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Dive Review of Samui International Divers/Samui Natien in
Thailand/Gulf of Thailand

September, 2002, an Instant Reader Report by Carl Scott, TX, USA
Contributor   (16 reports)
Report Number 208
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Cozumel, Little Cayman, Costa Rica, Flower Gardens, St. Croix, Palau
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
84   to 86    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
15   to 60    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
After the first dive, I was allowed to dive away from the group and as long
as my computer would allow in most cases (except once, when staying down
longer on the first dive would make for a too short surface interval when
the group re-entered for the 2nd dive).  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
1 stars  
There was no dedicated rinse bucket for cameras, either on the boats or on
shore.  One of the boats had no rinse bucket at all.  Neither had a camera
table or other area for cameras.  Photographers were essentially ignored.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
2 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
3 stars    
My expectations were not high, because I knew that the best diving in
Thailand is on the other side of the penninsula.  Diving was good, but not
spectacular.  Vis was typically in the 40-60' range due to nutrient rich
waters, though the marine park area is much worse (as little as 15' on one
dive).  Magnificent anenomes literally blanketed the reefs in most areas,
with large numbers of anenome fish and anthias schooling about.  Saw
Weaver's butterflyfish, Blue ringed angels, and bannerfish on nearly every
dive, plus some that weren't in any books that I could find.  Numerous
nudibranchs.  The dive operation left much to be desired.  While they
generally ran a structured and safe operation, I was allowed to dive solo
on nearly every dive (I lagged behind taking photos, and they never came
looking for me or acted concerned when we passed later in the dive).  This
may be due to my certification and experience, but, if not, is very
negligent.  Lunch was always delicious Thai cuisine, and there was plenty
of it.  Breakfast is provided on the big boat, but it's just toast and
bananas, with tea and instant coffee.  They pick up all clients at their
hotels each morning and drove them to the dock.  On my first day, I
instantly saw a table where everyone was to sign in.  However, after doing
so, I was not given any further information and finally, when hearing the
announcement that the boats were leaving, had to ask someone who looked
like they knew their way around which boat I should get on.  She turned out
to be my divemaster.  Things went more smoothly the next few days.  Then,
on the last day, they failed to pick me up.  I eventually got concerned and
asked the hotel to drive me to the dock, arriving just in time to see the
boat pulling away from the pier.  There was no one left at the dock to
radio the boat, and another operator said that they operated on a
proprietary frequency.  The shop reluctantly offered to process a refund
for one day's diving at some time within the next couple of weeks, flat
refusing to run the refund through their credit card POS terminal or refund
in cash.  I found out at that time that I was supposed to have been given a
schedule upon arrival, but it was still in my file in the office.  It would
have reflected that they forgot to schedule me for the last day's diving! 
Bottom line is that, while I wouldn't be concerned about diving with these
folks again, their service was marginal, at best, and their apologies were
non-existent.  The icing on the cake was the $50 video CD that I bought,
which, despite repeated assurances otherwise, wouldn't play in my DVD
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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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