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Dive Review of White Manta in
Thailand/Andaman Sea

December, 2007, an Instant Reader Report by Ian Kennedy, CAlifornia, USA
Sr. Reviewer   (10 reports)
Report Number 3770
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Australia, NZ, Hawaii, Fiji, California, Florida, Cozumel, USVI, Puerto
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

windy, dry  
Water Temp
84   to 0    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 40    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Diving with DM in a group  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  2 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
Large rinse tank on deck. Power adapters provided for re charging on board.
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
3 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  
3 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
3 stars    
I spent three days, and two nights, on board the White Manta, out of
Phuket, Thailand, at the end of November and beginning of December,
originally for a trip to Hin Daeng and Hin Muang. The cabin was clean and
comfortable, although the bunk became a little hard during a night bouncing
around in the fairly large seas. I had arranged my trip through Sunrise
Divers in Karon Beach, Phuket. Jamie at Sunrise Divers turned out to be a
very helpful and accommodating person.

The entire crew were unfailingly generous, friendly, and welcoming. The
food on the boat was outstanding, generally Thai. We were given more than
enough to eat  often fresh seafood like crabs, squid, and mussels.

We did not depart from the port until about mid-day. We went out to Shark
Island and did two dives. The group on board the boat, about 16 divers, was
split into three groups. The less-experienced divers went with Chris, who
was from England. Another group went with Jimmy from Singapore, and my
group of five more experienced divers went off with John from Indonesia. We
did two dives that day, both of them down to around about 80 feet.
Unfortunately, John tended to be rather keen on covering a lot of ground at
a fairly good pace, so I did not have much of a chance to do a lot of
photography. I spent most of the dive keeping an eye on John and the rest
of the group. A fellow photographer, from Brazil, found the same problem.
Unfortunately, Shark Island was depleted of sharks and there was not a lot
else to see. The seas were fairly rough, and visibility was poor at about
30 feet. Fortunately, the water was warm at around 84 Fahrenheit.

We had to return to port to pick up some new divers who had arrived. As it
turned out, this was a stroke of luck for one of our fellow divers   a
woman from Holland, in her mid 40s , who had traveled to Thailand with her
father two days prior to embarking on the trip. Apparently, she had also
had four hours of dental surgery the day before. As we sat in port waiting
for our new divers to join us, she complained of a very bad headache and
also pain in her hips. Her dive buddy reported that the dives, to 80 ft,
were normal with good slow ascents and safety stops. Several of us, who
were sitting with her, believed that she probably had decompression
sickness despite the dive profile, and we thought that she should go
immediately onto oxygen. However, the DM in charge suggested that they
would keep an eye on her condition and see how she was in the morning. This
struck us, and her, as rather unsatisfactory treatment. About an hour after
the symptoms began, she exhibited a skin rash on both the legs. After that,
there was no more debate about the cause of the problem. Unfortunately, the
crew was unable to immediately locate an O2 tank. This seemed extremely
unsatisfactory. They eventually located an oxygen cylinder of some sort,
certainly not the green tank that is supplied by DAN. She was administered
pure oxygen and the symptoms began to clear up almost immediately. She was
eventually taken off to hospital. I learned later that she underwent two
treatments in the Phuket chamber, and her condition was completely
resolved. The physician advised her to avoid diving for six to eight weeks,
and to make sure she was satisfactorily hydrated in the future. The story
had a happy ending, but the handling of the situation on the boat was less
than satisfactory.

That night we set sail for Hin Daeng. During the night we encountered very
heavy seas, and periodically I almost levitated off the bunk. The boat
would plow into the waves and shoot up to meet the next onslaught. Quite a
night! During the night, a television came off its mounting in the lounge
area, and fell onto the head of John, our DM, who was sleeping in the
lounge. Fortunately, he was not injured. The seas were so rough that we had
to put into Phi Phi harbor for shelter. Given the conditions of the seas,
we could not make it to Hin Daeng. We spent the second day diving around
Phi Phi at Ko Doc Mai. Yet again, the visibility was not great, the pace
set by John was not conducive to photography, and there was not a great
deal to see, other than the usual moray eels, some nice soft corals, sea
fans and lots of urchins (watch where you put your limbs). We returned to
Phi Phi Island that evening for shelter and did a night dive. We saw some
large lobsters and a few other critters but nothing spectacular. The next
day, our final day, we spent at the Palong Wall, and Koh Bide Nai. We
finally got to see a leopard shark, the only shark sighting (or large
animal for that matter) on our three-day outing. The islands themselves
were quite spectacular, set in the ocean, rising up almost vertically from
the sea. Below the surface, visibility was again not great, and other than
the shark there was not a great deal of life. The last dive turned out to
be the best of the whole trip. There was a decent amount of fish life,
colorful corals, anemones, and other interesting things. It goes to show
the benefit of shallow diving - more life, more light, and longer bottom

While I was in Karon Beach (one hour and $20 from the Phuket airport), I
stayed at the Karon Beach Hotel which is right next door to Sunrise Divers.
My room was clean, and comfortable. I ate dinner and breakfasts at the
hotel restaurant where the food was very good, and the service very
friendly, as usual.

Photos are at
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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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