Wake up to the calm seas as the water takes on the warm pinkish tint of the rising sun. Fresh coffee brews as the boat sails to the first dive sight of the day. Maps are laid out and dive briefs are given. A description of which fish will be seen at which depths. The topography, the currents, the duration and the ease of collection after the dive. Down to the dive deck. Music drifting out of the surround sound system, before the boat reverses and the signal given. Similan Liveaboard
Wake up! A plunge into the ocean. BCD fully inflated and bobbing around in refreshing coolness. All ready? Regs in. Dowwwwn. Silence. Inhale. Exhale. Bubbles. Ok? Ok – ok – ok – ok . All four divers down and happy and floating. Now let the underwater adventure begin.
Slowly moving along the reef or around a submerged pinnacle. Swimming over familiar rocks and coral, visiting the same fish whose habits you have observed so closely every four days that you feel as if you are visiting a mute friend. At times I often marvel at how the twenty or so most frequently dived sites around the Similans have become as familiar to me as an urban town, such as Khao Lak. The main difference being of course that it could only be an act of the divine to travel around a town suspended in mid-air and controlling your depth with the slightest inhalation or exhalation. There’s also the constant novelty of the underwater world; the genuine anticipation of what this dive, despite the hundreds before it, will bring: Leopard shark? Mantas? Or the Big Fish itself? Of course there is always the unexpected; the guitar shark at Breakfast Bend, the weird and wonderful pleurobranch at Koh Tachai Reef, which ensures that even the most dived sites continue to hold their trump cards.
Sixty minutes later and the silence of the underwater world is broken as simultaneously as the surface is. Regs are removed, masks are dragged down and after a delay of a few seconds for readjustment, conversation initiated: “Did you see that?; What was that weird looking fish.” Or “WOWOWOWOWOWOW! Its tail nearly hit me!” At this point I will be leaning upon my surface marker revelling in the consistently high level of job satisfaction that working as a dive guide in the Similans never fails to bring. Meanwhile, the Captain of the boat will be sounding the horn and sailing over to collect my divers. As a fellow guide continuously comments, “Its just too easy” (pronounced with a accentuated ‘Zeeee’. Indeed, the liveaboards are the easiest way to dive the Similans. Dive, Eat, Sleep, Dive, Eat, Sleep and so on. Or course there is always the option of jumping onto the dingy and exploring one of the Princess’s tropical islands.
Islands number Four and Eight are accessible to the public, and have fantastic view points across turquoise waters and lush green hills. Some prefer not to leave the comfort of the boat! Professing that rather than going to the beach they would rather “stay and relax”, which is a comment which in itself makes me smile. One tour leader is renowned for this habituation to boat life. Just to ensure his days are spent either in the water of floating above it he describes the island visit as “Bex’s Island Adventure”. However, I love scrambling up the rocks, using the crude but effective system of rocks and ladders to reach the top. On the boat the furthest I ever walk is from the dive platform to my cabin. A strange comment since I don’t actually sleep in my cabin. After all why sleep inside when the sundeck offers an unlimited view of the night sky and a soft gentle morning wake up?