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 boats and trawlers - at least 5 - moored in the marine park, then fishing at sunset within a 1 - 2 km radius of the island. Good grief. Whats the point in having a marine 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 or fish balls.
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 toilet paper into the sewerage. And to make matters worse, some fucker had dysentery and kept on repainting the toilets with a muddy shade of shit which he didn't bother cleaning up.
Unfortunately I had a bit of a close encounter whilst brushing my teeth. After dinner, 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. Just as I was about to leave - the toilet bowl erupted in an unholy geyser. Turns out the boat plumber was trying to pump the sewage at the same time on the other side of the boat. It took me 5 seconds to open the door and exit but it felt like an eternity. I didn't get sick but the whole thought of that disgusting incident made me nauseous for the rest of the trip.
I now have a very fond affection to private ensuite toilets.
The Siam Divers boat was also rather crowded as they took in day trip divers who arrived by speed boat. On Day 2, a fat Japanese roommate was squeezed into my room cos the boatmaster was too lazy to put him in one of the many spare rooms. My roomie had an old school bell alarm clock which he thoughtfully for 5am in the morning.
Yes, Similans is probably cheap. But no, I don't think I'd dive there again and not with SD.