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My friend Henk Landkroon, from Groningen in the Netherlands, has an excellent photoblog: STORMBLAST1953

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Diving: Koh Losin, Koh Kra and Hin Bai (Sail Rock)

I did an interesting dive trip which departed Songkhla in the south of Thailand, visited Koh Losin and Koh Kra, stopped over at Koh Samui, visited Hin Bai (Sail Rock) and then dropped me off at Koh Tao. The dive boat is the Scuba Explorer. They only do this trip twice a year, once in July when moving the boat from the Andaman Sea to the Gulf of Thailand and again in October when moving back to the Andaman.

Koh Losin is just a rocky pinnacle that barely breaks the surface of the water. It has a non-functioning lighthouse. There are other nearby pinnacles which do not break the surface. Seen from the deck of the Scuba Explorer.

Scuba Explorer's dive deck.

Anemone fish. The reddish thing is a barrel sponge.

Yellowback Fusiliers

Visibility was quite good at Losin.

Damselfish in soft coral.

See the Scorpionfish?

White segmented worms on a barrel coral.

Mr. Chin at the helm of the dive dingy. 

Anemone and barrel sponge.

Damselfish in a coral head.

Dinner is served.

Vermiculate Rabbitfish

Crescent-tail Bigeye. These guys can change color from silver to the reddish color you see here.

I guess I like the combination of anemone and barrel coral.

Losin has huge amounts of pristine coral, some of it quite deep. This indicates clear water much of the time with sunlight able to penetrate far down.

Goldband Fusiliers

More Fusiliers

Pink Anemone Fish 

Pickhandle Barracuda

Sky Blue Phyllidia (about 7 cm long)

Sea Cucumber. No idea why he's rearing up like that. Seeking a mate?

This is the wreck of a previous Losin light.

The lounge

Red Whip or Harp Coral

Scuba Explorer from the water after a dive.

Koh Kra

Yours truly on the beach at Koh Kra. Scuba Explorer on the horizon.

The beach at Koh Kra.

Granite boulders at Koh Kra.

The tall island is Hin Sung; another dive site.

Outdoor deck on Scuba Explorer.

This boat caters to Japanese divers. Everything is in Japanese. These guys were my dive buddies.

Red Snapper(?)

We stopped on Koh Samui to drop off some divers and pick up some others. This is Big Buddha pier.

I had traditional coffee and Chinese style doughnuts at Diamond Secret restaurant.

This is at Hin Bai or Sail Rock. So many fishes. These are Bigeye Trevally.

This is the famous chimney at Sail Rock. It goes for about 30 meters, is quite vertical and an easy swim through.

Looking up through the Sail Rock Chimney.

Blue Ringed Angelfish


Phyllidia (about 5 cm long)


I made this YouTube video from clips I shot on several dives. Sorry for the poor quality. Need a better camera and a better eye....

YouTube Link <- Click here to view on YouTube in a larger size.

The Scuba Explorer dropped me off at Koh Tao. I stayed up on a hill at the Seaview Resort. It was a long way up and down.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Udon Thani

Mam had some work in Udon Thani province which is about four hours by car north of Korat. I tagged along.

My sister gave me the cool valise a few years ago. It's great for short trips.

We stayed in one of these cottages at the Tanita Lagoon Resort in Udon Thai.

The resort is built around a stocked fishing pond.

Meals served in your room so you can dine by the water.

While Mam worked I drove to Wat Tham Kong Pen in neighboring Nong Bua Lamphu province. This is a well known forest temple which is built around existing sandstone formations. The forest area is huge, green and peacful.

The wat was once the home of the famous monk Luang Pu Khao.

The wat takes its name from the Klong Pen, two sided drum.

There are many Buddha images tucked under and around the sandstone.

A nun meditates before a Chinese style Buddha image.

From the temple I drove to the Shell Fossil Museum. This museum houses 150 million year old bivalve fossils discovered in a nearby abandoned quarry.

There is a trail down to the quarry where, from behind a fence, you can see the site where the bivalve fossils were found. There are at least two in this photo.

For lunch we headed to UD Town, a relatively new outdoor shopping mall in Udon.

Lunch at Ramen Champions.

Snacks purchased at the Melt Me Hokkaido chocolate shop.

And finally food gifts from the famous VT Nam Nueng shop. Nam Nueng is a Vietnamese dish sometimes called "meatball wraps". It consists of rice paper wraps, meatballs or sausages, lots of different veggies and a dipping sauce. (This shop spells it "Nueng". It probably should be "Neung".)