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Dive Review of MV Andaman SeaFarer in
Thailand/Similan Islands

MV Andaman SeaFarer, Jan, 2003,

by Pat Wikstrom, NC, USA . Report 773.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 2 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 1 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments After a 12 day liveaboard in Indonesia we tacked on a five day voyage to the Andaman Sea off Thailand. The MV Andaman SeaFarer was a spotlessly clean, meticulously maintained 22.5 meter long steel hulled vessel capable of carrying up to 14 passengers in five double or quad berth cabins. Our trip had only my group of four divers (Asian travel had fallen way off) and although Charlie, the French owner/ Captain, was upset with the break-even finances of this voyage and tried to talk us into a less gas guzzling itinerary we prevailed and he supplied a wonderful trip through the Similan islands, Surin, and up to Richelieu Rock.
Food, the quality of which was inconsistent, was served on the covered topside sundeck and consisted of mostly chicken, beef, and fish dishes served with a variety of Thai sauces along with rice, assorted vegetables, and a fresh salad most nights. Lunches were sometimes hot meals sometimes sandwiches, and breakfasts were standard made to order egg and toast affairs. Not a luxury liveaboard by Peter Hughes type standards, bunk rooms were only airconditioned at night and this was via wooden slats in the cabin doors as the only A/C outlets were in the common corridor. It was often hot in my upper bunk. Their were two toilet/shower rooms for all aboard with the five crew laying claim to the forward stall which featured an Asian style squat toilet, the aft bathroom had a standard toilet. The crew all slept in bunks in the wheelhouse and we had to pass through their space to access the beer cooler positioned along the rail. A dollar a can. The aft half of the main deck was taken up by a spacious combination dive deck and cushioned bench seating area. Two spotless compressors stood in the rear of the deck covered by tarps, standard dive benches ran down the middle of the dive deck with gear space in crates below and tank storage behind. Al 80’s and steel 100’s were pumped to 3100psi, no nitrox on board but available per tank if ordered ahead of time.
Diving was usually accomplished from the single 4.7 meter Avon Rib dinghy with a 25hp outboard. Captain Charlie gave excellent dive briefings on arrival at each site. This was good because the young Thai divemaster was adept at finding large and small creatures but didn’t really take much responsibility for divers underwater. He did his dive, if we were with him-great - if we weren’t – that was OK too. Surface signaling equipment was mandatory and we were expected to deploy a surface buoy while performing our safety stop so the panga driver could locate divers who went off on their own. Our group took care of ourselves, less experienced divers might have been in trouble. Charlie, who was the most unfriendly captain I’ve ever sailed with, dove with a crewman buddy during our surface intervals. Three dives a day was the norm with night dives offered twice during our trip.
The diving on our trip was spectacular. Some sites consisted of rocky boulders or cliff sides like Elephant Head, Three Arches, Bolder City, and Castle Rocks. Here we found Leopard Sharks, Giant Clams, huge Bumphead Parrotfish, Giant Trevalley, and occasional Blacktip Reef Sharks cruising the edges of visibility. Other sites were gorgeous coral encrusted gardens like Koh Bon/South Rugg which offered up truly magical moments eyeball to eyeball with a friendly Manta while cruising over fields of pristine hard corals. East of Eden, Koh Ha/Batfish Bend, and Koh Tachai offered up 10ft sea fans, monstrous staghorn bushes, multi-hued soft coral, and clouds of colorful reef fish.
But Richelieu Rock was by far the highlight of the trip. Just barely exposed at low tide this site commanded our attention for a full day of diving and served up more fish per gallon than all the other sites put together. One side of this undersea mount had 80-90ft vis washed in bright sunshine while the other side was plunged into murky gloom from all the plankton clouding the water. Circling slowly around the site we saw huge schools of Blue Fusiliers, thousands of Green Chromis, Trumpet fish, Bannerfish, Sweetlips, Mackerel, five species of Angelfish, thigh sized YellowMargin Morays, and clouds brilliant Anthias. Spectacular soft coral arrangements competed for our attention with pairs of Cuttle fish and Lionfish performing their mating dances. Absolutely incredible “world class” site. Although Whale Sharks are no longer regularly seen we felt we’d truly been at one of the special spots in the world.
All in all we got our money’s worth. One of the cheapest charters available out of Phuket, Charlie offers a clean well maintained boat with spartan but adequate accommodations, and delivers up the diving we’ve all read about.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Socorro Islands, Roatan, South Africa, Costa Rica, Channel Islands, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Bonaire, Cozumel, Florida, Yucatan Caves, Bahamas, Little Cayman & Brac, Belize, Turks & Caicos, Indonesia, Cocos
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm, noCurrents
Water Temp 78-81°F / 26-27°C Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 40-90 Ft/ 12-27 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions no decompression, deploy a surface marker while performing safety stop
Liveaboard? yes Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 4 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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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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