And We’re Off at Last on Our New Similan Liveaboard

November 2013 had been super busy at Thailand Dive and Sail. As well as our already booked diving activities, some DSD’s, SSI Open Water Courses and diving with guests on liveaboards we also had a monumental task on the go. We had to get our first ever Similan liveaboard ready. Not just preparing to tour lead the first trip like in previous years, but actually to get a boat ready. For the Similan diving season 2013 – 2014 we would be running our first ever Similan liveaboard with Andaman Scuba, the MY Bunmee II.

Bunmee Similan dive team 1

Clive had already spent weeks in the Sikit Shipyard near Phuket Town as the boat’s yearly routine maintenance was completed. The MY Bunmee II, now in Tap Lamu, was looking like a fine Similan Liveaboard. The Thailand Dive and Sail office was also a hive of activity making sure we had ordered all the necessary items. Shopping lists were prepared, extra equipment ordered, torches, dive maps, course materials, hopefully we had covered everything.

MY Bunmee II Departure

1st December 2013, our departure day for our first ever Similan liveaboard on the MY Bunmee II. Clive, Lukas and I headed to the boat a little earlier in the day to make sure everything was ship-shape. Sarah was in the taxi collecting the guests. Although we were confident everything had been done, I still had a feeling we might have overlooked something important.

Our first similan liveaboard
Time to celebrate

Being our first trip it seemed appropriate to celebrate with some sparkling booze before starting the paperwork and briefings. A great way to start our trip and also to breathe a sigh of relief that eventually we were putting all our hard work into action, getting ready to head out to the Similan Islands and dive.

We finished off the briefings and headed to the front of the boat for our leaving ceremony. The crew had already made some offerings to the sea gods, now it was time to chase away any bad spirits that might be lingering around the boat by lighting a long chain of firecrackers. So in a haze of smoke and loud bangs we were finally off :)

Equipment set up was completed, everyone checked into their cabins and the celebratory atmosphere continued as everyone settled into our chill out sofa area at the back of the boat. The first of many beers were opened.

Sea conditions were a little choppy, heading west with waves coming from the north. Bunmee II could handle the waves, rocking gently from side to side. Unfortunately our cook couldn’t handle them so well, but with some help from the rest of the crew dinner was served and our first night’s celebrations continued a few hours longer.

Day One on MY Bunmee II Similan Liveaboard

Waking up in the Similan Islands for the first time on the MY Bunmee II was a great feeling. Apart from a few minor teething problems with the boat we had done it.

We were finally going diving from a boat we could kind of call our own.

We had a great bunch on board for the first trip and any small problems were overlooked.

Especially when it was time to go diving 🙂

Breakfast on Board

One of the benefits of being in a predominantly English owned company comes to light at breakfast time. After a nice easy first dive at Anita’s Reef it was time for a full English Breakfast.

Despite still being seasick our cook Bow was still managing to serve delicious food from the kitchen. So with dive one completed and full stomachs there was some time to relax and enjoy being in the beautiful Similan Islands.

Breakfast on our similan liveaboard
Bow feeling a little better

Dive Two West of Eden

Time to head north to Similan Island 7 and dive number two…

With dive two under our weight belts we were really getting into the swing of things. Well not the cook, she was still spending most of her time with her head in a bucket. The rest of the Bumnee boat crew were gelling together well. Tanks were getting filled and great food was still appearing from the kitchen. Luckily our house keeper Pai was also a dab hand in the kitchen.

Dive Three Elephant Head Rock

Heading further north to Similan Island 8 and dive number three…

After dive three we headed north into Donald Duck Bay for our beach visit to the famous Similans view-point on Island 8.

Well, after some snacks that is.

With sunset approaching, as tour leader on the first trip is was time to pull rank. I delegated my night dive to our dive master in training. I figured he need the experience more than I did. Plus the fact I’m also lazy! Thanks Lukas for taking care and bringing my team safely, nearly back to the boat.

Tracy had skipped the night dive in favour of a bottle of wine and Clive teaching Pernille and Jonas their Open Water Course prevented him from night diving too. Plus he’s also a tad lazy too. Time for a Chang Beer. Though don’t mention this to Lukas, we’d told him we wouldn’t open a beer till he returned.

 

Donald Duck Bay the Similans
Donald Duck Bay

Our First Successful Similan Liveaboard Completed

Heading back to Tap Lamu Pier I think all the team onboard the MY Bunmee II had a great feeling of achievement. We had all worked really hard to get to this point and our first trip had been a great success. A few things need working on on the boat, but nothing that had affected the enjoyment of the first trip.

Like most Similan liveaboard trips, it’s not only about the diving, but about the company on the boat. We couldn’t have wished for a better crowd to start off our new era running a boat. So many thanks to Morgan, Pernille, Jonas, Tracy, Matt and Kim, Sarah and Lukas for joining us. We hope to see you again soon for some more Similan diving.

Special congratulations to Pernille and Jonas who completed their Open Water Courses, we hope you have many more dives with a smile ;)

End of first Similan liveaboard
Group Photo from Trip One