Read Part I of my Ang Thong Trip recap here.
I woke up on day two of our trip to Ang Thong Marine Park feeling nothing but excitement. I hadn’t been diving since our day out on the boat in Ibiza– and before that I had been out of the water since my liveaboard trip in January.
We were headed to the park’s most northernmost islands, Koh Wao and Koh Yippon, famed for an amazing swim through and strong macro environment. The day brought two problems: a whipping strong current and awful visibility.
When I was able to see more than a few meters I was greeted by countless juvenile fish, and the kinds of massive schools of sea life that make diving in Thailand so amazing.
Visibility can make or break a dive for me, but that’s because my main focus is usually photography. Despite the pretty mucky water, I was able to get two shots I love by getting close, eliminating as much debris as possible between lens and subject.
Last time I was diving anywhere in South East Asia I had less than 10 dives under my belt. Now that I’m a rescue diver, have over 100 dives and two years of experience, I can appreciate things in a different way. Rather than struggling to keep my mask clear and trying not to body slam the coral, I can look around for hidden treasures.
Did you know that there are no clown fish in the Caribbean? I really missed these guys. If you look closely you’ll see there’s more than one creature hiding in this anemone…
A tiny shrimp is there as well! I could have stayed and tried to photograph this little creature for the whole dive, but I had to tear myself away in order to stay with the group.
The highlight of the dives was the massive swim through that went through one of the islands. Towards the end of the dive I broke off and went with Mark, who was freediving, and went through the cave. We had never been to this dive site so it was a bit unnerving not knowing what was at the other end of the tunnel, especially as Mark didn’t have a tank, but in an emergency he could have always shared mine. (Divers always have two regulators attached to their air tank in case someone needs air.)
I took a little video of part of our trip through the cave, though keep in mind this is only my point and shoot camera and the video quality is sub-par. Still worth a watch though!
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All in all I highly recommend a visit to Ang Thong National Marine Park with . I loved this trip for several reasons:
1. This is a place that deserves more than just a day trip. There’s something special about sleeping on a near deserted island, though comfort need not be sacrificed in the charming and clean bungalows we stayed in.
2. The diving is a nice subtle change from what you see in Koh Tao, with more protected coral and different kinds of sea life. There is also the strong chance that you will be the only boat on the dive site!
3. For those staying in Koh Tao, its great to not have to go to Samui or Pha Ngan in order to access the park.
If you are visiting the Gulf of Thailand, it would be a shame to miss this special place! I can’t wait to go back again and explore more of the 42 islands of Ang Thong.