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Similan Islands Liveaboard Trip Report: Prologue

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Similan Islands

The Similan Islands are a group of nine islands situated in the Andaman Sea, some 60km west of Khao Lak, or roughly 90km north north west of Phuket, Thailand. It was supposed to have been one of Jacques Cousteau’s favourite diving locations. The liveaboard trip I was about to embark on was for six nights with five days of diving; there would be four dives a day except the last day when there were to be only three, so nineteen dives in all. It would also include the Islands of Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock; the island of Koh Surin was no longer visited due to the Tsunami’s damage to the reefs. I was to be accompanied on the trip with two of my dive buddies from the UK, Neville and Sharky.

We were collected from our accommodation in Kata Beach, Phuket, at around 5pm by a minibus and taken to the offices of the boat owner at Chalong. We were there to congregate with the rest of the divers and the tour leaders. We filled in the usual liability waivers and waited for everyone to turn up. Once we were all together, we walked 400m to the pier. Waiting for the pier bus I savoured the air; the last time I would experience these smells for a week, also the last time I would be on terra firma. The pier bus turned up and took us and our equipment down the very long pier to the awaiting boat, the Jonathan Cruiser. We all clambered aboard and headed for the meeting/eating area on the middle deck.

Ear-ly problems

The liveaboard’s normal tour guide, Alex, had had an ear infection and had been told to stay out of the water. Luckily for everyone, Mats and his girlfriend had booked themselves on this trip. Mats had previously been the guide a few years ago for a couple of seasons, before returning to Sweden, and he knew the sites well.

The journey got under way the minute we were all aboard. The sun was now setting and we said goodbye to land. Mats then went through the boat and dive briefing with everyone. Free tea, coffee, water and toast all day, anytime you wanted it, would be available; other drinks you had to pay for. There would only be time for tea and toast during the first dive briefing at 7:30 every morning however, as the first dive of the day would be at 8am – eek! Then breakfast would be served once everyone had surfaced and were back safely on the boat. The next dive would be at 11am, followed by lunch, then the next dive 3pm (or 2:30pm if we were to do a dusk dive at 5:30pm instead of a night dive at 7pm), followed by the evening meal. After the briefing we were shown to our cabins. Neville and Sharky shared, leaving me with Alex  (a different Alex from the poorly dive guide Alex). I asked if he snored; he said he didn’t, which is good because I can’t sleep in the same room as someone who snores! I think due to the proximity of the sea it was a good thing he didn’t snore, as he may have found himself inadvertently swimming at 2am. He seemed quite happy that I took over most of the cupboard space with my camera equipment (well he didn’t say anything, anyway). We sat around and got to know some of the other divers for a while, trying to work out which beach was which, as we steamed up the west coast of Phuket .

We were on our way, steaming through the night. The only thing to do now was sleep, as we were going to be up early the next morning.

Read Similan Islands Liveaboard Trip Report: Day 1 here.

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 www.atlanticscuba.co.uk.

Competitions

WIN a Bigblue Expandable Tray!!!

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For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Liquid Sports to give away a Bigblue Expandable Tray as a prize!!!

The Bigblue expandable tray (176mm-287mm) has fittings and screws to attach action and compact cameras. The base and handles are made from high grade aluminium with the handles having a neoprene grip. The package also includes clamps and adaptors for 1” ball and YS light fittings.

To be in with a chance of winning this awesome prize, all you have to do is answer the following question:

In a recent post on Scubaverse.com (which you can read here), we reported that the Handicapped Scuba Association South Africa has announced plans to host their 6th Annual fundraising event “HSASA 50hr Dive–A-Thon 2021” this year. But on what dates will the event take place?

Is it:

  • A) 15th – 17th October
  • B) 22nd – 24th October
  • C) 29th – 31st October

Answer, A, B or C to the question above:

Liquid Sports Bigblue Extendable Tray March 2021

Competition
  • Enter the country you live in
  • Terms and Conditions: This competition is open to all visitors to www.scubaverse.com except for members of the Scubaverse team and their families, or employees of Liquid Sports and their families. A valid answer to the competition’s question must be entered. If no valid answer to the competition’s question is entered, your entry will be invalid. Only one competition entry per entrant permitted (multiple entries will lead to disqualification). Only one prize per winner. All prizes are non-transferable, and no cash alternative will be offered. In the event that the prize cannot be supplied, no liability will be attached to www.scubaverse.com. When prizes are supplied by third parties, www.scubaverse.com is acting as their agents and as such we exclude all liability for loss or damage you may suffer as a result of this competition. This competition closes on 14/04/2021. The winner will be notified by email. The Editor-in-Chief’s decision is final.

  • The following fields are optional, however if you fill them in it will help us to determine what prizes to source in the future.

  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
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Dive Training Blogs

Jeff chats to… Jim Elliott and Tinamarie Hernandez of Diveheart (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Jim Elliott, Founder and President of Diveheart, and Tinamarie Hernandez who is the organization’s Executive Director.

Diveheart is a US-based, nonprofit tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization which aims to provide and support educational scuba diving programs that are open to any child, adult or veteran with a disability, with the hope of providing both physical and psychological therapeutic value to that person.

In their own words:

We’ve discovered the forgiving, weightless wonder of the water column provides the perfect gravity-free environment for those who might otherwise struggle on land. Underwater, we’re all equal.

Diveheart works with individuals who have a variety of disabilities, including physical and developmental disabilities, vision and hearing impairments, amputations, traumatic brain injuries, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and more. Diveheart seeks to help its participants “Imagine the Possibilities” in their lives.

 

Find out more about Diveheart and their valuable work at www.diveheart.org.


Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.

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Competitions

Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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