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Fear and Loathing in the Gulf of Siam

Discussion in 'Thailand' started by Buadhai, May 28, 2019.

  1. Buadhai

    Buadhai Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Korat, Thailand
    713
    173
    43
    Please don't take this too seriously.

    I had been looking forward to this dive trip for months. It's a rare one that I'd done before and was happy to see it on offer again. The boat departs from Songkhla and arrives at Chumphon five days later with stops to dive at Losin, Koh Krah, Koh Tao and Chumphon.

    We were supposed to have four dives each at Losin, Koh Krah and Koh Tao and three on the last day at Chumphon. I knew we were in trouble when the boat didn't depart Songkhla until 9:00 PM (auspicious time?). It takes about 13 hours to get to Losin, so we didn't arrive until after 10:00 AM and had time for only three dives.

    I've done Losin many times over the past eight years. I really like the place; partly because the biota seems to be in such good shape. In my log book for a Losin trip last September I noted how happy I was to see the coral look so healthy, unlike a few other places in Thailand. Not so good this time. On that trip the water temperature ranged from 28 to 29ºC. This time it ranged from 30 to 32º. Not good. Although the staghorn coral was OK, there was plenty of bleaching of the other corals. Not nice to see.

    bleached.jpg

    Our departure from Losin was also very late, so we only had time for three dives at Koh Krah. The Thai Navy was engaged in some sort of turtle protection project on the beach at Koh Krah and we were waved away from diving there. No big deal as Hin Sung and Hin Ruea are also good dives.

    Not that it mattered much. Unfortunately, conditions were not great. Poor visibility almost everywhere we went. And, we didn’t see anything much of note; except for a couple of whale sharks at the surface at Koh Ngam near Hin Pae in Chumphon.

    The weirdest thing about this trip was the collection of divers. There were a couple of Americans and their English-speaking spouses who pretty much kept to themselves and spent their free time, including meals, on the upper deck. I chatted with them a couple of times. Nice enough, and good divers, but this was clearly a sort of private holiday for them.

    Then there was an apparently wealthy couple who dressed identically at all times. They had matching wetsuits, matching post-dive capes, matching jammies and even matching sneakers with "Loved" embroidered on the sides. They brought much of their own food including sandwiches, fresh strawberries and probiotic yogurt. They also had large quantities of duty free booze.

    There was also a group of ostentatiously wealthy Thais who seemed more intent on partying than diving. They all smoked cigarettes or e-cigarettes all day, including in the dining area where smoking is prohibited. But, hey, this is Thailand. There are no rules; especially if you've got money. Every evening, out came the champagne, single malt Scotch, fine wine and assorted other booze including gin, vodka, rum and tequila. We hit the sack long before the partying began.

    One member of this group was such a poor diver that she had to have special one-on-one dives after the rest of us got out of the water. At one point we were headed to Chumphon Pinnacle (a very nice dive site), but we suddenly reversed course and ended up diving at what amounts to a student site (Hin Wopng Bay) full of snorkelers and long tail boats. I’m sure we did this so that the Rich Princess could get further personal instruction. Of course that meant that the rest of us missed out on a dive at Chumphon Pinnacle.

    The last day we inexplicably did two dives at the HTMS Parb; a deliberately sunk navy ship that hasn't been there long enough to develop much of interest. I persuaded our guide to skip the wreck on the second dive and instead swim to Koh Ngam Noi which turned out to be a lot more interesting. Aside, of course, from the ten minute swim across the barren sand between the wreck and the island.

    (My dive computer battery died, without warning, on the first dive at the Parb. It had been replaced in January and had done only 26 dives. I'll never again buy a Suunto product. This D4i has been a lemon from day one.)

    After the second dive at the Parb a couple of whale sharks appeared on the surface. This resulted in dive frenzy hilarity that was hard to believe. There were a dozen boats and Zodiacs in the area all of which chased after the whale sharks while dropping life-vest clad snorkelers along the way. It's amazing no one got hurt. As far as I could tell, no one actual dove with the whale sharks. On our boat the tanks were not yet filled and no one had had enough surface time. I think it was the same with the other dive boats. My wife and I calmly finished out lunch.

    Our final dive was at Hin Pae, probably because it's not far from the Chumphon harbor. It's basically just a pile of rocks that I don't find very interesting. I guess some people like it.

    Certainly not one of my favorite liveaboard trips. Observing the human behavior on the boat was marginally more interesting then trying to observe the sea life in the murky water.

    However, I did manage to get one decent photograph.

    batfish.jpg
     
    scrane, DSR-3, BenjaminF and 5 others like this.
  2. michael-fisch

    michael-fisch Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Germany
    674
    403
    63
    Hope you didn't tip and told them why. Sounds to me like you wasted all the money you spent on that vacation.

    Michael
     
    chillyinCanada likes this.
  3. Buadhai

    Buadhai Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Korat, Thailand
    713
    173
    43
    Ah, it wasn't all that bad. That's why I said not to take what I wrote too seriously.
     
  4. Ministryofgiraffes

    Ministryofgiraffes Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Toronto
    762
    587
    93
    I’m not sure you mentioned which boat you were on? Could you clarify. Tnx!
     
  5. Buadhai

    Buadhai Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Korat, Thailand
    713
    173
    43
    I purposely did not identify the boat or any of the people involved. Thailand has some very nasty libel and "computer crime" laws. I don’t want to end up in court/jail.

    Read about Andy Hall:

    Andy Hall (activist) - Wikipedia
     
  6. Ministryofgiraffes

    Ministryofgiraffes Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Toronto
    762
    587
    93
    could you DM? i am due to liveaboard in thailand next year. tnx :)
     
  7. Ministryofgiraffes

    Ministryofgiraffes Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Toronto
    762
    587
    93
    nevermind, i'm pretty sure i found it.... but to your point, i might just launch a boat in Thailand and call it 'the King of Thailand'....then you can guarantee there will be no negative reviews on pain of death :)
     
  8. stevenl

    stevenl Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Kata, Phuket, Thailand
    2,341
    278
    83
    You could identify the boat as long as you make a purely factual report.

    BTW, Divesupply here is the local Suunto importer, if you want you can send your computer to me and I can have it checked here. If I have any issues they have always been very fair, including replacing a dead computer due to pressure sensor issues for a whole new one.
     
    Buadhai likes this.
  9. Buadhai

    Buadhai Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Korat, Thailand
    713
    173
    43
    Steven, as you might have guessed the report was largely tongue-in-cheek; hence my decision to not use names.

    Thanks for the offer on the D4i. I've already been in touch with Dive Supply. It's no longer under warranty so repair or replacement would be on my Satang.
     
  10. aquacat8

    aquacat8 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Savannah, GA
    1,501
    1,118
    113
    Well I found your description amusing... thanks for the dry dive!
     

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