I have returned from my 8 days on the MV Deep Andaman Queen, a dive boat live aboard in the Andaman Sea. We went from Khao Lak to the Mergui Archipelago for scuba diving, and now, back in Thailand. My daughter flew in yesterday, and we are enjoying a lazy day at the Amari Beach Resort in Patong Beach on the island of Phuket. I will publish the blogs of my trip daily!
To the Andaman Queen
I was picked up at my hotel right on time, 17:00 (5:00PM), always a plus! I was the last guest to be picked up, and Craig, one of the dive masters, was ecstatic that I had brought my 1” X 1” passport type photos. It was in the directions, so I just did it. Apparently the usual passport photo is 2” X 2”, so most everyone brought those instead. A piece of luck for me! We all know that Tam is apt to screw ups, but when it comes to travel documents, I am pretty organized (yes, I KNOW I lost my passport in Nairobi…but it was stolen, I’m almost sure.) We spent hours finding a photo shop (Kodak), getting photos taken and printed. That was just our minibus, no one on the other bus had the right photos either. Then one of the guys in our bus lost his new photos at a bathroom stop, so he had to go get new ones taken. At last, the MV Deep Andaman Queen.
She is large and roomy, very comfortable, though not luxurious. The staff and crew are exceptional, or as the Head Dive Master Steve would say, brilliant. They are very professional and friendly, especially the dive masters. After only 3 dives I can say that they are brilliant. My dive master is Jurgen, from Germany, an electrical engineer turned dive master in the Andaman Sea.
I have decided to suck it up and buy a BCD to travel with. Buoyancy Compensator Device. Once again I have rented one, and once again I have had problems with it. On the 3rd dive yesterday, at a gorgeous dive site called Richelieu Rock, the jacket over inflated and I nearly ran out of air fighting to stay down. Jurgen was wonderful, and helped me get back on the boat. I skipped the 4th dive, which was a night dive on the Rock, but I was completely exhausted. I haven’t gotten my own BCD to travel with because I have so much trouble with the weight of the bags…camera equipment and dive gear and computers, etc….every joint hurts from lugging it around. But, how much heavier is a BCD? I have to do it.
I have had 3 dives, and so far, Richelieu Rock has been the best, even though I had to come up early. It is absolutely magnificent with colorful tree and soft coral and anemones everywhere. Serpent Sea Stars dot the landscape, with the occasional cushion sea star and pin cushion sea star. I am charmed by the Skunk Anemone Fish, they are not as bright and colorful as “Nemo”, but I find them much prettier. I also love the feather stars which make their way around the Indian Ocean. They have numerous arms, and as the name states, look like groups of feathers. They are so intricate. The sea cucumbers here are enormous! The Knobby Banded Sea fans are spectacular. The BCD issue got away from me, I know, because of all of the new and interesting sea life I was looking at. Today, we will only do two dives, as we had to stop and do immigration through Burma/Myanmar, where we are right now. On these dives, I will not take a camera, but concentrate solely on the dive and my new equipment, especially the BCD! I am also fighting a cold, or sinus, condition…so I don’t feel 100%. More later!
CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS HERE! I WILL CONTINUE TO UPDATE.