We made our way to the dive shop about 0900 to get our gear and set up our tanks. Everyone boarded the long tail boat and we were off for our first of two dives. As we entered the marine park we were stopped by the authorities and asked to pay a 200 THB entrance fee. This was not planned, they are supposed to collect payment from the resort later that afternoon. There was some arguing and ultimately told they would enter our boat and escort us out of the park if we didn’t pay, so off to the next island to pay our dues. The ironic part of all this is that there were six fishing vessels surrounding us that shouldn’t have been there in the first place. It seems the fishing boats have set a heafty standard to bribe the authorities and in turn the divers are the ones being hassled.
After quite a lengthy delay we finally made it to Koh Yang and geared up. I got a little nervous when they confirmed a rear roll entry, our first one. So with that being that, we sat on the side with our backs to the water and rolled off on the count of three. Underwater somersault with all the gear was actually easier than I expected. And down we went. The first dive was filled with many varieties of fish and corral, unfortunately the color of the corral was dulled by the new moon tides bringing in the plankton and reducing the visability down to 3-9 meters. After breaking on an island for lunch and a little relaxation we left for the backside of Lipe where we went for our second dive. Upon arrival it was the same routine, gear up and roll in backwards. Within minutes we were down 15-18 meters and viewing some amazing purple and orange corral that although dulled from the poor visibility seemed vibrate. On this dive we saw a sea horse and a few huge lion fish along with several huge schools of fish that seems to ignore us and swim right through us. What an amazing feeling….we were clearly in ”their” world.
The rest of the evening was spent sipping cocktails and talking about the days dives. Tomorrow we have to transfer to our next location on the island for our final three days. Next up Mountain Resort for some beach time.