It had been my dream to dive in the Andaman Sea. Although I didn't have much hope, I knew whale sharks could be found in these waters. Noted by their white spots, an average adult whale shark is the size of a school bus! Technically, whale sharks are filter feeders and don't pose a threat to divers.
Once arriving on Ko Phi Phi, I headed for a dive shop. The reefs near the island were damaged in the tsunami, but very close by, there was still some excellent diving. I booked a trip for the following day.
Just a short 30 minute ride and we arrived at our first dive location. My dive buddy was an Italian guy who spoke limited English, but had logged over 200 dives. The signals in diving are universal, so we had no problem understanding each other. Our dive master was a guy from Texas, who was supposed to go back home 3 months ago....ah, the island life!
Both these divers were excellent and the Italian guy had a really great eye. He was the first to spot a turtle...and a reef shark. While I never did see a whale shark, we spotted white-eyed moray eels, angel fish the size of dinner plates, a lion fish, and tons of other tropical fish. The diving was easy...and shallow enough to reveal the vivid tropical colors.
Surfacing along the face of limestone rock spires was incredible. While we waited for the boat to pick us up, we bobbed on the surface of the water and studied the rock walls. Birds' nests and trees were anchored precariously along the rock face. Occasionally we'd spy a cave or see remnants of waterfalls now turned dry.