Dive Eat Sleep Repeat. That’s the accurate logo of Khao Lak SCUBA Adventures, the company with whom I booked a 4 night, 4 day liveaboard of diving in the Similan Islands off the coast of Thailand in the Andaman Sea. With 15 dives including one night dive and two sunset dives, the day really did go from sleeping to diving to eating and doing it all again. Exhausting but well worth it. The water is warm at 28-29C/82-84F but that didn’t stop one Russian customer from diving in his own dry suit. Nothing like seeing a manta ray and a diver in a dry suit on the same dive!
Jen was off doing yoga and meditating which means I didn’t have my favorite underwater photographer with me. She helped edit a few of these shots so hopefully you’ll get some idea of what I saw. And one of the other divers on board with whom I dove all 15 times was kind enough to share a few of her photos. Thanks, Bo!
Richelieu Rock, north of the Similans near the border with Myanmar, quickly catapulted to my short list of favorite dive sites anywhere. A big rock far from land, it’s covered in healthy coral and teeming with active marine life. We did three dives there and I would go back any day, especially in whale shark season. We were fortunate enough to watch an octopus come slowly out from the wall and take off into the blue, truly a beautiful site to behold.
The current was strong nearly every dive and at Hin Luang, I was in the only group of divers from our boat who managed to reach the site and complete a full dive. The current was so strong that I witnessed one diver pulling himself over a rock holding on to anything he could grab. I shudder to think about how much coral died that day. Although the yellow coral for which the site is named was nice to see and I came face to face with a stonefish until the current yanked me away, I wasn’t a fan of this sort of athletic diving. Give me the pleasant drift diving of Rangiroa’s Tiputa Pass, please.
Liveaboard diving is a commitment to diving: there’s not much else to do. Except overnight, our surface intervals were typically two and a half hours which is just enough time to eat, nap, read or chat with other divers, and sit for a briefing on the next dive. Dive, eat, sleep, repeat. This was the longest liveaboard I’ve done and I was happy each morning to be in the water within an hour of waking, descending into the blue. One fewer dive would have been ok and I can’t imagine how tiring it must have been for those diving on air instead of enriched air. I’m hoping to have a fair amount of diving ahead of me here in SE Asia and this experience was a good reminder that I really do love it. Now if only I were willing to stop traveling and look for work to support the habit…