San Jose Sharks, the NHL’s playoff perennial chokers vs the visiting Edmonton Oilers

I’ve been to a few San Jose Sharks hockey games before but generally when I go, I usually go to see the other team play because they are far better than the always-choking-in-the-playoffs-San Jose Sharks. All the Sharks fans, especially the local ones, always go crazy about their “team” doing well during the regular season but in the end during the playoffs, the team can never get the final job done. There are many, many records, stories, and tales of how they had the best regular season record only to lose in the first round! The best memory that I have of the “Sharks” was when the team was up 3 games to none in a playoffs series against the Los Angeles Kings… only to lose the next 4 games and get reverse-swept! Oh, and by the way, that Kings team went on to win the Stanley Cup! That showed what kind of team the Kings were!

SAP center outside night time game san jose hp pavilion shark tank

This is what the SAP Center looks like outside during game night.

SAP center hockey rink indoors

And this is what the SAP Center looks like inside. It’s primarily a hockey arena but it does concerts and a long time ago, there was some basketball played there as well.

I have a feeling that these Sharks won’t win a title anytime soon (or even possibly forever?) as they are cursed. And don’t think that the Sharks is a bad name for a team because it’s not. There is another Sharks team, the Cologne Sharks (Kölner Haie) of the German Hockey League (Deutsche Eishockey Liga) that is also a hockey team but on the European continent and they’ve WON championships before! The name is not cursed, just the San Jose Sharks…

So off to the so-called “Shark Tank” as they call the SAP Center in San Jose which I went in order to watch the visiting Edmonton Oilers. People might be wondering why did I go to an Oilers game? It was because they have an ultra-talent in Connor McDavid, a top flight center-forward for the Oilers. That’s right! I went to the Sharks game just to watch the OTHER TEAM play as I’ve stated previously before.

things to do in bay area san francisco san jose hockey nhl ice spectator sports sharks fun stuff tourist tourism travel in-game stadium arena indoors indoor teal blue white colors playing style 2019-20 season 19-20 sitting down fan watching edmonton oilers visiting team

I had front row seats to an Oilers-Sharks game meaning that I had great views of the Oilers players. The view was great during the warm-ups but during the game, the players and coaches will block your view…. a LOT.

things to do in bay area san francisco san jose hockey nhl ice spectator sports sharks fun stuff tourist tourism travel in-game stadium arena indoors indoor teal blue white colors playing style 2019-20 season 19-20 sitting down fan watching edmonton oilers visiting team

With the exception of Nygaal, both Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid are the superstars on the Oilers team. They both play together and are extremely talented which will likely make them a long-lasting duo for years to come.

Connor McDavid getting ready to play

Connor McDavid getting ready to play once the referee drops the puck.

Even though at the time, the Oilers were in first place of the division, the Sharks came out blasting away goals by scoring the first four! The Oilers did score one eventually but in the end, the lead built up was too much. And that’s one thing that I’ve noticed about the Sharks – they have to have a lead or a nice sizeable one otherwise, the other team will come back to win it like a lot of teams have done in the playoffs to beat the Sharks.

Fight during Oilers-Sharks game

There was a fight that broke out during the game after Connor McDavid got hit in the knee to which one of the Oilers players (Brandon Manning) got into a huge fight and then penalized big time. That’s what happens when a teammate believes that their superstar player was “targeted” so he’s trying to protect him by fighting the aggressor.

So if you’re in the SF Bay Area, this is one of the things that you can do easily if you want to watch ice hockey. And when the San Jose Sharks aren’t doing well like they are in this season, Sharks tickets are not hard to obtain particularly (even at the box office, not from ticket resellers) when they’re playing a team that is not considered that great i.e. the Oilers (even with an ultra talent like Conor McDavid).

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Los Angeles Lakers vs Miami Heat in the Staples Center, Los Angeles, California

I’ve been to Lakers games in the past when they had the Championship Lakers of Shaq and Kobe and then Kobe version 2 (after Shaq left and then new stars came in: Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, etc.) but now I get to see the post-Kobe era of the next wave of Lakers superstars in Anthony Davis and LeBron James! With Kobe’s retirement several years ago, it was sad to see the Black Mama (Kobe’s nickname) go off into the sunset to finalize retre but I suppose it’s only fitting to see Father Time eventually be the victor over us frail, fragile humans… with the exception of Lebron James who seems to be ageless for the time being. Thanks to his continued standing as one of the best players in basketball, the Lakers obtained through a trade: Anthony Davis! Known also as “AD” by his initials, he’s one of the best players in the NBA as well! So to pair LeBron with Anthony Davis gives the Lakers, one of the most famous basketball teams, become contenders in winning the NBA title again.

staples center front gate los angeles lakers clippers kings nba nhl things to do in los angeles lakers city of angels LA spectator sports fun stuff tourist tourism travel in-game stadium arena purple forum blue gold best team basketball nba

The world famous Staples Center in Los Angeles coupled with the close-by LA Live. With Los Angeles being known as an entertainment venue thanks to Hollywood and the film industry, the Staples Center and LA Live have added even more to that entertainment vibe. It’s definitely worth to walk around and see what’s going on.

The Miami Heat team has been one in transition ever since LeBron James left the Heat after winning 2 NBA titles in Miami. The same could be said about the Los Angeles Lakers who has been trying to get an identity ever since Kobe retired. But now… the Lakers are threatening to be amazing again thanks to the power duo of LeBron James (who joined last season) and Anthony Davis (who got traded to the team). Both players were exceptional in my presence at the Staples Center, home arena for several teams: the Lakers, the Clippers (another NBA team), and the Kings (NHL / Hockey).

So if you’re in Los Angeles, aka LA, aka the City of Angels, then this is one of those things that you have to do: catch a Lakers game at the Staples Center. The city has embraced the team and the team has embraced the city that even the other professional sports teams based in Los Angeles have a hard time trying to get the fans in LA to support them such as the NFL implants of the Rams and Chargers. So even if the other teams such as the Dodgers (baseball), LAFC (football), Angels (baseball), Kings (hockey) do well, I still think it’s a Lakers town.

Kyle Kuzma warm-up practice threes 3s three pointer shot jumper jacking the rock lakers la los angeles staples center heat game

Like with any sporting event, go there early to avoid the traffic and enjoy the view of the players warming up. You get a rare glimpse of what they are paid to do day-in, day-out. Here, you have Kyle Kuzma, one of the younger Lakers players practicing his three-point shot.

In this game, it close during the first 2-3 quarters of the game. Both the Lakers and Miami Heat were battling it out with the score being close with the Lakers initially leading and then later traded leads with the Heat several times. What was interesting was that the Miami Heat started playing a 2-3 zone defense which slowed down the Lakers offense and players. Eventually, the Lakers figured it out by putting Anthony Davis near the free throw line meaning either he would be wide open or he’d get double-teamed so a teammate would get wide open shots. As the Lakers got more and more used to the zone, the players pulled away in the fourth quarter with a sizeable lead that they never gave away. The Lakers were just too powerful with 2 giant superstars in both Lebron James and Anthony Davis understanding how to beat the zone and once they were in a favorable match-up where they had an advantage, both players would attract so much attention that teammates would be wide open. Adjustments are needed in the game of basketball in order to win.

lebron james passing to anthony davis forward lakers heat game 2019 staples center big crowd

Both players, Lebron James and Anthony Davis, played pick-and-roll plays well to where they could fake doing it and then just take off from there.

Goran Dragic waiting to check in and watches Lebron James driving dribbing to the basket for a dunk

My recommendation is to buy tickets as close to the action you can. That way, you are able to see the action up-close and see what make these guys top of the world. Don’t forget to look in the crowd as well – several celebrities were in. For example, Dwyane Wade, former Miami Heat player and good friend of Lebron James, was sitting near the Miami Heat bench.

Note: When going to games in LA, ensure that you leave very early. You just don’t know how bad traffic will be as even being 1 mile (1.6 km) away might take 1 hour to drive there! Public transportation is still what I’d call a work-in-progress as the subway still being worked on continuously to expand service all over Los Angeles so that’s another reason why you might want to leave early to go anywhere in Los Angeles. One idea is to use public transportation: light rail. You need to purchase a TAP card but like with London’s Oyster card, you place your card by the reader and it deduces an amount so it makes things easier to board without having to mess around with coins or money.

javale mcgee talking with anthony davis center forward lakers discussion strategizing power rebounds points

I thought that this was a funny moment as both Anthony Davis and Javale McGee talk about something during the game while Davis was about to shoot some free throws.

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Freshwater lake fishing in Phuket – Major League Monster Exotic Fish!

This is probably the grand finale of all the major fishing that I’ve done this year or even in the last 2-4 years. All those days that I went out to go fishing was just practice for the grand daddy of them all: all for this event of fishing this special lake in Thailand. And in this Thai lake are monster fish and I do mean monsters in this lake! Kind of like the Carp that I caught in the stocked lakes of England and Czech Republic but on complete steroids, this is a lake that has giant and exotic fish that break your rod and pull you into the water if you are not careful.

And the fish don’t just feed on bait, but rather they inhale and swallow it whole where the giants will make your arms go through an entire workout to make them suffer in agony and pain! But I was ready for this because I did my workouts, I did my fishing practice, tried to maintain a good diet so I did my part of preparation. It’s just time for me to deliver. No failures are allowed like that occurred in Scotland and Slovenia. It’s a first time success this time around! The fishing gods have to shine brightly upon me. I hope… I pray… because  it’s time with all the successes and failures involved in my journey that it’s finally time to go win the Super Bowl of fishing by catching some real giant monsters.

dreams come coming true achievement of dream lifelong always wanted to do this in nature harmony happy bliss true exciting happiness single lonewolf solo pirate adventurer spent good money on good fun games in total happy euphoria childfree childless by design going my way in Southeastern Asia guided overcoming burdens obstacles 30+ year old dude man male having the time of his life freshwater lake pond stocked big fish unreal adventure fishing in Thailand

I arrived in the afternoon to this lake doing a quick tour to see where I’d be fishing. I later found out that this 10 acre lake was 4-5 meters deep and all man-made! What’s also surprising was that there were all kinds of exotic fish with some of them REALLY big!

4 rods rodholder fishing bait big fishes exotic amazing thailand inland

With my guide helping me out, I had 4 fishing rods to get my fishing underway!

Initially, I caught a bunch of catfish, carp, and some odd fish.

Phractocephalus hemioliopterus, is a pimelodid (long-whiskered) catfish game fish south southern american

My first fish of the day! An Amazon Redtail Catfish. There are plentiful numbers of these fish as I caught a bunch of them and they are fun to catch!

giant barb Siamese giant carp Catlocarpio siamensis กระโห้ largest species of cyprinid in the world Indochina fish species migatory

For some reason, a lot of these fish don’t want their picture taken with the fisherman. Oh well, I still held onto this Siamese Carp (Giant Barb) despite the whipping of the tail in attempt to squirm out of my hands.

Osteochilus vittatus cyprinid fish from Southeast Asia hard-lipped barb silver sharkminnow Indochina fish species

I had no idea what this fish was. Even my guide had no idea that he had to go get the identification poster to see what it was. Initially, I thought it was a Black Carp but with its red eyes, I found out that it was a Bony-lipped Barb and this one was actually trophy world record-like size! Amazing what you can catch in this lake!

Hemibagrus wyckioides largest Bagrid catfish in Asia Mekong species of catfish (order Siluriformes) of the family Bagridae.

As the sun started to fall, I caught more Redtail Catfish but this one was a different one – Asian Redtail Catfish. A bit longer and slimmer than the Amazon Redtail Catfish, the Asian-version was still fun to catch.

And then! The Fishing Gods have responded in FULL FORCE with their wrath! “Here’s a 120 kilogram Mekong Catfish, Wisherman!”

Mekong giant catfish រីរាជ ปลาบึก cá tra dầu (order Siluriformes) in the shark catfish family (Pangasiidae)Pangasianodon gigas Grey to white in colour and lacking stripes conservation endangered threatened world's biggest freshwater fish

And then it happened… I hooked onto a fish that I initially thought was another Redtail Catfish but bigger. Once it started taking line and line again, I knew that I had something REALLY big. After several minutes of watching, my guide then told me that I had a Mekong Catfish on. One of the biggest freshwater fish in the world, this was the hardest fish I had ever fought. Unlike being on a boat where a fish can take line and then you can reel in the slack with the boat going towards the fish, I was on stationary ground – I can’t move other than my legs! After over serious 1 hour fight where I was in pain and misery all over my body, I finally won – my guide and other staff came in to help me net this enormous 120+ kilogram (over 264 pound) fish. What a fight. What a fish. This fish was now my biggest fish of my fishing career!

Overall, the first day was 11 out of 15 fish landed with 6 Amazon Redtail Catfish, 2 Asian Redtail Catfish, 1 Siamese Carp, 1 Bony-lipped Barb (world record trophy size), and 1 Mekong Giant Catfish at 120 kg – breaking my previous personal best record of 110 kg! If the fishing was this good, what will the next day bring???

Well, the second day started off as a slow one… I didn’t think that this day would be productive after hearing about several other fishermen showing up all at once so I knew that it wouldn’t result in catch after catch like the previous day. So after catching the first fish of the day, another Amazon Redtail Catfish, to eliminate the “blank,” it was about an hour and half when something exciting hit. Initially, I thought it was another Redtail Catfish and then my guide said the keyword, “Arapaima!” And then he went to blow those 3 sweet whistle blasts signaling that I had an Arapaima! After several minutes of fighting and careful direction, the fish was in the special net, the second time used in 16 hours! And another epic fish within 16 hours of each other! Yessss!

paiche pirarucu large species of bonytongue south american aquarium fish americano sud

After about 10 minutes, I landed this 80+ kilogram fish! They fight well but because they breathe actual air, they tire out quickly. It was still an epic fish especially 15-16 hours prior to this fish was my Mekong Catfish!

catch release arapaima

And here’s my guide safely releasing the Arapaima so it can be caught again in the future.

The rest of the day was pretty slow after the Arapaima. I think it was a few hours before I finally catch another fish. And the next two were some weird ones that I’ve never seen in the flesh.

Atractosteus spatula ray-finned euryhaline fish related to the bowfin in the infraclass Holostei primitive fish fossil fish fossils broad snouts and long, sharp teeth

I had trouble trying to get this “primitive” fish to pose for me. Alligator Gar have these nasty sharp teeth that I had to wear gloves to hold the fish properly.

Alligator Gar didn't want its picture taken

And of course, even with gloves on, the Alligator Gar made its escape out of my hands. I was going to release the living “fossil fish” anyways but a little too early though.

Colossoma macropomum Serrasalmidae black pacu, black-finned pacu, giant pacu, cachama, gamitana south american fish characin

Now this was a fish that I had never seen nor heard of before: a Tambaqui! A South American fish that eats nuts and fruits somehow it came for the bait consisting mostly of grain, rice, and other wheats.

So overall on this second day was 5 out of 10 fish landed with 2 Amazon Redtail Catfish, 1 Alligator Gar, 1 Tambaqui, and 1 Arapaima weighing in over 80 kg! For some reason, other people were having problems as well on this day catching fish. Two Italians had a string of bad luck ranging from a broken rod, lost fish, no hookups, etc. They were across the lake from me and got a great view of me hooking up 5 fish including that Arapaima!

However, the last day was a slow day that everyone on the lake didn’t get much action. In fact, I didn’t get any bites in the morning at all until about 1-2 PM when I got a few bites and then finally, at last I caught something. The first being a bigger Siamese Carp!

Jumbo sized Siamese Carp

I could barely hold this huge Siamese Carp but I was happy to take that “blank” off releasing the pressure to catch something

vundu catfish picture on shoulder of man human lake

Again, like with the Alligator Gar, this fish didn’t want its picture taken.

Heterobranchus longifilis large airbreathing catfish solomon fish, tsuni, mazunda, sampa, cur, lenda, or certa

After giving it a few “shhh”s, I was able to calm the fish down to where I could pose with it. This is a Vundu Catfish and gosh, was this fish super slimy!

Striped Catfish Southern striped Raphael, talking catfish, chocolate doradid, chocolate catfish or thorny catfish

Usually Striped Catfish have long horizontal black lines across its body but this one didn’t have any. I guess it must be a baby still meaning that these fish can get really big! This was my last fish of the day along with an Asian Redtail Catfish to finish my day with a Double!

So last day’s count was 4 out of 6 fish landed with 1 Siamese Carp, 1 Vundu Catfish, 1 Striped Catfish and 1 Asian Redtail Catfish.

Overall, the fishing was extremely great! Especially when I hooked and landed two epic fish in both the Mekong Giant Catfish and the Arapaima. I would definitely go again because there are a lot of fish species in this lake that I still haven’t caught yet!

Tip: You should be on a long-term workout program before you go to this lake or any other lake with absolute monster fish. It’s just not worth going there to hook a huge fish only to completely give up because you got tired! I’ve had my share of large, heavy fish meaning going the distance of 30+ minutes! So be ready for a fight, you might go from a 20 pound (almost 10 kilograms) fish to over 200 pounds (almost 90 kilograms) fish! You just don’t know but you better be ready for them by ensuring that your body and muscles can go the distance, stamina-wise.

Tip: Don’t have high expectations that you will catch big fish every time, all time being at this place or fishing in general. It’s better to have low expectations that you’ll catch some fish but NOT giants. The giants are what I’d call unexpected, awesome surprises if you manage to land one such as my Mekong Catfish or my Arapaima! The thing about fishing is that you really don’t know what is out there until you cast the line out with bait and hook. And I wasn’t really thinking that I would catch an Arapaima or Mekong Catfish on my first time go at this lake (and within 15-16 hours of each other!). I just happened to have the right skills, experience, luck, and prayed to the Fishing Gods enough to make the opportunity happen! Everyone who comes to this lake is generally hyper-focused on catching an Arapaima but I was more into enjoying my time fishing.


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The great advantages of being on a Liveaboard

The reason why I went on a liveaboard even though it was pricier and more luxurious than some of the more budget-minded dive boats was that I was NOT going to be spending my time with some begpackers. Yes, that’s what they are, not backpackers, but begpackers. If you don’t know what begpackers are then you can look it up but they are basically Westerners (or those who come from a more developed country) trampling around in countries begging locals and other tourists to FUND their travel through that country and/or the world. And it’s not holding up cardboard signs, they have all these crowdfunding campaigns to help fund their trips. Now granted, some of them probably did experience some event where they got robbed or whatever, but I think the trend is that they deliberately settled down in a foreign land in order to leech off of the locals even though it’s likely that tourists give them money. There is another term for them as well: freeloaders.

My advice: ignore them.

Unless of course they approach you and get hostile. I’ve had this happen to me once in Lima, Peru, where a dirty-looking American without shoes came up to me asking for some coins. I refused and he started yelling at me to which I started to walk off but it was not to get away from him, instead, I was searching for a local policeman to go call immigration to deport this rangy dude. I don’t know what happened but after a few days afterwards, I never saw the guy again so maybe my actions helped in “re-locating” the bum, on his own dime.

Backpacking/hitch-hiking on the cheap is pretty much well-known and acceptable activity, however, expecting others to fund your trip because you don’t have your financial means, well, maybe you should have gotten a J-O-B before the trip or during the trip. And you can go online to see that they have some pretty unique ways to attract attention (and money) such as providing hugs, playing music, showing pictures, etc. And the worst has to be picking up hitch-hikers…. near a prison. A lot of people are clueless about this. There are actually signs that say DO NOT pick up anyone because there is a prison nearby.

Note: That you might find these notorious begpackers in hostels while traveling so be mindful of your belongings because if given the opportunity to make a quick cash score, they WILL do it. And they’ll attempt to do without your awareness nor consent. I’ve never had this issue thankfully because I’m pretty sure there would be some blood and broken bones – none of them mine. And what’s noticeable is that these choosy beggars come out when the weather is warm or in places where there is plenty of sunshine – that’s where they generally swarm at.

And in Thailand in general (probably Bangkok in actuality)… there are a lot of these professional beggars who can cry crocodile tears on demand. I ignore people who self-inflict themselves willingly. Unfortunately, they intermingle with the true poor people but I cannot separate the two and won’t make any attempt to. I’m surprised though that some people (or even countries) have not tried to expose some of them which has happened before. I know some of them have threatened to send them to their respective embassies, inflict physical pain, throw them in jail, or forcibly throw them on the next plane out of the country.

That brings me to why I went on the liveaboards, a pricier one, is to avoid those extreme-frugal travelers. I don’t have to subject myself to their crocodile tears because if I go a few classes higher, I don’t have sight of them all. I can enjoy the dive peacefully and even at night, I can sleep well knowing that I won’t have to worry about them trying to go thief-mode on me.

millions of fish tornado water underwater vortex storm diving scuba padi

Is anyone going to steal this amazing scene of millions of fish creating a vortex? I don’t think so!

Whale Shark swimming with other fish

And lastly, no one can take this awesome sight and experience of swimming with a whale shark! Apparently, it’s a rare thing in the Andaman Sea so getting to swim with one and get pictures, you almost have to pray to the Scuba Diving Gods for assistance.

And out on the waters, on a liveaboard, all you worry about is the diving. The crew handles everything. It’s pretty awesome to say it as the workers all know that it’s your vacation/holiday and they want to make it as easy as possible.

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Liveaboard Scuba Diving throughout the Similan Islands in the Andaman Sea

In addition to the fishing, there was another reason why I came to Thailand – to scuba dive on a liveaboard! It’s almost similar to the reasons why I went to Iceland. I didn’t go there for the mass tourism attractions. I went there to go fishing and scuba dive Silfra. Since this was the first time I’m diving in Thailand (or at least the Andaman Sea/Indian Ocean region), I wanted to make sure that it was going to be really good which is why I decided to go diving on a liveaboard! This is probably one of the best things that I’ve done regarding scuba diving – the crew takes care of you really well in terms of food, lodging, diving, relaxation, etc. I totally recommend going on a liveaboard for several days because to me, 2 days is not enough and just going out for a single day out of port, even multiple times, is also not worth it. There are a lot of great locations in the Indian Ocean that are far but yet, they are close to each other and on the plus side, some of the places that you can go diving are in federally-protected nature reserves set by the Thai authorities. So going on a liveaboard means less people overall and more chances to see amazing marine life not disturbed by humans.

And being on a liveaboard is great! The dive boat can take you out to these great, faraway dive sites that nearby one another so you save time of being out there. Because it requires a long boat trip, there are far less pressure on the marine life and environment so that means that there is FAR more to see than you would on a regular diving day trip. And the service, rooms, and food are all awesome. They really take care of you when you are on a liveaboard because the crew know that you are on a vacation.

And what else was also great about this trip was the fact that it was during low season so there weren’t that MANY divers on the boat nor many boats nor divers out at the dive sites. So in my opinion, I think I got the best of it all! And if you don’t believe, just check out the slew of pictures that I have put out for viewing pleasure. Of course, photos don’t do the justice of actually being in the water with diving gear and experiencing but they are more mementos than anything else of an amazing diving trip.

lionfish andaman native species indian ocean

I’ve seen tons of Lionfish but finally, in a body of water where they are actually native!

Gymnothorax isingteena coral reef

I’ve seen moray eels before but this leopard-colored one was different. It’s called a Spotted Moray Eel.

Clownfish anemonefish Amphiprioninae symbiotic mutualisms with sea anemones

These Orange clownfish were swimming around in their protective environment, the sea anemones. In return, the fish will clean the algae residue and sometimes drop pieces of food in the anemone.

Alpheus randalli Amblyeleotris symbiotic relationship

Here’s another example of a symbiotic relationship where the Pistol Shrimp, blind, but hard-working will provide a burrow and the Goby, with its excellent eyesight, will be a lookout. You have to scan the ocean floor to see these pair together.

Odontodactylus scyllarus peacock mantis shrimp, harlequin mantis shrimp, painted mantis shrimp, or clown mantis shrimp club-shaped raptorial appendages

One shrimp, even though it’s not really one, with great eyesight is the Mantis Shrimp. Here you can see the Peacock Mantis Shrimp with its two club-like arms, ready to bash something to death. You have to look in holes, burrows, and crevices to find these Mantis Shrimp.

Synanceia venomous

Sometimes you have to look carefully so you don’t get bitten by one of these guys, a Stonefish. They are venomous so take care as they camouflage themselves with the environment to ambush their prey.

turtle swimming solitary lone survivor sea water saltwater lagoon blue

I saw more turtles on this trip than usual diving trips for some reason. Some of the turtles were scared at all of humans as if they knew that divers won’t hurt them.

painted rock lobster, common rock lobster, bamboo lobster, blue lobster, and blue spiny lobster Panulirus versicolor

During a night dive, I saw this Painted Rock Lobster walking around. You usually don’t see these nocturnal animals during the day so night diving is required to get another viewpoint of the marine life.

night diving dive hermit crab

Even a hermit crab will come out at night to feed!

Dasyatidae, of rays in the order Myliobatiformes oval to diamond-like in shape phuket indian ocean

These 2 Whiptail Stingrays were swimming around in this deep area with one of them swimming in a circle around the other. It was very neat to see these Stingrays or any kind of big rays because in the past, they usually swim away when they see humans.

Platax Batfish Indian Ocean Platax teira longfin batfish, longfin spadefish, or round faced batfish

At certain dive sites, there are a lot of these fish called Batfish due to their disc-shaped bodies. Not sure how they resemble a bat but the name stuck. They also tend to show up in your face out of nowhere!

trevally jack crevalle stalk stalking baitfish glassfish indian ocean andaman sea thailand vacation

There were millions and millions of these baitfish-sized fish, called Glassfish, which in turn attracted a lot of predator fish such as Trevallies, Barracuda, and whatever else that I might have missed diving. It was amazing seeing so many Glassfish with the predator fish looking on for an eventual swoop!

glassfish baitfish

Here’s an upclose of the Glassfish as they are tiny but react as an entire big blobish group.

Butis butis, the crazy fish, duckbill sleeper, or upside-down sleeper crocodile fish thailand waters

Can you see the fish? Well, it’s buried in the fish with only the eyes showing. It’s called a Crazy fish or better known as a Crocodile Fish as it has a head like a crocodile.

And probably the biggest highlight of it all – a Whaleshark! Apparently, among all the liveaboards, an average of about 6 Whalesharks are seen per year (or known as a season; diving season runs from October-April/May) so if my group got to see this Whaleshark, that means only 5 more Whalesharks left for the season!

whale shark with remoras other fish following

I got to swim very close to this Whaleshark as it made 3 passes!

thailand thai scuba diving ocean water warm waters seawater indian ocean tropical tropics amazing asian SE Asia asian thais Liveaboard Phuket clear pure blue underwater PADI tourism other alternative fun extreme sport sports fish coral reef reefs Andaman Sea boat dreams come coming true achievement of dream lifelong always wanted to do this in nature harmony happy bliss true exciting happiness single lonewolf solo pirate adventurer spent good money on good fun games in total happy euphoria childfree childless by design going my way in Southeastern Asia guided Rhincodon typus jinbei gurano bintang many stars butanding and balilan

I’ve swam with a Whale Shark before but never have I gotten this: the Whale Shark turned towards me as if it was going to run into me! Instead, it turned again and away from me but before doing so, I managed to get this great front photo of the Whaleshark!

Tip: If you don’t have a lot of money, then you can go on those budget ships where you’re basically placed in crammed-and-jammed-sardines-on-a-floatng-tin-can. But for myself, after speaking with a friend of mine who has done this trip, he highly recommended paying a bit more money so I would get more room and comfort not just on the boat but also in the water. Amble elbow space is great to have! And these budget liveaboards are what I’d call “shoulder to shoulder” diving with ratios as high as 1 divemaster to 10 people! That’s why it pays to spend a little bit more money for the more luxurious ones which have a ratio of 1 divemaster to 2-4 people. I would rather pay the extra money especially if there are a lot of beginner divers. One time while I was diving, some newbie landed on my head while descending and I was just pissed that the idiot didn’t even know what just happened. And if it’s not that, then I had to save this one girl from ascending too fast which could have given her the bends. That’s when I learned to go with more experienced divers and get more space if possible. I don’t want to get twisted in that inexperienced lack of safety cesspool. Less people means more elbow room and more comfort as well!

Overall, I would go on a liveaboard again!


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