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Similan Islands Liveaboard Trip Report: Day 4



Read the prologue to this trip report here.

Read Day 1 here.

Read Day 2 here.

Read Day 3 here.


We were now heading back towards Phuket, three days of solid diving done and only two more to go. Everyone on the liveaboard was friendly enough, and by now we knew each others’ names and would have conversations about all sorts of things (and not just diving). Even after twelve dives everyone was still looking forward to the next one. For some reason I was up early, and so was nearly everyone else – all drinking tea or coffee and eating toast while waiting for the morning’s briefing to start.

Koh Bon Pinnacle

Dive thirteen was on Koh Bon Pinnacle. Pinnacles usually have an abundance of life, so we were looking for a good start to the day. We entered the water and headed down the mooring line. As we were descending, Sharky and I noticed a Zebra Shark lying on the bottom. As we headed towards it, it moved off; they do get spooked easily, but we were quite a distance from it at the time. We watched it make its way down into deeper water and followed it. This time it stayed put. I looked around to see if anyone else had followed us down, but at 45m, it wasn’t likely. We didn’t have too much ‘no deco’ time at this depth, so after a few photo’s we headed back up the pinnacle to the others. There were lots of life, all of which we had seen before (that was the first shark I’d seen, however another group had seen a zebra shark on an earlier dive).

Dive Fourteen was going to be back on the ridge, once again trying to see something big; however, our luck on trying to see something big hadn’t been going so well. I hoped our luck would change, as ‘something big’ always refers to either Manta rays or Whale Sharks. Unfortunately not though; quite an uneventful dive really. We saw all the usual fish and a lobster, but nothing too memorable.

Mark 3

Beacon reef

Dive Fifteen. This time it was going to be Beacon Reef. I had never dived Beacon Reef as it had suffered from quite a lot of damage from bad fishing methods, and was not known for its beauty. The main interest on this reef for us was the wreck of a dive boat that sank several years previously. At last, a wreck! I had missed diving wrecks on this trip; and OK, it was only small, but hey – it was still a wreck.

We all made straight for the wreck, which even after several years still looked like a boat. It had been well stripped, apparently by the divers who were on the boat when it sank; they had made several trips back to recover their belongings and equipment. The wreck lays at an angle of about 30 degrees. The stern is at around 28m depth and the bow around about 14m. We had a good look around and headed down towards the dive deck. As we entered the dive deck area we were greeted by a few batfish. We swam into the wreck and came out through one of the broken perspex windows half way along the boat. We did look into the bridge area but there were cables hanging down and thought better of it. A very enjoyable little wreck, short and sweet. We then headed along the reef. There was a lot of life on the reef, although it wasn’t the prettiest, but we did see the full range of reef fish.

It was now time for our second hour on dry land in four days. We were set ashore by the tender in what was quite choppy for the Similans at this time of year (no worse than a flat day in England, but the Thais were concerned). We wandered around the island and along a path to a beach the other side called Honeymoon Bay. The sea this side was considerably flatter; we all thought it would have been a whole lot easier all around if we had been dropped off on this side. Our hour was almost up, so we headed back through the jungle to where we had landed. As the tender made its way towards us they shouted “go round the other side”.  It was too rough to land the rib, so off we went through the jungle back to Honeymoon Bay again.

Mark 2

Honeymoon Bay

Dive Sixteen. As the wind had now blown out our night dive site it was decided to dive the reef by Honeymoon Bay. No one knew its name. The brief was to jump in, swim around and come back. It was the usual entry time of 7pm, and we descended where the boat was moored. The reef looked quite pretty; lots of hard corals, a few fish in hiding. A hermit crab was sitting on top of a rock, dark red in colour, posing nicely for the cameras. A cuttlefish changed colours as we passed our torches over it , struggling to work out what colour would best disguise it. Torches flashed everywhere as more lionfish were found, but I was more interested in the biggest crab I had ever seen – it was trying to back into a small recess under some coral, but it was far too big. I would estimate that it was between 40 and 45cm across. Time was up, so we all went back onto the boat for even more food.

The main talking point of the day had to have been the wreck; although the other dives had been nice, the wreck made a change.

To be continued…

Mark Milburn is the owner of Atlantic Scuba in Falmouth, Cornwall, England, and is an SDI/TDI/NAS/RYA Instructor and a Commercial Boat Skipper. Although often referred to as a maritime archaeologist, he prefers to call himself a wreck hunter. Find out more about Mark and Atlantic Scuba by visiting

Dive Training Blogs

Deptherapy returns to its Roots – Part 1



Over the next seven days, join Richard Cullen from Deptherapy as we publish a Blog about the charity’s recent expedition to Roots Red Sea, El Quseir, Egypt.

Deptherapy made the very brave decision to book an expedition to our home in Egypt as soon as Roots Red Sea received their certificate from the Egyptian Authorities that the camp and dive centre was COVID secure. Roots is one of very few resorts to receive a certificate from the Egyptian Government.

We arrived in Roots the day after they re-opened.

Getting together an expedition was a major task. Very few Approved Medical Examiners’ of Divers or Dive Referees are conducting consultations at the moment. Availability of beneficiaries and the requirement to quarantine on return from Egypt affected the number of beneficiaries available.

There was also a requirement to pass a COVID PCR virus test within 72 hours of travelling.

We had decided on a small expedition and on the day of travel we had six flying to Egypt.  Unfortunately, Chris Middleton had to drop out the day before we travelled after emergency wisdom tooth surgery.

Our group comprised of Richard Cullen, Michael Hawley, Tom Oates, Tom Swarbrick, Keiron Bradbury and Corey Goodson.  Keiron was undertaking his RAID Master Rescue Course and, as it turned out, Corey was undertaking the RAID Open Water 20 course.

A deserted Gatwick Airport at 0900 on 10 October

Our outbound flight was before midday on Saturday 10 October and I must admit we were all shocked at how deserted was.  Checking in with easyJet took minutes and when we boarded the plane, we found it less than half full.

Corey is a paraplegic since a car accident two years ago while he was training prior to joining the Royal Anglian Regiment.  Corey has no sensation below the waist and is unable to use his legs.  The cabin crew on our flight were quite amazed to see the two Toms and Michael lift him from his wheelchair and place him in his seat for the flight.

Mask protocols were strictly observed by the team, the flight was uneventful, and the easyJet Cabin Crew superb. We also took a digital thermometer to check temperatures prior to flying.

Corey having a pre-flight temperature check

Hurghada Airport was very quiet and we moved through Immigration and collected our baggage in very quick time.

Two things to note:  If you are travelling to Hurghada you need to complete a COVID declaration for the Egyptian Authorities. If not, you have to fill out the rather lengthy form when you arrive.  You can undertake a COVID test on arrival at Hurghada Airport but the queues are long.  It costs much less than the tests we had done in the UK – BUT – you are required to be quarantined at your hotel until the test result comes through.  This means two days with no access to resort facilities.  If the test comes back as positive you have at least two weeks being confined to your room.

COVID guidelines

Transport to Roots was, as ever, on hand and we were soon at the camp and being briefed about the COVID arrangements.  A lot of work has been put in place to make Roots COVID compliant – and all at considerable expense.

None of the usual hugs with the Roots team and you have your temperature checked every morning and every time you return from the dive centre.  Your dive kit is sterilised every night ready for the next day’s diving.

Sterilised Dive Kit

We all felt very COVID secure.

Check back for tomorrow’s Blog and our first day diving…

Find out more about the work of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education at

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And the winner of our TUSA Paragon S Mask competition is…



We’d like to say a big thank you to all of you who entered our competition to win a TUSA Paragon S Mask from our good friends at CPS Partnership!

As usual, lots of you entered… but there can, of course, be only one winner!

And that winner is…

  • Lee Evans from the UK.

Congratulations Lee – your prize will be on its way to you soon!

Not a winner this time? Don’t worry – there are plenty of other competitions running on right now. To see what other awesome prizes you could be in with a chance of winning, click here!

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