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Dive Review of The Junk in
Thailand

The Junk, Mar, 2005,

by Thomas Lippert, AG, Switzerland . Report 1654.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Egypt, Sudan, Palau, Yap, Truuk, Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands, Cuba, Bahamas, Galapagos, Yucatan, British Columbia, Maledives, Bali, Sulawesi, Tioman, California, Florida, Tenerife, Malta
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 28 to 29 Celsius Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 10 to 30 Meters

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 5 min safety stop, try not to go into decompression, tell in advance if you plan to stay longer than 60 min, come back with 20 bar in tank
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 5 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 N/A
UW Photo Comments rinse tank, DVD player, TL, computer (dive guide has one) is there.
Professional videographer on board, dive guides very very knowledgeable about UWP and very helpful

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Diving on The JUNK (www.thejunk.com) is something very special. It is an old Chinese junk (1962) which has even been used in a James Bond movie (the man with the golden colt) and was redesigned several times. We were in cabin with 3 beds (but used it for 2), but there are 2 double 2 triple and 4 bed cabins. All cabins have an air condition and private toilet shower. The space is limited but worked for two in the 3 bed cabin perfect. The food is always very plentiful and on average very good. Water, tea and coffee are for free, while other drinks (including beer and wine) have to be purchased (mark your drinks and pay at the end-in cash or credit card). The crew is extreme friendly and helpful, and I almost never touched my equipment. The dive guides are very guide and quite relaxed (if you have experience...the check also on the fist dive). You can follow the guides or also do your stuff with your buddy (just follow the general rules-see above). The dive briefings very very good and detailed, including what to look for, and the guides are extreme good in finding small critters (and also larger). We were 15 people on board (Thai, German, Swiss, South African, Dutch, Japanese) and used 3 dinghies for diving (each dingy with one guide). It was never really crowded when we suited up, and the BCDs stayed with the tanks which were filled immediately after each dive. There is also some spare equipment on board, but bring your own except weight belts, lead, and tanks.
The diving was always done from the dinghies, with a backroll into the water, and coming back with the help of the driver (if needed) over the side (after handing up all equipment).
I did 18 dives (out of 19) in 5 diving days (including 2 night dives). The dive sites are all quite well and it was very difficult to say whether we saw damage from the Tsunami 9at Surin). We dove the Similan islands (6 dives on the ay up and 3 on the way back), Koh Bon, Richelieu Rock, and Surin Islands. We saw in principle everything which I hoped for, i.e. Harlequin Ghost Pipe Fish (Similan and Richelieu), seahorses (Tigertail in yellow or black at Richelieu Rock), frog fish (Richelieu), harlequin crab, mantis shrimp, blue and black ribbon eels (Similan and RR), Jans Pipefish an Schultzes Pipefish (Surin), porcupine ray (Surin), leopard sharks (Similan at sharkfin reef), mantas (at Koh Bon, staying for almost 50 min with us), only 2 reef sharks (one white and one blacktip), and a lot of small crabs (ghost and some which were one a few mm), many types of scorpion fish and lion fish, morays (white eye and ..), octopus, turtles (green and hawksbill) cuttle fish laying eggs, and many types of nudibranches (the specialty of Kay and Jay, Thai-Swiss diveguide couple).
Overall many things to see.my only complain is that at almost each place there were many other live-aboards (up to 10 and I heard that this is now a low number because of the Tsunami), and sometimes too many divers were in the water for my expectation on a live-aboard.
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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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