Monday, June 16, 2008

12th June, Sihanoukville, Cambodia

Dive 77: the Corral, Koh Rung **
Max Depth: 13.4m ; Bottom time: 80 min
Water Temp: 30c; Visibility: 5-10m

Dive 78: Unnamed site, Koh Rung
Max Depth: 22.8m ; Bottom time: 33 min
Water Temp: 30c; Visibility: 3-5m

Comment: After almost 20 days going without getting wet, I was in full "Nitrogen withdrawal" before the plunge for a couple of muck dives in Cambodia. Meeting up with Paul (friend & former Instructor candidate) at the Dive Shop, he has intrigued me with the opportunity to dive with seahorses. Yes, you read it right, it's plural... A 2 hour boat ride to Koh Rung with the rain pestered us the entire day, we descended into a sandy bottom, starting out at 11m depth. Appropriately named by Paul (he discovered the site among many others), "The Corral," it delivered spectacularly!
Common seahorses (adults, pregnant, and juveniles) are spotted every couple of minutes during the dive. Octopus hidden in every other clam shells, crevices, sand and can be seen by any beginners. Then there were a Balloon shark, crabs (all over the place), nudibranch, flatworms, and the rare found of a leafy or weedy filefish ... As unlucky for me, I failed to charge my battery properly, thus within 30 minutes into the dive, my camera was done :-(

Marine life spotted were: Hippocampus kuda (common seahorses, there were 9 different sightings, with 2 beautiful juveniles), Chaetoderma penicilligera (leafy or weedy filefish), ocellated (spotted) octopuses (they were in every other clam shells), a pipefish that looked like Acentronura gracilissima (graceful or bastard seahorse), Cephaloscyllium umbratile (balloon or swell shark, often found in Japan and very uncommon in the Indochina Sea) can also be Cephaloscyllium sufflans
Nudibranches: Bornella stellifer, Pteraeolidia ianthina, Thecacera pennigera

Come dive with the Dive Shop, located on the road to Serendipity Beach, right next to the well-known the Monkey Republic Bar, Restaurant and Guesthouse. The Dive Shop's DM & Instructor, Bora, Shina and Paul, are on hand to help you spot all the little critters.

UPDATE: Click here to download and read Asian Divers' Feature on diving in Cambodia by Sol Foo, the Editor.

If you're interested in looking further into travel to Sihanoukville, Cambodia, some helpful info are: accommodation ranges from 8-15 USD, food costs 2-3 USD per meal (try the Cambodian Lok Lak, it's tasty!), and Anchor Beer costs 1 USD per bottle in the bar (0.75 cents at happy hour). A day trip for diving runs about 50 USD for two dives. And lastly, there's plenty to do in the beach town when you're not beach bars, wooden huts with hammocks, music clubs, and even a couple of casinos to keep anyone entertain.

Sihanoukville, Cambodia is a "must dive location" for all macro photographers and rare marine life seekers! I can't wait until my next trip back in September.

See what photos I barely got in the album at Picassa:

the Corral, Sihanoukville

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