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Dive Review of Scuba Nation/N/A in
Other Locations/Sihanoukville,Cambodia

January, 2004, an Instant Reader Report by Jan R Shaw, WA, United States
Reviewer   (3 reports)
Report Number 901
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Washington State, British Columbia, Florida,California,Hawaii,Mexico plus
Socorros Islands, Bonaire, Bahamas,Galapagoes Islands, Microneasia,
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, rainy  
Water Temp
81   to 83    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
15   to 30    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Dive guide (divemaster) required . 60 minute maximum bottom time. Areas we
dove were down to 65 feet Okay to dive with your own computer  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
1 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
1 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
1 stars  
Boat Facilities
1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
1 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
1 stars
2 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
2 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
2 stars   
2 stars    
Scuba Nation in Sihanoukville, Cambodia has been in operation for about two
years.  We chose the two day five dives (one a night dive) liveaboard as
opposed to the closer in (two and a half hour boat trip to the site) day
diving.  Scuba Nation was quite upfront that the waters any closer to
Sihanoukville would not be good diving. They said that a cab would pick us
up at our hotel the next morning and take us to the boat dock. Please note
Scuba Nation is a cash only  no credit cards US dollars please operation.
The dive boat is a converted Khmer fishing boat. Those boats have a flat
roof.  There was an arched canvas area up on the roof for us to sleep and
stay out of the sun during the 4 or 5 hours it took to get to Koh Tang
island.  We slept on the kind of lounge chairs you'd use for sunning in
your own backyard.  Two of the five people on the this trip were over six
feet tall, so they were longer than the lounge chairs.  We were advised not
to sleep on the flat deck/roof of the boat as there was rain most evenings.
The bathroom is a hole in the deck.  The Vietnamese captain doubled as the
cook.  Food was plain but plentiful, lots of fruit, tea/coffee water and
soda.  Beer was extra.  There was a compressor on board.  The gear was of
Thai manufacture and fairly new.

The diving was lead by a Divemaster with a divemaster trainee as an
assistant. For the first dive the DM trainee went over the side twice to
verify the locatin of the boat and the speed of the current.  If he
couldn't make it back to the boat it was judged to be too much current. 

Due to this current on the first dive not all divers made it to the bottom
in the same location.  After waiting for ten minutes between two rocks on
the bottom at 45 feet three of us plus the Divemaster  continued the dive.
The visibility ranged from 15-25 feet. Lots of back scatter.  The bottom
was rocky with some coral.  The fish were mostly small but some were up to
5 inches in length. The dive turned into a drift dive which reminded one
diver of Cozumel for it's speed.  When we surfaced the other couple and the
DM trainee were on the surface having completed their own dive.  

The second dive was similar except this time we also swam into the same
current in order to do a safety stop at 20 feet.  It was close to 5 PM so
the visibilty was dropping.  I did see sereral nudibranches and a seasnake.
 We were moored in the middle of four fishing boats for the evening.

I skipped the night dive which was about 30 minutes in duration and judging
from the post dive chatter still a lot of current and two eels at a new
site about 30 feet in depth.  

The next day we did the before breakfast dive off the same island. Still
swimming into current. The visabilty was good about 25-30 feet One couple
got separated from the group and surfaced alone as a buddy team sharing air
with their alternative air source. Two of the other three divers made their
drifting safety stop with less than 50 bar (500 psi) of air.  

Our chase boat was delayed in picking us up as the main boat had just been
boarded by five members of the Cambodian navy who left half an hour after
we had reboarded, clutching their bribe of beer and cigarettes. We then
moved to a different island  and dove a pristine site.  The DM did not even
know the name of the island. 

The last dive was another drift dive but it was the best dive of the trip.
The visiblity remained good there was lots of coral for the entire dive and
the greatest number of fishes seen on the trip.  However all of the divers
were slowing down due to the need to swim into the current in order for the
divemaster to get up to 20-25 feet for a safety stop before we all did the
drifting stop.

It was a quiet lunch and five hour boat ride back to Sihoukville.

If you are out in Southeast Asia and want to go diving you take what there
is.  Just remember that not all liveaboards are of the Aggressor/PeterHghes
class, but then one would not expect that in a country that just regained
it's feet politically in 1997 or so.

One note: After we arrived back at the Scuba Nation dive shop riding with
all the gear in the back of a pickup over a dirt road we were asked to pay
for both that truck ride and the cab that had transported us to the dock
the first morning.  No I didn't buy a T-shirt.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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