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Luxury Liveaboard - Relaxing Diving?

Discussion in 'Thailand' started by PugHugger, Dec 3, 2018.

  1. PugHugger

    PugHugger Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Australia
    68
    20
    8
    Hello All

    Looks like Mr PH and I will be heading to Thailand either later next year or early the year after.

    Not at the booking stage please but was wondering if anyone could recommend a 4 - 7 day liveaboard doing either or both the Similans and Surins as it appears they book out quickly. Budget is not set in stone and errs towards the generous side. I've not seen a boat I'd rule out.

    Our requirements are:
    • Nice accommodation. Either Queen bed or two singles. We cannot share a double.
    • Private ensuite is a must.
    • AC in the cabin is also a high priority.
    • Smaller groups of people are preferred.
    • Divemasters/guides on each dive. If not included available to hire.
    • Nitrox is nice but not a necessity.
    • Diving, I prefer more relaxed diving. I don't like strong currents (unless its a pure drift dive along a wall) and I don't like to go too deep. I will go to 30m but I'm super comfortable at 21m. Probably more of an emphasis on larger stuff rather than macro. I like macro but Mr PH doesn't have the patience.
    Based on my style of diving I wonder if anyone knows if one of the locations is a better fit overall?

    We won't get it but we did ScubaSpa Yang in the Maldives and honestly if they'd drop a ScubaSpa in all of the liveaboard locations in the world I'd not travel with anyone else...

    My research turns up The Junk, Diva Andaman and Thailand Aggressor. The Junk and the Diva a different types of boats to what we've travelled on before, not a bad thing but reviews are a bit slim. Thailand Aggressor I'm concerned I won't get the diving experience I'd prefer.

    Any help would be very much appreciated. Thank you!
     
  2. stevenl

    stevenl Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Kata, Phuket, Thailand
    2,359
    285
    83
    If I were you I would add Diverace to your list.

    Since you prefer bigger things, also have a look at South Andaman sites, Hin Daeng and Hin Muang are year round (if national park is open of course) sites where we have a reasonable chance of mantas and whalesharks.. If you do decide on Similans etc., March would be the best time for the big stuff.
     
  3. Barmaglot

    Barmaglot Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Israel
    636
    242
    43
    I was on MV Pawara in March this year. Going over your requirements - I was in a deluxe cabin and it had two single bunks; I believe the master cabins have a queen bed. All but the budget cabins have ensuite bathrooms. All cabins have AC. There were five divemasters for 24 guests. so 4-5 people per divemaster. Nitrox was included at no extra charge. Out of 14 dives, we encountered significant currents on one dive at Koh Bon and another at Richelieu Rock, the rest was pretty calm. Had three dives at Richelieu Rock with whale sharks, but no mantas.
     
    Sharkbait07 likes this.
  4. PugHugger

    PugHugger Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Australia
    68
    20
    8
    Thanks for the responses. I've done a bit more research and seems some dive sites at least are 'super crowded'. Does anyone know of any boats that try to avoid the crowds? I have no joy in diving with large groups of divers from multiple boats with varying levels of buoyancy control...

    I should also point out my 'bigger things' is not actually limited to mantas and whale sharks. Whale sharks actually hate me. Everytime I've gone looking for one they have all left the ocean it appears. I've done a number of manta dives so don't 'need' to see them again (although I shan't complain if they appear). By bigger things really I means sharks, turtles (especially turtles, give me all of the turtles, I really, really love turtles), bumphead parrot fish, Maori wrasse sort of big... Large schools of fish etc. are also very welcome. Mr PH has a weird obsession with morays...

    I know I'm looking for quite particular things and do appreciate your assistance.
     
  5. Barmaglot

    Barmaglot Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Israel
    636
    242
    43
    While there were lots of boats around on the surface, I don't recall bumping into other groups except for one spot at Richelieu Rock, and of course when the whale shark showed up and everyone gathered along its feeding route - the guides were very good at keeping the groups spread out.

    There's lots, lots, lots of medium-sized fish at the Similans - tunas, emperorfish, groupers, parrotfish, morays, etc, huge schools of fusiliers and the like too. Saw a couple turtles as well, and a tiger shark flashed by at some point, although that, I was told, is a very rare occurrence there.

    There's a trip video shot by the guides here:
     
    MOABCHICK likes this.
  6. stevenl

    stevenl Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Kata, Phuket, Thailand
    2,359
    285
    83
    Richelieu Rock can be busy, with multiple boats diving at the same time. And if there is a strong current, the divers will all follow more or less the same path and end up all at the same spot.

    Tiger sharks are really, really rare, are you sure?
     
  7. PugHugger

    PugHugger Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Australia
    68
    20
    8
    Thanks - I have zero expectations of a tiger shark.

    Is there a particular time of the year where generally there is expected to be more or less current? Alternatively apparently I can do a South Andaman itinerary that would be much calmer?

    Just to be clear I don't need no current, I just don't like kicking against one for more than a few minutes. It stresses me out and takes the fun out of diving. I suspect its 99% psychological but here we are!
     
  8. Barmaglot

    Barmaglot Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Israel
    636
    242
    43
    Well, it was gray, a couple meters long, had three diagonal stripes on its side, and it was swimming very fast - came into view and disappeared within a few seconds. Pretty sure it was a tiger shark, and the guide concurred, but neither of us managed to take any pictures - we were at safety stop and had just put on the port covers.
     
  9. stevenl

    stevenl Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Kata, Phuket, Thailand
    2,359
    285
    83
    Diving will be done with the current on most divesites. At certain places, especially Tachai, it can be tricky though and also some diving against current will have to be done.

    For lesser currents, avoid new and full moon.

    And no, South Andaman will not be calmer, Hin Daeng and Hin Muang can be really tricky divesites.
     
  10. PugHugger

    PugHugger Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Australia
    68
    20
    8
    Thanks Steven - good tip on the moons - I've noted that and bolded it. Looks like I'll have to do some currents. Annoying but doable.

    I don't suppose there is much information about the Phinisi available yet? It looks like she only started sailing this season?

    And weirdly specific question - do the boats still run during Songkran? I thought lining up for those dates might mean I get a bit less traffic in the water if people are throwing buckets of water on each other on land...
     

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