Celebrating Christmas in style on the Hallelujah. The trip was one to remember for all guests and staff alike!!
Celebrating Christmas in a warm climate for those of us who are used to a white/ drizzly day is a very different experience. We decorated the boat with as much sparkle as we could find and dished out Santa hats to bring a bit of Christmas spirit to the trip. Guests were in high spirits as we set sail on our 10th Similan Liveaboard of the season, however it was noted that it didn’t really feel like Christmas.
The first morning we woke up in the Similan Islands for Christmas day, it is a great start to the day seeing the sunrise over the Islands. We wished each other a Merry Christmas and put on hats and played Christmas music, however it still didn’t quite feel like Christmas. Fantastic dives at Anita’s Reef and Elephant head rock in the morning along with a visit to the beach of island #4 was a perfect start to the day. The boat was filled with enthusiastic, funny and interesting people and everyone seemed to get on amazingly well. Two more dives on the Similans gave us some amazing marine life to look at. One highlight was on the night dive at Turtle Rock; a very close encounter between a painted lobster and a giant moray ended when the lobster gave a quick flick to the moray and he quickly retreated. A brilliant day of diving but it still didn’t quite feel like Christmas.
After a hot shower and a change into fresh dry clothes every one gathered to talk about the days events. Sitting around the table with our new diving family joking and laughing we all started to get the Christmas glow. Then the dinner came out, the two chefs on board had done us proud as put on an amazing spread. With Roast chicken, Cordon Bleu, salads and traditional Thai food on the menu we were spoilt for choice and I think it’s fair to say we all ate a little bit too much. We offered everyone a glass of wine and we all said cheers and Merry Christmas to each other all now feeling like one big semi dysfunctional diving family! After dinner as a very special Christmas treat we brought out the cheese course, Christmas cake and Christmas Crackers*. Now the day felt like Christmas; surrounded by lots of great people, having eaten too much food and with Christmas music playing in the background, with the added bonus of being in the warmth of Thailand with some great diving to look forward to. I think by the end of the day everyone on board was converted to Christmas in the sun fans.
* For those who haven’t experienced the joy of Christmas Crackers they are traditional across the UK and Ireland, and contain a paper hat, a toy and a joke. The jokes are traditionally extremely bad for example: Question: “Why does Santa have 3 gardens?” Answer: “so he can ho ho ho!”
One of the fantastic things about our Similan liveaboard trips is that people often quickly become friends. Of course I am biased – but I think divers tend to be great people; enthusiastic, passionate and respectful of the world around them. Similan Liveaboards – and liveaboard trips in general, are all about the people on board – and we always seem to be blessed with some great people.
Of course the mood on the boat is always helped by fantastic dives, day 2 began with positive signs of improving sea conditions. 2 more great dives at north point and three trees and the obligatory beach visit to Donald duck bay preceded the journey to Koh Bon, where most of the divers on the boat got their first glimpse of a manta ray. The best was still to come, and after a night sleeping in the protection of the Surin Islands, 2 amazing dives at Richelieu Rock were followed by an incredible dive at Koh Tachai pinnacle, where we had at least 2 mantas circling the site for the entire dive.
Merry Christmas to all and hope to see you in 2015