The people in the "A lot of happy people" picture are Jim Davis from Port Orchard Wa. Who restored my Superbird. He and his Thai wife were in Thailand for a month so we decided to meet in Phuket for a week for some diving. The second day there we went snorkeling and saw a great deal including a big octopus, a sea turtle which I grabbed and hitchhiked on for about 30 seconds (luckily no greenpeace boats were around) lots of moray eels, one of which I grabbed from behind; he didn¡¯t like it much, and a bunch of other stuff. The Andaman sea has a great deal of life but unfortunately there is no spear fishing allowed.
Keeping up with Jim who can go to 40ft for 2 minutes hurt my ears a bit so the next day on the three boat dives they hurt more. I saw a black tipped reef shark about my size and a leopard shark which were my first underwater encounters with sharks; luckily since a great deal of my previous diving had been in the Monterey Bay area (great white territory) with a stringer of bloody fish hanging off my belt. I tried to get close to them but the reef shark took off like a shot and the leopard swam into another diver, then turned back towards me, then he took off for good too. I also saw a big grouper.
The following day the doc said I should not dive but could surface snorkel so me and Amity (the girl next to me in the group shot) snorkeled together since her ears were hurting too, while Jim dove with Blanche (the girl sitting next to him). We met the two girls on the dive boat; they are from Hong Kong; the one next to Jim is a police officer and the other is an English teacher.
It turned out quite well because watching the divers from the surface was really tedious. The guides, while nice enough guys, really moved slow and looked at each little fish while Jim and I are used to moving fast, killing fish and moving on. Even traveling at Amity¡¯s speed we were moving much faster than the divers and covered twice the ground they did and saw twice as much. I saw a tuna while snorkeling but it was so far away and fast I never had a chance to get close. I also saw an empty giant clam shell about 30cm across in about 30ft of water but couldn¡¯t dive down to get it – doctor¡¯s orders.
This trip to Thailand was the best so far and I have overcome my aversion to the country and people. I even learned some Thai and hope to study enough before my next trip so I can get by to some extent without English. They don¡¯t speak English very well there. Everything was cheap there and the people (if you meet the right ones) were nice.