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Dive Review of MV Andaman SeaFarer in
Thailand/Similan Islands

January, 2003, an Instant Reader Report by Pat Wikstrom, NC, USA
Report Number 773
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Socorro Islands, Roatan, South Africa, Costa Rica, Channel Islands,
Massachusetts, North Carolina, Bonaire, Cozumel, Florida, Yucatan Caves,
Bahamas, Little Cayman  & Brac, Belize, Turks & Caicos, Indonesia,
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
calm, noCurrents  
Water Temp
78   to 81    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 90    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
no decompression, deploy a surface marker while performing safety stop  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
4 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
2 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
1 stars   
5 stars    
   After a 12 day liveaboard in Indonesia we tacked on a five day voyage to
the Andaman Sea off Thailand. The MV Andaman SeaFarer was a spotlessly
clean, meticulously maintained 22.5 meter long steel hulled vessel capable
of carrying up to 14 passengers in five double or quad berth cabins. Our
trip had only my group of four divers (Asian travel had fallen way off) and
although Charlie, the French owner/ Captain, was upset with the break-even
finances of this voyage and tried to talk us into a less gas guzzling
itinerary we prevailed and he supplied a wonderful trip through the Similan
islands, Surin, and up to Richelieu Rock. 
   Food, the quality of which was inconsistent, was served on the covered
topside sundeck and consisted of mostly chicken, beef, and fish dishes
served with a variety of Thai sauces along with rice, assorted vegetables,
and a fresh salad most nights. Lunches were sometimes hot meals sometimes
sandwiches, and breakfasts were standard made to order egg and toast
affairs.  Not a luxury liveaboard by Peter Hughes type standards, bunk
rooms were only airconditioned at night and this was via wooden slats in
the cabin doors as the only A/C outlets were in the common corridor. It was
often hot in my upper bunk. Their were two toilet/shower rooms for all
aboard with the five crew laying claim to the forward stall which featured
an Asian style squat toilet, the aft bathroom had a standard toilet. The
crew all slept in bunks in the wheelhouse and we had to pass through their
space to access the beer cooler positioned along the rail. A dollar a can. 
The aft half of the main deck was taken up by a spacious combination dive
deck and cushioned bench seating area. Two spotless compressors stood in
the rear of the deck covered by tarps, standard dive benches ran down the
middle of the dive deck with gear space in crates below and tank storage
behind. Al 80s and steel 100s were pumped to 3100psi, no nitrox on board
but available per tank if ordered ahead of time.
   Diving was usually accomplished from the single 4.7 meter Avon Rib
dinghy with a 25hp outboard. Captain Charlie gave excellent dive briefings
on arrival at each site. This was good because the young Thai divemaster
was adept at finding large and small creatures but didnt really take much
responsibility for divers underwater. He did his dive, if we were with
him-great - if we werent  that was OK too. Surface signaling equipment
was mandatory and we were expected to deploy a surface buoy while
performing our safety stop so the panga driver could locate divers who went
off on their own. Our group took care of ourselves, less experienced divers
might have been in trouble. Charlie, who was the most unfriendly captain
Ive ever sailed with, dove with a crewman buddy during our surface
intervals. Three dives a day was the norm with night dives offered twice
during our trip.
   The diving on our trip was spectacular. Some sites consisted of rocky
boulders or cliff sides like Elephant Head, Three Arches, Bolder City, and
Castle Rocks. Here we found Leopard Sharks, Giant Clams, huge Bumphead
Parrotfish, Giant Trevalley, and occasional Blacktip Reef Sharks cruising
the edges of visibility. Other sites were gorgeous coral encrusted gardens
like Koh Bon/South Rugg which offered up truly magical moments eyeball to
eyeball with a friendly Manta while cruising over fields of pristine hard
corals. East of Eden, Koh Ha/Batfish Bend, and Koh Tachai offered up 10ft
sea fans, monstrous staghorn bushes, multi-hued soft coral, and clouds of
colorful reef fish. 
   But Richelieu Rock was by far the highlight of the trip. Just barely
exposed at low tide this site commanded our attention for a full day of
diving and served up more fish per gallon than all the other sites put
together. One side of this undersea mount had 80-90ft vis washed in bright
sunshine while the other side was plunged into murky gloom from all the
plankton clouding the water. Circling slowly around the site we saw huge
schools of Blue Fusiliers, thousands of Green Chromis, Trumpet fish,
Bannerfish, Sweetlips, Mackerel, five species of Angelfish, thigh sized
YellowMargin Morays, and clouds brilliant Anthias. Spectacular soft coral
arrangements competed for our attention with pairs of Cuttle fish and
Lionfish performing their mating dances. Absolutely incredible world
class site. Although Whale Sharks are no longer regularly seen we felt
wed truly been at one of the special spots in the world. 
   All in all we got our moneys worth. One of the cheapest charters
available out of Phuket, Charlie offers a clean well maintained boat with
spartan but adequate accommodations, and delivers up the diving weve all
read about.
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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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