Monday, December 19, 2011
Kata Shore Dive
The Kata reef starts about 200 yards off Kata Beach in Phuket. The whole reef is buoyed off to prevent entry by boats and to protect the reef and the snorklers and scuba divers it attracts. The reef runs from just 3 metres to 10 metres deep and is teeming with fish life and corals.
Because it is so shallow, it is possible to take some great pictures...as long as the currents haven't stirred up the fine sand. It's also an advantage if the reef hasn't been dived before you arrive as that also stirs up the sand.
Today was Jeff's first dive for some time and after a bit of getting sorted to start with he soon got into the dive and we managed to stay down 80 minutes....which is excellent. Jeff's always been very good on air use....
The Kata reef is particularly good for seeing small critters. This funny looking 'fish' is a pipefish and was about 9'' long. It's pretty hard to see them as they look like an old bit of seaweed...but, with patience, you can creep up on them and take a few photo's.
Many divers enjoy finding Nudibrancs. Nudibrance are shell-less molluscs and as such have developed a whole variety of defense mechanisms. Some species of Nudibranc are highly toxic and, if disturbed, can give off a powerful chemical. People who like to keep Nudibrancs in home aquariums have to be very careful not to cause them stress as they can easily wipe out a whole tank of tropical fish. Other Nudibrancs use camouflage or extremely bright colours as warning. There's over 2,000 different kinds of Nudibrancs in Asian waters...so it's no surprise to see one of these varieties for the first time. In fact, this is two Nudibrancs bonking...so it was a double first for me. Never seen this kind before and never seen Nudibrancs bonking...well, we are in Thailand after all!!
We also saw a massive shoal of barracuda which totally surrounded us, lots of angel and pufferfish, scorpion and lionfish, a few crabs and stacks of other fish..too many to mention. It's certainly a great place to dive.
Tomorrow, we go back to Kata and do it all again and then on Wednesday we shall charter a local longtail boat and go and dive one of the islands just offshore where no divers go. By then Jeff should be well trained up and ready for a dive with the local PADI Instructors who want me to show them the delights of Kata reef....well, won't Jeff be in the diving glitterati of Phuket on that occassion!
Just think...you could have a go at this when you come here for your winter break!!!!