The Phinisi

The Phinisi, officially known as ‘Cheng I Sao’ is the sister boat to The Junk and offers fantastic dive itineraries in Thailand and Myanmar from November - May each year. She is a traditional liveaboard yacht of traditional Indonesian gaft-rigged Phinisi style with 7 sails. Four different itineraries are scheduled, varying from 4 to 10-nights in length. The 34 meter vessel was custom built for divers and the facilities reflect that. There is a shaded diving deck, personal set-up and storage area, as well as nitrox and quality Aqualung equipment available to rent. An SMB is also offered for use during the trip free of charge. Various itineraries are available in Thailand which explores the clear blue waters of the Similan Islands. Dive sites visited include Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock. The Phinisi also visits some of the best dive areas in Myanmar, including Black Rock, High Rock, Tower Rock and Torres Island.

Topside the Phinisi liveaboard caters to 18 guests in a choice of 7 twin, triple and quad cabins to suit different budgets. Each cabin features individually controlled AC, ensuite bathrooms with hot water, bath towels, storage space and lockable safety box. Social areas include a sundeck with loungers, indoor and outdoor dining, 42" flat screen TV and a library of books, movies and games. All meals are served buffet style and self-service drinks and snacks are available at an additional charge.

Boat Specifications
Year built: 2007
Length: 34 m
Cruising speed: 8 knots
Engines: 1x 380 hP
Max guests: 18
Number of cabins: 7
Number of bathrooms: 7
Tenders: 2

Boat Navigation and Safety
Depth Sounder
Radio VHF/DSC/SSB
E.P.I.R.B. Distress System
Emergency Rafts
Life Vests
Oxygen
First Aid Kits
Satellite & mobile phones

Boat features
Leisure Deck
Camera Station
Audio & video entertainment
Library
Aircon Cabins
Sun Deck
Indoor Saloon
Non-Diver (Snorkeler) Friendly
Separate rinse for u/w camera
Camera room with table and charging point
En-Suite bathrooms

Food & Drinks
Western Food
Local Food
Buffet style
Beer available

If you have any specific dietary requirements whilst on-board your cruise, you can add this to your special requests on step 2 of the booking form. We advise limiting these requests to religious beliefs or food allergies.

Diving
DIN Adaptors
Nitrox available
Tech diving
Rinse hosts
Dive deck
Tenders for diving
The crew speaks English.

 



Southern Thailand
5 Days / 4 Nights

Departure/Return – Chalong Pier

Dives - Approximately 15 dives in total

Experience - Open Water - 10 minimum logged dives required.


The following is a sample itinerary of where you might dive on the Phinisi trip. We wish to show you the very best diving, but the number of factors can determine where we visit. Weather, tides, how busy a site is with other dive vessels all play a part in the Cruise Director’s decision of which route the yacht takes. Whilst we attempt to ensure the number of dives we have scheduled is fulfilled, bad weather can hinder the yacht’s ability to reach a specified dive site in good time. The safety of all on board is paramount and we always do our best in offering diving at alternate locations. The Cruise Director is happy to listen to requests from guests to visit or remain at certain sites and providing it is possible and the schedule allows, then guest’s requests are respected.

Schedule
Your Cruise Director will schedule up to 4 dives per day; 3-day dives and either a sunset or night dive. The diving day has a typical schedule as follows:
Light Breakfast followed by a briefing & Dive 1
Full Breakfast, relaxation followed by briefing & Dive 2
Lunch, relaxation followed by briefing & Dive 3
Snack, relaxation, followed by briefing & Dive 4
Dinner (if Night Dive, it will be after dinner)

For your final day aboard, we schedule 2-morning dives and a single dive after lunch to allow plenty of time for off-gassing before disembarkation.

Koh Phi Phi With mini-walls and shallow coral gardens predominating, there are a host of dive sites to choose from around the Phi Phi National Park. Hin Bida, Koh Bida Nok, Koh Bida Nai, Pilay Wall, Hin Dot and Ao Maya all offer something special. Wildlife is hugely varied across the sites with black tip reef sharks common, tigertail seahorses, ornate ghost pipefish, cornet fish, octopus, scorpion fish, bluefin trevally, barracudas and more.

King Cruiser
The King Cruiser was a car ferry that used to travel between Phi Phi and Phuket. In 1997, ‘the cruiser’ hit Anemone Reef on her crossing and sank a short distance away. No lives were lost, but divers were left with a great wreck dive! While she is largely broken up now, she is covered with soft corals and hides some wonderful gems, as well as being home to several large schools of snapper. While currents can be strong and visibility sometimes challenging, this is a great site to dive.

Shark Point and Anemone Reef
These pinnacles are part of the same reef system and are only a very short distance apart from each other. Both sites are covered with colorful soft corals and anemones with a variety of fish to suit all divers. From barracuda to seahorses and for the lucky ones, of course, the iconic leopard shark!

Koh Doc Mai
‘Flower Island’ is a tiny piece of sheer rock sat between Shark point and Phuket but, although it is tiny, dives here can provide divers with amazing memories! From a spacious cavern to frogfish, ornate ghost pipefish and even bamboo sharks, Koh Doc Mai never fails to surprise.

Racha Yai & Racha Noi
Racha Yai is an excellent trip for beginners and those that have not dived for a while. Indeed, for any guests aboard carrying out Advanced Open Water courses on-board, Racha Yai offers the perfect opportunity for course dives, with sloping hard coral reefs, white sandy bottoms and a choice of wrecks on the west coast. 

Racha Noi has some of the best visibility of all sites in the area. Often described as a ‘mini Similans’ the granite boulder topography is also unique compared to other sites. It offers a choice of hard coral reefs, boulders with large swim throughs and the beautiful pinnacle on the south point of this island. Strong currents can make the southern sites challenging, however, with a year-round chance to see manta rays, it is worth the effort to dive here.


Koh Haa
Possibly some of the most underrated diving in the whole of Thailand, Moo Koh Haa (literally 'five-island group') sits almost halfway between Hin Daeng and Phi Phi and is part of the Ko Lanta National Marine Park. There are actually several dive sites around Ko Haa but the highlights are Ko Haa Lagoon, Ko Haa Neua, and Ko Haa Yai. Around these amazing islands, you can see pinnacles, walls, boulders, caverns, and swim-throughs. Ko Haa lagoon is ideal for night dives, courses, and snorkeling, while The Chimney and The Cathedral offer things that you cannot see on other Thailand liveaboard itineraries with caverns, swim-throughs and chambers littering the sites. Ko Haa has varied marine life too, with ornate ghost pipefish, morays eels, octopus, hawksbill turtles, seahorses, marble rays, and sometimes even leopard sharks.

Hin Daeng & Hin Muang
These two sites are pinnacles (translating directly as Red Rock and Purple Rock) in open ocean, reaching down to over 70m, and are best known for manta ray and whale shark encounters but, whether they are sighted or not, the sites also offer giant moray eels, pharaoh cuttlefish, schooling rainbow runners and snappers, barracudas, groupers, fusiliers, and bluefin trevally. On the pinnacles, there are fields of magnificent anemones, walls of Hemprics soft corals, and huge gorgonian sea fans.

Top Side
Along the route, there are some incredible views from the boat including Phi Phi’s famous beaches and limestone karsts climbing vertically from the ocean. There will be opportunities to leave the boat and take a sight-seeing trip on the dinghy.

The Phinisi welcomes everyone from non-divers to seasoned divers. This itinerary has different diving conditions based on the time of the trip. While all of our trips are suitable for each and every experience level, there may be some dives offered that are not suitable for beginners. Your cruise director will be able to advise you while on board what is appropriate for your skill level.

 

 
Similan & Surin Islands (Khao Lak-Phuket)
7 Days / 6 Nights
Depart: Khao Lak
Return: Phuket
Dives - Approximately 19 dives in total
Experience - Open Water - No minimum logged dives required.

Your Cruise Director will schedule up to 4 dives per day; 3 day dives and either a sunset or a night dive. The diving day has a typical schedule as follows:
Light Breakfast followed by a briefing & Dive 1
Full Breakfast, relaxation followed by briefing & Dive 2
Lunch, relaxation followed by briefing & Dive 3
Dinner will be served either before or after the sunset/night dive

Day 1 and Day 7 are reserved for Embarkation and Disembarkation, there will be no diving on these days. For your final day aboard we schedule 3 dives to allow plenty of time for off-gassing before disembarkation and your flight home. The Cruise Director is happy to listen to requests from guests to visit or remain at certain sites and providing it is possible and the schedule allows, then guest’s requests are respected.

Similan Islands
The above water scenery will provide stunningly beautiful white sandy beaches with small forested areas. Dive some of the following sites; Boulder City, Sharkfin Reef, Anita's Reef and Honeymoon Bay. Under the surface you may see: Leopard (zebra) shark, blue spotted stingrays, clown trigger fish, rabbit fish, scorpion fish, snappers, emperor fish, giant trevally and angelfish. The coral gardens, bommies and boulder formations are wonderful to dive. Elephant Head Rock, visible from the surface, this is the biggest pinnacle in the Similans and has some fantastic swim-throughs. If lucky you might see some white tip reef sharks, batfish, trevally and barracuda can often be seen on the perimeter of the boulders and if you look closely in the cracks and in the rubble, you can see smashing mantis shrimp, porcelain crab, moray eels and cleaner shrimp.

Koh Bon
Koh Bon is a dive site where manta rays might be seen. You are likely to see Napoleon wrasse, sweetlips, octopus, blue fin trevally, giant moray eels, great barracudas, fire dart goby, popcorn shrimp, spiny lobster and nudibranchs of many types. The dive sites vary from wall diving to gently sloping reefs and from submerged boulders to coral gardens.

Koh Tachai
Koh Tachai is famous for its pinnacle dive site and more relaxed reef diving. Normally Leopard Sharks, Marbled Whip Rays, Turtles, Barracuda, Pipe Fish, and Nudibranchs can be found here. There is also a chance to see bigger species in this area like Manta Rays and Whale Sharks, especially by late January till April.

Richelieu Rock
Richelieu Rock. This limestone pinnacle was named by Jacques Cousteau after the character in the Three Musketeers, Cardinal Richelieu, as it reminded him of his deep scarlet cape. There are gorgeous purple dendronepthya soft corals covering most of the pinnacle and other areas covered in magnificent sea anemones as well. Barely breaking the surface at low tide, this horseshoe-shaped outcropping, slopes steeply to a sandy bottom at 18 to 35 meters (60-120 Ft). This site offers great diversity for such a small and isolated spot. It also offers excellent multi-level diving and, because it’s a high-profile reef, there’s always sheltered areas to hide from current. The marine life is prolific and includes amongst, many other things; Pharaoh cuttlefish, large octopi, all 5 varieties of anemone fish of the Andaman Sea, variety of moray eels, ornate ghost pipefish, smashing mantis shrimps, harlequin shrimps, tiger tail sea horses, Spanish mackerel, frog fish, many schooling snapper and occasional sightings of manta rays and whale sharks.

Surin Islands
Topside scenery of Koh Surin with evergreen forests, mangroves and small beaches, surpasses even that of the picturesque Similan Islands. Under water the reefs of Surin have the greatest hard coral diversity in Thailand. You are likely to see Napoleon wrasse, yellow-masked angelfish, bumphead parrotfish, tomato anemonefish and barramundi, as well as lots of turtles that still come ashore in this area to lay their eggs. Because of the remoteness not many liveaboard boats visit these islands and you will be able to enjoy the dive sites without sharing it with tourist hordes.

Khao Lak Wrecks
For cruises disembarking in Khao Lak, if conditions and timing are favourable there is a choice of easily diveable wrecks between The Similan Islands and Khao Lak. The Boonsung and the Premchai are old tin miners that were sank 25 or so years ago and are a treat for underwater photographers as well as lovers of life of all kinds!!

Only in 18m of water they are covered in nudibranchs and shrimps as well as large numbers of the unusual leopard moray. There are also huge numbers of schooling fish as well as rays and leopard sharks that can occasionally be seen. Sea Chart 1 is a slightly more challenging dive and lies between 40 and 25 metres. Sunk during a storm in 2009 with a full load of teak, she is relatively new but already hosts an abundance of schooling fish.

Marine Life: Turtles, Napoleon wrasse, yellow-masked angelfish, bumphead parrotfish, anemonefish, barramundi, Wrecks, amazing reefs, nudibranchs, shrimps, moray-eels, leopard sharks, octopus, cuttlefish, ornate ghost pipefish, smashing mantis shrimps, harlequin shrimps, tiger tail sea horses, Spanish mackerel, frog fish, Manta Rays, Whale Sharks

 


Myanmar Mergui Archipelago
8
Days / 7 Nights
Departure / Return - Ranong, Thailand
Dives - Approximately 26 dives in total
Experience - Advanced Open Water - 20 minimum logged dives required.

The following is a sample itinerary of where you might dive during your holiday with us. We wish to show you the very best diving, but the number of factors can determine where we visit. Weather, tides, how busy a site is with other dive vessels all play a part in the Cruise Director’s decision of which route the yacht takes. The safety of all on board is paramount and we always do our best in offering diving at alternate locations.

Schedule
Your Cruise Director will schedule up to 4 dives per day; 6-day dives and either a sunset or a night dive. The diving day has a typical schedule as follows:
Light Breakfast followed by a briefing & Dive 1
Full Breakfast, relaxation followed by briefing & Dive 2
Lunch, relaxation followed by briefing & Dive 3
Snack, relaxation, followed by briefing & Dive 4
Generally, we schedule 2 dives on your final dive day in order to allow enough time for off-gassing. To remain on the safe side, we kindly request our guests to check their own flight times and ensure that they leave a minimum of 24 hours between their final dive and their return flight. Guests are welcome to suggest preferred dive sites to the Cruise Director. He/she will be happy to accommodate guests’ wishes, providing it is possible and the schedule allows for it.

Dive sites we visit include but are not limited to:
High Rock - This is a tiny islet with a lonely tree growing on the top. Underwater, you will find a steep rocky reef with lots of tube and fan corals. Lots of critters hang around the cracks including nudibranchs, pipefish and seahorses. Visibility and currents can sometimes be challenging but it is a rewarding site.

North and South Twin & Captain’s Rock - Strong currents bring with them teams of schooling fish and with superb visibility the atmosphere on the reef at North Twin is breathtaking. Hard corals have seen damage from the rise in water temperature but soft corals adorn the reef and bring vibrancy. In South Twin, we can expect to see an abundance of moray eels, harlequin sweetlips, and cuttlefish.

Captain’s Rock, otherwise known as Bowie Rock, is a sloping reef with huge soft coral covered boulders. Sweetlips, barracuda, a variety of angel fish and many smaller creatures including devil scorpion fish, pipe fish, shrimps and flabellina nudibranchs can be found all over the reef. Mantas may also be seen here.

Black Rock - Black Rock stands alone in the Andaman Sea 100 miles northwest of the Thai-Burmese border town of Kawthaung. The rock acts as a natural magnet for fish and other marine life. An excellent multi-level site, you can start your dive anywhere around the perimeter, depending on currents. The underwater terrain on the south side consists of the vertical wall down to roughly 27m, where it becomes a more gradual slope. Just off the south-west corner is a particularly interesting area, where a detached rock formation rises from very deep water to about 24m. These rocks are covered with small, vibrant soft corals, and often attract schooling snappers and rainbow runners.

Back at the main islet, deeper sections are decorated with orange gorgonian fans, along with fields of corallimorpharians (they look like stony corals) on the sloping west and north sides. At the eastern tip, watch for vast numbers of magnificent anemones, especially at dawn and dusk when they show off their colorful bases. A wide range of invertebrate life can be found at Black Rock, including smashing and spearing mantis shrimp, spiny lobsters, hermit crabs, sea stars, cowrie shells, harlequin shrimp, octopus, and cuttlefish.

During safety stops, move slowly along the eastern and western ends of the south wall to find brilliantly colored elegant hermit crabs and a variety of nudibranchs, as well as golden wentletrap snails that feed on the orange cup coral. Fish life is also abundant and varied, with a chance to see almost anything from scorpion fish and giant morays to marbled stingrays. Mantas and even whale sharks are also sometimes visitors of this site.

Shark Cave aka Three Islets - All around this site, marine life is extremely rich and diverse. There are three different rocky islets with vertical walls as well as a sloping reef. Many areas are populated with fields of anemones, which are home to five different species of anemonefish. Elsewhere, large tubastrea coral trees sprout from the rocky terrain, accompanied by crinoids, gorgonian fans, and pastel green rope sponge. Tiger tail seahorses are often encountered on the deep edges of the slope, as are many varieties of morays - often several species in the same hole.

Cuttlefish may be found at nearly any depth, sometimes courting and mating. Ornate ghost pipefish, cowrie shells, octopus, reef squid, jawfish, porcelain crabs, long nose pipefish, and mantis shrimps are often seen at this site. Scorpion fish are very abundant, so be careful where you place your hands! Between the three pinnacles and surrounding bottom, Shark Cave easily lends itself to several dives to enjoy the diversity of the reef and to marvel in the chasm of the Shark Cave! Nurse sharks can be found lurking inside the cavern along with marble rays, ghost pipefish and plenty of other fascinating creatures, including blue ribbon eels.

Fan Forest & Western Rocky - As the name Fan Forest Pinnacle suggests, it is a submerged pinnacle famous for the number of gorgonian sea fans. The biggest gorgonians are in deeper waters around 20 m and below. They are very healthy and support a large variety of marine life including feather stars, cowries, hawkfish and shrimps. Schooling fish include snapper, trevally, rainbow runners and fusiliers. Moray eels and scorpion fish are also numerous.
A short trip south of Sea Fan, Western Rocky is the scene of dramatic underwater terrain on this excellent dive site, which consists of the main islet plus several detached pinnacles. Among the more striking features of the main islet is a huge underwater archway where schooling snapper often hang out. The soft limestone island is riddled with holes and crevices, providing hiding places for hinge-beak, saron and harlequin shrimps, thorny oysters, cowrie shells, nudibranchs, spiny lobsters and moray eels.

Large gorgonian fans and lush soft corals populate many of the deeper areas, while shallow portions of the south side wall are covered with orange cup corals and colorful encrusting sponges. Fish life can include almost anything from ornate ghost pipefish to frog fish to schooling batfish. Western Rocky pinnacle is shaped like a cheese wedge covered by both hard and soft corals, lots of trevally and tuna, and if you are lucky, the elusive bow mouth guitarfish.

The Phinisi welcomes everyone from non-divers to seasoned divers; however, there may be strong currents on this itinerary. We, therefore, recommend our guests be AOW certified preferably with experience with diving in currents. Your cruise director will be able to advise you while on board, however, if you have concerns regarding the conditions of the destination you wish to visit then please contact us. 

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40% off all trips!
Dec & Jan 2019

Book by Dec 31, 2018. New bookings only. Cannot be combined with other offers.