When thinking of Cambodia, diving is not the first thing that comes to mind. But continuing our trend of diving wherever we can reasonably fit it into this trip, we blocked out two days to spend a few hours breathing canned air in the Gulf of Thailand.
Dive shops are based in Sihanoukville and on the islands of Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem. The islands are about 1.5-2 hours from Sihanoukville and dive sites in that area have a maximum depth of 15m. We booked an overnight trip out to Koh Prins and Koh Tang, another 2.5 hours from Koh Rong Samloem where dive sites are still being explored and max depths exceed 25m. Sadly, a storm was moving in and the captain declared a trip that far from shore a safety hazard. Fortunately, the diving around Koh Rong Samloem and neighboring Koh Kon was worth the trip.
We each logged five dives on including Jen’s second night dive. She remains unimpressed by night diving and although I’m not giving up, I’m still not convinced it’s a better use of my evenings than enjoying a cocktail while the sun goes down. The macro life is what diving’s all about here. We told our divemaster that we move slowly and for the most part, he was willing to wait patiently as we stopped to ogle a nudibranch or creepy marine worms, the likes of which we’d never seen before.
There were only seven people on our boat: four staff and three paying customers. As the other diver was completing his Open Water certification (congratulations, Andrew!), we only saw him and his instructor on the boat. Having dive sites to ourselves was wonderful and I’m grateful to the folks at Scuba Nation for knowing so well where to take us.
If you’re headed to Cambodia and looking to dive, I’d recommend spending a night on the water. The views of the islands are stunning; sleeping on deck with plenty of rain protection but no mosquitos is restful; and surface intervals are a pleasant time to eat, chat, sun yourself, or take a nap. And if you’re lucky, you’ll make a new friend or two.