It was only last week, just before I came to Malaysia that I was in Southern Thailand. It’s already starting to feel like so long ago. After Phuket I jumped on a boat to Koh Lanta because I wanted to dive two sites that are local favorites, Hin Daeng (Red Rock) and Hin Meuang (Purple Rock). It was tough to find a boat going out there because it’s the end of the dive season (April 30th is when most boats stop going to the sites farther out because of the weather) and these two are at least an hour boat ride from Koh Lanta by speedboat. As it was the end of the season, I was lucky to get on any boat going out there, it took us 3 1/2 hours on a slow boat with Lanta Divers and I was just happy to find a boat that was going. Once we were out there I only saw one other dive boat the whole day. It was great.
Hin Daeng & Hin Meuang are two huge, deep water rocks that are well-known for sighting manta rays, whale sharks and leopard sharks. Hin Muang is Thailand’s highest vertical wall, submerged below sea level. It’s covered with vibrant, purple, soft corals. The marine life, both big and small is beautiful and impressive. What surprised me the most was the size of the fish out there. I recognized many of the same fish I’ve seen at Koh Bida and the Similans, but they were 2-3 times bigger. Apparently, this too far out for fisherman, so the fish can obviously grow bigger when they are not being hunted. We saw great barracuda’s, bearded scorpion fishes, coronet fishes, at least 8 moray eels, longfin batfishes, blue triggerfish, yellow tail triggerfish and a silver wall of travelly swimming past. On that particular day we didn’t spot any manta rays, whale sharks or leopard sharks, and I wasn’t able to get any photos of our diving from the others I was with.
Fortunately, the next day I had arranged to join Dive & Relax to try Koh Bida (again) and Hin Bida. Cameron from Dive & Relax was really helpful when I was trying to find a boat going out to Hin Daeng and Hin Meuang and suggested that I could experience some great things at Hin Bida. Dive & Relax is a great company that has speedboats and offers dive trips, snorkeling, private trips and PADI courses on Koh Lanta. They’ll organize a nice day with lunch, experienced and professional dive guides and a small group of people to go with. You can check them out at www.diveandrelax.com.
We had a great day diving, the conditions were really good and we experienced some fantastic sightings. As soon as we descended Hin Bida there was a big leopard/ zebra shark (photo above) just lying at the bottom of the sea, staring at us while Cameron took pictures until it swam off. It is a truly beautiful animal. At Koh Bida Nok, there was a big red octopus that we watched for at least 5 minutes. It was on the rocks and kept expanding and contracting and changing colors, camouflaging itself with the rocks. Then it swam in front of us from one rock to another, it was amazing. Usually when I’ve seen them they are hiding between rocks and you can only see a tiny little part of them.
Lastly, there’s a beautiful photo below of a cuttlefish. It’s the last photo at the bottom. This is the first time I’ve seen one and Cameron got a great shot of it. It was so nice to dive Koh Bida again and have better experience. Enjoy these fantastic photos courtesy Cameron at Dive & Relax.