Burma and Thailand 2007


The Mergui archipelago.


In November 2007 Anette and I went to Thailand. The first 8 days I wanted to go out on a liveaboard to dive in the Mergui archipelago in the Andaman sea off Burma.
From Phuket it takes 5 hours to reach the bordercity Ranong where the diveboat "Faah Yai" was anchored. It then crossed the borderriver to Kawtchaung (Port Victoria). And there we saw the hole Myanmarian dictatorial bureaucracy unfolded. We had to deliver 3 new passport photos and 3 scanned copies of our passports. And the very passports were confiscated during the hole trip. Furthermore these officials demanded 200 USdollars in brand new banknotes from each of us to fill in the generals ever hungry pockets. I felt really bad about the hole charade, and as this wasn't enough, they sent a controlling spy with us on the boat!!!
Well, the diving was good, and so were the ordinary people we met - but may the generals rot in Hell!
The remotest island we dove was Black Rock, about 175 km to the north. The furthest out westward we came was North Twin, about 100 km from land. The southernmost island was Western Rocky.
And now let's get the hair wet! (;o)


My aquatic world.

This time I didn't take the photos myself, because my camera was stolen, so the land pictures are Anettes and the underwater photos are generously donated from our divemaster Stuart Robbens - Thank you very much!
He is connected with Andaman International Dive Center.


Chromodoris gemini.

Phyllidia varicosa.

Some of my favotite motives are the nudibranchs, these marvellously beautiful creatures of which you can see many more on
Flatworms and nudibranchs.


Cyprea tigris.

Cyprea felina.

These 2 are snails as well - but with houses
The left one is the commonly known porcelain snail, the other one has also a cats name.
Take notice of the thin mantle they are waring around their beautiful houses.


Basket star.

This lace work of art is a relative to the sea stars, in daytime they are coiled up like a ball of yarn and hidden in a crevice; but at night they unfold themselves in all there glory and beauty, filtering the water with this network.
Another filtrator is a relative of the sea anemones using the arms to catch what is drifting by, and then - arm after arm - feeding the catch down in the mouth in the middle.


Fimbriated morayeel.

Ember Parrotfish.

This charming fellow is a yellow moray eel, and the other is a sleeping Parrotfish Just in front of its snout you can see a Tubastrea coral that is open only at night, and in front of that again a little fish called a Blennie.

Tigertail Seahorse.
Tomato Anemonefish.

On this picture you can't see why it's called a tigertail seahorse, but the tail really is striped in yellow and brown. At least at the females, because the males are dark brown with small yellow dots. The size of this species is 15 cm and the name is Hippocampus comes and it lives around Indochina.
The other one is a Tomato Anemonefish in a very white Bubble anemone. The name "clownfish" is only applicable for two of the species. If you want to see how different they are, look at my special page for Anemonefish.


Carrot coral.

Anemone shrimp and Cleaner shrimp.

The left shrimp is a Periclimenes brevicarpalis and the other a Rhynchocinetes durbanensis...
...called Hinge-beak shrimp.


Camposcia retusa.

Xenocarcinus conicus.

These two very different crabs are both spidercrabs - showing us two different camuflage techniques.
The first is collecting and fastening diverse marine organisms, algae and detritus on its body and legs. The other one is mimicking its surroundings, here a red Gorgonian coral.
The first is 10 cm the other 15mm.


The hotel.


The beach.

The cottage.

View from the cottage.

Anette and I stayed at the Baan Krating hotel "Jungle beach", and it was really a former jungle on a hillside sloping down to a little bay. Some of the trees were removed to make room to the cottages - 5 near the beach and some more further uphill.
It is extremely quiet and peaceful because the hotel area is situated at the end of a 2 km long road, winding its way along the rocky coast westward from "Royal Yacht Club".
It's very recommendable if you seek peace and quiet.


Sightseeings.


One day we sailed out with a "Junk" to see all the amazingly beautiful islands in Phang Nga Bay east of Phuket.


James Bond island.

These islands consists of old and fossilated coral limestone, and thats why the waves have eroded them 2m up.
Some of the biggest are downright hollow in the middle like a doughnut.


The islands and the ship.

Little entrance.

Big entrance.

Another day with Seacanoe we visited some of these islands to see the interior.
The size of the entrance to these secluded worlds are very different. In one island the entrance is just a little opening over the waterline, so small that the guide had to let some air out of the canoe, before it was possible to enter.
In the next island the entrance was lofty enough to house bats.
But well inside - Fantastic!
An indescribably, almost celestial atmosphere of silence and beauty.

It is strongly recommendable!


More sightseeing.


In order to see the interior of Phuket, we hired a taxi a hole day. It costed only 1500 Bath, and our chauffeur Kris was a very nice fellow who spoke really good english. Up north we were in the rainforest to see the waterfall, we visited an orchidfarm, a butterflyfarm, the tempel in Phuket town. Furthermore nursery gardens, the building of a 145m high statue of Buddah on a mountintop and ending in a lovely fish restaurant on the eastcoast.
In our holyday we wanted to eat exclusively "Thai Food".

And last but not least - it's all about relaxing!

=> Emergency Exit...if you are lost ;-)