Archive for the ‘Similan Islands’ Category

Similans just gets better !

Posted on March 29th, 2014 by admin-scubacat-dw  |  Comments Off on Similans just gets better !

Kath joined the boat mid afternoon to meet  Tim and Donna, repeat customers since 1999, and Amit who had just completed the South trip. The remaining nine customers were brought to Scuba Adventure by John Stanley who was the Dive Master for the trip. It was great to have an international group with people from Germany, Switzerland, India, America, UK, Australia and China.

With the briefings completed, cabins allocated and equipment prepared it was time to chill out and enjoy the overnight cruise to the Similans.

The first morning brought a surprise! Jack, our engineer called Kath to the dive deck where we had an unexpected guest, a banded sea snake!! Customers grabbed their cameras and then it was gently persuaded to leave the boat.

Banded Sea Snake - Louise Murray

Banded Sea Snake – Louise Murray

The first dive of the morning, the check dive, was on Anita’s Reef. Lovely easy dive going with the current toward the boulders. With everyone comfortable we then headed to Koh Bon. John and his group of Advanced Open Water students were dropped in the bay together with Tim and Donna while the others were dropped on the ridge. The wall area approaching the ridge was covered in glass fish, so much so that it was difficult to see the reef. Two Giant Moray Eels were out in the open fighting. As they tried to bite each other their bodies became intertwined.

Moray Eel - Phil Lineker

Moray Eel – Phil Lineker

This dual lasted for several minutes before on retreated in defeat. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any mantas, but around the reef had so much activity. John’s group was lucky enough to see two Napolean Wrasses. Third dive and Koh Tachai Pinnacle. Thankfully there was very little current. The Pinnacle was prolific with marine life as always. One thing that was unusual was a tight group of Silver Jack spiralling towards the surface. It was a tornedo of fish!!!! The advanced students were to get an extra navigation dive on the reef as part of their course. The forth dive was to be a night dive on Koh Tachai Reef. Some were apprehensive as they had never been on a night dive before, but this was short lived once they started diving. The highlight of the night dive was an octopus that we were able to watch for a while. These are incredible creatures that have the capability to change not only colour but texture.

Octopus - Cedric Saveuse

Octopus – Cedric Saveuse

Day 2 and an early start with the engines firing up at 4.30am. Our destination Richelieu Rock. The visibility here was awesome. During the two dives we saw a host of things including a Seahorse, various shrimps, tomato clownfish, bent stick pipefish, cleaner pipefish, cuttlefish, the list is endless. Our eyes were constantly scanning as the previous day there had been 3 whale sharks spotted on the Rock, but unfortunately we were not blessed. As we wanted to maximise the chance of seeing Manta Rays and Whale Sharks we headed back to Koh Tachai where we had two action packed dives with hunting predators, Napoleon Wrass’, Red Tooth Trigger fish dancing like confetti.



Day 3 brought an early start on Koh Bon. The ridge still covered in glassfish was action packed as they were being hunted relentlessly by the larger fish on the reef. It is an impressive to sight to see the bait ball swirling in all directions to avoid being caught. Towards the end of the dive on the ridge the first Manta Ray made its appearance. It slowly past the ridge and headed out into deeper water. Kath saw it as she was on her safety stop so a decision to stay for one more dive was made as not everyone had had the opportunity to see it. We were dropped on the north part of the reef and we headed towards the ridge. As you can imagine the second dive was filled with excitement with the possibility of seeing this majestic creature. We unfortunately didn’t see it, but we still had a great dive. As we came on the boat the crew were quick to tell us that they had seen the manta from the boat shortly after we had jumped. At this time there were more boats on the dive site, so a group decision was made to move to the Similans.

Sea Horse - Cedric Saveuse

Sea Horse – Cedric Saveuse

Dive 3 was on Three Trees on Island 9. Kath drew her map with the marine life they were likely to see on the reef and then the customers played the guessing game trying to identify them. (Maybe she should take some drawing lessons!!!) We crossed the sand to the outer boulders, which is a very scenic part. Here Paul spotted 3 Seahorses sat in a fan. A lovely bonus!! There was a nice gentle drift on the sloping reef, so with no effort we watched the countless fish as we passed by. Our final dive of the day was West of Eden on Island 7. This site has some very beautiful hard and soft corals and it is like diving in an aquarium. However, there were two major highlights to this dive. In the shallow area we could not believe our eyes when we saw what could only be described as a swarm of parrot and surgeon fish. There were hundreds all tightly packed. We hovered and watched them for quite a while and then they peeled off in a line and swam further along the reef.

Kath and the Turtle

Kath and the Turtle

Then came the ultimate turtle experience. On seeing the divers he stopped eating and came to investigate. This curious turtle was so relentless in it’s approach to the divers, especially Susan, that it had to be gently pushed away several times. Customers managed to get some great photos.

Susan and the Turtle

Susan and the Turtle

Day 4 and a decision had been made the previous night by the customers that the early morning dive should be on West of Eden again as there was so much to see. So, at 6.45 we went for our dive. The reef was just waking up and we were witness to some great hunting action around the stunning coral blocks. There was a current, so instead of turning around at the corner we continued around the Island where there were some schools of Rainbow Runners in the deep together with some large Tuna cruising by. Our final dive of the trip was Shark Fin Reef. This is the furthest south we can dive in the Similan Islands. This reef is known for the stunning topography of the huge granite boulders that stretch for about a kilometre. It is constantly adorned by neon blue fusiliers that run like a train along the reef. Our main highlight of this dive was seeing a shark…not just a shark….one that Kath had never seen in the Similans Islands. It swam straight through the group. Amit had video footage of it, so we were able to identify the shark as a Silver Tip.

The Similans

The Similans

This trip was a very social trip with customers even conducting dive briefings. Although, only a few of us saw the Manta everyone was more than happy with the diving. We had such diverse marine life and behaviour that this trip will be remembered by all. Michael, Cindie and Ron decided to book for the next trip south to Hin Daeng and Hin Muang. Under the guidance and Instruction of John, Cindie, Ron and Xin completed their Advanced Open Water. Xin also completed her Digital Underwater Photography and Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialities. Congratulations to them all!

The WOW Factor !

Posted on March 8th, 2014 by admin-scubacat-dw  |  Comments Off on The WOW Factor !

MV Scuba Adventure North Andaman 19th Feb to 23rd Feb 2014

We were joined by our new customers on MV Scuba Adventure at Chalong and then we headed overnight to the Similans with calm seas. Our check dive was on Anita’s Reef. This is a beautiful sloping reef with pristine white sand that is home to many garden eels and rays. The main feature is the stunning coral pinnacle that is covered in a gorgeous plethora of corals. The trevallies and rainbow runners were in hunting mode as there were so many glassfish. After the dive we headed to Koh Bon were we did two dives on the Reef and the West Ridge. Lovely dives with fantastic visibility, but alas no mantas. However, the marine life was prolific with beautiful schools of five line snappers, golden trevallies, lion fish, mantis shrimps and so much more. We then heard a whale shark had been a spotted at Koh Tachai Pinnacle on the radio, so we headed there for our last dive of the day. Koh Tachai Pinnacle is Kath’s favourite dive site and for good reason. It is a dive site that can throw the unexpected. With no current it was kind to the divers as it was minimal however, the action was amazing with the predators hunting in a frenzy and the resident huge school of barracuda was spiralling close to the pinnacle in a hypnotic way.

Scuba Cat Diving, Phuket, Thailand MV Scuba Adventure

MV Scuba Adventure

Day 2 and it was decided that if there was a chance to see a whale shark we would do our first dive on Koh Tachai Pinnacle. We were the only divers initially on the pinnacle and it was the most amazing experience ever….1 whale shark great!!!! 2 whale sharks!!!! 3 whales sharks!!!! 4 whale sharks on the same dive….How fantastic is that?? We were blown away. When the divers surfaced a group decision was made to spend the rest of the day on Koh Tachai and every dive delivered multiple whale sharks, trevallies, and huge school of barracudas. This was Koh Tachai at its’ best.  During the surface intervals we were snorkelling with them as Captain Pu managed to secure the prime mooring. What a fantastic experience for the non divers and the crew on the boat. Kath was one of the first in the water after breakfast with the snorkelers.



The next morning the engines started at 5am and then we motored to Richelieu Rock for 2 dives. This is a gorgeous pinnacle in open sea. The diving was excellent with wonderful visibility. Richelieu is great for all marine life from predators to macro. We saw a host of things including barracudas, banded pipe fish, seahorses, cleaner pipe fish, a brown and white bent stick pipe fish, mantis shrimps, many different shrimps, the list is endless. Then back to Koh Tachai for whale sharks and yes we got them as soon as we jumped in 3 in total!!!! They are the most beautiful creatures. To see them glide through the water effortlessly is a delight for any diver. Kath and Matthew Cooper had the most incredible end to a dive when they were on the top of the pinnacle. Kath turned around to see the biggest manta she had ever seen coming straight for them. Screaming through the regulator Matthew turned to see this magnificent beast coming directly at them. A great way to end a magical dive!!!  When we left the site as there were many boats and we decided to leave on a high and head for Koh Bon. This was a great decision as we had heard on the radio that there were manta rays. Maybe they would still be there. Captain Pu told us he was going to drop us on the reef and all we can say is thank you Pu. We were in the water for a very short time when we saw a glimpse of a manta in the distance. A few moments later we were interacting with 2 mantas spiralling amongst us. These majestic creatures were putting on a show and they did it so well. What a fantastic end to a wonderful day….couldn’t beat that.



Day 4  and back to the Similans. Our first dive on West of Eden was a gentle dive with very little current and great visibility. This has some wonderful coral blocks and massive granite boulders which is home for a host of beautiful smaller reef fish and tiny critters such as nudibranch. A good start to the day. Then to our final dive on Shark Fin Reef, a gentle drift along the fantastic granite rock formations. Shark Fin is a stunning dive site for the topography. The amount of fusiliers on this dive site is incredible, they are like a train that never stops… The powder blue surgeon fish are amusing as they try and play with the bubbles exhaled from the divers. A lovely dive for the end of a wonderful trip.

It has to be said that this trip was exhilarating, exciting and it certainly had the WOW factor. How many whale sharks do we normally see? This was one that gave us 4 on one dive site. We did 6 dives on Koh Tachai Pinnacle and 5 of them delivered the most amazing experience that we will never forget….multiple whale sharks!!!!

Enriched Air

Enriched Air

There is also congratulations to be given to Matthew Cooper who completed his Enriched Air Speciality on MV Scuba Adventure. All the customers walked away very happy people and so did the Tour Leader.

MV Scuba Adventure 7th to 11th February 2014

Posted on February 23rd, 2014 by admin-scubacat-dw  |  Comments Off on MV Scuba Adventure 7th to 11th February 2014


Thank you Kath and Nicolas for a great trip on boat MV Scuba Adventure to the Similans this week

What a fantastic trip.

On board for the 4 days 4 nights were Steve and Jo, repeat customers of Scuba Cat Diving, last time they were on board MV Scuba Cat where Steve proposed to Jo underwater. That was 5 years ago as well as Wendy, Andreas, Mikkel and John.

MV Scuba Adventure

MV Scuba Adventure – photo Steve Willett

After a very successful check dive on Anita’s Reef, Island 4 in the Similans they headed straight to Koh Bon as Captain Pu had heard reports of a giant manta sighting.

Similan Islands

Similan Islands – photo Steve Willett


Needless to say, a couple of hours later they were there enjoying the moment with the manta and 30m visibility. Very lucky indeed, they had the manta to themselves.  During the second Dive on Koh Bon the manta made came back and joined them all to say goodbye!

Manta Ray

Manta Ray

The next day Richelieu Rock had fantastic visibility with so much action. Many glassfish being hunted by their predators, school of barracuda’s, bent stick pipefish, cleaner pipefish and SO much more including the tiniest sea horse sitting on a sea fan. They did 3 dives there with minimal current.

Ghost Pipefish

Ghost Pipefish – photo Steve Willett

Back to Koh Tachai, for the sunset dive. “Just like being in another world” quoted Jo Willett. The huge school of barracudas were there for the duration. Kath’s favourite dive site delivered with the trevally feeding frenzy, snappers, napoleon wrasse & marble groupers. This site was repeated the next morning and the highlight saw 2 large schools of barracuda merging together. Thankfully Koh Tachai was also kind with almost no current.

Sunset Dive

Sunset Dive – photo Steve Willett

Koh Bon, for the third dive of the day and yet again…. Mantas!!!!

The gangsters of the ocean, the Trevallies were feeding on glassfish and for good measure a Napoleon wrasse graced them with its presence.  When they surfaced there were many other liveaboard boats, the decision was made to leave the manta experience on a high and head back to the Similans, Christmas Point on Island 9 to enjoy the unique swim through’s. Amongst other things Kath spotted a white tip reef shark as it swam straight across her.

Feeding time

Feeding time

Next West of Eden, Island 7…. they didn’t need to go diving! A teeny-tiny whale shark came alongside MV Scuba Adventure, 2m maximum! (Doesn’t sound tiny does it!) The lucky customers were kitting up on the back deck when it came to say hi.

Whale Shark

Whale Shark

Day 4, Deep Six for the morning dive. Hoping to see the whale shark as it was in the area the day before. Great swim throughs and a white tip spotted again by Kath at 27.5m. Unfortunately, no one else saw it. Many fusiliers and banner fish.

The last dive of the Northern trip was on Shark Fin Reef, declared as “incredible” with 40m visibility. It was like diving in an aquarium. The neon fusiliers were like a train that never stopped!!! They were very fortunate to see a bump head parrot and an eagle ray. What a treat!

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Responsible Divers

Huge Congratulations to John who completed his Advanced Open Water on board Scuba Adventure.

Some lucky customers were staying onboard to continue their Andaman Sea adventure with us to Hin Dueng, Hin Mueng, Koh Haa, and Phi Phi

South Andaman Sun Set

South Andaman Sun Set – photo Steve Willett


MV Scuba Adventure Liveaboard March 2012

Posted on April 2nd, 2012 by admin-scubacat-dw  |  Comments Off on MV Scuba Adventure Liveaboard March 2012

Northern Cruise to Similan Islands and Richilieu Rock

This trip left from Tap Lamu with Peter and Bente from Denmark, Emil and Patrick from Sweden and Urs from Switzerland. We sailed for a few hours to Koh Bon where we slept for the night. The first morning we had a check dive on Koh Bon Reef. Urs, who was doing his Advanced Open water course on board completed his deep adventure dive. The reef was active with beautiful schools of yellow snappers, the 2 resident golden trevellies made their appearance. The resident Napolean also made a visit.

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Liveaboard

After breakfast Patrick did the skills for the Discover Scuba. He was very confident and managed the skills with ease. The second dive had octopus, cuttle fish, banded sea snake and a manta!!!! We decided to move to Koh Tachai where we attempted to do the Pinnacle. Unfortunately, the current was so strong that Kath couldn’t make it to the mooring line… Another time!! All was not lost as we headed to the reef where we had a gentle easy dive. The night dive was also on the Reef. Fred, the resident barracuda accompanied us throughout the dive trying to hunt by torchlight. For a predator, he is not good at catching his prey (maybe he needs glasses!!)

On day 2 we went to Richelieu Rock where we did 3 dives. Each dive was completely different. The school of barracuda were hanging around the crescent as usual. They are a magnificent sight. One of the first things we saw was a Devil Scorpion fish moving along the bottom. This dive site is an incredible place and offers so much diversity from large schools of fish to macro. Each diver really enjoyed looking into cracks and crevices to see what could be found…pipefish, shrimps, moray eels, mantis shrimps and so much more. A Devil Ray was seen at the surface during lunch. A rare sight!!! Our final dive was at Koh Tachai. Emil, Peter, Bente and Kath went onto the pinnacle with zero current. A vast change from the day before. Peter and Bente had to abort the dive. A pity, as it was truly amazing. A huge school of barracuda with hundreds of fish appeared and stayed for a while. The batfish were hanging around one of the boulders and the trevellies were menacing the snappers and fusiliers. Elaine, the Dive Master on the boat took Urs and Patrik onto the reef where they saw a turtle.

MV Scuba Adventure Sea Fan

The first dive on day 3 was on Koh Tachai. A good dive with some current. The soft corals and gorgonion sea fans are stunning. This dive site always has so much activity on it that it is difficult to put into words. You just have to experience it first hand. Our second dive of the day was on Koh Bon Reef heading towards the West Ridge. A manta made it’s appearance towards the end of the dive. Albeit a brief encounter it way still lovely to see this majestic creature. After dive 2 we headed to the Similan Islands and into Donald Duck Bay, where some of the customers went onto the beach to take photos from the view point. Urs completed his navigation dive as part of his advanced course. The natural navigation part of the dive was a dream with us finding a Green turtle sitting quietly under a rock. Our third dive on Three Trees was enjoyed by all on the boat. The reef is a sloping running reef on Island 9. There were several turtles in the shallows. We saw a Napolean Wrasse as we dropped in. Three Trees has an abundance of aquatic life. Our final dive of the day was a night dive on West of Eden. This site with the rocky formations and coral blocks is an ideal environment for many nocturnal creatures. There were plenty of lobsters, various crabs and shrimps. A free swimming giant moray was actively hunting. Always a great sight.

Day 4 and our final dives were on Shark Fin Reef. The South side has the most incredible rock formations. The enormity of the boulders is very imposing. During this dive we saw garden eels and numerous blue spot rays in the sand. We were lucky enough to see a huge bump head parrot fish hiding in a crack in one of the rocks. To see this fish so close was breath taking. The surgeon fish always look as if they are kissing the rock as they feed on the algae growing. Shark Fin also has the large boxfish, something that isn’t seen often on other sites in the Similans. Our final dive of the trip was on the north side of Shark Fin. Once again we saw the bump head parrotfish. The north side has rocks in the shallows and slopes gently to the bottom. A relaxing dive for the end of the trip.

MV Scuba Adventure Bump Head Parrot fish

Congratulations to Urs for completing his Advanced Open Water on the trip and to Patrik who had several dives on the Discover Scuba program. He is now bitten by the diving bug and will at some point in the future do the Open Water Course, so he can dive with his brother Emil.

MV Scuba Adventure Liveaboard – 4th to 8th December 2011

Posted on February 1st, 2012 by admin-scubacat-dw  |  Comments Off on MV Scuba Adventure Liveaboard – 4th to 8th December 2011

North Andaman Liveaboard –  Similans, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai  and Richilieu Rock MV Scuba Adventure departed from Patong on the evening of the 4th en-route to the Similans. Kath, the Tour Leader and Steve, the Dive Master welcomed on board Lucrezia and Rene from Switzerland, Mats from Sweden, Guido and Gianna from  Italy and Peter and Karen from England. With the boat briefing completed, cabins allocated, equipment set up we had a relaxing dinner where everyone became acquainted.

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Similan Liveaboard MV Scuba Adventure

We woke to the beautiful scenery of Island 5 and 6, which is the home of Anita’s Reef. With the dive safety and dive sight briefing done we kitted up for our first dive of the trip. Anita’s reef did not disappoint. The stunning coral bommie was covered in glass fish, which was a sight to be seen. Nudibranch, Fusiliers, Snappers were all out in their glory. The pristine white sand was home to the dancing Garden Eels and Khuls rays.  A banded pipe fish was found on one of the large boulders on the corner of Island 5.  After breakfast we headed to Island 9 and North Point. This site is a combination of huge rock formations and reef. It is briefed as “but one get one free!!”  The rocky formation has several swim throughs together with coral gardens nestled between the rocks.   Turtles were in abundance as they poised for the photographers in the group. The turtles here are not at all shy and continued munching away as if to say”Oh they’re only divers!”   We also saw a banded sea snake head to the surface for air. In the shallows a rock formation was covered in Purple Dragon Nudibranch. A treat for the macro lovers on the boat.

After lunch we arrived at Koh Bon for our 3rd dive of the day. We were fortunate as we were the only divers in the water at this popular sight. We dropped in on the corner and made our way to the West Ridge. A large school of yellow snapper were below us as we reached the ridge. On the ridge there were hunting Long Nosed Emporers, Trevelly and Rainbow Runners.  A Devil Scorpion was camouflaged amongst the broken coral on the reef.  A meter away was an octopus hiding in a rock. There was so much to see!!! The glass fish again, were food for the larger hunters…a feeding frenzy. A Mantis Shrimp quickly ran across the reef, which was a first for some of the divers.

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Mantis Shrimp

A highlight of the dive was to see 2 Napolean Wrasse swimming around us for a while.  The divers who chose to do the night dive on Koh Tachai Reef saw many different types of crabs, shrimps and spent about 10 minutes with a free swimming moray, which hunted successfully catching an unsuspecting fish for dinner!!

Day 2 and the Captain started the engines at 3.40am. We were on our way to Richelieu Rock. Here we did 3 dives. The Rock is worthy of multiple dives as the marine life here is so prolific. A school of giant barracuda were waiting our arrival! Fortunately, we were able to locate a sea horse and 2 ornate ghost pipe fish.  Cuttle fish were in abundance as they displayed their courtship ritual. The whole area was like being in fish soup with large schools of fish swimming around us. Cleaner pipe fish were found in the crevices, mantis shrimps along the bottom hiding and a devil scorpion camouflaging itself as a piece of coral. Needless to say there were many more creatures too numerous to mention. One highlight was seeing a zebra moray free swimming in the shallows.

The 4th dive of the day was a sunset dive at Jetski Rock on Koh Tachai. A chilled out relaxing dive. The trevellies were in menacing hunting mode as they circled the glassfish on the reef. They are truly the “Gangsters” of the reef. A moray was enjoying being cleaned by a cleaner shrimp as the surrounding marine life prepared for bed. The sunset when we surfaced was spectacular and gave the perfect ending to a great day. Day 3 started with the morning dive on Koh Tachai Pinnacle. With a slight current it was easy navigate around the site.  The corals on the pinnacle are beautiful. Soft corals, gorgonion sea fans, whip coral are abundant.  A few barracuda were hanging above the site and the resident bat fish were between two huge boulders. Rene and Lucrezia were lucky and saw a leopard shark. They did have photographic evidence, so we had to believe them!!

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Leopard Shark

The second and third dives were on Koh Bon. Hunters were menacing as they circled amongst the glass fish and then without warning a feeding frenzy. The third devil scorpion fish of the trip was also seen. However, the icing on the cake at Koh Bon was the manta on dive 2. We were in the shallows coming towards the end of the dive when the manta appeared. This amazing creature brought smiles to all our faces as it approached us several times. Dive 4 was a sunset dive in the Similans and on West of Eden on Island 7. This dive was relaxing as we slowly worked our way along the reef swimming between the coral blocks. Glass fish in abundance, feather stars in every colour and an array of fish. Day 4 and an early start on Elephant Head Rock and boy oh boy did it pay off…..As soon as we dropped in we had a white tip reef shark laying on the bottom at 20m. As we approached it swam away. However, several minutes later we saw two side by side. Elephant Head has some lovely swim throughs and one of the white tips swam into it. Kath was the only diver to see this. The huge granite boulders with the coral gardens between are very impressive. The second dive on Shark Fin Reef was an easy dive for the end of the trip. Shark Fin reef has dramatic scenery of huge granite boulders. In one of the long cracks in a rock there resting was a Jenkins Ray. Further along the reef we saw a large school of giant barracudas. This was the first trip of the season to the Similans and Richelieu Rock and if this trip was anything to go by then we should have a wonderful season.