MUCK in Khao Lak

the title of this blog entry speaks for itself! Despite being one of the major hub for divers heading to the Similan National Park, Khao Lak is not promoted (as it should!!!) as a "local" destination for avid MACRO underwater photographers.

17 or 22 (it'll be clear later on) different nudis, 10 or 12 different species in 2 or 3 dives over 1 or 2 days (clear now?)

Less than a year ago never would I have guessed that moving to Khao Lak (closer to Similan) would have charmed me away from the crystal clear waters of the park to the often murky waters along its coast...

The only dive site that I knew of and I've been to was the Boonsung wreck (for which I'm still lacking a proper entry in this blog) and I've always been rewarded with cool and unusual findings (compared to Similan or Phuket) such as honeycomb moray eels, various nudibranchs, many lion and scorpion fish, shrimps and crabs and outstanding schools of trevalley and yellowtail snapper.

Let's get to the "dirty business": on the Premchai wreck

Click here for my blog entry

I've generally always see adult specimen like this couple of glossodoris atromarginata

another favorite of mine is this adult of "cincta" with its colors and the blue edge...

not to mention the "common" risbecia pulchella popping out anywhere on the wreck!

not to mention the 2 porcelain anemone crabs on a knob edge anemone at 20m depth and so much more stuff (read my blog entry!!!)   click here ;-)

YET today I'm going to focus on sea slugs...

On the way back from the wreck we decided to do an exploratory dive near the coast...

visibility was bad (between 1 and 3 meters), everything green-ish, sand, few rocks, some garbage...

and then... they all started lining up before our amazed eyes!!!

Hypselodoris Bollandi

Hypselodoris Kanga

Chromodoris Preciosa


Chromodoris Daphne


Another Hypselodoris Kanga!


Red version: Hypselodoris Zebrina!!!


STILL another Kanga!

Cardinella Ornatissima anyone? very very very very tiny subject, I had to use all the magnification power of my wet MACRO lens to get the details.




What? Another Zebrina? Oh yes!


Last but not least, a 7cm long Ceratosoma Trilobatum for good measure and to end the dive in glory...

See what I mean by MUCK in Khao Lak?

I was so delighted with this unexpected success that I decided to go there again the following week.
Visibility was even worst this time: 15-70cm!!! we really struggled to separate the milky murky water from the sand, sometimes even bumping our nose into the sandy bottom...

the dive was still worth it during those moments of less particles, which allowed us to spot our sea slugs finding of the day:

Starting with a Chromodoris Fidelis. This one was tiny and moving fast!! a real challenge for my MACRO wet lens in such poor visibility...


I knew I was back in the same spot as I started spotting the Kangas!!! here's the first of the dive


and here's another one


a new entry: Chromodoris Decora!!! NICE ;-)


one of my new top 5 favorite nudis: the Chromodoris Daphne - here moving across a leaf

It was SCREAMING for several shots, this is it from another angle

and last but not least for this last dive of the season 2010-2011 in Khao Lak... one more Chromodoris Preciosa!

that's it for this season of "MUCK in Khao Lak", can't wait for the next season to come!


Anonymous said...

Dude, pretty good assortment considering....not anything close to Lembeh, but I agree that it is more than I EVER saw diving around Phuket-Similan for almost 2 YEARS!
Find me a nembrotha, or hexabranchus sanguenesis and THEN we'll talk!
But, nice job overall...

Phuket Paparazzi said...

well dude, the nembrotha is surely NOT in Thailand, seen it in Philippines and Indonesia, spanish dancer seen 3 years ago in Anemone Reef night dive, of course I didn't have my camera during that dive...

Anonymous said...

I hear you! I have seen more WS in my "diving life" than Spanish Dancers! And people were looking at me like I was "off" when I came up from a night dive on Koh Doc Mai screaming because I found a S.D.
I guess some people will never "get it" with regards to finding macro-life....and sadly, not much of that here in Maldives, but I'm "suffering through it".
Catch you again one day, somewhere! H.B

Kaye said...

Really enjoyed reading your post and your thoughts on the local Khao Lak diving.

The ceratosoma_trilobatum has to be my favorite. so unusual and super cool!

Cant wait for the next installment. maybe some more dive site discoveries? :DD

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