Thailand – Australia – United Kingdom

HTMS Pangan Liveaboard Trip Report: Day One

Written By James Thornton-Allan (Instructor) and Hannah Lusby (Diver)

“Arriving at Dirty Nellys Irish Bar in downtown koh tao I was met by Hannah (Big Blue Tech) and her friend Helen (Big Blue Diving). They were quietly enjoying a drink waiting for everyone else to arrive and get on with the trip. Slowly everyone else arrived, found somewhere to sit and ordered dinner and a few drinks. We’re hoping to get on to the Trident early and be under way at 7pm. On this trip are 14 people plus support crew of local Thai and Burmese staff. The Trident owners Jamie Macleod and Stewart Oehl will be conducting the trip and supervising the diving for myself and Hannah (Big Blue Tech) and several others from various diving schools and areas of Thailand. The trip would have the usual suspects of trident including Wilco, Jeremy, Ayesha and Mikey. Several other certified divers, friends and students were joining us as well.

A large dinner and a few drinks and it was off to stock up with chocolate, junk food, cigarettes and new books. I bought a few books military related about snipers and war and found that the entire boat was already full of war books. Most people on the boat are into a very few things, drinking, deep diving, war history and telling stories. On board were already a few military people including myself and Wilco who are both former marines from England and Holland. If you know the Royal Marine Commandos you know the Dutch work close together, which makes for good banter onboard.

If you’ve been following this story you would know that Hannah has been working hard towards this goal. In every technical course there are challenges and skills to overcome and master. With Hannah it’s been problem free and smooth the whole way.

Hannah is originally from England and is a recreational scuba instructor in her own right. Looking for more to diving and bored with the same in same out she wanted something that would challenge her and accelerate her learning beyond what recreational diving has to offer. In reflecting back on her previous life as an account director for an advertising agency she has found a life far better then one offered in England and diving far better then one offered in Koh Tao.

Unfortunately technical diving changes you permanently, we’re sorry but there’s no refund for the shock.
Moving from the bar to the longtail boat which will transfer everyone on to the trident and eventually cast off and head towards the HTMS Pangan wreck located about 60 miles north east of Koh Tao. Thankfully most of the divers on board had already set up their gear on the trip from the day before. However the dive deck was busy with gas analysis, dive planning, gear checking and generally sorting out gear for the early morning dives.

Everyone is holding their breathe for the weather. It’s coming into monsoon season, which means it could absolutely chuck down at any minute. This isn’t your normal “oh it’s raining” rain but proper “my head hurts and I have to take cover”. Heavy rain won’t stop the trip but it will change the general enjoyment of the surface interval.

Once all the little bits were sorted it was time to enjoy a cold beer and slowly steam towards our wreck. A lot of people consider drinking before diving bad. I agree, but have a few beers the night before a dive is not that much of a concern. For those who are new to technical diving we insist a non alcohol environment but the great thing about technical diving is you’re self sufficient and an adult. If you drink then be prepared for the consequences.

With the dive schedule sorter we would be number 2 to enter the water tomorrow at 8 am. Which means up at 7 so we’re ready for our jump window. Missing that window pisses off everyone and sets the morning off on a bad note. So off to bed early and excited for some proper rewarding scuba diving and finally away from the excessive conservatism of recreational diving.”

“Having said goodbye’s to friends and family, we cast off from Maed Hadd and on our way to the beginning of what we all hope to be some great days of wreck diving. A quick torch check from the Germinator (James’s girlfriend Yvonne) on land and we were off. Steaming on towards our port or should I say wreck of call, we all enjoyed our first night on MV Trident. A couple of beers in the evening to relax into the trip. But no more for a while – safety first!

James has even found a book for the trip, thank god it has pictures and large print otherwise things could get nasty!

Who would think 5 years ago while sitting in my office in Manchester dealing with advertising clients that I would be sitting on a boat off wreck diving for 3 days, finishing my tec course. Wonders will never cease! A little bit different from going to Blackpool for the weekend.
So our gear is all ready, dive plans sorted and we’re ready for tomorrow. Everyone is keeping their fingers crossed for good weather, although with the monsoon, rain is just part of the ride. Just hoping that it’s not the sideways, wind crazy hurting kind.

And Jez, who has been on soda water for the last 3 day’s (some random detox) has to decided in the wise words of any New Zealander to fuck it and have a beer!”

Read tomorrow about Day Two!


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