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Diving in Thailand

Did you know that in two of his movies (Dr. No and the Man with the Golden Gun), the famous spy, James Bond, actually put on scuba gear to explore the beautiful waters of the sea near Phuket in Thailand? Why? Because these waters are simply some of the most beautiful in the world – and without question, the diving is as action-packed as any James Bond adventure. And that’s not all. The live-aboard boats that we charter to serve as your home base on these exotic diving adventures are so luxurious, they could be in the movies, too. Don’t get me wrong – you don’t need to wear a white dinner jacket or evening gown in to dinner, but this attire would not seem out of place on vessels of this caliber.

By action-packed, I mean the excitement of seeing five types of sharks: whale sharks, silver-tip sharks, leopard sharks, white tips and black tips. But unlike the “007″ movies on the silver screen, none of these sharks poses a threat to our divers; they just make the diving extremely exciting. And, as a side note while we’re on the subject of “biggies,” there are three dive sites near the sharks where a diver can expect to encounter huge Pacific manta rays.

And would a James Bond movie be complete without some love scenes? Well, we have them, but they’re a little different here. Instead of cuddling, our divers see mating cuttlefish on at least three dive sites. Also expect to see blue ribbon eels, manta shrimp, at least four colors of sea horses, harlequin ghost pipe fish and more nudibranches than would even be fair to put in a movie.

Bad guys? Yep – we got ‘em, but not the “have gun, will travel” types. Instead, they travel in big schools, masquerading as large chevron barracudas, moray eels, and lion fish the size of footballs – so watch where you position yourself while you’re taking the absolute most enchanting marine photos of your life. Because unlike the “007″ moves, none of our divers carry spear guns. Instead, they arm themselves with every kind of underwater camera imaginable. Then, when back on the boat, their captured images come to life with very professional processing. Oh, and did we mention that silver and black bannded sea snakes are fairly common, and far more exotic and interesting than one of those evil women pursuing “007.”

The diving in Thailand is just plain spectacular, with soft corals in every color, big schools of silver jacks, anemones surrounded by clown fish of many different varieties, and lots of emperor angels. Then there are the banded butterfly fish and Moorish idols, while some of the bommies are surrounded by schools of millions of silver glassy sweepers and bright orange basslets that flow through the coral valleys like mercury. But diving is not the only reason to visit Thailand, as most of our adventurers add excursions into the interior of this fascinating country to further make this experience irresistible.

What’s more, this fantasy doesn’t stop in Thailand. It also ventures into the world-renowned waters of Burma, where we encounter “Max,” the 12-foot nurse shark; comical and bizarre frog fish; and the ornate and delightful scorpion leaf fish. All in all, the diving is probably way beyond your wildest dreams, including the glamorous accommodations.

Aboard ship, divers are spoiled with every amenity known to modern man on a diving trip: Gourmet meals, satellite phones, e-mail capability, and a luxurious living room decorated with furnishings that not only are contemporary, but extremely comfortable. The staterooms are so large, we expect you’ll be pleasantly surprised, and all are complete with en suite baths.

In addition, the crew is the key to making this excursion a success. They know how to handle expensive cameras, and the divemasters proficiently locate the spectacular marine creatures for you. Your safety is a top priority with both the diving and the dive boats.

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