We have a new Wreck…. and a Muck divesite!!!
A few months ago a cargo freighter laden with timber from Myanmar was on it’s way South and passing Khao Lak. During this time of the year, storms are pretty common on the Andaman Coast and the ship got caught in bad weather. Luckily the location of the ship at that moment was within only a few miles of the Thai Navy base located in Tublamu, Phangnga and all crew were safely picked up by the Thai Navy before the ship sank.
A few months later, the ship is still on the bottom of the sea and a few days ago, Wicked Diving planned an exploration trip to assess the safety and dive-ability of the wreck to gather some information about the depth and size of the boat. We are looking for dangers and threats to divers and make sure that our guests can dive the wreck without risk.
With the GPS coordinates in hand, some staff and our group of 4 divemaster trainees left with our longtail in the early morning to make a dive at the wreck. However, due to potentially bad weather conditions, we had to turn the longtailboat around and go back to the harbor. The wreck is located in open sea, and offers no protection for dive boats.
Since we had the gear and tanks already on the boat and still wanted to make a dive, we decided to try out a dive at a site that we had passed many times before, but never checked it out under water: the harbor of Tublamu!
This place has low visibility, and you can find a lot of rubble, debris and small coral patches scattered over a sandy bottom. The kind of diving here is called muck diving. Muck diving is very popular in many other parts of the world and is very different than the typical diving we offer around the Similan Islands. The challenge is to find strange marine life that is doing their best to look exactly like the environment they live in. In other words, go slow and try to find small things that are very well camouflaged. We were hoping to find a few critters and we were definitely not disappointed!
During the dive, we found several beautiful rare nudibranches, including a Janola species (see picture above) and an endemic Ceratosoma species.
Among the ‘finds’ were also several pipefish, lionfish, moray eels, shrimps, a seahorse and the very rare Pineapple Fish (if you think we’re kidding, check out the pictures!). All small, well hidden species.
But the Pineapple fish is truly the most exotic. They were rarely found in this region until the last few seasons. They are small, hide in small caves and nooks. About the size of your thumb, they look like small pineapples. Not too exciting? They have luminescent patches under their mouth. Glowing at night, these patches are thought to attract prey.
All the divers were very surprised with the amazing creatures to be found here and we are planning to dive this site more often to see if we can find some more strange looking stuff! And for sure we will try and dive the new wreck in the next couple of days! Keep you posted!