Day 7 : 1 dive at Volcano and return to Ranong, Thailand
Only one dive on this last day but for sure this day will not be boring. We dive Volcano Island and do a bit more than scuba diving this morning.
Volcano Island (a.k.a. Cocks Comb Island or Emerald Heart Island and more) is one of the most famous Islands in The Mergui Archipelago. A big lagoon inside the Island is the source of the popularity and some of the namings. At the right angle from a drone it is a heart shaped lagoon and the deep center looks like an emerald colored blue hole. We start the dive be going in to have a look before the daily invasion of day trip visitors.
A little bit of life and diving is possible inside, but the dive site is a nice relaxing wall dive to finish our safari off with, on the outside of the island. The wall is limestone rock so full of smaller and larger cracks. Some large enough to swim in but they have fine muddy sand on the bottom so we stay and enjoy from the outside.
The wall continues quite far but after a while the marine life slowly disappears and it is time the last safety stop of this safari. 17 dives and 7 days are almost to an end but we still have a few places to show you.
Depths between 0 and 30+m and usually around 10-20m visibility. Currents non to mild.
Volcano Island is not a volcano. It is very beautiful and it could look in shape like a volcano but it is just the shape of this particular limestone island in The Mergui Archipelago and not the only volcano in the archipelago. Look at the edges of the creator above water and the rock look like a natural footage. The rock edges look razor sharp and not inviting to climb at all.
Luckily we swim through a beautiful passage below. At low tide we stay on the surface but at high tide we have to enter on scuba. A very nice passage that is equally beautiful from above as from below. Enjoy the view and just suck in the beauty and the silence inside the lagoon. Look down a bit as well there is marine life inside and mostly around the entrance so no reason to wander far inside.
Well on the outside the wall dive begins. Down there it is a hunt to see what we can find in the cracks and on the many bushy Sea Fans on the wall. Be careful not to go up and down too much in the hunt, when you keep seeing new interesting hiding places both above and below you. Go slow and give each other space and this dive site can be a very nice finish. There is so much room on this wall, and almost impossible to get lost on a wall dive, so enjoy your last submerged freedom to the fullest on this last dive on the trip.
Volcano is your last chance to see – everything. Last time in scuba gear and one last chance to enjoy the waters of Burma and The Mergui Archipelago.
From time to time we do see Juvenile Black Tip Reef Shark at Volcano. They are exact miniature copies of adult Black Tips and really cute, but equally shy so move as stealth as you can to get lucky. Razorfishes have been seen around the opening and while quietly watching them one might pass close by.
Near the passage on the way out we sometimes find Spearing Mantis Shrimp peaking out for food from their burrow in the sand, and a small school of Crocodile Needlefish usually hang out up to the right.
In the cracks look for Seahorses and Pipefishes but also look for them in the coral where they sometimes hang out as well. Both Ornate Ghost Pipefish and Jan’s Pipefishes favor this dive site with its many hiding places. Have an eye out for Turtle. Usually above you so if you do not look out, they might pass unnoticed right above your head. Look out as well for Banded Sea Krait swimming in and out looking for food or going up to the surface for air.
Nudibranchs, Shrimps and Crabs are in the cracks, hiding, so always a chance for a last goodbye to a personal favorite.
Not much new to offer at Volcano but this is one of the few places we have been lucky enough to see the Juvenile Shaded Batfish. A specially beautiful fish that is a real treat for scuba divers and photographers.
We see very often – and almost only here – the Longfin Comet Fish. A really shy fish that lives in the cracks around Volcano. The wall of Volcano is always a nice relaxing dive to finish of with and after a long time in the water and going in and out of the lagoon, breakfast is overdue.
Washing of personal dive equipment
As soon as you are out of the water from last dive you just leave you equipment as it is. Take electronics with you and the staff on MV Thai Sea will wash your equipment inside and outside and hang it up for dry. We almost always manage to dry everything on the way back but if the weather is against us we can struggle to get everything crisp dry.
Of course if you prefer to wash yourself, it is only to let your guide know and he will take care of your wishes.
Rental equipment of course you just leave for us to handle.
EXTRAS : Horse Shoe Bay stopover
Just after breakfast we arrive at Horse Shoe Island to visit Horse Shoe Bay (It is named by the Burmese in two words…)
A very scenic bay in a typical limestone Island with all the beauty that goes along. Palm trees, a white sandy beach some umbrellas and some nice hidden bungalows. Some new wooden construction looking like a “rock top terrace” was being nicely fitted in the bay but still not finished at the end of last season.
We still have a little time to take a last dip in the water or just take in the scenery of the last stop we offer on this safari in The Mergui Archipelago. Maybe a last selfie from the boat or a memorable photo with old or new friends meat on the boat before we cruise off to Kawthaung in Burma or Myanmar.
The 4 hours cruise from Horse Shoe Island to Kawthaung passes quickly with packing and last min exchanging email, photos and video from the trip. Well you do not need to sort it all in 4 hours. We still have a visit in Burma together and the short trip to Thailand as well.
While our passports are getting stamped out of Burma / Myanmar we offer you a beer in a local pub. A proper Myanmar bar and the best draft you can get: The free ones…
1 hour to get used to land again and join us for a cold drink or explore Kawthaung on your own. Not much time but not much town to see either but there is a chance to see a local market or shop a souvenir before we all met back at the boat after one hour of visit to mainland Burma.
If you like to do some shopping Thai Baht and US $ are accepted as well as the local Kyat. Easiest is to use foreign cash and the exchange rate in the shops are ok. Unless you are combining your cruise with a stay in Myanmar you do not need the local currency.
Arrival Ranong or Koh Phayam
On the way from Kawthaung in Burma to Ranong in Thailand one last check that all is packed. It is a short trip of only 30 min soo always hectic with lsat min arrangements. Maybe you want to meet up with some of the others later on land for dinner or drinks.
Anyways the services from the staff on MV Thai Sea is about to come to an end and we will wish you safe travels and hopefully thank you for a nice cruise and hope to see you back again before we take you to Thai immigration to check back into Thailand.
Expect to be cleared in Ranong for check in to your hotel or to continue further travels around 6 PM.