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Trip Report: Surin & Similan Islands Liveaboard, January 2019

Discussion in 'Thailand' started by Ironborn, Feb 17, 2019.

  1. Damselfish

    Damselfish Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boston
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    Not sure I've ever been on a liveaboard (in about 20) that didn't do the first dive before breakfast. Usually they will have coffee/juice/cereal type stuff out before. I'm not a morning person but I get over it. And if I'm 12 times zones off, I hardly know what time it is anyway.

    It's nice to dive directly off a liveaboard, I certainly prefer it. But I've done enough that used dinghies or chase boats of various sorts. That choice almost always makes sense for the local area/conditions/mothership. Plenty of liveaboards are in places where diving off the mothership wouldn't work very well and probably be less safe. If you don't like diving off dinghies, give those those boats/destinations a miss. Easy.

    I'd say you get what you pay for, but that phrase is too simplistic. The trick is that someone else's idea of which things are unnecessary frills is unlikely to line up perfectly with your idea of unnecessary frills - especially if you're a fussy person. The more you pay for, the more likely you will get the things you want, probably along with some things you don't care about, but that's the way it goes.

    You did a budget trip which is what you thought you wanted, I didn't see anything about safety issues, you seemed generally happy with the diving itself, and you learned some stuff. Sounds pretty good to me.
     
    stevenl likes this.
  2. diveUAE

    diveUAE Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Abu Dhabi
    97
    57
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    >>exceeding those of the Sahaung pinnacle off Bankga Island in Indonesia.<< Can you tell more about this place? Who did you dive with, what time of year, how was the diving? We're going on a LOB ending in this area in August (Blue Bay divers)

    We did Similan, Koh Bon, Koh Tarchai and Rechileu Rock last year in April and loved especially RR. We were on "Similan Seven Sea club liveaboard" and it was ok, even though it was budget. Also all the LOB we've done so far has had an early morning dive, then breakfast - I love the early morning dive, and always hope to "beat" the other LOB (of there's more around the same spot) - the feeling of having the dive site all to yourself is just magic to me.
     
  3. Ironborn

    Ironborn Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: New York, New York
    304
    188
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    @diveUAE In November 2018, I stayed at Murex Bangka, the Bangka Island branch of the Murex Dive Resorts chain. The diving was excellent, with very rich reef growth and a lot of fish. I would say that Bangka Island in general was a richer environment than the parts of the Andaman Sea that I covered in this liveaboard trip, but Richelieu Rock in particular was probably a richer environment than Sahaung in particular. I think that Bangka Island has more places for the animals to go, whereas there was more of a concentration of marine life at Richelieu Rock because it is more isolated.

    Blue Bay Divers has a resort on Bangka Island. I would wager that their liveaboard will probably take you to Sahaung, since it seems to be regarded as one of the "must-see" sites around the island. If possible, ask them to take you to the neighboring Talisei Island as well, which I considered another of the highlights of that leg of my Indonesia trip.

    Below is a link my trip report on Bangka Island.

    Trip Report: Bangka Island, November 2018
     
  4. diveUAE

    diveUAE Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Abu Dhabi
    97
    57
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    Great read - thank you! I did search Bangka on this forum, but your report did somehow not come up. Read both the Bangka and Lembeh now, as we will be passing through Lembeh as well (will also visit: Una Una, Togean Island, Gorontalo and Buyat) during our 11 day LOB. Now I'm looking even more forward to the trip, as I absolutely love macro diving:)

    Getting a bit worried about Singapore Airlines though, as if they don't get me to Singapore on time for the Manado flight, I'll miss our connecting fright to Luwuk - and the LOB:-/
     
  5. UFOrb

    UFOrb Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Brighton, UK
    417
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    @diveUAE Batu Sahaung is a 10min boat ride from Blue Bay Divers resort on Sahaung island. They consider it to be their house reef.
    There is also a nice shore dive from the beach in front of the resort but it's more of a muck site and is mostly used as a checkout dive for new guests and night dives, although I did it twice during the day time as I really enjoyed it - there's all sorts to see on that site and my guide even spotted a pigmy squid probably shorter than the finger nail on my little finger! Although it just looked like a bit of debris to me, until I slowed down the video I captured of it.

    We were there early-mid Aug last year. Sahaung was our highlight in that area. It was a kaleidoscope of colourful soft corals, with many many fish. And we saw pygmy seahorses and a blacktip reef shark within 5 or 10 mins of each other.

    The Blue Bay Divers LOB (KLM Sunshine?) doesn't always leave from or return to Sahaung, but I'm assuming from what you said you'll be finishing at the resort? If not, I would definitely recommend adding a few days at the resort if you can.
     
  6. UFOrb

    UFOrb Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Brighton, UK
    417
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    One thing to add about August is that it does seem to get a bit blowy in the afternoons. At Blue Bay they generally do two morning dives but tend not to stray too far for the afternoon dive as the wind and waves get up. Not really a problem though as there are some nice nearby reasonably protected sites to dive, including a site where I saw hippocampus pontohi seahorses on a couple of occasions.....ssshhhhh.
    Also, blue bay itself is protected and its a lovely place to just relax. There’s plenty to see snorkelling too. I spent hours snorkelling in the late afternoons/evenings with my 5 year old son, who's becoming a great little spotter :)
     
    diveUAE likes this.
  7. diveUAE

    diveUAE Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Abu Dhabi
    97
    57
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    Thank you so much! Very good to know you were there in August as well - our trip is 1.-11. of August, and does end at Blue Bay Divers - think we will have a least 3 dives in the area, so will ask for Sahaung and even if it's not in the program, maybe we can do the shore dive from the resort as well. We only have 1 night at the resort, then fly to Singapore for 3 days.
     

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