Scuba Explorer Community
Texas Holdem Liveaboard Tournament
It originally happened fairly spontaneously one fine evening on the Explorer, no one wanted to night dive so instead we broke out a deck of cards and taught some of the guests the ins and outs of Texas Holdem Poker, which is fast becoming the worlds choice of poker styles due to it’s intelligent betting and bluffing options and simple learning curve.
If you are not familiar with the rules, you are given two cards and three cards are put on the table, you then try to outwit the other players and form the best poker hand by betting or bluffing your way to two more table cards and a glorious victory or utter defeat. Obviously this is an over simplification of the rules, feel free to Google it, but the point is, that it is a super fun way to spend a few hours with your guides or fellow guests.
We don’t play for money on the boat, or as yet we haven’t, we typically use mints, sugar packets and pens to represent our chips, 5$ = One mint, 10$ = One Sugar Packet, 50$ = 1 Pen. It’s hilarious to hear your opponent shout, ‘I raise you 3 pens’, you know it is game on when that happens. But more commonly you will hear ‘I call your mint and raise you 2 sugars’.
We have had some great nights playing Texas Holdem for fun this way in a tournament style, lose your chips and your out setting, with 10 players to start and usually 2 players facing off against each other at the end for the glory and all the mints, sugars and pens we have onboard. It’s also a lot of fun to watch even if you went out early or don’t want to play, Texas Holdem tends to really bring out a persons character around the table, you’ll figure out pretty quickly which instructor and guests are practiced liars and those who can’t hide a good hand!
We usually try to get at least one game/tournament going per trip, so don’t hesitate to let us know if you are Texas Holdem fan and want to be involved. I’ll see you on the boat, bring your game face!
Dive deck on the Scuba Explorer Phuket luxury liveaboard
We have the biggest & safest dive deck in the Similans
Don’t settle for cramped dive decks, don’t settle for being shoved by inconsiderate divers and don’t put up with lack of space to properly fit your equipment, dive in style on the Scuba Explorer from our massive dive deck. The deck consists of 44 Tanks spaces and a set up table in the middle. As you may have noticed we only take 22 guests at maximum capacity so that means everyone has room to swing, no cramped conditions on our boat!
Our staff are also some of the best in the industry, our boat crew will help you in and out of your equipment and help you safely to the dive platform, which can easily stand several divers ready for entry. Our dive platform has one step to the dive deck, so no shuffling down staircases in your equipment, and no dangerous ladders to the deck or ribs.
Dive deck on the Scuba Explorer Phuket luxury liveaboard
Diving from the Scuba Explorer is truly a pleasure, room enough for everyone to gear up, dive deck space to move around on and staff that will make sure you are safe and comfortable at all times!
What more could you ask for? Don’t hesitate, book your luxury liveaboard holiday today and join us onboard the Scuba Explorer for the best diving holiday you’ll ever experience!
Advanced Open Water Course Similan Islands Phuket Thailand
THIS OFFER IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE
Imagine seeing a Whale Shark on your PADI Advanced Open Water Navigation dive? Or getting to identify a White Tip Reef Shark on your Fish Identification dive? If you are thinking of going from PADI Open Water diver to Advanced diver why not complete the course on one of Phuket’s finest luxury liveaboard cruises to the Similans & Surin Islands or South Andaman. This is a fantastic opportunity to not only dive some of the most beautiful dive sites in the world, but also to take your diving to the next level. Spend 3 or 4 days on board diving 4 or 5 times a day and relaxing in between dives in the crystal clear turquoise waters of the Andaman Ocean.
You do 5 dives to complete the Advanced Open Water course, Deep and Navigation are mandatory; you choose the other 3 from a choice of 15 exciting dives. With 8, 10 or 12 dives in the cruise packages there is plenty of time to complete the course over the few days; your Instructor will choose the best site to complete each AOW dive to get the most enjoyment out of it. There is a bit of reading and a couple knowledge reviews to complete, this gives you a better understanding of all aspects of diving from decompression, to understanding nitrogen narcosis, learning how to identify marine life by shape, colour and habitat, understanding the oceans currents, and learning how to navigate by means of compass and natural features. This not only increases your knowledge and understanding of the marine environment, it will also enhance your diving skills and enjoyment.
There are 15 dives to choose from. Choose the Fish Identification or Underwater Naturalist dive and you will be spoilt by choice on the marine life, you will learn so much about the different creatures and habitats under the ocean. Practice your buoyancy on Elephant Head Rock with the Peak Performance Buoyancy dive, the swim throughs on this dive will surly perfect your buoyancy as you swim close to the sand careful not to disturb it or hit your head on the overhead rock, some swim throughs are tighter then others, you will certainly be a better diver by the end of it. Where better to do the Deep dive then the magnificent Koh Bon, dropping to depths of 30m, where you may be lucky enough to be surrounded by Manta Rays. Take the Night dive on Richelieu Rock and experience the peace and serenity of the ocean at night, encounter all the wonderful critters that come out at night, Shrimps, Octopus, the Moray Eels hunting. Learn the Drift dive on Koh Tachai where the often strong currents give the perfect conditions for this exciting type of diving.
AOWC Special Offer – 6,000 THB
Take your advanced course on board the Scuba Explorer on a trip to the Similans or South Andaman and get 60% off the normal AOW course price; this is an amazing offer too good to miss. Whether you choose the standard, deluxe or suite cabin option you will only be paying an extra 6000 THB to complete your Advanced Open Water while diving at some of the world’s top dive sites.
There are so many options to choose from on the advanced open water course, and to get to take this course in the Similans means that not only will every dive completely different and equally as exciting, you will also get to see marine life you will never have encountered with visibility ranging from 20m-40m on many of the dive sites.
The dive sites in the Similans are so diverse, with so much marine life; it will be like nothing else you have experienced, an unforgettable lifetime opportunity!
Manta Ray on Koh Bon West Ridge
Koh Bon’s West Ridge was particularly stunning this day
Seeing a Whale Shark or a Manta Ray on a dive is something very special, exciting, over powering, fantastic, whatever word comes to mind, it is simply amazing. Seeing them both on the same dive is something else altogether, words can not describe the feeling. Many of the customers on board the Scuba Explorers first Similans trip of the season got to experience this feeling on the first day at Koh Bon.
This dive was the third of the day, we had already done one dive at Anitas reef (or Coral reef, whichever you would like to call it) at Similan Island no 5/6, and the second dive at Koh Bon West Ridge. Both dives, whilst fun were nothing as spectacular as the third. At Anitas reef there is a big bomby full of big schools of shinning Glassfish, beautiful soft corals, Giant Gorgonian sea fans,even a one of a kind pink anemone on the top which had been bleached some years back by the raising water temperatures. the first dive on Koh Bon West ridge gave us 20m visibility, warm waters, a lot of life with schools of Emperor Snappers, Big Eyed Snapper, Chequered Snapper, Red Tooth Trigger fish, all coming in to feed in the morning. We also found a few oddly shaped Maldivian Sponge Snails.
Our next dive was the one not to have missed, we started to the North of the West Ridge this time and had been in the water no more then 5 minutes when I heard the frantic banging of the tour leaders tank, knowing there must be something big out there we all followed where he was pointed, out for the blue came a 4m Whale Shark, not big by Whale Shark standards but impressive by ours, the whole boat saw it and there were people excitedly high fiving in the water, having just ticked something of their ‘bucket list’. Koh Bon being famous for Manta Rays, it is rare to see a Whale hark there, I have not heard of anyone seeing one there before, unfortunately it did not stay with us too long, too many excited divers chasing it to get a better photo.
Whale Shark on Richelieu rock
My group decided against going after more sightings of the Whale Shark and decided to continue onto the Ridge in search of the Majestic Manta Ray. 5 minutes later we were rewarded. We were swimming towards a cold thermocline, with it they bring nutrients the big stuff feed on so we were hoping of a sighting, out of it swimming gracefully towards us was a big 5m Manta Ray. For the next half hour we hung in the water as it swam around us, feeding and playing. Others divers saw us and came to join the spectacle. It turned out half the boat had gone off in pursuit of another Whale Shark Sighting and missed the Manta Ray whilst the other half had done what we did and continued to the ridge.
This Manta Ray was not bothered by the divers watching it, inquisitive animals they stay with you as long as you do not chase them.
Getting back on the Scuba Explorer we couldn’t wait to share our experience, photos and videos with each other. A Whale Shark and a Manta Ray in the same dive, a first for all of us, it does not often happen, it certainly was a special day indeed.
Whale Shark encounter on a night dive
Richelieu Rock is often the very reason divers want to go on a Liveaboard to the Similans & Surin Islands, it is the dive site people most want to visit and the reason is justified. The dive site itself is breathtakingly beautiful, covered in purple soft corals, Anemones, Gorgonian Fans, Knotted fans, Sea Whips and full of life, it is easy to see why divers want to come back again and again.
No two dives are the same, and it is impossible to see everything in just 1 dive, for that reason the Scuba Explorer spends a whole day at Richelieu Rock making 3/4 dives. We have had the added pleasure of doing a night dive on Richelieu Rock, very few Liveaboards offer this due to currents, depth, customer experience or time. So of course we all jumped at the chance, kitted up and jumped in before the tour leader could change his mind.
The excitement of descending onto Richelieu Rock in the dark was apparent in all us Instructors, I don’t think the customers realised that a night dive here was not often done as they laughed at us all fighting to get in the water first. As we all descended with our torches turned on the colour of the corals light up under the artificial light, glowing in the beam it looks even more beautiful at night. The peacefulness of the Ocean at night and the fact that we were the only Liveaboard diving there made me feel utter calmness, like I was floating through space. I love night diving and this dive was definitely one to remember.
Whale Shark in the Similan Islands
Scuba Diving in the Similan Islands
The High season is nearly upon us, the Similans opens again, and the Scuba Explorer is ready to start its weekly 3 day/3 night or 5 day/5 night cruises to the Similan Islands, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock. Clear turquoise waters, 30 meter visibility, a huge diversity of marine life, excellent macro diving, and nights spent being rocked to sleep by the comforting sound of the calm waves. What better way to spend a holiday then to be diving 4 times a day, with the added option of a night dive, on some of the best dive sites in the world, being guided by some very experienced instructors on board the luxury Scuba Explorer. Not only will they show you creatures you may never have seen before, you will also learn about the different marine species you will encounter, all the instructors on board the Scuba Explorer have a wide range of knowledge about the life in our Oceans.
The first trip of the season leaves on 31st Oct until 5th Nov, a trip all of us are excited about, we can not wait to get back on the Scuba Explorer diving in the Similans. Throughout the month of November the Scuba Explorer is offering a fantastic 15% off all dive cruises, a great opportunity to experience the beautiful wonders of the Similans & Surin Islands and Richelieu Rock.
Advanced Open Water Deep dive in Siam Bay Racha Yai
Freedom Divers asked me to come on-board the Liveaboard trip to the South Andaman for 2 days/3 nights to teach an Advanced Open Water course, of course I was delighted to accept, even the storm warnings were not enough to put me off.
I met my student to go over a few skills in the pool before we set sail that evening, after a few hours in the pool with her I was quietly confident that she would have no problems with the dives we had coming up. I also learnt that she was very excited and had never spent a night on a boat before, this was to be an experience for her.
We boarded the boat at 8pm ready to leave for Koh Phi Phi early morning for our first dive at 7am. The first dive I decided was to be a fun dive as my student had not dived in a year I thought it better to ease her into it and not throw her in the deep end with skills and knowledge, this turned out to be a good idea as there was limited visibility and fairly strong current on the first dive, it was still enjoyable and gave my student time to get used to diving again. Swimming through schools of Big Eyed Snapper my student gave my the thumbs up (wrong sign but I knew what she meant) to say she loved it, mental note here to recap some of the underwater hand signals. The following dives I got the correct signal of ‘awesome’ a lot.
Sunset diving aboard the Scuba Explorer liveaboard
This story all begins with some very nasty weather, nasty enough to almost have our entire guest list and some of the crew hugging the porcelain and wishing they’d stayed on dry land. But we as divers were not about to let some ocean motion get the better of us. So we parked the Scuba Explorer in Bay 1 at Racha Yai, usually only 1 hr from Phuket, but it had taken almost 4 to get there this time fighting the ocean the whole way.
Thankfully Bay 1 was calm, conditions had funnily enough been great all day, with 15 + meters of visibility and no current at all, we’d managed a few really good dives, you certainly would not have guessed it was so nice under the waves if you had been looking at them from above. So we decided to do something a little different for the guests and organised a rare sunset dive. You jump in at around 6.30pm the sun sets around 7pm and your dive turns into a night dive, very fun and you get to see the reef night shift take over right before your eyes.
Hanging out with the night critters
To make this dive even more interesting for me, our tour leader had decided to throw his nice shiny torch off of the boat in a fit of bitter disappointment at losing the Texas Holdem tournament the night before, thankfully though he had also turned it off so that there was zero hope of ever finding it again. To this day no one knows how he truly lost it, but pretty sure he just wanted to test our searching abilities in case we ever lost anything important, you know, like another torch.
Klet Kaew Wreck Dive near Phi Phi Island Thailand
When someone says Wreck dive in Thailand or Phuket, most people immediately think of the King Cruiser, probably because it’s an awesome wreck and easily accessible, but what if I told you there is an even better wreck, just as accessible, shallower, more intact, safer and just generally purpose built for penetrating & scuba diving?
Enter the Klet Kaew Wreck or due to misspelling sometimes also known as the ‘kled Gaew, klad gaew, klad Kaew’ just off of Phi Phi Ley in the Southern Andaman, right next to viking cave if you are familiar with the area. A 50 meter long 382 tonne ex Norwegian gun ship, purchased by the Thailand Royal Navy, purposefully sunk on the 19th March 2014 for scuba diving in only 24 meters of water. So Unlike the King Cruiser, you get much more bottom time and the ability to penetrate into large sections of the Klet Kaew safely because it is so new and very much intact sitting on a sandy bed at only twenty four meters deep!
I myself recently dove it and spent almost my entire bottom time exploring the inside of this magnificent ship, I spent over 40 minutes on the dive, which is rare on wreck dives, because the Klet Kaew top is actually only at 14 meters, the bottom is 24, so once you start getting low on deco time, you go up to the wheel house and captains cabin and start penetrating there instead. I also spent a long time filming a giant ball of Striped Eel Catfish that were making a home deep inside the aft of the ship, they actually blocked my intended exit and I had to look for another one, thankfully there are plenty and the spaces are quite open, so swam through a large doorway…
Nitrox Diving on the Scuba Explorer Phuket liveaboard
We highly recommend that when diving with us on the Scuba Explorer you dive on nitrox, during our cruises we do 4 to 5 dives per day, and nitrox will not only make you feel better and less tired when doing this many dives, it is also much safer and just generally better for you!
What Is Nitrox Diving?
Nitrox, simply refers to having a higher percentage of oxygen in your scuba tank, sometimes refereed to as a blend, NOX or EANX. Humans breathe air, and normal air is 21% oxygen, 79% Nitrogen, that is the same gas percentages we breathe underwater from our scuba tanks and it is the high percentage of nitrogen that causes us problems as divers. The main issue is that we can only absorb a certain amount of nitrogen while diving, this is how/why your computer calculates bottom time for your dive, and why you can run out of bottom time before running out of air. Excess Nitrogen is also the primary culprit when it comes to decompression sickness or diving related illness.
So if you can use a higher percentage of oxygen in your scuba tank, guess what? That’s right, you can increase your computers bottom time, decrease your surface intervals and also lower your risk of decompression sickness, as there will be less nitrogen to dissolve out of your body, because you simply absorbed less on your dives by breathing a higher oxygen percentage.
You may now be asking, why don’t we always dive on Nitrox if the advantages of enriched air diving are this awesome? Well the answer is simply that you need to be a certified Enriched Air Diver via PADI or one of the other training agencies to use Nitrox while scuba diving. Nitrox has it’s own pitfalls and peculiarities which you will learn about on the course, you’ll also learn how to handle and identify nitrox tanks, how to analyse the contents of a nitrox tank and how to set your dive computer to use the correct gas mixture when diving with nitrox.
Nitrox Certification – 4,000 THB
If you do not have a Nitrox certification we recommend completing it onboard with us. We offer the PADI Enriched Air Diver certification for a meager 4,000 THB including 2 dives on Nitrox.
The course takes about 2 hours and is by far the most essential certification you should do and have as a scuba diver, plus you will never find a cheaper way to do some nitrox diving, than doing it onboard with us and you certainly won’t find a better location or better instructors than we have for you!
Certified Nitrox Divers
If you are already a certified Nitrox Diver, we offer it as an added option for your dives on the Scuba Explorer, but you need to let us know when you make your booking if you wish to dive on Nitrox while onboard one of our cruises. Nitrox fills are 250 THB per dive, per tank, if you want Nitrox over the course of the entire trip, we will lower the price to 200 THB per dive, per tank.
If you want to know more about Enriched Air diving, Nitrox, EANX, you can read more about it by following this link, PADI Enriched Air Diver course.