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My husband & are are heading to Thailand in Jan/Feb 2004. We're planning to go on a liveaboard and are looking for reviews/recommendations.
We're really fairly wide-open on the price - we have travelled very cheaply (6 months in Indonesia at $5/day) and very well (all-inclusives in Mexico and gourmet dining in Barbados). The thing that matters most to us is the diving. In particular, we're fairly good on air & don't like to have to come up when the first person is out - we like to stay down as long as possible. The other thing we're really interested in is life. Big, small, we don't care - but we like to know what it is. So, a good briefing, description of habits, and an understanding of what we might see is very important to us.
We're also looking for a longer trip - 9 days or more. We want to go to the Burma Banks and the Similans & Richelieu Rock (we'll probably get to Hin Daeng & Hin Muang from Phi Phi - we've been there before - thus far, Hin Muang takes the award for best dive we've ever been on).
I have read through the posts, but figured it might not hurt to ask for recommendations personally anyway.
I dove with Panunee in the past and already booked a trip with them for this coming season. The boat is big and comfortable with friendly staffs. Ali, one of the diveguide is absolutely incredible at finding all the little macro stuffs. However, they only have shorter trips 4-5 days however during Feb-March, you should be able to combine 2 trips like Phi Phi-Similan-Richelieu and burma-Richelieu.
Here is the link: http://www.panunee.com/home.htm
Terrible to the point of being outright dangerious.
Before leaving port during a 5 min blackout Rats ate my wifes pringles whilst we we sitting on the bed in the room. After eating through the bag and the pringles box, quite impressive speed when you think about it.
Couldnt sleep in doors because of engine fumes which I am sure were also finding their way into the tanks until the ONLY compressor broke after our first dive.
No identifyable equipment on board. Safety?? What Safety equipment ?
Too much more to mention.
It was only our second livaboard ever (after Nimrod) and now, knowing better, we would have refused to get on the boat.
That trip was just after maintenence so it may have got better but overall not worth the risk of diving with a company that is so unprofessional.
...the White Manta http://www.whitemanta.com/ . It is not luxurious but it is very comfortable and priced as such. Because it’s only done one season in Thailand, it never gets overcrowded. I believe the operator is pretty flexible with everything except safety so longer dives still within your training limits should not be a problem.
That's true and I should have mentioned that in the first place (if I had only known....). I believe the White Manta only goes to Similans, Richelieu Rock and Hin Daeng which were places that kara mentioned that she was visiting. It's an option that may not be as luxurious or expensive as the others mentioned. I'm spoiling her for choice.
I'm going on a one week Burma trip in November 2003 with M/V Shortcut. I've been on the boat two times already, a four day and a seven day trip to Similan/Surin/Richelieu. I can highly recommend it. The boat's very stable which is very fine when the weather is rough.