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I've been in Koh Lipe, a tiny island in the south of Thailand, on the edge of the Malaysian border, for three days. My camera is dead, but I still have pictures. That's right! Solidarity and the D-system were at work.
First of all, a big thank you to Julien and Régis, who work at Forra Diving. They both lent me their respective devices.
I owe to the first the terrestrial images, to the second the underwater images...
An island in transformation
Koh Lipe, as pretty as it is, gives me mixed feelings.
The island is superb, really, the beaches are top. But the current development of bungalows, restaurants, bars and stores is worrying. The tourist business will cause a lot of damage. And it has already started.
Getting back to my broken camera stories, guess which model Regis owns? A model whose tired screen was suddenly covered with a black spot of dead pixels? A spot that spread more and more, until it covered the whole central focus area, after two dives? And which stopped displaying any image when it came back to shore?
But... I can't tell you how proud I am of myself: I managed to take good pictures underwater, despite this huge black spot in the middle of the screen that prevented me from seeing if my focus was good or not.
I shot the best I could. And got some presentable images.
A little bit by trial and error, a little bit by experience, a little bit by luck.
The few dives I have already made here are not as spectacular as in Similan.
The water is very green, very busy, the visibility is even downright rotten at times. And yet, it seems that it has improved, compared to December-January. To dive in Lipe, it is better to prefer March-April, or October-November, I was told.
Beginners are bound to be a bit disappointed here if they expect to swim in an aquarium. The translucent water at the edge of the beach is deceptive. At the bottom, the light is glaucous, even grayish.
But if you have a passion for strange little creatures, as I do, you will be enchanted by the surface...
First, there is nudi. Some beautiful and sometimes unseen.
And, above all, I had the pleasure of observing and photographing two bugs that I had never met before.
Some "pegasus", a kind of chimera that is part seahorse and part bird, that trots on the sand with small wings. And a "sea hare", a kind of enormous slug, the size of two hands, of a reddish brown almost black.
The usual fauna is there, in number, but it is necessary to have the patience of a naturalist to find the rarest: shy seahorses, their cousins the pipe-fishes, pretty moray eels, antennas...
Solidarity of photographers sub
In Forra DivingI have the great pleasure to find Yves and Erikawho used to run Coral Sky Divers, in Perhentian (Malaysia), and with whom I had dived in 2006.
That said, I don't know if I'll have so much time to take pictures in the next few days.
I decided to take the certification Rescue Diver, which is, for me who is Advanced Open Water (AOW), the next level in Padi diving courseThis is the one where you learn the rescue maneuvers in case of a problem. A rather difficult training, obviously, but very interesting.
My ear is a bit sore today... Ah, the divers' sores! I hope it will go away (I have some drops to heal it) and that I'll be able to work on the Rescue as planned... We'll see tomorrow!