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Dive Review of Scuba Nation/N/A in
General Travel/Other Locations/Sihanoukville,Cambodia

Scuba Nation/N/A, Jan, 2004,

by Jan R Shaw, WA, United States (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports). Report 901.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving Washington State, British Columbia, Florida, California, Hawaii, Mexico plus Socorros Islands, Bonaire, Bahamas, Galapagoes Islands, Microneasia, Thailand
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy Seas currents
Water Temp 81 to 83 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 15 to 30 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Dive guide (divemaster) required . 60 minute maximum bottom time. Areas we dove were down to 65 feet Okay to dive with your own computer
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 1 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 1 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 1 stars Boat Facilities 1 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 1 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 1 stars Food 2 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 2 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 2 stars
Advanced 2 stars
Comments Scuba Nation in Sihanoukville, Cambodia has been in operation for about two years. We chose the two day five dives (one a night dive) liveaboard as opposed to the closer in (two and a half hour boat trip to the site) day diving. Scuba Nation was quite upfront that the waters any closer to Sihanoukville would not be good diving. They said that a cab would pick us up at our hotel the next morning and take us to the boat dock. Please note Scuba Nation is a cash only no credit cards US dollars please operation.

The dive boat is a converted Khmer fishing boat. Those boats have a flat roof. There was an arched canvas area up on the roof for us to sleep and stay out of the sun during the 4 or 5 hours it took to get to Koh Tang island. We slept on the kind of lounge chairs you'd use for sunning in your own backyard. Two of the five people on the this trip were over six feet tall, so they were longer than the lounge chairs. We were advised not to sleep on the flat deck/roof of the boat as there was rain most evenings. The bathroom is a hole in the deck. The Vietnamese captain doubled as the cook. Food was plain but plentiful, lots of fruit, tea/coffee water and soda. Beer was extra. There was a compressor on board. The gear was of Thai manufacture and fairly new.

The diving was lead by a Divemaster with a divemaster trainee as an assistant. For the first dive the DM trainee went over the side twice to verify the locatin of the boat and the speed of the current. If he couldn't make it back to the boat it was judged to be too much current.

Due to this current on the first dive not all divers made it to the bottom in the same location. After waiting for ten minutes between two rocks on the bottom at 45 feet three of us plus the Divemaster continued the dive. The visibility ranged from 15-25 feet. Lots of back scatter. The bottom was rocky with some coral. The fish were mostly small but some were up to 5 inches in length. The dive turned into a drift dive which reminded one diver of Cozumel for it's speed. When we surfaced the other couple and the DM trainee were on the surface having completed their own dive.

The second dive was similar except this time we also swam into the same current in order to do a safety stop at 20 feet. It was close to 5 PM so the visibilty was dropping. I did see sereral nudibranches and a seasnake. We were moored in the middle of four fishing boats for the evening.

I skipped the night dive which was about 30 minutes in duration and judging from the post dive chatter still a lot of current and two eels at a new site about 30 feet in depth.

The next day we did the before breakfast dive off the same island. Still swimming into current. The visabilty was good about 25-30 feet One couple got separated from the group and surfaced alone as a buddy team sharing air with their alternative air source. Two of the other three divers made their drifting safety stop with less than 50 bar (500 psi) of air.

Our chase boat was delayed in picking us up as the main boat had just been boarded by five members of the Cambodian navy who left half an hour after we had reboarded, clutching their bribe of beer and cigarettes. We then moved to a different island and dove a pristine site. The DM did not even know the name of the island.

The last dive was another drift dive but it was the best dive of the trip. The visiblity remained good there was lots of coral for the entire dive and the greatest number of fishes seen on the trip. However all of the divers were slowing down due to the need to swim into the current in order for the divemaster to get up to 20-25 feet for a safety stop before we all did the drifting stop.

It was a quiet lunch and five hour boat ride back to Sihoukville.

If you are out in Southeast Asia and want to go diving you take what there is. Just remember that not all liveaboards are of the Aggressor/PeterHghes class, but then one would not expect that in a country that just regained it's feet politically in 1997 or so.

One note: After we arrived back at the Scuba Nation dive shop riding with all the gear in the back of a pickup over a dirt road we were asked to pay for both that truck ride and the cab that had transported us to the dock the first morning. No I didn't buy a T-shirt.
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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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