Thailand – Australia – United Kingdom

Gulf Of Thailand Trips

 

The Gulf of Thailand (Thai: อ่าวไทย, RTGS: Ao Thai, Thai pronunciation: [ʔàːw tʰaj]), also known in to Malays as Teluk Siam literally meant Gulf of Siam, is a shallow arm of the South China Sea.

The Gulf of Thailand is bordered by Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. The northern tip of the gulf is the Bay of Bangkok at the mouth of the Chao Phraya River. The gulf covers roughly 320,000 km². The boundary of the gulf is defined by the line from Cape Bai Bung in southern Vietnam (just south of the mouth of the Mekong river) to the city Kota Baru on the Malayian coast. At the height of the last ice age the Gulf of Thailand did not exist, due to the lower sea level, the location being part of the Chao Phraya river valley.

The Gulf of Thailand is relatively shallow: its mean depth is 45 m, and the maximum depth only 80 m. This makes water exchange slow, and the strong water inflow from the rivers make the Gulf low in salinity (3.05-3.25%) and rich in sediments. Only at the greater depths does water with a higher salinity (3.4%) flow into the gulf from the South China sea and fills the central depression below a depth of 50 m. The main rivers which empty into the gulf are the Chao Phraya (including its dis-tributary Tha Chin River), Mae Klong and Bang Pakong Rivers at the Bay of Bangkok, and to a lesser degree the Tapi River into Bandon Bay in the southwest of the gulf.

 


 

Background

The Gulf of Siam was heavily patrolled by US submarines, and during 1945 they sank dozens of ‘marus’ – Japanese freighters and tankers carrying everything from supplies to POW’s.

The submarines’ logs provide the starting point for each of our technical diving expeditions. We combine a mix of visiting spectacular WW2 wrecks located on our previous tech expeditions, combined with checking out new marks. This offers the chance of diving virgin WW2 wrecks throughout the Gulf of Thailand.

Also available are dives on ancient Chinese pottery wrecks. these are very difficult to find as the vessels themselves have long since rotted away, but there’s a good chance of finding some beautiful ceramics.

Divers should remember that some of the sites are war graves and we should not remove any artifacts from these particular wrecks.

 


 

The Operator

British diver, Jamie Macleod, a PADI CD, Technical Instructor Trainer and Thai diving veteran, is a passionate deep water explorer and self-confessed wreck ferret.

Based on the sun drenched island of Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand – an island responsible for thousands of recreational certifications – Jamie Macleod realized that Koh Tao had more to offer than the effortless reef diving with which it has become synonymous.

As an Instructor for 20 years, Jamie had noticed the demand for more challenging diving and the global growth in Enriched Air Nitrox, Deep, Wreck and Tec certifications.

To achieve this and simultaneously differentiate themselves from both the recreational and technical market – the team got down to business exploring the Gulf of Thailand. Being a busy shipping route to Bangkok and a major supply route during WWII, Jamie was convinced that the hitherto unexplored waters around Koh Tao were littered with wrecks with their own particular story to tell.

Exploring the ocean floor is a painstaking and expensive business requiring time, experience, extensive research and a little luck. Visiting divers have brought new technology to Thailand, notably CCR and Cave Diving with its own challenges and adventures.

 


 

The Main Technical / Wreck Diving Expeditions

Wrecks discovered on previous technical diving trips, and new marks which they plan to investigate are spread over an enormous area in the Gulf of Thailand.

For this reason they there are three main wreck diving trips – specifically to the North, East and South of Koh Tao.

Each Thailand technical diving trip offers something different, and there is always travel between marks overnight to maximize the number of hours available for diving.

Expedition schedules are designed to allow for two big technical dives per day. Let’s take a look at each of the tech diving trips:

 


 

– Northern Route | 3-4 days | Deep air technical diving – 35,000 THB

Run over three or four days, technical dives on our northern wreck expedition have maximum depths in the 50 – 65M range, making the trip perfect for newly certified technical divers and people looking to build up experience.

Ideal for deep air dives or normoxic trimix, the northern route offers exciting wreck diving opportunities, enjoyed by even the most seasoned technical divers. We make two technical dives per day, so usually six dives during the trip.

Known wreck dives on our northern route include the H.T.M.S. Pha-Ngan, Tanker Maru, ‘Pornsri’, Vlado, Unicorn and Torpedo wrecks.

This northern wreck diving trip is also perfect for trimix training, with the Pornsri wreck offering trimix divers the opportunity to get down to a maximum of 75M.

 


 

– Eastern Route | 6 Days | Deep Trimix Wreck Diving – 75,000 THB

The eastern route is longer, usually conducted as a 6 day tech live-aboard expedition, again fitting in 2 dives per day so a 12 technical dives in total.

The depth range of technical dives on this route is 50 – 80 metres, so wreck dives on this eastern route are suitable for trimix divers or trimix diving courses. It’s also a good opportunity for CCR divers to enjoy long bottom times on some spectacular WW2 wrecks.

The eastern route is rich in fantastic wrecks with highlights including the Seacrest Drill-Ship, the impressive Tottori Maru, Araosan Maru, Akela Maru, and recently discovered ‘SS Carrie’. Other great wreck dives on this route include the ‘Big Boy’, Nanmei No.5 Maru and Sakura Maru.

 


 

– Southern Route| 6-7 days | Deep Trimix Technical Diving – 75,000 THB

The Southern Route is another long range expedition, usually run over 6 or 7 days.

Diving is deep, in the 50 – 80M range so again the trip is for trimix divers only, perfect for trimix CCR divers.

Fitting in two dives per day, known wrecks on the Southern Route include the gigantic ‘Solimoes’, Kinrei Maru, Tairyu Maru, ‘Canvas Wreck’, and the USS Lagarto submarine on special request.

 


 

What’s included:

Technical diving live-aboard expeditions are run on a very regular basis – normally twice a month, plus very occasional recreational diving trips. All meals are provided, a mixture of Thai and international cuisine. MV Giamani also has a fully stocked bar so you won’t go hungry or thirsty – promise!

Technical tours take a maximum of twelve divers. Twins (2 x DIN aluminum 11 or 13litre) and DIN deco cylinders are included, all other equipment is available for rent. We are CCR rebreather – friendly. If you can put a group together, we’re more than happy to give you a daily charter price.

Cost of Oxygen is minimal, maximum of US$10 per diver- total usage divided amongst the team, (if we can be bothered to do the maths)!

Continuous Flow Nitrox to 40% included in the above.

Trimix is also blended with continuous flow, helium costs 3baht/litre. Helium analyser on board.

For CCR Divers, all popular brands of rebreather sorb are available on-board (but please confirm you’re requirements prior to the trip), and oxygen can be boosted to 200 bar if required. We have CCR rebreather cylinders to fit all popular CCR units.

In addition to the big trips we run local ‘Wreck Wednesdays’ – two great wreck dives on Koh Tao’s local wrecks (the Unicorn or Torpedo) with breakfast and lunch, every Wednesday. Experienced recreational divers are welcome.

 


 

Departure Points and Considerations

Trips normally depart from Koh Tao, and also Koh Samui for southerly trips. For advice on how to reach us check out our getting here page.

We’ve only had to postpone live-aboard trips a couple of times due to weather as we choose locations according to the season. If you can’t make an alternative date, we’re happy to put you up in superior accommodation and still take you wreck diving daily. Travel Insurance is also available to cover any costs incurred, see http://www.columbusdirect.com/.

Date

Location

Length

Leaves from

Featured Vessels

12th April

Mallacca Straights,

South China Sea

18 Days

Phuket to Samui/ Koh Tao

IJN Haguro, Kuma. HMS Repulse/POW

9th May

South

6 Days

Samui / Koh Tao

USS Lagarto

23rd May

East

6 Days

Samui / Koh Tao

Seacrest plus

6th June

North

3 Days

Koh Tao

HTMS Phangan

20th June

East

6 Days

Samui / Koh Tao

Tottori Maru plus

4th July

East

6 Days

Samui / Koh Tao

Seacrest plus

18th July

North

3 Days

Koh Tao

HTMS Phangan

1st August

North

6 Days

Koh Tao

Vlado/ Pornsri

15th August

South

6 Days

Samui / Koh Tao

USS Lagarto

29th August

East

3 Days

Koh Tao

HTMS Pangan

12th Sept

South China Sea Mallacca straights

18 Days

Samui / Koh Tao to Phuket

HMS Repulse/POW

IJN Haguro, Kuma