Sunday, 28 December 2008

Snorkelling off the Elephant

Skin Diving

Coral Garden
Koh Chang coral reefs

Our two and half weeks on Koh Chang and Koh Whai came to an end on the 27th December. There are many ways to fill up your time on these islands. Taking a walk along a beach, getting around to a breakfast of fresh fruit, rattling through a few chapters of a book. Everything you do seems to expand to fill the time available so that a small event can feel like a major accomplishment.

Coral 1

We spent a lot of time in the water and most of that was snorkelling. I probably did more snorkelling that just about all my previous snorkelling trips put together. This was largely because of being able to snorkel right off the beach. We both took at least one opportunity each day to take under water. I often swam three times a day for 1 to 2 hours, gauging how long i was out by how wrinkled my fingers became. We also took a fantastic trip with BB Divers, out of Bang Bao, to Koh Raum. The trip wa ostensibly a diving trip but three of us went along to snorkel. There was a guide available for us, but the water was so clear and calm, and the amazing reefs so close to the boat that we simply went off on our own.

Staghorn Forest
A forest of Staghorn Coral

Coral Fans

We have seen plenty of different types of coral and sea life between us. Hard corals include large expanses of staghorn corals, more pert chysanthymum and carnation formations, brain corals, flat plate-like corals and large coral mounds with undulating surfaces. We have also seen some rounded soft corals and individual crinoid-like corals waving their floral tentacles while secured by a hard coral tube. Sometimes brightly coloured Christmas Tree Worms and Clams can be found within the coral, having burrowed into the hard mounds below the coral's surface to find a home. Both filter feed on plankton floating by but have developed very different public faces to do so.

Christmas Tree Worms
Christmas Tree Worms


I keep forgetting to look into a dark cracks between the rich display of coral colours, and it is in these gaps that some of the interesting sea life keep themselves hidden. We have seen an octopus, a moray eel and a baby sting ray betwee na dunder the corals. I also followed a pulsating rainbow cuttlefish across the sand and watched entranced by a small crayfish clearing out its burrow, throwing sand past its guardian fish on look out duty. I always enjoy spotting a chimney sponge reaching up from the deeper water.

Chimney Sponge
A Brown Chimney Sponge smiles for the camera

There have been many, many fish to swim with, far too many to know the names of. One of my favourites is the anenome fish which can resist the poison in the sea anenome's tentacles to use the anenome as a hiding place. It peeks from behind tentacles and tentatively swims out, while always keeping close to the anenome, with a nervous curiousity. It makes a clicking noise every time you bob close to it on the current.

Pink Anenome Fish 1
A pink anenome fish sneaks a peak from behind an anenome

Pink Anenome Fish 2
Pink anenome fish getting curious in front of a sea anenome

We certainly recommend BB Divers to anyone interested in diving or snorkelling off Koh Chang. You can find out more info on their website - - or by email - And where does the elephant come into snorkelling? Chang is Thai for elephant.

Green Field Site

Newcastle Urchin

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