M.V. PHILKADE: 12th - 18th February 2007

“We had a great time and hope it won’t be our last!”

On the evening of the 12th February MV Philkade left Ao Chalong with 11 guests from Australia, Brazil, England and France, 2 dive crew and 6 boat crew onboard. After an introduction to the boat and a welcome drink the guests were shown to their luxurious cabins where they had a chance to relax and unpack before dinner was served on the aft wheelhouse deck. Just as the evening meal began firecrackers were set off from the bow of the boat to wish us luck on our journey.

On the morning of the 13th we awoke to the flat seas of the Similans Islands, where we made our first dive of the trip on the eastern side of island 4 on a dive site known as Honeymoon Bay. The reef is home to many different varieties of fish and makes for a great first dive. Whilst on the dive we saw an octopus, nudibranch and pipefish. The second dive of the day was made on Anita???s Reef on the northeast side of island 5 and 6. The gentle current pushed us along the site where we were able to see kulh???s rays, garden eels and two ornate ghost pipefish. After the dive lunch was served in the saloon. The third dive was made on Hide Away Bay, were we again saw two ornate ghost pipefish, a moray eel and a mantis shrimp. After the dive the guests went onto Island 4 to explore the two white sand beaches and dense undergrowth. Whilst on the walk we saw some nicobar pigeons, squirrels and flying foxes. The last dive of the day was made again on Hide Away Bay, this time we saw the Chinese statues and had a trevally hunting by our torch beam lights. The rest of the evening was spent with guests relaxing in the saloon watching a DVD.

On the second day we began moving further north our first stop was on Island 7 where we dived on East of Eden, on the dive we saw a black ribbon eel, nudibranchs, pipefish and octopus. After breakfast we made our second dive on Elephant Head Rock, where we came across 6 white tip reef sharks, moray eels, a Jenkins whip ray and two crocodile fish. As lunch was being served we cruised north to island 8, where we were able to snorkel with the resident turtle in Donald Duck Bay. The third dive of the day was made on island 9 on Tamarind Bay, on the dive we came across a napoleon wrasse, nudibranchs and barracuda. In the afternoon some of the guests went swimming while the others went over to visit island 8 and do the famous walk up to the top of sail rock. The last dive of the day was done as a night dive on The Mooring, where we saw lobsters, red crabs and hermit crabs. In the evening we celebrated one of the guests birthdays by have a special barbeque meal and cake on the aft wheelhouse deck.

On the morning of the 15th we cruised around to the northern side of island 9 where our first dive of the day was made on North Point. We began the dive by descending onto the pinnacle where we able to see a leopard shark resting on the sand as we made our way back to the main die site we spotted a Manta Ray in the distance and then another leopard shark on the sand. As we made our way around the site we saw large schools of milkfish and another Manta in the shallows. The second dive of the day was made on Koh Bon???s West Ridge; on the dive we saw a leopard shark, two octopus and moray eels. As lunch was being served we cruised north to Koh Tachai, on the dive we saw a Jenkins whip ray, large schools of giant trevally hunting and on the safety stop a large school of bat fish. It was decided by all of the guests to miss the night dive, some of the guests decided to go kayaking and explore the island whilst the others relaxed watching a DVD in the saloon. After dinner was finished the guests relaxed on the upper deck talking about the days events.

On the fourth day we made our way to Richelieu Rock for three dives the first dive was made very early so that we could have the site to ourselves, on the dive we saw two tiger tail seahorses, 3 cuttle fish two of which were locked together mating and we also saw two octopus. On the second dive we descended into a large school of chevron barracuda, and as we made our way around the rock we came across lots of different moray eel and a large school of big eye trevally. It was decided by the guests that the third dive on Richelieu was to be the last of the day. On the dive we saw a juvenile seahorse, mantis shrimp, nudibranchs a zebra moray and a school of about 30 squid. The rest of the afternoon was spent either sunbathing on the sundeck or relaxing on the fly bridge as we made our way south to Koh Bon where we slept for the night.

On the morning of the last day we made our first dive on Koh Bon???s West Ridge, were we saw two octopus, two sea snakes, moray eels an eagle ray and manta. As we cruised south to the Similan Islands breakfast was served in the saloon. The second dive was made on a site known as Three Trees on the northern side of Island 9, on the dive we saw a leopard shark at depth and as we came up into the shallows we saw large schools of milkfish, as we made our way along the reef we a large school of barracuda appeared out of the blue followed by two Manta rays, at the very end of the dive we also spotted a hawksbill turtle feeding on the coral.