Liveaboard Diving Trips
The Similan Islands is a group of islands in the Andaman Sea off the coast of Phang Nga Province, southern Thailand. It is a national park which was established in 1982.
Similan Islands National Park was established after a one-year exploration by the forestry department. The park is an archipelago consisting of nine islands named Ko Bon, Ko Bayu, Ko Similan, Ko Payu, Ko Miang (two adjoining islands), Ko Payan, Ko Payang, and Ko Huyong. Recently, the park was expanded to included two remote islands named Ko Bon and Ko Tachai. The Similans are situated 70 kilometres from Phang Nga town. “Similan” is a Yawi word which means “nine”. Similan is one of the most famous diving sites in Thailand, and noted as one of the top ten dive destinations according to the National Geographic Society.
- Similand and Surin Islands 4 Days | from 35,000 THB
Big Blue BSAC run technical diving trips to the similan islands from the period of November to April.
A typical trip aboard the MV Pawara runs something like this.
Our liveaboard customers will be picked up at their hotel or at the airport in the afternoon, and taken to our pier at 7pm and board the boat. Most days we will depart around 9pm after a full boat briefing and a full hearty dinner, this is a perfect time to prep your gear or rebreather. Customers usually spend the time after dinner getting to know their fellow passengers and dive staff whom they’ll be spending the next 4 days with. Some nights we will depart as late as midnight to accommodate some of our customers who fly in late to Phuket. In either case, guests usually go to bed about midnight and sleep through the overnight trip to the Similans.
You’ll wake at 7am by music played over the intercom letting you know that its time for Dive 1. Most people stumble out of bed bleary-eyed and get greeted by staff who help you in to your equipment and get you in to the water. It’s true that most guests finally wake up at that moment. Dive groups are a maximum of 4 people, and the first dive is what we call a check-out dive. Your leader will see how well you dive and how your air consumption is.
At the end of this and every dive, you and your group will surface and indicate to our dingy that you’re ready to be picked up. This dingy will pick you up and take you back to the liveaboard. No surface swims, ever.
As with every dive, once back on board, our staff will help you out of your equipment and place it in the racks for you. You can grab a quick freshwater rinse from the shower on deck and then head up to the outdoor eating areas where a hot breakfast awaits you. Our staff will rinse your gear and fill your tanks while you eat.
After breakfast, most people head back down to their cabins for a nap before the next dive. All the cabins are individually air-conditioned so as the day gets hotter, you’re still comfortable to nap.
Dive 2 is at about 11am and most people wake for this one a little more refreshed. Dive groups might be reorganized to put divers of similar skill levels together, based on observations of the check-out dive. Obviously we never split up people who want to dive together.
After Dive 2, we serve lunch on deck. After lunch, we usually offer an activity for the day. Usually, this involves taking the dinghy to the shore of one of the island where you can lay on the beach, snorkel with turtles, go hiking, or just do nothing at all. Some customers prefer to stay out of the heat and spend their time in the air-conditioned lounge watching one of our DVDs in stock. Sun worshipers may decide to skip the ride to the beach and spend all their time on the sundeck. Others may prefer just to stay in the shaded decks reading or relaxing with the other passengers.
Dive 3 is usually about 2pm, followed by the entire afternoon to relax or go to the beach.
For those interested, the night dive is normally about 7:00pm. For anyone who is not an advanced diver, you can do your Adventure Diving Night training, or even take the full advanced course while on the boat.
After the night dive, dinner is served and after that some people head straight to their cabins, others prefer to relax on deck having a beer and talking about the days dives and discussing what adventures they hope to have on tomorrows dives.
This is a typical day on a 4-day cruise. on day 3 there is no beach to go to, as the dives are at rocky pinnacles, so people just relax on the boat. This is where having a nice big boat really comes in beautifully. There’s always plenty of room for everyone.
On the final day of the cruise, we only make dives 1 and 2, and return to our pier about 3pm. There’s usually a lot of photo taking and email exchanging among new found friends, and after some goodbyes to each other and to the boat we drive our customers back to their hotels.
In addition to this schedule we also run speed boat trips to Richelieu Rock almost every single day day with one of our two speed boats. Our schedule always includes one trip to the similan islands and another traveling to Koh Bon and Koh Tachai which is a popular destination for Manta Rays and Whale Sharks.
Album: BSAC Assistant Instructor