Back in Phuket (or more specifically Phi Phi) for another dive adventure! I was visiting Phuket island for a short getaway, so I only had one day to dive– not nearly enough, but better a day than none at all!
I visited at the end of January, when most of the Christmas and New Year crowds are nearly gone. Also, the dry and hot months of November to May are great times to dive the waters around the Andaman Sea, so I had perfect conditions for my first few dives of the year.
Diving in the Phi Phi Islands
On the day of my dive, the dive operator I was diving with was headed to the beautiful islands of Phi Phi. Most dive operators on Phuket have a fixed dive site schedule– a rotation between Phi Phi Islands, Racha Yai, Racha Noi; or Shark Point, Anemone Reef and the King Cruiser Wreck.
During my last dive adventure on the island, I went diving for three days and managed to cover some of the sites. You can read about it here:- Scuba Diving in Phuket and the Phi Phi Islands.
Sea Fun Divers
I chose a different dive operator from the one I went with on my first dive trip in Phuket. I had a wonderful experience with Sea Bees then, but I wanted to try something else for the sake of comparison– so I went with Sea Fun Divers. I felt comfortable with their communication with me via email; they were efficient, friendly, and provided me with all the information I needed, so I got my booking confirmed within a day.
Sea Fun Divers is a PADI 5-Star Dive Center located on Kata and Karon beaches, and they run their own boat. I didn’t visit their dive center; as I was picked up from my resort and brought straight to the boat, then dropped off at the resort after the dives. All documentations and transactions were done on board.
The Sunday trip with Sea Fun Divers to the Phi Phi islands is a two dive trip, which costs ฿4,100 (US$115) in total. Equipment rental costs an additional ฿900 (US$25), but I brought my own. In comparison, it is a little more costly than the other dive centers around the area.
Diving with the Sea Fun Divers
The Sea Fun Divers’ van picked me up from my accommodation at Kata Beach at 8am sharp; and by 9am, the group of divers (they usually have a maximum of 20, and 4 per divemaster) were on our way out of Chalong Pier towards Phi Phi island. The trip takes 3 hours per way– and unfortunately for me, the wind was strong and the waves were high that day; so it was a pretty rough (and dizzy) journey.
Their boat is pretty simple and basic– long benches and a communal table on the upper deck, and an air-conditioned lounge on the lower deck. The lunch provided in between dives was pretty good; water and soft drinks were inclusive. At the beginning of the journey, all the divers were gathered together for a short brief, assigned our divemasters, and then brought to prepare our dive equipment.
I slept for most of the way towards Phi Phi islands– the weather just wasn’t in my favor. It effected our dive site options as well. Most trips to Phi Phi island stop by Koh Bida Nok (one of Phi Phi’s best dive sites); but because of the strong waves and wind, we had to forgo Koh Bida Nok, and hide within the bays of Koh Phi Phi Ley.
Of course, the dive sites along Koh Phi Phi Ley are just as stunning, and the visibility during my visit was pretty good. Below are the two places I visited on my one-day dive trip to the Phi Phi islands.
Between the bays of Ao Maya (which is famous for the movie, “The Beach” starring Leonardo DiCaprio) and Ao Palong, are beautiful cliffs that go deep into the sea, creating a beautiful wall dive. On the first dive of the day, we started our dive from the north of Palong Bay towards the middle of the wall.
The dive is not a deep one, the wall drops to a depth of about 20 meters. The area is filled with huge and colorful corals, as well as several granite boulders that provide simple swim-throughs. I saw moray eels, puffer fish, trigger fish– but the jewel of it all, was the leopard shark we found lounging on the sand. It stayed there for a few good minutes as we quietly observed it; before having enough of the disturbance, and gracefully swam away (remora in tow).
Maya South (Turtle Rock)
The second dive of the day was at the south portion of the walls outside Maya Bay, also known as Turtle Rock. The plan was to explore the wall until the part where we left off on the first dive. The dive here isn’t very deep– I was almost at the sandy bottom, and my maximum depth was only at 15 meters.
With huge corals of many variations, as well as schools and schools of fishes; this dive site is filled with underwater activity. And adding to it all, was the crazy amount of turtles just happily swimming around. I think I saw at least 10 of them. I was swimming beside them, observing them nibbling on the corals, and one came so close I felt like it was trying to sniff me! I even got to see two turtles approach each other for a kiss– now, that was awesome.
During my dive on Phi Phi islands this time, I saw more of the bigger fishes instead of the macro stuff. Diving with Sea Fun Divers was fun; I especially love that they had a photographer to take our pictures, and I paid ฿2,000 (US$55) to get all the photos (credit for the underwater photos in this post goes to Johan). However, I felt that this was partially the reason why I didn’t see enough of the small creatures– my divemaster was more eager on showing me big things to take pictures with, but I suppose that was the whole point.
All in all, I had a lovely time– I saw different things and had different experiences from my last trip to Phi Phi. And with these two additional dives, I’m now up to 39 total dives!