Posts Tagged ‘National park’

WOWZER!!! – Manta Madness

Posted on March 8th, 2014 by admin-scubacat-dw  |  Comments Off on WOWZER!!! – Manta Madness

MV Scuba Adventure South  1st March – 4th March 2014

This South Andaman trip on MV Scuba Adventure was a reunion trip of previous customers with a few more joining us. Kath, the tour leader was so happy to see Peter, Hannah, Andre, Matthew and Gareth who had dived with us previously. They were joined by Atle, Kristin, Liina and Orjan.

MV Scuba Adventure left Chalong Pier with flat calm seas and headed to Phi Phi where the first dive was going to be as a check dive.

Phi Phi

Phi Phi

The first dive of the day was Koh Bida Nok. We were woken early so we would miss the day boats from Phi Phi. As we dropped in along the NW side we saw a leopard shark just sitting on the bottom. The customers were able to take their photos easily and then we continued the check dive. We really enjoyed this dive as there is so much to see on Bida Nok. This dive site offers a diverse topography and marine life, so macro is great as well as looking out into the blue to see trevallies and other predators hunting their prey. Dive 2 was on Koh Bida Nai, a sister Island to Kho Bida Nok. So the topography is virtually the same. A few minutes into the dive we were graced by the resident black tip reef sharks. We had 2 swimming around us. Three sharks in two dives…..must be a good luck omen!!!

Leopard Shark

Leopard Shark

After the dive we headed for Koh Haa. We were going to dive Koh Haa Yai (The Cathedral). When we arrived the National Park boat came to us to collect the money. As they were alongside we heard Captain Pu screaming that there was a Whale Shark and we should jump in and snorkel. Kath jumped in first, but unfortunately it went deep. It was seen by everyone from the surface. Fingers crossed that it would return. We did the caves at Koh Haa and then continued the dive along the reef. The soft corals here are stunning with a spectrum of colours. A great dive site for macro. Andre and Onjan were so lucky that they saw the whale shark on the safety stop.

The Cathedral Koh Haa - Cedric Saveuse

The Cathedral Koh Haa – Cedric Saveuse

The night dive on Island 2 was just as exciting. Kath had found Harlequin Shrimps a few weeks ago so she was on a mission to show the divers these rare crittiers and she did. Gareth managed to get some fantastic shots which we hope we will see later. Liina did her night dive for her AOW and Matthew completed his

Night Dive Speciality. The rest of the group surfaced and then Matt and Kath had lights out for 3 minutes. A very enjoyable experience….lots of sparkles in the water.

Hin Muang

Hin Muang

Day 2 and we headed out to Hin Muang and Hin Daeng . Our first dive on Hin Muang was a lovely dive with minimal current and then surprise a manta cruising by. The manta didn’t return and it did look as if it was on a mission!!! Gut reaction was that it was heading to Hin Daeng. Dive 2 with flat calm seas and the sun beating down…need to get into the water. We started the dive along the wall and then…..MANTA!!!! Kath briefed about a cleaning station on Hin Daeng and low and behold the mantas were there all 4 of them. What an incredible sight. Words will never express the experience the divers had. One manta just hung for 20 minutes above a rock whilst being cleaned by cleaner and moon wrasse. The divers were able to take photos and witness something they may never see again. The tour leader was blown away!!! Reluctantly we had to end the dive but we were hoping for more on the next dive and it delivered!!!

Hin Daeng

Hin Daeng

Next dive on Hin Daeng and a few minutes in the water and then MANTA…sorry no MANTAS all 4 of them just circling on the sloping reef. No need to go any further. The mantas were amazing!!!!! What a fantastic experience. Who needs to see the rest of the dive site? We came for this and Hin Daeng delivered!!! Pete, Hannah and Kath did the safety stop with mantas surrounding them. It has to be the longest safety stop on record. How can you end a dive when there are 3 majestic creatures playing with you? Time to end was when Peter was on 10 bar…..

Manta Rays

Manta Rays

The last dive of the day was Koh Haa Neau. Here there is diverse topography from the limestone to the plate reef. There are copious amounts of anemones here and at sunset they start to close like cocoons showing their beautiful colour. There is a huge school of resident 5 line snappers and twin spot snappers which is a sight to be seen. The reef is lovely offering big eyes, lion fish, moray eels and we also saw 2 banded sea snakes. Part of the group turned back at 100 bar to do a leisurely dive back to the limestone area where the chimney was. Kath, Andre, Matt and Peter did the chimney. It goes from 16m to 7m and opens up into a chamber full of big eyes. A lovely experience for divers.

Koh Haa - Cedric Saveuse

Koh Haa – Cedric Saveuse

Day 3 and first dive on King Cruiser Wreck. It has now become a lovely artificial reef with lots of soft corals and marine life. Nudibranch are prolific on the walls and the honeycomb moray eel has been seen here, which is quite rare in Phuket waters. The current was minimal and the dive was great. Next dive was Shark Point. Oh my, what a current…we flew around part of the pinnacle, but then we had calm. Each and every diver was looking at the finer things in marine life. Garth found a nudibranch Kath had never seen before on one of the lines on Shark Point. Shark Point ha such an abundance of marine life. The corals and barrel sponges are stunning. A beautiful dive site even in strong current. Final dive at Koh Doc Mai and a wonderful one it is for macro. We  had an easy drift checking out nudibranch, banded coral shrimps, white eyed moray eels, yellow margin moray eels and so much more. Gareth found a nudibranch that Kath had never seen before.

Nudi - Koh Doc Mai

Nudi – Koh Doc Mai

Kath has done the South trip many times, but this was her best yet. Hannah described it as  a  “WOWZER” trip ………………..Kath would totally agree with that!!!!!! Let’s hope that manta madness doesn’t stop in the South

Things to do in Phuket

Posted on June 1st, 2012 by admin-scubacat-dw  |  Comments Off on Things to do in Phuket

Phuket is a jewel in the Andaman Sea offering tourists a multitude of things to do whilst visiting the Island. Here are a few suggestions…. good to do when you are not diving.


Phuket Fantasea

This spectacular Las Vegas style cultural show is the largest on the Island.  The show itself is set in a theme park which offers carnival games, shopping and a choice of restaurants. The show is a colourful tale of Thai fantasy, adventure and romance with trapeze artists, performing elephants and other animals.  The show also hosts the largest buffet in Thailand.


Things to do in Phuket

Big Buddha is a serene statue situated on the Nakkerd Hills between Chalong and Kata and can be seen throughout the southern part of the Island.  Surrounded by beautiful tropical rainforest the views from here are spectacular. It is considered that the Buddha is a natural symbol of hope. Big Buddha, standing 45m high with a 25m base is officially called Phra Puttamingmonkol Akenakkin Buddha.   It has been built purely by donations out of Burmese white marble, which shimmers in the sun.  Big Buddha is dedicated to the King of Thailand, whereas the smaller brass Buddha image on the same site has been dedicated to the queen.


Scuba cat Diving Phuket Thailand Things to do in Phuket

Wat Chalong is the largest and most visited of the Island’s Buddhist temples. Wats, or Buddhist temples are important symbols in Thailand as the majority of the population are Buddhist . The Wat is open to on a daily basis from 7am to 5pm. Wat Chalong is associated with the revered monks Luang Pho Chaem and Luang Pho Chuang who were famous for working with herbal medicine and attending to the sick and injured.  During the tin miners rebellion in 1876 they tended to the injured on both sides and were active in mediation to bring the warring parties together to resolve their dispute. Many local Thais are blessed by monks and receive a string tied around their wrist to protect against illness and injury.  Since 1954 the temple has hosted an annual fair around Chinese New Year. There are many stalls selling local products, fairground rides and live music. Please remember when visiting the Temple that it is a place of worship and to act and dress accordingly.


Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Things to do in Phuket

Phuket Aquarium is located at the end of Cape Panwa and is directly under the control of Phuket Marine Biology Centre, the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources and the Ministry of Natural resources and Environment.  The aim of the aquarium is to provide education and knowledge on the diversity of marine life, flora and fauna. There are over 30 tanks of fresh and salt water exhibits, all labeled in English and Thai with facts about the creatures. The star attraction is a large tank with a tunnel through the centre allowing people to walk through and be surrounded by sharks, groupers, wrasses to name a few. Outside there is a nature trail that leads to large pools with baby green and hawksbill turtles.  Injured adults are tended to in the rehabilitation area. The facility also has a marine biological centre with an endangered species unit. Other facilities include a small children’s playground and a coffee shop.


Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Things to do in Phuket

Phuket has amazing natural beauty. This can be appreciated by visiting one of the viewpoints around the Island.  Phromthep Cape is the Island’s most southerly hill. The cape also has a lighthouse, which is open to the public. It houses some interesting historical maritime artifacts.

Radar Hill view point is the highest point in Phuket at 529m. It has incredible views and is accessible via Chao Fa West Road. From here you can also see Phuket’s Bang Wad reservoir.

Kata viewpoint, locally known as Khao Saam Haad (3 beach hill) has great views of Kata Noi, Kata Yai and Karon beaches It is located between Nai Harn and Kata Noi beaches.

Windmill viewpoint is between Ya Nai and Nai Harn, where the large white windmills are facing out to sea. This is a quiet area with a covered sala with a seating area.


Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Things to do in Phuket

Phuket has 4 waterfalls, Bang Pae, Ton Sai and the lesser known one, Ao Yan. Bang Pae and Ton Sai are in the Khao Phra Thaeo National Park on the east of Phuket. This area is virgin rain forest and is host to many birds, monkeys and barking deer. Bang Pae is north of Phuket Town and is the largest of Phuket’s waterfalls. Bang Pae is particularly popular with local Thais for swimming during the wet season and picnics.

Ton Sai, also known as Banyan Tree Waterfall is west of the National Park. It is possible to walk through the forest with a hired guide to Bang Pae. This waterfall is more family orientated with facilities including toilets, restaurants and a small children’s playground. The waterfall is easily accessible but it is not as impressive as Bang Pae. There is also a well signed trek 2km long behind the waterfall. It is easily found by taking the road east at Thalang’s main traffic lights. It is well signed.

Kathu waterfall does not have a lot of water during the dry season, but it helped by 2 artificial pools halfway up. The waterfall has stairs and several levels leading to the cascade. It is possible to rest at the tables and chairs on the way up. Kathu waterfall is easy to find, turn left at Caltex onto Route 4020 if you are coming from Patong continue for 1km until you see the black marble sign.

Ao Yan waterfall is very quiet and not visited a lot. It is located behind the beach next to Ao Yan near Cape Panwa. To reach the waterfall is it essential to have good shoes as the trek is difficult. There are several drop pools, all small but it is possible to bathe in them. The waterfall can be found by taking the small road at the western end of the beach by the prawn farm. At the end of the road there is a parking area. The path leading up the hill is 100m to the right of here.


Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Things to do in Phuket

Unfortunately, Thailand’s wild gibbon population suffers at the hands of poachers they often kill the mother to take the baby, which is then sold into the illegal pet trade. A young gibbon is “cute”, but at the age of 5 years they can become aggressive and develop sharp canine teeth that inflict severe injury. This leads to abandonment or killing of matured aggressive pets. The centre in Khao Pra Thaeo National Park, near bang Pae waterfall tries to rehabilitate abandoned pet gibbons back into the wild. This is a long process as often the gibbons have to learn what to eat in the wild, regain strength and mobility and basically learn how to become a gibbon!! The centre is staffed by European volunteers who pay to work at the sanctuary, which is open  daily between 10am and 4pm. As it is a nonprofit organization donations are always welcome.


Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Things to do in Phuket

Mangroves are a crucial part of Phuket’s tropical and coastal ecology. They are important as nurseries for fish and crustaceans. In recent years mangrove areas have been replanted as they are a natural defense against large waves and flood damage. This became apparent following the 2004 tsunami. The mangrove is also a good natural filter of impurities in the water and can hold large amounts of carbon in the roots.

There are several ways of seeing the mangroves. Tours using ATV’s is perfect for families. An ATV can carry two people. There is an ATV camp in the Thalang district whose tours include rubber plantations and deserted beaches fringed with mangroves. It is also possible to visit the mangroves on bikes. The tour companies provide top of the range light weight mountain bikes with a suppoet vehicle and an English speaking guide. Kayaking in the mangroves is also another popular activity. The journey is about 2 km along the Klong Mudong which is alive with bird life, macaque monkeys and many other animals.

Similan Islands – What are they?

Posted on August 20th, 2011 by admin-scubacat-dw  |  Comments Off on Similan Islands – What are they?

The Similan Marine Park is located 70km west of Thailand Phang-Nga province. This group of islands is considered to be one of the top dive destinations in the world, mainly due to the clear water that surrounds the islands.

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Similan Islands

Similan was derived from the Malay work for nine “Sembilan” as the little archipelago is made up of nine islands. The islands do have local individual names, but are usually referred to by their respective numbers from North to South.

The Similan’s were designated as a National Park of Thailand in 1982 and cover an area of 128km2, which includes Koh Bon and the two rocky outcrops of Shark Fin Reef and Hin Pusa.

In 1998 an extra 12km2 of area was added when Koh Tachai was added to the park, which is now a total area of 140km2, of which only 15km2 is land.

Most of the islands are uninhabited with the exception of Islands 4, 8 and koh Tachai, which have national park offices located on them.

With the nine islands you get a wide variety of experiences, activities and stunning views, there are white sand beaches and massive boulder formations.

Underwater there are amazing coral gardens and diverse marine life ideal for all divers.

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Similan Liveaboards

The topography differs between the eastern and western sides of the islands. The east side consists of sandy bottoms with wide and colourful soft and hard coral fields that slope down to 40m in some areas. They have gentle current and make for easy diving.

The west side is characterized by large, stacked granite boulder formations which create tunnels and archways with impressive scenery. Currents here can be unpredictable which can make the diving more challenging for beginner divers. But this side is exposed to the open sea and provides good opportunities to spot big pelagic life.

Island 1               Koh Hu-Yong

The second largest island lies 8km south of island 4, it has the largest white sand beach of the Similan National Park which is located on the north side of the island. The beach is a protected area and has a Turtle hatchery, you need special permission from the forestry department to enter this island.

Island 2 and 3     Koh Pa-Yang and Koh Pa-Yan

These two islands are also protected, their topography is granite boulders with mountains and cliffs, no beaches. At resent all the first 3 islands are closed to diving in an effort to preserve the underwater environment. The most southern dive sites are the rocky outcrop of Shark Fin Reef and the submerged site of Boulder City.

Island 4               Koh Miang

The island has a marine park office, camping, small bungalows and a fresh water supply. There are 2 beaches, Haad-Yai or Princess beach on the north and Haad-Lek or Honeymoon beach to the East. There is a trail that runs between the two through the forest. Also on the island is a view point where once you reach the top has a spectacular view of the south islands of the Similans, the trek to get there is a little energetic though.

Islands 4 and 5   Koh Ha and Koh Hok

These two islands are located to the East of Island 4 and are the smallest in the group. The landscape underwater is spectacular with both fringing reef and boulder formations.

Island 7               Koh Pa-Yu

The island has a combination of granite formations and sand beaches. The East side of the island is now closed to diving, but the north and west sides offer rocky pinnacles as dive sites which are covered in soft corals. Again these sites are open to the ocean so currents can be encountered along with the bigger pelagic life.

Hin Pusa

Is located between islands 7 and 8 and is a group of boulders known as “Elephant Head Rock” as the shape resembles the head of an elephant. The site is recommended for experienced divers due to the depth and current.

Island 8               Koh Similan

Is the highest and largest of the islands and has a marine park office and camping in the North of the island at Donald Duck Bay. It is also where the famous Sail Rock is located which is a symbol of Similan. The view from the Rock shows the North part of the Similans. There is no diving on the west or East side of the island, leaving only the North area available.

Island 9               Koh Ba-Ngu

The island has no beach, but is a favorite with divers due to the scenery underwater, it has a mix of coral reef and rocky outcrops.

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Koh Bon Similan Islands

Koh Bon

The island is North east of Similans, with no sand beaches it is a limestone island with an unusual “hole” which traverses the island on the west side caused by sea erosion. The most popular dive is the ridge where a cleaning station for Manta Rays can be found.

Koh Tachai

This is most Northern part of the Similan Marine Park.  The island has a beautiful white powder beach where the park office is located. With many dive sites including a plateau to the south it is a popular dive destination.

Richelieu Rock

Although not part of the Similan marine park this is often dived on the same liveaboard trips. It is actually part of the Surin Marine Park and is located between the mainland and Surin islands. It is a submerged pinnacle know for it colourful soft coral and rich diversity of life, which can include the smallest creatures such as ghost pipe fish and sea horses to the largest of whale sharks and Manta rays.

Similans Liveaboards

Posted on August 14th, 2011 by admin-scubacat-dw  |  Comments Off on Similans Liveaboards

Similan National Park

The Similan Islands National Park is world famous for white sandy beaches, clear blue waters, beautiful sunsets and amazing huge boulder formations. Here you will find some of the most amazing natural scenery Thailand had to offer.

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Similans Island 8

"Donald Duck Bay"

They are easily the best dive sites Thailand has to offer and very rank high in must visit list of Dive Sites in the world.

MV Scuba Cat Live aboard cruises around these Islands for 6 months of the year allowing divers of any level and snorkelers to take in this amazing beauty in one of the most relaxed atmospheres of all liveaboards in the Similans. She has a unique liveaboard schedule allowing a stay from 2 days 1 night, with a maximum of 20 customers staying on board. We are proud to have so many customers who come back to us year after year – I am sure you will agree after a trip on board.

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand MV Scuba Cat Liveaboard

"The Cat"

Rob Fraser-Thomson is one of our many repeat customers’ with Scuba Cat Diving.

“I started diving in Thailand in 1999 whilst doing my IDC with a company based in Kata. It wasn’t for another 2 years that I returned to Phuket after working in Italy. I had heard good things about a company called “Scuba Cat Diving”, during the IDC from other students and other divers, so decided to book my trip with them.

The MV Scuba Cat is based in Simians during the high season, a spectacular group of islands north west of Phuket. Unlike other liveaboards, the boat is permanently based in the islands, customers are carried to the liveaboard via minibus and speedboat, the Similans are a long way from the mainland so this saves much time. You can be diving within 30 minutes of arriving on the boat, after the boat and dive briefing off course.

I have heard people mention that the transfer takes a long time but most the other dive companies take longer to sail from the mainland, the Similans are far out to sea and a world-class dive site.

During the low season the MV SCUBA CAT is based at Racha Yai, a group off islands south of Phuket, it is usually quieter at this time of the year but the diving is just as good. If you have a good eye, this area is rich in the smaller species you don’t spot in the Similans.

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Racha Yai

"The View during low season"

Captain Min and his crew are always a bonus being very helpful to new divers on the boat and the old ones! The dive guides are very competent and professional, the only problem I have ever had was with triggerfish.

I still try to do 2 trips a year on the MV Scuba Cat, both to the Similans and Racha Yai. Although I have been on MV Scuba Fun day trips and MV Scuba Adventure, I prefer the MV Scuba Cat with its large dive deck and open plan design.

10 trips and 500 dives later, having seen many other companies and their boats, Scuba Cat is the only company who I would book with and I have no intention of changing.”

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Liveaboard Diving


5 days and counting……………………See you again next week