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Dive Review of Philkade in

January, 2008, an Instant Reader Report by Sherwin Isenberg, M.D., CA, USA
Report Number 3983
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Australia, Palau, Hawaii, Cayman, Indonesia, Calif, St Thomas, Belize, etc
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
currents, no currents  
Water Temp
80   to 83    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Max depth was recommended.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Cameras handled gently by crew.  Into rinse tank and then onto table.  They
knew who possessed which camera and handed them off in the water.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
4 stars    
Divers board from Phuket, Thailand which is easy to reach from almost
anywhere in Asia, including Singapore or Bangkok.  The boat is magnificent.
 It was converted from a pleasure craft into a dive craft.  Diving is from
a smaller tender.  The tender is easily entered from the mother ship's
stern.  However, re-entry from the water involves lifting one' body up.  At
my age, this would have been difficult, if not for the assistance of a lift
from an incredibly strong crew member.  The one thing that would improve
operations is a ladder on the tender.

I have been on more than 20 liveaboard boats.  The crew on the Philkade is
the best I have ever encountered.  It may be the famous Thai hospitality. 
When preparing for a dive, they handed you the equipment and even helped
you in and, later out, of your wetsuit.  In actuality, each diver had his
(or her) personal dive valet!  Every liveaboard should emulate the crew of
the Philkade.  The British dive masters were also excellent.

The fish life seen and photographed include huge leopard sharks, turtles,
octopus (including a pair mating), banded sea snakes, batfish, morays,
pipefish, lobster, frogfish (both pygmy and normal),  cuttlefish, sting
rays, and many more.  

The boat cruises through the Similan and other islands.  While there were
often other dive boats on the same or nearby sites, we seldom encountered
other divers.  One highlight is Richelieu Rock.  That day was the one day
with strong currents.  Never-the-less, we descended on the rope and enjoyed
an amazing variety of underwater life.

The food was good, although a bit repetitive at the end.  Dinner was held
on the lovely stern deck in the open air.  Very comfortable.

This boat and dive operation are highly recommended.
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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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