Thailand Liveaboard Boat -The Phinisi- Days 260-264

First things first. You have to know that I utterly adore Scuba Diving. I discovered scuba diving at age twelve when my mom accidentally booked a scuba dive resort instead of an all-inclusive one in the Bahamas. She knew that the hotel offered scuba diving, but she wasn’t quite aware that everything there revolved around scuba: from after-dinner dive briefings to communal tables so that you could discuss the days’ dives. I was hooked from Day 1! On this first trip to the Bahamas, I was always accompanied by an instructor since I was so young and couldn’t dive alone. But as soon as I turned 14, I took a course and became a certified diver. I never had a dive partner or someone to take dive holidays with, so I resigned to a day of diving by myself here and there whenever I went somewhere near the ocean.

When the kids were tiny, we went to a place in Jamaica with a kids club and free scuba diving. It was my chance to get Michael hooked. Maybe he just tells me he loves it because he knows how much I love it, but I choose to believe that he is as amazed as me with the underwater world. His body, however, does not love it as much, and he often has trouble equalizing his ears and sinuses. But finally, I have a dive partner.

Anyhow, enough background. After two weeks of diving in Koh Tao, Thailand in January, I was gutted to think that the Scuba part of our trip was done; I had so enjoyed getting to dive day after day. We had firm plans to go to Northern Thailand and Laos, but we had ten days without a plan at the end of our Asian leg. I couldn’t help wanting to plan another scuba adventure. Truthfully it was a selfish pick, but I truly believed that the kids would have a great time too. Having spent a lot of time on boats as a kid, I wanted them to experience living in a cramped cabin and swaying in the waves while sleeping.

An employee at the dive resort in Koh Tao saw how much the kids loved the water, and I loved diving. He asked Mike if we had ever thought about a liveaboard. It was my chance! The next day when the dive guide saw us, he told us that his friend’s liveaboard would accept children and gave us the details of the Junk Liveaboards. Michael took it from there (after seeing the sparkle in my eye when it was mentioned) and booked us four days on the Phinisi as a last hurrah in Asia.

When we boarded the boat, I knew instantly that this would be awesome! Part of the arrangement was that the kids had their own crew member, Itt, the babysitter. She was a dive instructor turned babysitter, so she taught the kids all about diving and hand signals and kept them entertained while Mike and I dove four times a day (yes, that’s a 4). We were diving in the Similan and Surin Islands in the Andaman Sea. The reefs were some of the most interesting ones I have ever seen, and they were teaming with life.

I could an entire blog post about all the critters we saw on the dives, but the most memorable animal encounters came when we were with the kids. Whenever it was calm enough, (and there was a break in the dive schedule), we’d take the kids snorkelling. We ventured out often from a beach, but the girls also learned to roll out of the dinghy and snorkel from the boat. Our lovely dinghy drivers stayed near us for any emergencies, but I was super proud watching my 5-year-old snorkelling in the open ocean. Isabella and Julie saw countless fish and even a moray eel being cleaned by a wrasse fish. Julie and Mike saw an octopus! Another day, a sea turtle encircled the boat, and a pod of dolphins also visited us.

We got a break from parenting for four days too. Not only was the babysitter great but the rest of the crew seemed to love our children. The kids learned to drive a dinghy with Nok and Nam and attended every one of Neil’s dive briefings. They danced with the captain and fell madly in love with my dive guide, Indy. They befriended more of the guests on board than we did (we were 17 in total). Isabella and Julie learned about sea creatures from Neville and John, who showed them photos and told them what to look out for when snorkelling.

Yes, it was a selfish pick on my part. But all family members rank the Phinisi in our top 3 spots on the trip. Hopefully, Mikey’s sinuses will heal soon.

I know that Izzie will scuba dive as soon as she is legally allowed. There may be dive holidays in our future!

Where we stayed:

By the numbers:

  • Number of dives completed in 4 days: 13 for Paige, 10 for Mike
  • Number of meals each day: 5 (add a second breakfast and a snack)
  • Number of beds in our cabin: 4 (dad slept on the only top bunk with the rocking boat)
  • Number of Sting Rays Seen: 6 (Izzie asked each time I surfaced if I saw one)
  • Number of Whale Shaks: 0 (we’ll have to come back)
  • Number of puzzles the staff bought the kids: 2
  • Number of Remora Fish that attached to Paige: Just 1 but he stayed on my knee for almost 15 minutes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s