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

West Coast Divers/MV West Coast Explorer, Dec, 2007,

by Arthur Lafave, DC, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 4 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 3758.

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

Weather sunny Seas choppy
Water Temp 79 to 80 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 0
Water Visibility 35 to 65 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions depth limit, 60 minutes, recommended stay with dive guide.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas 1 or 2
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 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 N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 3 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ N/A
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments 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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