, like this red Gorgonian sea fan.

I am trying to develop my skills in taking pictures of fishes, generally the most difficult creatures to shoot pics of. Mainly because they move around all the time, and chasing after them never work, so I have learned to just lie in wait for them to get comfortable enough with my presence to approach me and allow their curiosity to work in my favour.

One thing about the underwater that I love so much is how out of this world the sea creatures look. The shapes, the colours and the way they move and sway along with the currents never ceases to amaze me.

There were quite a lot of trumpet fish in these parts, and this unassuming fella, is actually about 4 feet long. Underwater in natural lighting, they all look rather bluish and uninteresting, but using the strobe to illuminate them with bright white light, the colours jump out to reveal its striking pink body, and a peculiar yellow tail fin.

Of course every dive would not be deemed complete for me without a sighting or two of a nudibranch. This one belongs to the common Phyllidia family but boy was it huge! Almost five inches long!

More pics coming soon.

1 comment:

Asther said...

Ur pics are getting better! Keep them coming & thanx for sharing... :)

I'll be going to Dayang end of the month, then off to Mabul mid April as I missed my trip in January when dad got his stroke. Layang-Layang early May.

Hope to dive with u again one day.