We were reaching the end of our trip and had one last highlight up our sleeves. After the fun we had diving on Bali, we headed for an iconic diving location: the Similian Islands and Richeleu Rock in Southern Thailand.
Luke had discovered Similian Diving Safaris, who offer four and five day live aboard trips in Thailand and Burma/Myanmar, with four dives each day. The dive sites were often in areas where it could get quite deep, so the company also offered specialty courses as well as the usual PADI advanced open water diver course so that you could see more of the reefs.
We took the chance to deepen our knowledge, improve our technique, and learn a lot about fish. While we did profit a lot from the other courses, I think the fish identification was definitely the highlight. Throughout the five days and whenever we were not completing tasks for the other modules, we pointed out different wildlife, quizzed each other on fish species, and constantly looked for new or difficult animals to identify or categorize. While Luke became a specialist in telling apart butterfly and angelfish (something I am still fairly hopeless at), I delighted in the porcupine fish and surgeon fish, especially the aptly named ‘Unicorn fish’. Our instructor and guide also pointed out all sorts of other creatures we had not seen before, including frogfish, a sea moth, tiny nudibranch and much more.
The atmosphere on the boat was friendly and welcoming, the crew and the diving instructors were very outgoing, funny bunch, which made the breaks between diving entertaining as well. The group had so much fun that the evening we returned to land we all met up again for a last meal and night out on the town. In the funky monkey we listened to live music, danced and chatted until late in the night. It was definitely a great experience, and a wonderful last highlight for our five month adventure!