Just came back from a dive in the Similan Islands, Anderman Sea.
The first day diving was very promising - East of Eden was truly spectacular in terms of beautiful coral life. There were avenues of brilliant yellow colored soft coral - overhanging from the massive boulder rocks that cover the area.
The visibility at times was also pretty good - 20m+
Then we ventured to West of Eden, Deep Six, Elephant Head, North Point, etc.. the currents got a bit more stronger and tougher and the thermocline - waves of current of different temperatures - cold and sometimes hot - got more frequent.
At North Point - a massive brown thermocline wall, filled with coral sea debris, billowed towards us. I initially thought it was the wall face. It was an experience.
Sadly, the fish life is somewhat lacking in the Similans. And I think I know why. At Island 8 - the Ko Similan Island, I witnessed scores of fishing trawlers moored in the sanctuary area, then fishing within a 1 - 2 km radius. Whats the point in having a sanctuary if poachers go unchecked? I can imagine their large nets would have caught sharks, manta rays, whales sharks - minced them up and sold them off as cat meat.
I didn't have time to go to Richelieu Rock - but apparently the fish life is more abundant there.
It didn't help that the toilets - all public - on Siam Divers malfunctioned because people kept on dropping paper etc.. into the septic tank. And to make matters worse, some fucker had dysentery and kept on repainting the toilets with a muddy shade of shit. Unfortunately for me I had a bit of a close encounter whilst brushing my teeth. I got myself all nice and clean, flossed and brushed my teeth. Someone left a "present" in the toilet bowl but the flushing mechanism wasn't working - again. So I couldn't flush it away. Just as I was about to leave - the toilet bowl erupted in an unholy geyser.
I shit you not. A volcano eruption was spewing from the toilet bowl. Shock and disbelief came to horror as I tried to open the rusty twisted toilet door bolt to make my escape. It took me awhile to open the damn door. Enough time for me to be covered with gallons of waste water. And no, the piece of excrement wasn't there anymore.
It turns out the Thai boat plumber was trying to pump the sewage at the same time from one of the other toilets. They had a good laugh when I told them what happened.
I didn't get sick but the whole thought of that disgusting incident still leaves me slightly nauseated.
I now have a very fond affection to private ensuite toilets.
Siam divers was also rather crowded as they took in day trip divers who arrived by speed boat. No, not a good idea to share the crew space with day trippers - in this case, it was a bunch of Japanese and old Asians.
I had to bunk with one chap who had left his alarm on Tokyo time - which gave an almighty wakeup at 4am.
Yes, its probably cheap. But no, I don't think I'd dive there again and not with SD.