Thailand – Australia – United Kingdom

HTMS Pangan Liveaboard Trip Report: Day Four

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


Opening my eyes I could hear the rain hitting the hull again. Another dark and wavy day awaited me. However Stewart shouted “It’s bright and sunny outside” which lead me leaping out of bed and running upstairs to greet the glorious day. Stewart is a liar, it was as I thought initially, dark, wavy and cold, Stewarts plow to get everyone out of bed worked, next time I won’t be so trusting. After a coffee it didn’t matter because it was time to dive. Hannah was destined to get a sink, not sure why a sink was so important, must be a woman thing, but none the less if she wanted a sink then a sink she will have. Arriving on the bottom we found a sink with a lovely brass tap. It proved a bit heavier then it looked. One of the honours of retrieving things is if you find it then you lift it. This lead to an onslaught of narcosis in Hannah so the item was lifted together. However I must thank Hannah for all the flapping about because it kicked up a 7.62 with a brass tip bullet, unfired and intact. I look back on my life and remarking 2 specific events that I thought were particularly dangerous one was joining the British marines and the other one technical diving, so it’s fitting I find this on one of my most frequented wrecks. Deco all done and back on board Jamie was going “awww that’s lovely, that would look great in my house” Hannah didn’t budge so it stayed hers. Everyone else was back on board and it was time to either head back to land or hit the pottery.

Arriving at the pottery site the waves were minimal and there was no current. We would be using the shot line as our descent line leaving the trident free to hover for pickups and drop offs. This is the quickest way to tech dive. The boat was broken into groups of 4 with 4 in, 4 ready and 4 support. It worked really well and everyone had a decent 15 minutes bottom time at 60 meters. 15 minutes goes by very quickly. I recall diving on local dive sites and think an hour has gone and only 5 minutes has elapsed. I guess time does really fly when you’re having fun. A few giggles here and there could be heard during the mad dash for pottery. Net bags topped to the brim with pottery we began our way to the surface. I was able to find a few really nice items under the surface of the site which still had glazing and very little marine life on it. Remarked as being one of the nicer pieces recovered so far.

Earlier in the year these pieces have been appraised in the UK at some great value as they would surely not survive the hundreds of years on the surface, only diving and retrieving them can they be displayed as art or as monetary value. Mine however will be split between Christmas presents home and a nice flower pot for the girlfriend.

This being the last dive of the trip it was time to drink beer, clean gear, swap loot and head home. Koh Tao could be seen in the distance although it won’t be until dark that we arrive.
I personally think this has been the best trip this season. Perhaps because all the instructors are looking for a bit of a break and wasn’t so intense as the past one. Perhaps it was because Hannah became a perfect technical diver, with a lot still to learn, but far more capable and confident in her conduct then I have seen in others walk off these trips. Or perhaps it was the another flawless trip conducted with support of the Trident and other technical agencies from Koh Tao that made this a remarkable and enjoyable liveaboard.
The way the weather is right now it appears this will be the last trip of the season until mid January. However the weather is lovely on the west coast (about 2 hours away) so we’ll be doing the next liveabaord over there.

We woke up this morning to the sound of more rain and wind, you who have thought it was monsoon! But there were bigger things on the agenda today, a sink! I had spotted a lovely porcelain sink yesterday on our second dive, which had now become our mission. OK, I realise that a sink to some my be a strange thing to want to bring up from the wreck but I had my heart set on it, so off we went.

Once we located it, James stayed outside and I went to pull the thing out, welcome to the world of narcosis! Once your focused on something and working to get something out, breathing heavily all the time the hit comes! But out it came! James then told me to take it to the down line before continuing our dive, but the sink proved a little heavier than I expected and the effects of narcosis where definitely impairing my judgement. So James came in and helped take it to the down line. Mission completed, up the sink went attached to lift bags on the down line, as after waiting for it to be recovered, it was safely on board the Trident, and what a lovely sink it is, with taps and everything. So from now on, when anyone asked if I’ve packed everything but the kitchen sink, I would have to say no, including the sink!

So with some lunch and a break, we steamed towards our second site; pottery, which pretty much say’s what it is, pottery, everywhere. Straight down to the bottom, bags at the ready and grab the pots. Our bottom time was fairly short ,just 15 minutes, but plenty of time to get some last minute souvenir before heading home. There was lots of laughing and flooded masks, and a very good and funny way to end a wonderful trip.

So we head now back home to Koh Tao. For me it has been the most fantastic 3 days. The diving has been amazing. To have such a learning curve in such a short amount of time is incrediable and I certainly couldn’t have done it, if it had not been for fantastic instruction from James. (Oh and thank you James to introducing me to yet another expensive hobby!). There also has to be a huge thank you to everyone at Trident (Jamie and Stewart). And of course all the boat staff who work so hard to make gearing up and getting back on the boat so much easier. This is definitely the start of bigger and better thing to come! When’s the next trip?????

Read more about the HTMS PANGAN

Group Photo


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