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Dive Review of West Coast Divers/MV West Coast Explorer in
Thailand/Similan Islands

December, 2007, an Instant Reader Report by Arthur Lafave, DC, USA
Reviewer   (4 reports)
Report Number 3758
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Burma, Phuket, Koh Samui, Sipadan, Koh Chang, Roatan, Bonaire, Grand Turk,
Akumal, St. Croix
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
79   to 80    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
35   to 65    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
depth limit, 60 minutes, recommended stay with dive guide.  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  4 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  3 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
Boat Facilities
Overall rating for UWP's  
Shore Facilities  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
5 stars    
The trip is a four day, four night liveaboard trip that leaves from Tap
Lamu just 20 minutes north of the Sarasin bridge from the mainland to
Phuket.  The boat wends its way through the Similan Islands and is also
scheduled to go to Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock.  It was too
choppy to go to Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock on this trip, but I enjoyed
the trip immensely notwithstanding.  There are typically four dives per day
on the first three days, including a night or sunset dive.  Then there are
two dives on the last morning, allowing you to fly out the following
afternoon.  The MV West Coast Explorer is an extremely well-run operation
and the diving was excellent with several sightings of leopard sharks (2-3
meters long), a manta ray (one with a 4 meter wing span) siting on more
than one dive, lots of sea turtles, a bumphead parrot fish, Napoleon
wrasse, octopus, and many lion fish, scorpion fish, clown and titan
triggerfish, jacks, grouper and moray eels.  This was my second trip on the
boat after a gap of four years.  The Thai staff, including the helpers on
the dive deck, cooking staff and captain were all quick to provide any help
and very friendly.  The dive masters on this trip were two Brits, a German
and a Japanese and they were also all uniformly excellent and quite safety
conscious.  The boat draws an international crowd with a high quotient of
what I would call young, backpacker divers for whom this trip is surely one
of their bigger expenses.  On our trip, I was the only American among four
Canadians, a Brit, two Irish, four Singaporeans, a German, a Swede and a
Fin.  The cabins are quite spartan, with just enough room to stand up in
with the door closed and no place but that floor space for bags.  Also,
bathrooms are shared.  The food was plentiful and good but relatively
basic.  No frills here, just very good, and very well supervised diving in
a paradisical setting with a chance to meet some interesting people.
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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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