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Liveaboard Scuba Diving throughout the Similan Islands in the Andaman Sea

Posted by on October 25, 2019

In addition to the fishing, there was another reason why I came to Thailand – to scuba dive on a liveaboard! It’s almost similar to the reasons why I went to Iceland. I didn’t go there for the mass tourism attractions. I went there to go fishing and scuba dive Silfra. Since this was the first time I’m diving in Thailand (or at least the Andaman Sea/Indian Ocean region), I wanted to make sure that it was going to be really good which is why I decided to go diving on a liveaboard! This is probably one of the best things that I’ve done regarding scuba diving – the crew takes care of you really well in terms of food, lodging, diving, relaxation, etc. I totally recommend going on a liveaboard for several days because to me, 2 days is not enough and just going out for a single day out of port, even multiple times, is also not worth it. There are a lot of great locations in the Indian Ocean that are far but yet, they are close to each other and on the plus side, some of the places that you can go diving are in federally-protected nature reserves set by the Thai authorities. So going on a liveaboard means less people overall and more chances to see amazing marine life not disturbed by humans.

And being on a liveaboard is great! The dive boat can take you out to these great, faraway dive sites that nearby one another so you save time of being out there. Because it requires a long boat trip, there are far less pressure on the marine life and environment so that means that there is FAR more to see than you would on a regular diving day trip. And the service, rooms, and food are all awesome. They really take care of you when you are on a liveaboard because the crew know that you are on a vacation.

And what else was also great about this trip was the fact that it was during low season so there weren’t that MANY divers on the boat nor many boats nor divers out at the dive sites. So in my opinion, I think I got the best of it all! And if you don’t believe, just check out the slew of pictures that I have put out for viewing pleasure. Of course, photos don’t do the justice of actually being in the water with diving gear and experiencing but they are more mementos than anything else of an amazing diving trip.

lionfish andaman native species indian ocean

I’ve seen tons of Lionfish but finally, in a body of water where they are actually native!

Gymnothorax isingteena coral reef

I’ve seen moray eels before but this leopard-colored one was different. It’s called a Spotted Moray Eel.

Clownfish anemonefish Amphiprioninae symbiotic mutualisms with sea anemones

These Orange clownfish were swimming around in their protective environment, the sea anemones. In return, the fish will clean the algae residue and sometimes drop pieces of food in the anemone.

Alpheus randalli Amblyeleotris symbiotic relationship

Here’s another example of a symbiotic relationship where the Pistol Shrimp, blind, but hard-working will provide a burrow and the Goby, with its excellent eyesight, will be a lookout. You have to scan the ocean floor to see these pair together.

Odontodactylus scyllarus peacock mantis shrimp, harlequin mantis shrimp, painted mantis shrimp, or clown mantis shrimp club-shaped raptorial appendages

One shrimp, even though it’s not really one, with great eyesight is the Mantis Shrimp. Here you can see the Peacock Mantis Shrimp with its two club-like arms, ready to bash something to death. You have to look in holes, burrows, and crevices to find these Mantis Shrimp.

Synanceia venomous

Sometimes you have to look carefully so you don’t get bitten by one of these guys, a Stonefish. They are venomous so take care as they camouflage themselves with the environment to ambush their prey.

turtle swimming solitary lone survivor sea water saltwater lagoon blue

I saw more turtles on this trip than usual diving trips for some reason. Some of the turtles were scared at all of humans as if they knew that divers won’t hurt them.

painted rock lobster, common rock lobster, bamboo lobster, blue lobster, and blue spiny lobster Panulirus versicolor

During a night dive, I saw this Painted Rock Lobster walking around. You usually don’t see these nocturnal animals during the day so night diving is required to get another viewpoint of the marine life.

night diving dive hermit crab

Even a hermit crab will come out at night to feed!

Dasyatidae, of rays in the order Myliobatiformes oval to diamond-like in shape phuket indian ocean

These 2 Whiptail Stingrays were swimming around in this deep area with one of them swimming in a circle around the other. It was very neat to see these Stingrays or any kind of big rays because in the past, they usually swim away when they see humans.

Platax Batfish Indian Ocean Platax teira longfin batfish, longfin spadefish, or round faced batfish

At certain dive sites, there are a lot of these fish called Batfish due to their disc-shaped bodies. Not sure how they resemble a bat but the name stuck. They also tend to show up in your face out of nowhere!

trevally jack crevalle stalk stalking baitfish glassfish indian ocean andaman sea thailand vacation

There were millions and millions of these baitfish-sized fish, called Glassfish, which in turn attracted a lot of predator fish such as Trevallies, Barracuda, and whatever else that I might have missed diving. It was amazing seeing so many Glassfish with the predator fish looking on for an eventual swoop!

glassfish baitfish

Here’s an upclose of the Glassfish as they are tiny but react as an entire big blobish group.

Butis butis, the crazy fish, duckbill sleeper, or upside-down sleeper crocodile fish thailand waters

Can you see the fish? Well, it’s buried in the fish with only the eyes showing. It’s called a Crazy fish or better known as a Crocodile Fish as it has a head like a crocodile.

And probably the biggest highlight of it all – a Whaleshark! Apparently, among all the liveaboards, an average of about 6 Whalesharks are seen per year (or known as a season; diving season runs from October-April/May) so if my group got to see this Whaleshark, that means only 5 more Whalesharks left for the season!

whale shark with remoras other fish following

I got to swim very close to this Whaleshark as it made 3 passes!

thailand thai scuba diving ocean water warm waters seawater indian ocean tropical tropics amazing asian SE Asia asian thais Liveaboard Phuket clear pure blue underwater PADI tourism other alternative fun extreme sport sports fish coral reef reefs Andaman Sea boat dreams come coming true achievement of dream lifelong always wanted to do this in nature harmony happy bliss true exciting happiness single lonewolf solo pirate adventurer spent good money on good fun games in total happy euphoria childfree childless by design going my way in Southeastern Asia guided Rhincodon typus jinbei gurano bintang many stars butanding and balilan

I’ve swam with a Whale Shark before but never have I gotten this: the Whale Shark turned towards me as if it was going to run into me! Instead, it turned again and away from me but before doing so, I managed to get this great front photo of the Whaleshark!

Tip: If you don’t have a lot of money, then you can go on those budget ships where you’re basically placed in crammed-and-jammed-sardines-on-a-floatng-tin-can. But for myself, after speaking with a friend of mine who has done this trip, he highly recommended paying a bit more money so I would get more room and comfort not just on the boat but also in the water. Amble elbow space is great to have! And these budget liveaboards are what I’d call “shoulder to shoulder” diving with ratios as high as 1 divemaster to 10 people! That’s why it pays to spend a little bit more money for the more luxurious ones which have a ratio of 1 divemaster to 2-4 people. I would rather pay the extra money especially if there are a lot of beginner divers. One time while I was diving, some newbie landed on my head while descending and I was just pissed that the idiot didn’t even know what just happened. And if it’s not that, then I had to save this one girl from ascending too fast which could have given her the bends. That’s when I learned to go with more experienced divers and get more space if possible. I don’t want to get twisted in that inexperienced lack of safety cesspool. Less people means more elbow room and more comfort as well!

Overall, I would go on a liveaboard again!


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