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Dive Review of Mermaid Liveaboards/Mermaid 2 in
Thailand/Southern Thailand

March, 2011, an Instant Reader Report by Randall S Preissig, TX, US
Sr. Contributor   (29 reports, with 2 Helpful votes)
Report Number 6002
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Cayman, Cozumel, Bonaire, Virgin Islands, Red Sea, Sipidan, PNG, Truk,
Ponape, Palau, Hawaii, Tahiti, Australia, Cocos, Galapagos, other
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, cloudy  
Water Temp
82   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Maximum depth 100 ft.  No decompression diving.  Maximum time 60 minutes
including 5 minute safety stop. Buddy diver assigned.   
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
1 or 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  2 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Rinse tank, compressed air blower and (very) small table supplied. 
Equipment handled very well, but no segregation of dive table from drinks,
drips, towels, food, etc.  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
4 stars   
4 stars    
Please see my other report on the Similan Islands:

The 3 day/10 dive trip to Southern Thailand--Hin Huang, Hin Duang, Koh
Haa--is often coupled on the Mermaid 2 with the 4 day/12 dive trip to the
Similan Islands.  I did two trips to the Southern Islands on one trip to
the Similans on the Mermaid 2.  I booked all my trips, including the
separately reported Burma trip on the JAZZ, through Dive Adventures Asia
at:  Todd Lakes at Dive Adventures Asia was
extremely knowledgeable in trips throughout Burma, Maldives, Indonesia,
Thailand and Malaysia with guaranteed best pricing.  He can also help with
the tricky airline connections often needed on some of these remote trips. 
I was happy with his service and prices and plan to use him again.

There were 14 staff on the boat--5 divemasters and the rest Thai helpers,
captain, cook, etc.  All were extraordinarily anxious to help/please the 16
guests.  I had read Undercurrent comments from prior reports on the level
of service on Thai dive boats, but it has to be experienced to be believed.
 Every dive, including night dives were guided, and guided well with groups
of 2 to 5 per divemaster.  This wasn't babysitting from afar--it was active
"show and tell", which allowed me to do my own thing while
staying close enough to see each of the finds by the divemasters.  This
very significantly expanded the number of critters sited by everyone.  The
Thai helpers even put our flippers on our feet after we entered the skiff. 
Most dives were from the two skiffs unless the boat could be anchored at a
good access point.  The rooms were a little on the small side and the AC in
our room was barely adequate when supplemented by a fan, but others seemed
to have good AC.  Food was plentiful, offered often, varied with a lot of
local food and very good. Pre- and post trip arrangements at their hotel
were excellent(free wireless, pool access, etc.).  Dive briefings were
clear, well illustrated and helpful from a safety as well as "what to
see and where" aspect. Altogether the best service I've ever had on a
liveaboard, and I've been on over 20. The staff videographer Pepe was
excellent and anxious to help all in sightings, their own photography, etc.
I bought the video, which is rare for me to do.
The water was very warm and a 3mm shorty was all anyone needed for the
maximum of 4 dives a day. There was some unseasonable rain and wind, but
not much.  Probably a La Nina effect(think Australian floods).
What I saw on my two trips(20 dives):  Devil scorpion fish,ornate squat
lobster, dozens of purple dragon nudibranchs, halgerda nudi laying eggs and
many other nudis, ornate ghost pipefish, tiger tail seahorses, cuttlefish,
banded pipefish, dancing shrimp, skeleton shrimp,one huge green turtle
asleep, schools of baitfish with rainbow runners and trevelly feeding.
There was a shocking absence of sharks!  I did not see one shark in 49
dives in Burma and Thailand(see my other current reports)! Fishermen can
make a month's profits by selling one shark for its fins--guess where all
the sharks went? Divemasters report seeing fewer that 10 sharks in an
entire season! Although I did see one manta at Koh Bon on another trip and
one whale shark(the first sighting of the entire season) was sighted(not by
me) on another trip, the days of routinely seeing these pelagics in
Thailand is long past.  This was my only disappointment of the trip, as
many web sites report routine sightings.  This has changed in the last 5
years, and divers should be aware of this when they decide on where to
spend their dive time/dollars.  Overfishing is obvious, with fishing boats
even seen in protected areas.
 Reportedly, the Mermaid 2 is moving to Indonesia due to the superior
diving.  Apparently, other boats are also moving.  The diving was very good
but not the extraordinary experience that we hope for when we travel 12
time zones.  The extraordinary service on the Mermaid 2 definitely made the
trip worth doing and I plan on following them to Indonesia.
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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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