One item that was high on my agenda for the visit Phu Quoc was a dive trip. I haven’t dived since my visit to Egypt one year ago, and I realised I really missed it. So this was one of the reason I booked the trip to Phu Quoc (obviously it had nothing to do with the beaches and getting out of the city!!!).
I actually contacted the Flipper Diving Club a few days prior to my departure to check where they will head to on the Saturday. They were extremely helpful from the start and provided sufficient information so everything was confirmed via Facebook. Everything agreed I was advised that we headed to the northern part of the island (Turtle island) and that I could walk to the pick up point on Mango Beach.
Very early for my standard (8:45) I met some of my fellow divers – 2 Germans and 1 British woman who is living in Saigon as well. It seems I was not the only one who had the grand idea of a escape to the island. On time the dive ship approached the beach and a smaller boat picked us up – including wet feet and two near misses of people falling out of the boat again (no – I was not one of them….).
The dive ship itself was the standard tourist boats with seats around the table and a sun deck with loungers. It all looked nice and clean – and I was very happy to see the tanks and jackets all set up already. I really got excited again – I really was looking forward to go under water again. I wonder how very experienced divers feel – but as a AOWD with just over 50 dives I get a bit nervous, excited, happy – all at the same time. I hope I will never loose this.
Our fun dive group consisted of 4 divers plus our guide Xabi (I cannot really remember his name and I cannot read his signature in my dive log!!!). The other passengers either did a Try dive or went just snorkelling. The briefing was brief, highlighting about the dive sits, reminding everyone about the most important hand signals and what to do in an emergencies. It was concise and very good. And I was able to enjoy the scenery of the coast of the island, passing several resorts until we finally arrived at the first dive site (Turtle Island North) after 45 minutes.
Thankfully the wetsuit fitted well (I wonder if anyone looks actually good in a wetsuit!!!) and when I got everything on the excitement I feel before every dive was back on. I was ready. Though I was surprised to enter the water from the side of the ship instead from the back. But to be honest – I really didn’t care where or how I got into the water, as long I got wet.
And off we went down. This dive site is rather shallow, with a maximum depth of 10m. This had two benefits – good visibility and I didn’t have to worry about having enough air for the 1 hour dive. And the visibility was very good – between 10 and 15m. I was told later on that it was one of the best visibility they had for a very long time – so lucky me.
I must admit – I was surprised from the start. I was told that the dove sites around Phu Quoc are not very good. Yes, the sites cannot compete against the Red Sea. But nonetheless – it was very nice. The ground was covered with all different types of corals, most of them looking healthy. Some of them looked rather interesting like little volcanoes and while not as colourful as in other great dive sites you could see some nice colour combinations. I certainly enjoying only hearing my own breathing, floating over the corals and observing this beautiful spectacle under water. I always feel so relaxed under water.
You could also spot enough clams and sea urchins on and between the corals. There were plenty of little sea cucumbers on the corals – though they look very strange. Even not as many as in the Red Sea I spotted enough fish around, some colourful and other less colourful ones. The sight of Clownfish was obviously not missing
Besides just enjoying the “normal” sights under water we had two “highlights”:
- Encountered a fish trap where a rather large grouper and some smaller fish were captured. Our guide Xabi decided to free the fish and destroyed the trap with his knife. So the grouper manage to escape a frying pan – for now
- Two fish performed some kind of rituals, as they seemingly danced circles, following each other. Never seen anything like that before
After 52 minutes the dive was over. And I really enjoyed it. Turtle Island north was worth the trip.
Now it was time for a little break – so either to sit on the sun deck or jump into the water for some snorkelling. I decided to do the latter and enjoy some more time in the water. And snorkelling around turtle island is actually very nice and pleasant.
After one hour the boat left for the second dive site – which was 3 minutes away as we headed to the southern side of the Turtle Island – same same but certainly different….
Once again visibility was great – over 10 metres. Again, this was apparently the best visibility they had for a very long time. The floor was covered with coral reefs – and there you could spot quite a few clams, sea urchins, little sea cucumbers. And while there are not the amount of fish like the red sea there were enough here.
Due to the low depth of up to 9m it was an easy dive and to be honest, I didn’t mind it once again as I have not been underwater for over a year. It was so relaxing to float around the different corals, just hearing my breath. I am not sure there is anything more relaxing than diving.
I took a bit more time to enjoy the little highlights, like the feather corals, who retreat as soon you getting to close. The clams “mouth” open and closing. Seeing Nemo and his father. Or just watching a strange looking fish disturbing the ground in the search of food.
It was another very enjoyable dive. You don’t need a deep dives to enjoy some beautiful views – a shallow dive can be nice too.
Back on the boat it was time to relax again while the boat started to return. Thankfully lunch was served during the trip back. A mix of seafood, fish, chicken, rice and vegetables. It was good to sit down, eating and talking with the others about the dive and what we have seen. I realised it during a 4 day on-board dive trip how important it is having a good group of people for a dive trip. This was not different. It was actually a very nice end to this enjoyable 1/2 day trip.
It was so goo I decided to go back and decided to join the trip to the southern island the following day. I was very looking forward to it – unfortunately due to the weather the trip to the south was cancelled. But it is another reason to return to Phu Quoc for some diving.