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The Smiling Seahorse
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Our latest newsletter: update on our new boat

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Our schedule for 2018 / 2019

I guess the big news is the launch of our new boat!

A warm welcome to MV SMILING SEAHORSE

 

As planned, she will go on her first cruise at the end of October. We are so excited!!!

The boat is still at the shipyard now and we are working hard on the last details:
- 5 star hotel cotton beddings and nice curtains are being stitched 
- photos to decorate the photographer's room being printed
- air con units thoroughly tested...
enough to keep us busy until the season starts!

Let me introduce you to MV Smiling Seahorse.
25 x 6.4m, 4 decks: a lot of space for only 16 divers!!!

 

Now lets take a tour, one deck at a time...

Roof top
On the top, you'll find the giant sundeck with it's nice shaded area to welcome hamacs and sunbeds soon...

Upper Deck:

The upper deck will host the dinning area as well as the standard cabins for guests and dive guides.
In the saloon you can see at the back a large sofa area which will soon be covered with plenty of cushions to make it THE spot for a lovely nap!
The 4 large tables to dine, play cards or study your dive courses...a bar on each side and a large buffet. As you can see there is still plenty of room to dance or play some box games...

Here is a photo of the Superior cabin.
We have though about a smart bedding system so they can either be set up as double bed for couples (giving a large shelve on top for your luggages) ...

... or as 2 bunk beds giving a lot of room on the floor for your bags and such, and because we know you like space there are also 2 big shelves for your personal belongings.

Main Deck:

Deluxe cabins on the main deck are identical to the Standard cabin but have an ensuite bathroom.

And the master cabins, at the front have a double bed, an ensuite bathroom and a giant panoramic window forward.
Sorry I don't have pictures of the finished cabin just yet but here are the windows!

The main deck will also be the place you'll find our infamous chef in the kitchen (below right of the stairs), next to the photo room (left of the stairs).

Our dear photographers will find plenty of charging sockets, a large rinsing tank just for them and their toys, large desk to work their tools and individual storage baskets for all their photo gear.

It's also from the back of the main deck that we will go diving!!!
Here is the latest photo of our dive deck, the rack in the middle will accommodate plenty of oxygen for nitrox blending and emergencies management.
We just installed the two Bauer Mariner compressors in the engine room and are currently setting up the filling system.

We will have a platform and a davit for our brand new, larger dinghy and some fins-friendly ladders...

Lower Deck

The lower deck will be the kingdom of our super crew with large, comfy quarters at the front and modern engine room at the back. We will take along with us up to 16,000L of water, 6,000L of fuel, enough power from our 2 generators to power all Air con units, hot water showers and two compressors at the same time. Wow!

Season 2017 / 2018 was a season of Mantas!!!
 

We had so many mantas at Black Rock this year, it was incredible
Out of all the times we went to Black Rock, mantas were missing only twice! Quite an incredible year!!!

We started uploading our photos to the Marine Mega Fauna database and Myanmar has now 191 individuals referenced. According to the foundation's representatives, despite the fact that there are a lot fewer boats and divers, Myanmar has had a lot more referenced sighting this year then the whole of  Thailand.
If you have any photos to share for the database, please forward them to me with the date and place of the sighting. I'll make sure to add them to the database.

While mantas where everywhere, we also had a few whale-shark-lucky dives :)

Thank to you, we got the certificate of excellence from TripAdvisor again! Wow

Last minute Offer for all trip 1:

Buy 4 get 1 free*
Time to talk to your buddies!
 

Book now one of our trip 1 cruises mentioning this newsletter or regret it later!

* On all out Thailand cruises this season

Check out our calendar

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#diving #review #thesmilingseahorse
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Merci Julien pour cette super video, je ne m'en lasse pas.
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A great video done by one of our passengers: Philippe Vidal. Thanks for sharing your amazing images!
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The new boat is coming out nicely... soon finished!

MV Smiling Seahorse, our brand new steel boat is being built in the mangrove forest, near Ranong for the last 6 months or so. It is taking shape nicely and nearly ready for the coming season! While it is not yet all done, we wanted to send you a little update!
​Let me introduce her to you...

From the front, the 2 massives windows on the main deck are the master cabins, so you can have a great seaview while cruising...  :)

From the side, you can see the wooden cabin doors with on the main deck 4 Deluxe cabins and 2 master cabins, and up the stairs, the standard cabins and Dive master cabins. All our cabins will be air conditioned with large windows and doors toward the ocean. Deluxe and Master cabins also have their own ensuite bathrooms :)

The shading area on the roof-top (sun deck) still under construction

A huge sundeck with plenty of shade (and sun), hamac and mattresses. What a spot to enjoy the view!

A large and confortable dinning/chilling area, with power sockets all around, fans, sound system a lovely couch area at the back, 2 bars (bar stool still not installed) 

And seen fromt he other side, you can see the buffet area and the stairs going up to the rooftop sundeck and on both sides, corridors to the standard cabins.

Deluxe and Standard cabin have a smart convertible bed system: it can either be set up as a queen size double bed or single bunk beds, you can see the tile of the bathroom on the bottom right corner (this is the ensuite bathrooms in the Deluxe cabins).
​The bathrooms are not finished yet, so no pictures so far...

Because diving is what we do, we designed a large and functional diving area, and a spacious dive platform. Everyone will have storage area for their personal gear big and small with an additional room for the photographers!

A big improvement with this room special dedicated to photographers! my fav ;)
​... still a little tidying up to do but mostly done :) 

Now lets see what's under the main deck...

We will have 16,000L of fresh water, which is 4 times more than on our beloved MV ThaiSea. Now we will be able to extend our trips by a few days! :)

And in the engine room: 2 super engines and 2 generators we give us a cruising speed of 10knots and the power to run 2 compressors and all A/C units at the same time...

Wanna see more on our Staff side? 

The Captain cabin: modern and spacious with two berth for our dear Captain and Mechanic

I'm sure you can recognize May! ;)

The Dive Masters cabin, more spacious and confortable than our legendary chicken cabins... lol and downstairs a large staff quarter with 3 cabins for the rest of our dream team.

We are looking forward to have you back onboard for some new underwater adventures!

Oh and here is a little slideshow from our last photos

Wanna come back soon?
We offer 10% discount on the first cruise of the season: be one of the first on MV Smiling Seahorse: trip 3 from 26th to 31st of October! Get in touch!

#diving #review #thesmilingseahorse
MV Smiling Seahorse
MV Smiling Seahorse
thesmilingseahorse.com
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The rays of the Andaman Sea: In our last blogpost we wanted to present the various rays you can encounter in the Andaman sea.

Most of the pictures below were taken in the Mergui Archipelago located off the coast of Myanmar and some in Surin and Similan islands in Thailand.

We can see 2 different kind of rays, the first kind are resident: they stay most of their time laying on the sea floor such as the stingrays, then the second kind are pelagic: they swim mid water from the depth all the way to the surface and travel long distances such as eagle rays and Manta rays!

Stingrays

Khul's stingray or blue spotted stingray (Neotrygon kuhlii) lying on the bottom...small size up to 50cm diameter it lives near the surface but can go at greater depth up to 90m.

Kuhl's Stingray hiding in the sand...

Blotched fantail stingray (Taeniura meyeni), laying on the sea bed, hunting at night.

can be found from 5m to 60m in small group or alone.

Not shy at all, they can get big!!! from 50cm to 200cm

Jenkins whip ray (Himantura jenkinsii) laying on the sea bed, preferably sandy bottoms, can also be found in small groups or alone at the same depth range as the marble rays. Their size can go up to 150cm.

A lot less common, the porcupine stingray (Urogymnus asperrimus) a rather solitary specie, lives at the depth of 30m on sandy, coral and sea grass bottoms Round shape up to 150cm diameter.

Eagle ray

Cow nose eagle ray (Rhinoptera bonasus) spending most of the time swimming alone, they can be found in large groups. Often with cobia and remora.

Wing span up to 240cm they live anywhere between the surface and 110m deep.

Remora getting a free ride...

Manta rays

The Giant oceanic manta ray (Manta birostris) is the largest type of ray in the world and can travel across oceans. It can grow up to 7m across and weight up to 1,350kg and can live up to 50 years! A lot bigger than the more common " reef mantas" which are often encountered in Maldives and Indonesia for example.

They are filter feeders and consume large quantities of zooplankton.

Can be seen easily from the surface, as they spend day time within the 0 to 30m depth area. They are usually not shy and hang around feeding station, or cleaning stations.

In small to large group (up to 50 individuals) they are playful with one another.

Breaching the surface to get rid of parasite is not a rare sight.

Apart from humans, who are the most ferocious predator, they can be attacked by sharks, leaving some nasty bites marks!

"Black Rock" in the Mergui Archipelago, is a pretty famous dive site where we have spotted up to 50 mantas at once. It has been established by Andrea Mashall, the queen of Mantas that Black Rock may very well be the mating station where you could see the biggest All oceanic mantas gathering in the world !
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17/07/2018
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