Posts Tagged ‘Turtles’

PhiPhi Live-Aboard Dive Trip September 2012 on the Scuba Adventure.

Posted on November 9th, 2012 by admin-scubacat-dw  |  Comments Off on PhiPhi Live-Aboard Dive Trip September 2012 on the Scuba Adventure.

Due to more erratic weather during the low seasons here (it can be blue sky and calm/clear seas or it can be raining and rough) live-aboard trips are better planned for the more local dive sites around Phuket, where shelter is easily found and diving schedules are much less affected. Rather than taking day trips, the local dive sites are so much better done from a relaxed live-aboard, with long surface intervals and schedules that best to avoid other divers on the day boats – all in all, much better diving!

Day 1:
Shark Point 1 – Stronger currents occur twice a month, so it was nice to have a leisurely 1st checkout dive that enabled us to explore most of pinnacle #1. A mass of anemones, colourful soft coral, sea-fans and barrel sponges make this marine-life rich dive site a must on any trip. Always cool things to see, we managed to find 4 tiger-tail sea-horses of various shades and a nice variety of morays.

Palong Wall Bay (Phi Phi Le) – We chose this dive site partly to avoid the currents on the other side of the island but also because it’s one of the best places to see black-tip reef sharks. Vis at about 10m was lower than Shark Point but once you tuned into looking for the sharks, it was easy to see them (some very close). There were individuals to be spotted throughout the whole dive and some groups of 3 or 4 sharks at a time. There were a couple of turtles munching on the hard corals and things like a white devil-scorpion-fish to entertain us as we waited for more big fish!

Turtle Bay (Phi Phi Le) – As it suggests, this was our dive site for turtles. It didn’t disappoint with our divers seeing a combined 5 hawksbill’s of various sizes.This site can also be awesome for macro, with some colourful nudibranchs and we found a Maldive sponge-snail too.


Tonsai Cave (Phi Phi Don) – As it suggests, this site has a cave but it was the wall, covered with coloured soft-corals and polyps, that was the subject of our night dive. Active with shrimp and decorator-crabs it was a green/grey, free-swimming, barred moray trying to eat a small crab that provided the best entertainment (the crab got away!). We had a bar-tailed moray, another interesting, though un-identifiable, small moray poking it’s nose around and also a nice beige tiger-tail sea-horse.


Day 2:
Koh Bida Nai – We easily managed to work our way round most of the smaller of the 2 Bidas, with a nice drift down the west side, providing beautiful scenery, schools of trevally and tuna, plus vis up to 20m. Once we got to the other side, vis was around 10m but that was where we found 3 zebra sharks (two 1.5m juveniles and a larger adult) – so not too shabby then 😉


Koh Bida Nok – Again making use of the moderate current, we took drift down the longer side of Bida Nok. Always active with large schooling fish, we also had a few black-tip sharks and 3 very large ‘pick-handle’ barracudas. The terrain on the west side is varied and interesting, followed by a purple and yellow wall (complete with split level cave) on the northern end.
Palong Wall North (Phi Phi Le) – Getting another dive in on the east of Phi Phi Le really paid off. With the best vis of the trip (a clear, blue 30m), lighting up the stunning beauty of this site. Clusters of jagged rocks in the shallows, forming channels and swim thrus (with a few sharks and turtles), dropping down to the white sands at depth, that slope up and down to the large, soft-coral covered boulders. 2 big, playful cobia in the depths were the stars of this show plus a handful of squid and some good size spiny lobsters kept our safety stop swim interesting.


Viking Cave North (Phi Phi Le) – We were also running some specialty courses on the boat, so this site was ideal for both a course dive and spending a bit more time in the shallows (4th dive of the day). We had a leopard flounder and a white bent-stick pipe fish in the mid-depth sands, another turtle at the dives end, but it was diving real slow and finding lots of nudi’s that made a nice contrast to the days ‘landscape’ diving. Nudi’s included; some small blue-dragons (Pteraeolidia Ianthina), a large Halgerda Stricklandi (bright orange spots on a bumpy white body with black-frilled on white rhinophores and gills – if that helps you imagine?) and lots of small but oh so pretty Flabellina Exoptata with their bright orange tipped, deep-purple ringed cerata (lots of pointed tubes down their back) on a violet body. Have fun looking them up!

Day 3:
King Cruiser Wreck – With such an abundance of marine life it’s often hard to see this 80m long, 25m wide wreck! During the day, vis can be anything from 3m to 30m here, but there is nothing like an early morning dive at the cruiser. Vis is often at it’s best and you’re normally the only divers there. It’s absolutely the best way to enjoy the thousands of schooling fish and also the macro and soft corals that have grown on this rusty wreck.


Shark Point 3 & 2 – Due to this time having the strongest of the currents during our trip, we decided to use pinnacle #3 of Shark Point as our focus for this dive, giving us protection from the in-coming tide and then a nice drift over to the vivid soft corals of pinnacle 2. Pinnacle 3, being a little deeper on average than the others, has more varied hard corals amongst the soft and attracts an awful lot of fish. A school of chevron-barracudas added yet another thing to our list of cool critters.
Koh Doc Mai – This was a great easy dive to finish the trip with. Vis was around 15-20m and we decided to make the most of the sunshine and visit the deeper rocks on the west side. Lots of nooks and crannies to find grey-bamboo sharks in and coral covered crests to peer over, then finishing off on the south wall for more macro and morays.

Summary: Some mixed diving in terms of conditions (currents, waves, sunshine and light rain), with visibility a good average (min of 10m, max of 30m) and many fewer dive boats than high-season. Great diving, be it special critters to see on a dive, marine-life rich seascapes or a wreck all to ourselves. Diving with a small group of people, on a live-aboard during the low season has a lot of advantages to having a great time below and above the water – we had the opportunity to visit Phi Phi for an evening out too!


Thank you to Vincent Moy who was Tour Leader on MV Scuba Adventure for this trip.




MV Scuba Adventure – Phi Phi August 2012

Posted on September 1st, 2012 by admin-scubacat-dw  |  Comments Off on MV Scuba Adventure – Phi Phi August 2012


Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Phi Phi Islands

MV Scuba Adventure recently completed a great summer trip to the Phi Phi Island’s for 3 days 2 nights, here is what our customers said about the trip.

“The diving exceeded our expectations, the boat was well organised and planned (although the dive deck would have been too small for many more divers – we were lucky we were a small group), the cabins were simple but comfortable, clean and the AC worked well.  The food was plentiful and excellent, the crew helpful and cheerful.  The diving itself was great – we saw much more than we thought we would, our guide, Vincent, was very knowledgeable abut the area and was able to show us a wide variety of life – from the tiniest nudies to lots of sharks/turtles.  The reefs we visited were vibrantly colourful and full of life – obviously very healthy.  We had an excellent holiday.

We also had perfect weather – so much for monsoon season!”

Thank you – Hope to see you again soon guys!

What a difference a year makes…….Priscilla’s story

Posted on June 13th, 2012 by admin-scubacat-dw  |  Comments Off on What a difference a year makes…….Priscilla’s story

2010 – Diving? Me? No way!
2011  –  I can Dive…
2012 – I ♥ diving

I have been scared of the ocean my whole life. Big fish with sharp teeth, dirty water, the idea of not being able to see your feet, etc. etc.  Enough reasons to not go into the ocean with much more than my big toe. If you would have met me a year ago, and said that I would be scuba diving now? I would laugh at you and call you crazy!  How little did I know…

When my family and I were in Phuket in the summer of 2011, my brother was looking for a dive school to go on some daytrips. Walking along the beach we found Scuba Cat. The instructor we were talking to asked whether I was going to dive too and I told him I was definitely not going to, since there was really nothing that attracted me. The idea of breathing through a tube and having a lot of water above me didn’t sound like fun at all.
I don’t really remember what made me change my mind…but I went back to the dive shop to have a dive at the swimming pool, and I liked it.
I felt very comfortable, the instructor was really patient and we talked about the open water course. After thinking it over and over again, I decided to give it a try and see how far I would go. My Instructor Hielke,  was great. From the moment we met I felt comfortable and safe. He was extremely patient (I was a horrible student – and no I’m not exaggerating!) and he has great teaching skills.

Scuba Cat Diving  5 * CDC Phuket Thailand

After a day in the classroom, we practised the skills in the swimming pool. There were no problems, so why wouldn’t I be able to do the same thing in the ocean? I didn’t like the idea of pulling my mask off (and get seawater in my eyes) though I knew I would be perfectly able to put it back on. And what to think about practising for an Controlled emergency swimming ascent to the surface….looking up, seeing the surface is far, far away, and then take one breath in and ascent to the surface whilst breathing out all the way. But what’s the fun in life if you don’t try new things and cross your own borders?

I went on a complete new adventure, together with my instructor.
The first dive I stayed extremely close to him. No way there would be more than 15 cm between us! I was scared and I didn’t enjoy the dive. It was not horrible, but I didn’t think it was fun either. I didn’t see much of the beautiful marine life, since I was checking air and depth all the time and did my best to keep breathing on a regular base. Repeating to myself  ‘breath in, breath out…’ the dive seemed to last an eternity.

The second dive was much better, I saw a glimpse of the beautiful coral and sea creatures, still staying close to my instructor. I saw my first ‘Nemo’!

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Nemo
The third dive was a complete disaster, what broke down all the confidence I gained in the first two dives. We were sleeping on the boat and I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep…all I did was crying. That night, I decided to never go diving again. I was looking for a way to tell it to my instructor. I actually found it more sad for him then for me if I wouldn’t finish the course, he was working so hard! It was quiet (there was no one on the boat besides us) the fish were swimming in the lights of the boat and the stars were absolutely stunning! ( I can recommend live aboards to everyone, just to watch the stars and experience how quiet the world can be)
Later the instructor woke up and found me awake. We spend a lot of time talking. What were my exact reasons for not wanting to dive again? I don’t know how he did it, but he found a solution for everything (and I can guarantee you: I had 1001 reasons) and promised me that we would go back to the boat whenever I wanted to. I only needed one more dive to complete my open water training, so why not finish it? After finishing the course I could always decide to never go diving again, but at least I would have finished the course (well…I am a perfectionist, so I always finish what I started) He found the magic words and I went in again.

I’m so glad that he found a way to convince me to go back in!

Scuba Cat Diving  5 * CDC Phuket Thailand
He showed me how much fun diving could be and how beautiful the marine life is. Because all I did was follow where ever he was going and watching everything he showed me (and checking air and depth of course) I enjoyed the dive very much. We saw beautiful corals, many different fish in all the colours of the rainbow.  They say ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ and it was true! When coming up we had spent an hour down below and I thought we were only there for 25 minutes.
After this dive we went in two more times and with every dive I made I gained a lot of confidence.
I enjoyed the dives so much that I was actually sad that we were moving on to national park Kao Sok, away from the ocean.

During our journey home all I could talk about was diving. When diving I felt like Alice in Wonderland and I felt like I need to explore that world more. As soon as we got home, my brother and I booked a flight back to Thailand for December. Within a few weeks I booked our live aboard with a Advanced Open Water course for me and EFR & Rescue course  for my brother.
Before going back to the ocean I went to the swimming pool in the Netherlands to dive there. I wanted to check if I still knew everything, just to make sure. I’m glad I did, because now I had no reason to be nervous at all and I could relax during the flight. That flight was horrible, we had a major delay and missed our connection. We’ve spend Christmas day on the airport instead of under the palm trees. The staff of Scuba Cat was very friendly and helping with putting us on another daytrip and friendly and helpful words on the phone.

My brother and I went on the liveaboard to dive the Similans.

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand MV Scuba Adventure
I read a lot about it before we went, but it was even more beautiful then I imagined….

There were some challenging moments (night dive, bad visibility after the rain,etc) but being with an instructor, Kiwi and my brother and a lot of nice people on the boat, I felt comfortable enough to face them. I know that at certain moments I would never have gone in the water if my brother wasn’t there to hold my hand, an instructor to watch over us and many nice people on the boat to share experiences and give some advice now and then. Being on a liveaboard is great. The food is better than in a restaurant, you meet new people and you all have something you share, so you don’t have to worry about awkward silence….I made new friends there and learned a lot.

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Similans Liveaboard
I was diving more on my own, not so (literally) attached to my instructor or buddy anymore. I swam with big groups of fish, went deeper than ever before, I saw turtles and seahorses and it felt like I was swimming in an enchanted world.
As long as I stay between my own, newly discovered borders, I can explore that world and enjoy it too. The staff of Scuba Cat helped me with that and will help me to learn more things and enjoy diving more and more in the future.
This summer I’m going to Indonesia, but in December I’m returning to Thailand and dive more with Scuba Cat.  I can’t thank my first instructor enough for all his patience, calming words, teaching me how to dive and showing me the magic world of the ocean. Thank you to the other instructors and guides (daytrips and courses) for all your help, advice and guidance. I can’t imagine a life without diving anymore!  A big thank you to all the staff of Scuba Cat to make everything happen, from booking, to food, from diving to have a drink at the bar to celebrate the happy end of our combined story and our future return to you all.  I will highly recommend you all to everyone who wants to dive in Thailand and see you again in December. I’m looking forward to it very much!

Big hugs for everyone.

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.