Are you sitting comfortably? If so then i shall tell you my latest tale of excitement working for Davy Jones Locker. On a small island, so small that in fact it does not even appear on Google maps (sharp intake of breath), lies a very new modern and shiny dive shop. Rising up from the sand a concrete building looms large on the beach as Davy Jones Locker has expanded.
It is not middle earth or is the above paragraph an extract from a Harry Potter book, this is Koh Lipe. DJL’s new dive shop. Some say it is the holy grail of diving, I would have to agree.
Koh Lipe is located very close to the Malaysian border and is easily reached by plane, train or automobile, then a speedboat from the mainland which travels at the speed of light across the glasslike Andaman sea.
After arriving and settling into my accommodation in the dive lodge, it was good to catch up with my mate and yours, Simon, who runs DJL Koh Lipe over a refreshing beverage.
Diving in Koh Lipe will make you a more rounded diver, if you are not used to diving in current. Some sites really have to be dived on slack tides. Drift diving is also a big part of Koh Lipe dive culture.
The next morning diving began in earnest. Here in Lipe we dive off Longtail boats, balance is key when gearing up. We dived first on the shipwreck which is an arduous journey of ten mins by boat from the shop. The wreck is a fishing processing vessel which lies on it’s side in 30m of water. She has been there quite a while and is providing an excellent artificial reef with fish a plenty. Lots of barracuda as big as your arm, lion fish and huge groupers were seen. An excellent dive. I maybe slightly biased as I adore wreck diving.
We then dived a few islands further out. The coral is so alive and untouched. The colours are better than watching tv in high definition. The pinks, purples really stand out. It is wonderful to see coral that alive Also for those who are not the best at navigation as a few of the dive sites are drift dives the boat follows you so no frantic search for buoy lines at the end of the dive.
The more I dived these small islands that dot the Andaman sea around Koh Lipe, the fish life and coral got better and better as I learnt the dive sites. Some huge lobsters, lion fish and copious amounts of clown fish in virtually every soft coral peeking there heads out to say hello.
The rocks of Pattaya corner offer a perfect site for those who like to hunt in cracks and crevices for hidden gems of aquatic life. It is also a great place to play spot the stonefish although I just kept pointing at random bits of sand and rocks thinking it was one.
There are so many dive sites to choose from, you can dive off the beach or take a full day and dive the far away islands (guess they called that because they are far away). As all the islands around Lipe are uninhabited you can have lunch on a beach where the only foot prints are your own, unless Bigfoot exists and has decided he likes sunnier climbs.
A personal highlight was Tom’s ledge, a dive site the author found. This is a personal favourite from my time there. A lovely shallow site with amazing coral and fish. After diving this as a small squall passed through, myself and my customers Pete and Matt surfaced to the flattest sea with steam coming off the trees and only the sound of the wildlife mainly monkeys and birds greeting us. It was quite surreal way to end the dive surfacing into jungle soundtrack. It was heavenly to float there for a few minutes as the long tail came to pick us up.
It was a wonderful experience for me to get the opportunity to go down there and teach for a few weeks. My thanks to Simon and Sam for being great hosts. I will be heading back soon……why not come join me????
Big Tom DJL