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Thailand

Recent Blog Posts from Thailand

Climbing at Railay! Plus a few other things...   (published in Thailand)

August 26, 2015 by   Comments(0)

So in the last week, lots has happened as per usual. First off, we went to the turtle sanctuary and it was just as much fun as the last time. We just cleaned the small pools because there were less people. We cleaned the shells again too which was really hard for some turtles as they kept moving! The turtle that was rescued from the rubbish spill in the sea was there, one fin down as they hadn't managed to reattach it. It wasn't looking too great, apparently it was having to be force fed as it wasn't eating, but its fin had healed. Hopefully it will recover with time! Injuries to turtles due to human activity often happen, from propellers or being trapped in rubbish for example. If they are caught at the surface by rubbish, their shells heat up and bubbles form meaning that they can't sink. There were some like that in the sanctuary as well as ones which were missing one ore two fins and some which had growths. As Thailand is a Buddhist country it is against their belief to put animals down even if they are in pain, but it does mean that visitors can see what can happen. The sanctuary does release turtles that are well enough and that includes the hatchlings which were in lots of little tanks upstairs. This time we got to touch them!

The Sunday after, a few of us went kayaking at Ao Thalane. This started off by kayaking across an estuary with beautiful views of the mountains towards the cliffs on the other side. After stopping by some caves and for a swim at a tiny beach, we headed into the mangroves in between the huge cliffs with the current helping us along. It was spectacular! We followed our guide on a twisting path through the mangrove trees which a lot of the time followed the cliff. I admit that I would definitely have got lost if I had gone in without a guide. ...

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Climbing at Railay! Plus a few other things...http://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/rfellows/read/403150/climbing-at-railay-plus-a-few-other-things
Climbing at Railay! Plus a few other things...
 

Loads of different things   (published in Thailand)

August 14, 2015 by   Comments(0)

Today was such a good diving day. As we left Ao Nang the sea was calm and glassy and the and was shining. We went to tiny island south of Koh Phi Phi La and jumped in by a beautiful bay. The water was so clear that we could see the bottom even though it was about 6 meters deep. Whilst underwater we saw a banded sea krate, an impressive looking black and white striped snake. It moves so fluidly through the water that it is amazing to watch. We then did a survey during which we saw around 5000 big eye snappers, the biggest shoal I have ever seen! Apparently there was a turtle swimming amongst them but I missed it! On the plus side I did see a trumpet fish, which is so long and thin, and I didn't loose my pencil! :) The shape of the coral and rock was also really cool with lots of sticking up rocks, crevices and channels.

On the second dive, pretty much as soon as I went down, I saw a turtle! It was a hawksbill turtle, a critically endangered species, which was swimming round eating invertebrates. It looked so majestic and was quite large at around 50cm. Then one instructor pointed under a rock and there was an octopus there! After we did the survey it was my turn to roll up the tape measure. Its 100m long, I think, and we use it so that the surveys are always the same length. Its slightly tricky to roll up when there are currents and the tape is caught under coral, but on the way I saw the turtle again!

This day of diving was so much better than a couple of days ago when the visibility was so poor that we could only see a meter or so in front of us. I was doing my second day of the advanced diving course which involved a deep dive, although we could only go to 21 meters this time, and a search and recovery dive. It was actually a challenge to find the weight belt because ...

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Loads of different thingshttp://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/rfellows/read/402083/loads-of-different-things
Loads of different things
 

Full moon   (published in Thailand)

August 6, 2015 by   Comments(0)

So lots has happened since my last blog as again I have put off writing it for too long. Whoops. Anyway, I have now passed my fish test and have done a survey. It may take a little practise to juggle survey board, fish book and pencil, whilst maintaining buoyancy. In fact the first two times I managed to loose the pencil, once from a pocket and the second time it slipped out of my hand and floated up. But at least the third time I managed to nang on to the pencil! Sadly I haven't seen any more sharks, but I have seen a Kuhl's sting ray, a porcupine fish and some large groupers. Also I've been allowed to do the advanced course which is amazing. We practiced buoyancy, which is always good to do as it takes a long time to master, and did underwater navigation.The second day involves doing search and recovery and deep diving where we go to 25 meters or more. This means there are extra challenges because there is more resistance to breathe as your air is higher pressure and you have less time as you use you air faster. It is also harder because decompression limits are shorter. These limits are to prevent too much nitrogen being absorbed in your blood.

We were planning to dive in Phi Phi which takes 2 hours to get there by boat but once we arrived a storm hit, the rain and wind were really strong so diving was cancelled and we turned back for Ao Nang. On the way back the waves were really big, the boat rocked from side to side so much. At one point a whole rack of dive tanks fell over, which are pretty heavy, as well as the fridge, which disintegrated our lunch. Fortunately no one was hurt by flying tanks or fridges and we made it back to Ao Nang In one piece. As we had no lunch we went to a restaurant and after some of us had a drink and played ping pong by the pool, so it ...

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Full moonhttp://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/rfellows/read/401061/full-moon
Full moon
 

Turtles in Thailand   (published in Thailand)

July 29, 2015 by   Comments(0)

I spent a day of diving doing whats called Peak Performance Buoyancy where you practice maintaining neutral buoyancy in the water. We had to knock a weight over with our mouthpiece, go vertically with our head down and try some underwater wrestling and racing. On Friday some of us got up at half 5 to go to a turtle sanctuary in Phuket where we cleaned out some of their swimming pools with scrubbing brushes. We had to move them at one point so that we could clean all of their pool. For the larger ones this meant lifting up the back of their shell and dragging them along! We also cleaned their shells which made quite a difference, you could see all their beautiful patterns. Up the road was another part of the sanctuary which had hatchlings as small as a an inch or so, which were really cute, as well as turtles with damaged shells which happens when they are moved when still eggs. We went to the aquarium next door where there were all kinds of tropical fish which were found nearby. This included an upside down catfish which was just that, a catfish that looked like it was swimming round upside down.

After a ride in the minibus, a taxi and half an hour spent trying to find our hotel, which had practically no sign, we made it to Patong. Phuket is actually not a town but a huge island 500km^2 so Patong was just a town/region in Phuket. I had a really nice swim at sunset on the beach and of course the sea was still lovely and warm. We went out that evening and went to a club called white room which did have mostly tourists but was loads of fun. I went to bed at 4.30 so 23 hours after I got up!

The next day we went to an island called Koh yao noi which is one of a pair, the other being Koi yao yai (koh means island). It seemed to take ages to get there but once we did, it was ...

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Turtles in Thailandhttp://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/rfellows/read/399971/turtles-in-thailand
Turtles in Thailand
 

Diving and other activities   (published in Thailand)

July 22, 2015 by   Comments(0)

Today the sea was calm, the sun was shining and the diving was amazing. Since my last post we have managed to start diving as the first week or so the weather was too bad. On the first two days I was doing my open water course where we did some of the exercises we did in the pool such as taking of the mask and putting it on again, and navigating with a compass. After a final exam which wasn't too hard when it came to it, I passed and can now dive to 18 meters! On the third day of diving it the sea was really rough, and you notice more when its not a large boat like a ferry, and lots of people including me were seasick. Its now become a ritual that as soon as we get on the boat we take a sea sickness tablet, just in case.

Having passed my open water course and mastered the basics of diving I am now learning how to recognise different fish so that I will be able to do surveys of how many there are. Sadly this involves a test before I can do any surveys, but that is so that they can be sure that the data is correct. Each different group of fish has a different sign so that you can tell your dive buddies what it is, for example clicking your fingers for a snapper. Some of the more exciting things I have seen have been four or five leopard sharks, each about a meter and a half long, some cuttlefish, a catfish and two black tipped reef sharks! Diving is so much fun because you get to see a whole different world, complete with all kinds of weird creatures and you feel weightless. Sadly my camera doesn't go deep enough, only 10 meters so I haven't got any photos but hopefully I'll be able to borrow someone else's!

As we have been diving at Phi Phi which is about 2 hours away from Ao Nang we have lots of time to kill on the boat. On sunny days its super nice to lie at the ...

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Diving and other activitieshttp://www.mytripblog.org/pg/blog/rfellows/read/399104/diving-and-other-activities
Diving and other activities
 

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