Live on board scuba diving trip in Thailand

Dec 22

One of the best decision I have ever made is to take up SCUBA diving. I got my open water diving certification from PADI in 2004 and upgraded it to advance open water half a year later. Since then, I have overcome my fear of sea and I found myself in exotic places that I used to dream off. On top of that, I get to meet a lot of people from all walks of life. Even though most of us came from different background and live in different lifestyle, the same interest that we shared has brought us together. Imagine, doctors, pharmacists, debt collectors, beauticians, ex-beauty pageant, business owners, engineers, hawkers and bloggers sit down together enjoying few rounds of beer on the beach or boat waiting for the next dive. Life couldn’t get any better than this.

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New found friends in Pulau Perhentian

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Another group photo in Pulau Perhentian before going the dive boat

Everyone dive into the ocean with some purpose. Some people dive looking for sea creatures. Some people dive waiting to take the perfect underwater photograph. Some people dive as a career. For me, I dive because I enjoy the landscape and the sensation I get. It’s a whole new world down there. A world where everyone flies like an eagle instead of walking. A world so silent that you can only hear your own breathing. A world where being fat or thin is not an issue. A world so blue that redefine the meaning of cool. Little did I know beneath the surface that seem so volatile hide a garden that is peaceful, calm and full of life. It fades in slowly right before my eyes as I descent into the blue abyss almost like how I used to dream it.

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With my dive buddy, Launi

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Another dive buddy; Samantha

One of my most memorable dive trip was live-on-board (LOB) diving trip in Trang, Thailand on December last year. Basically, all I did for 3 days was sleep, eat, dive and got drunk (either from sea sick or beers). It may not sound so appealing at first. Who in their right mind would want to spend 3-4 days of their holiday on a boat in the middle of a sea without Internet connection, phone coverage, shopping mall and suffering from sea sick most of the times? But boy, how wrong was I. The journey to the boat itself was nothing short of an adventure. A bunch of clueless divers (in 4 cars) got lost in Thailand in the middle of the night. We overshot our destination and almost drove straight to Phuket. Well, that’s something I won’t mind for sure! We managed to reach our boat somehow and we were 3 hours late!

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The boat that we will spend our time on for 3 days.

The boat was huge enough to fit in 30 guests. I was assigned to a small tiny room with a fellow diver. The room was so tiny that I can barely turn on my bed and I swear the room was right on top of the engine room because every cells in my body vibrate when I lied down and it was noisy too. 2 pills of Novomin did not help much in getting me to sleep either.

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Getting ready for our first dive

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Corridor to my room

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Lower deck. This is where the toilet, kitchen and diving platform located

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Place to keep our diving gear

When the sun rises, I was greeted with a magnificent morning view that I never seen before. I couldn’t see any land on the horizon except for a lime stone hill that looks like it rises vertically from the ocean. We have reached our diving destination. It is call Koh Ha or literally translate into “five islands” in English. This is where we did all of our dives on the first day. Because lack of sleep from last night, I suffered terribly from sea sickness. After the first dive, I ‘fed’ the fishes with all my breakfast and last night’s Pad Thai. I lost my appetite and I skipped my dinner. After the first night dive, I went to sleep early while the rest party on the sun deck.

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Pale look from the sea sickness

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Divers on board

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Batman and Robin?

Luckily, I recovered from the sea sickness and felt way better than the first day. We basically did 5 dives everyday; 1 before breakfast, 1 before lunch, 1 after lunch and a night dive before dinner. As you can see, I don’t describe the diving schedule by time but in relation to meal because that was all we did; dive, eat, dive, eat, dive, dive, eat and dive.

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Octopus and lion fish

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Fancy for Unagi?

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Shrimp

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Yellow sea horse. How cute…

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Punk star fish?

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Lion fishes

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Frog fish?

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Looks like a mermaid’s chamber to me

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Underwater football, anyone?

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Penalty kick

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Waiting for the next dive… or was it lunch?

Of all the dives I did during the trip, my best experience was during one of the night dive. Even though it was extremely dark down there, I felt like I was clubbing underwater; high on nitrogen and ray of ‘disco’ lights flashed from all directions from the divers’ torch lights. Sometimes, all of us are too immersed with the night life of the underwater world that we drifted far apart from each other without realizing it. When that happened I have to turn off my torch light so that I will be able to spot the rest of the group from the flashes of their torch light. However, I never let myself loose sight of my dive buddy because it is dangerous to be left alone in the dark open water. In case of any complication, no one will be able to spot me until sunrise. By that time, I will be either bloated on the surface, swept into the deep water, torn into pieces or cannot be found forever until some fisherman catch a huge shark with my BCD in its stomach. Either way, I am dead. It does get scary to be surrounded by darkness in a place where no one can hear my shout and all the predators swim faster than I do. I did imagined a lot of scary thoughts like a lost great white shark suddenly appear from behind and make me its dinner. Oh yeah, we are no longer on top of the food chain when we go down underwater. Scary or not? The only ray of hope (no pun intended) is from the light of my group’s and my own torch light. We learn to trust each other because we have to depend on each other to survive in case of emergency. Apart from all the scary thoughts, what I really enjoyed about night diving is when I was surrounded by tiny specks of planktons (or some kind of organism) that glow in the dark. When I turned off my torch light and let myself in total darkness, I can see them everywhere like a starry night except that they move in all direction! It was so beautiful and almost surreal. Another moment I like most was doing safety stop under the boat. It was basically 3 to 5 minutes of staying still doing nothing at 15 feet underwater. Within the short moment, I took my time to enjoy the beautiful ray dancing around in the clear water that came from the spotlight shining down from the boat. After every night dives, everyone drinks, sharing jokes and laugh the night away.

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Cheers! Started drinking already even before the sun went down.

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Sunset. It’s time to do night another dive.

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When two is a company…

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…three is a crowd!

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Sad moment… Poor Kit becomes blind and has to beg for money with Ping helping him with melancholic musics.

On the last night on the boat, I decided to spend it on the sun deck so that I can fall asleep under the starlight. It was a wonderful experience until I was waken by strong wind that rocked the boat so hard. I stayed awake fearing the boat might capsized. Luckily, nothing happened and thanks to that, I managed to witness sunrise; something that I never see for very long time.

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Spending the night on the sun deck

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The sun deck

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Dawn…

Before we ended our diving trip, we stopped by at Morakot Cave (Tam Nam) or popularly know as Emerald Cave. Hidden inside the cave is a beach. The only way to access the beach is snorkeling through the cave. It gets really dark in the cave and torch light is a must. After swimming for a short distance in the dark, I began to see light coming from the end. The beautiful beach awaits us at the end of the cave. That was the first time we touched ground after 3 days on the boat. Boy, how reluctant we were when it was time to go back to our boat. We were so captivated by the beauty of the beach. You see, the beach was surrounded by high rocky walls that cast shadow over the beach. We were practically inside a giant bowl. With such an impressive setting, I can’t help myself imagining Captain Jack Sparrow kept his treasure here when we was on his way to Singapore.

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Waiting for fellow divers on the sea

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Snorkeling toward Emerald Cave

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Isn’t it dark in here?

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The cave is so dark that you need a torch light

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Light at the end of the tunnel

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I think I found my paradise.

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See… Boon so happy he can’t stop rolling on the beach.

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Surrounded by high rocky walls

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Yeah! Group photo before going back to the boat.

The fun never stops even after we have ended our diving adventure on the boat. We continued to party in a local club jumping up and down to a rocking Thai live band like a teenager in a rock concert. All of us went so wild that almost everyone is drenched from head to toe after dancing and pouring each other with buckets of ice water. That was what 6 bottles of Chivas can do to us. What more amazing was the local dive master took his heavily modified car that looks like coming out from Too Fast Too Furious movie doing donuts on the road! The night went so wild that I can’t even mentioned some of the incidents in this blog (for the record, we didn’t do anything illegal or hit any dog).

On the next day, we continued our journey back to reality with heavy heart and terrible headache.

11 comments

  1. Its divers like you that give scuba a bad rep. why are you wearing gloves in tropical waters? is it so that you can touch everything you see, including marine life? your divemaster should have warned you in the briefing that you touch nothing and, better still, insisted that you refrain from wearing gloves.

    • thanks for visiting. i believe diving glove is sold for a reason and the reason is for protection.

      • are u stupid or just ignorant???gloves are made to protect ur hand not for ur dirty hand to grab things…
        did ur teacher said anything bout no touching rules when u dive…if he does…it just show u tat u r stupid…

        • thanks for visiting my blog. i agree with you. it is wrong to touch any marine life. but i was answering to topliveaboards when he asked “why are you wearing gloves in tropical waters?”. so i answered it is for protection. but i did not say it is for you to touch marine life.

          anyway, i am the one at the bottom of the photo; the one that did not wear gloves. until today, i dived without any gloves.

  2. From Thailand /

    Indeed… Inflating and grabbing a pufferfish, wtf?!? They can die from the stress, what a great move!

    Which diving center was that, and what kind of instructors are they hiring?!

  3. From Malaysia /

    You are seriously a disgrace!

  4. Hey, your picture touched that puffer fish is now on top ranking as ”poor diver” sorry.. so sad..

    • again. you are wrong. it is not me. anyway, thank you for bringing in more traffics to my site.

  5. Penangite /

    As a responsible and well trained diver, u should stop your buddy from touching and torturing the puffer fish. Although u were not the one to hold it, both of u looked happy and enjoy for that insane action.

    The marine world will be more peaceful without u and your buddy. Shame on both of u.

  6. Hemant Katakkar /

    I wish to take a Liveaboard Scuba trip in Thailand. Am alone. Can I find a partner?? Thx.

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