Thailand SCUBA Liveaboard Experience: Days 2 & 3

Wake up, dive #1, eat breakfast, dive #2, eat lunch dive #3, snack, dive #4, dinner and beers, go to sleep, and repeat. This pretty much sums up the average day on a liveaboard dive boat. As you can imagine, the purpose of liveaboard is to dive as much as possible from sun-up to sun-down, and even sometimes at night! We chose to go through Similan 7 Seas Diving Shop (No Troubles Just Bubbles), aboard the MV Lapat, which offered a 3 day 2 night liveaboard trip that would take us from Lamu Pier, near Khaolak, to the Similan Islands and eventually up to Richelieu Rock. Over the course of the dive trip, we would do a total of 11 dives! And because of how many dives we’d do each day, the schedule is jammed backed from start to finish each day. Here is the trip report from days 2 & 3.

Day #2

This morning started off at the same spot we anchored for the night on the Similan Islands. As our schedule stated, it was a 6AM wake-up call, 6:30AM dive brief, followed by a 7AM dive! No real time to wake up or eat anything besides some tea or coffee before the first dive. Dive #4 (Lifetime Dive #15), dropped us down at Rocky Point on the Similan Islands. Amazing start of the day, we dropped down to 80ft where we explored around large boulders on the sea floor. The fish on this dive were the usual suspects, except for a very some very friendly (inquisitive) eels and red tailed butterfly fish.

After we surfaced, we were able to have a delicious breakfast, like all the meals, as we motored north to the island of Koh Bon. Dive #5 (Lifetime Dive #16), was going to be at Western Cove site. This dive was pretty challenging, dropping down to 25 meters to explore the bottom of a canal and along a very large wall. At this point, my headaches, which we found out were from carbon dioxide poisoning due to me not breathing efficiently, were really making me sick under water. I pushed on, for better or worse, and we eventually made our way out to a fin that stuck out in the middle of the ocean in hopes of seeing rays that were common to the area. Sadly, we didn’t see any, but the amount of coral and starfish we saw was spectacular.

During this surface interval, we really enjoyed the sun which had finally come out for the first time on the boat, and it really lit up how beautiful the island of Koh Bon was. After lunch, we headed over to the north side of the island to a site that would hopefully be less difficult due to being sheltered from the stronger current. Dive #6 (Lifetime Dive #17), was my last dive of the day, because I simply couldn’t stomach another one. This dive was supposed to be another current dive, taking us east across the northern shore. We descended down to 27 meters, below a big shelf and wall. The current ended up being just as strong, so we’d all grab ahold of rocks or coral to maintain position. I wasn’t alone in having to expend a ton of air to fight the current. Most of us finished between 70-50Bar. We were only down for 35 minutes before coming up for a safety stop. I felt horrible for most of the dive, so I primarily just focused on my breathing and tried to stay with the group. Fortunately, we did not see too much marine life, so I wasn’t missing much. But we did see more clownfish, a puffer fish, and Titan Trigger.

After this dive, the boat motored north again to reach the island of Koh Tachi for dive #7, but I didn’t go down this time, and I’m so glad. Due to the late start, the group ended up diving in the dark really without any lights besides the one on the guide. So it wasn’t much of a missed opportunity. So I stayed aboard, enjoyed the early dinner and beer as we motored north to get to our anchor site on the Surin Islands.

Day #3

Woke up feeling much better. At 5:50AM we started motoring from the Surin Islands, where we anchored for the night, towards the Richelieu rock which took about an hour. I did not eat anything before breakfast to ensure I didn’t feel nauseous during the dive. It was a nice slow morning as the sun came up over the mainland and lit up the dark ocean around us. To the north, off our port side, you could see an island chain that is a part of Miramar.

Dive #7 (Lifetime Dive #18), put us at the most amazing dive to date, Richelieu Rock. Thankfully this was our last dive site because it was really amazing. Dropped down on the large cone shaped rock area into a sandy bottom at about 90ft. Started out by going through a channel where tons of coral and fish were vibrant on the channel walls. Large fish were hunting the entire time during our dive. We saw a small sea worm, countless lion fish. At one point I saw 4 all hanging out, but had to go down to 30m to see them and really burned through some oxygen to get there. I even chased a shrimp around one wall, which was so neat. Then the end of the dive was highlighted by tons of batfish that came in so close and of course the top of the rock which was covered in anemone and clown fish hiding in them. The dive required a longer safety stop. Hanging out on the morning lines at 15m for a while, then up to 5m for 5 minutes. We all almost ran out of air!

After our surface interval, we dropped down again on Richelieu Rock for Dive #7 (Lifetime Dive #19). This dive was highlighted by watching two different schools of barracuda and long-faced emperors hunt in a massive group. This dive we also got to come around a reef to see tons of stone fish, a puffer fish, as well as two cuddle fish doing a mating ritual! This dive site truly has so many fish that they actually get in the way of all the fish you really want to see! Being the only reef in the area for many miles around, it’s the place that so many fish live.

This was my last dive on the trip, as the group still was able to go out for another dive at the rock. I was exhausted and not feeling the best still, so I just enjoyed being topside in the sun taking it all in. And with that being said, I cannot recommend the liveaboard scuba diving boat experience enough! Definitely don’t want to skimp on the price if you’re looking for a given area, as you will be cost cutting on an already small room, the food, but most importantly, the quality of the guides. Granted, I can’t say that safety was first for these guides, as they were really there to show experienced divers a great time, going down to 90ft for nearly ever dive. But the overall experience on this vessel was perfect, as well as the food, the other divers, and the staff on the boat! We want to go back and do it again!

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