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Dive Review of Samui International Divers/Samui Natien in
Thailand/Gulf of Thailand

Samui International Divers/Samui Natien, Sep, 2002,

by Carl Scott, TX, USA (Contributor Contributor 16 reports). Report 208.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 101-250 dives
Where else diving Cozumel, Little Cayman, Costa Rica, Flower Gardens, St. Croix, Palau
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas choppy
Water Temp 84 to 86 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 15 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions After the first dive, I was allowed to dive away from the group and as long as my computer would allow in most cases (except once, when staying down longer on the first dive would make for a too short surface interval when the group re-entered for the 2nd dive).
Liveaboard? no 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 3 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

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

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 1 stars
UW Photo Comments There was no dedicated rinse bucket for cameras, either on the boats or on shore. One of the boats had no rinse bucket at all. Neither had a camera table or other area for cameras. Photographers were essentially ignored.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 3 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 2 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments My expectations were not high, because I knew that the best diving in Thailand is on the other side of the penninsula. Diving was good, but not spectacular. Vis was typically in the 40-60' range due to nutrient rich waters, though the marine park area is much worse (as little as 15' on one dive). Magnificent anenomes literally blanketed the reefs in most areas, with large numbers of anenome fish and anthias schooling about. Saw Weaver's butterflyfish, Blue ringed angels, and bannerfish on nearly every dive, plus some that weren't in any books that I could find. Numerous nudibranchs. The dive operation left much to be desired. While they generally ran a structured and safe operation, I was allowed to dive solo on nearly every dive (I lagged behind taking photos, and they never came looking for me or acted concerned when we passed later in the dive). This may be due to my certification and experience, but, if not, is very negligent. Lunch was always delicious Thai cuisine, and there was plenty of it. Breakfast is provided on the big boat, but it's just toast and bananas, with tea and instant coffee. They pick up all clients at their hotels each morning and drove them to the dock. On my first day, I instantly saw a table where everyone was to sign in. However, after doing so, I was not given any further information and finally, when hearing the announcement that the boats were leaving, had to ask someone who looked like they knew their way around which boat I should get on. She turned out to be my divemaster. Things went more smoothly the next few days. Then, on the last day, they failed to pick me up. I eventually got concerned and asked the hotel to drive me to the dock, arriving just in time to see the boat pulling away from the pier. There was no one left at the dock to radio the boat, and another operator said that they operated on a proprietary frequency. The shop reluctantly offered to process a refund for one day's diving at some time within the next couple of weeks, flat refusing to run the refund through their credit card POS terminal or refund in cash. I found out at that time that I was supposed to have been given a schedule upon arrival, but it was still in my file in the office. It would have reflected that they forgot to schedule me for the last day's diving! Bottom line is that, while I wouldn't be concerned about diving with these folks again, their service was marginal, at best, and their apologies were non-existent. The icing on the cake was the $50 video CD that I bought, which, despite repeated assurances otherwise, wouldn't play in my DVD player.
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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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