I may not have dove much in my three months back in Southeast Asia this fall, but I did dive well. For my final scuba day of the season, I set off for a morning at Chumphon Pinnacle.
One of Koh Tao’s most beloved dive sites, Chumphon is a deep ocean site about forty minutes from the dock. It’s worth the journey — in addition to the usual myriad of tropical sealife, massive schools of barracuda and batfish congregate here, the pinnacles are covered in thick carpets of colorful anemones and whale sharks occasionally pass through.
obligatory, awkward gear-assembly photo
Though for most, Chumphon is all about the big stuff, I love peeking under ledges, peering around corners and getting up close and personal with some of the more diminutive residents of the reef.
One of my favorite tricks to show new divers? How a colorful garden of Christmas Tree Worms can vanish — just temporarily! — with the wave of a hand. Even better? Sticking around to watch them slowly unfurl again. Everything is alive!
And it’s just not a Roctopus dive trip if you don’t make time for a little bit of underwater fun.
Swimming out into deeper open waters, we began lost ourselves in all the big beautiful schools swarming the pinnacle. My favorites, the batfish, weren’t out to play this day, but the hundreds of long, skinny barracudas that swam by were a pretty spectacular consolation prize.
I love the feeling of getting lost in a school of fish, but I think I might love even more peering into one from the outside — especially when it’s formed a ball as defined and perfectly outlined as this one. Can you even fathom this many fish? I was there, and yet I still don’t know if I can.
For all my fellow aspiring underwater photographers out there — in a dive site as deep as Chumphon, a lot of color gets lost and the resulting images can be very distorted. This is a great time to flex your editing skills — I use the Adobe Creative Suite — and possibly convert to black and white.
As always, it was a delight to spend the day out on the water, especially with such a great group. I’m pining for the ocean already, and am already looking forward to my next dive.
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Many thanks to my longtime friends at Roctopus for hosting me. As always, you receive my honest opinions regardless of who is footing the bill. Tell them I sent ya and give them a big hug from me if you go!
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Curious about my underwater photography setup? Check out my Obsessions page for information on my camera gear, editing programs and more.