Thursday, April 24, 2014

Expedition to dive at the Yeak Laom freshwater lake in Banlung/Rattanakiri Province

We are proud to announce that we have been the first ones ever scuba diving in the Yeak Laom volcanic crater lake in the north-eastern province Rattanakiri!

It was a long but fun journey from Sihanoukville to Ban Lung in the far off province Rattanakiri. First we have planed to bring a compressor but in the end just loaded ten tanks into a taxi.

After we arrived at the Leak Laom lake, the authorities seemed to be slightly confused, seeing two westerners unloading their dive gear.

Luckily the indigenous people taking care of the lake were very friendly and allowed us to dive. We were a bit skeptic if we would be allowed at all as the local Khmer Ler have recognized the lake as a sacred place, home to the spirit of land, water and forest.

We have even been warned that the lake is home to several ghosts as well as a dragon, anyways we did not get scared and prepared our dive.

This definitely was the event of the day, we soon had plenty of children watching us when getting into the water.

Sadly the visibility has not been as good as we thought, anyways we kept going!

The actual plan was to go deep, supposedly the lake is up to 50 m deep. We did not go much below 10 m of depth as there was no daylight left due to the bad visibility. Dennis just brought his 3 mm Shorty and the water beneath the thermocline at 8 m was freezing cold.

We did not see a lot of fish, just some very small ones and one large catfish. What amazed us were small shrimps which were all over.

Already we are planing to go on another expedition in the next dry season, this time with twin tanks to be able to reach more depth safely, stronger torches as well as thick neoprene suits or dry suits.