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For me, one of the aspects of the ocean I’m most passionate about are sharks and Thailand brought me two very distinct experiences with these majestic creatures: non-cage diving with the fearsome BULL SHARKS on Sail Rock and getting up close and personal with my beloved LEOPARD SHARK while on my Similan liveaboard diving trip.
Scuba Diving Liveaboard Essentials
When planning my 4-day liveaboard diving trip in the incredible Andaman Sea in Thailand, I was a bit lost as to how to pack for my short adventure. To help you with the basics, Noonan Rubick; TFG reader and scuba diving enthusiast, has helped me put together some travel essentials you’ll need when doing a liveaboard trip.
Because not everyone has their own dive equipment, this list only pertains to clothing and general travel gear and only sticks to the essentials.
As always, weather is a major factor in your packing choices. While some destinations are warmer than others, err on the side of caution and pack warm clothing because the longer we spend submerged under water, the colder we feel. While a forecast can’t always be reliable, at least get an idea about weather averages during the day and most importantly at night, when temperatures can plummet in some areas.
What to pack liveaboard diving adventure
It’s important that you take good care of your skin and hair because the sun and the sea may be beautiful to experience but they’re tough on your body.
Moisturizing lotion – soothe skin parched from the post salt water and the sun
Sunblock – always protect yourself from the sun’s damaging rays that are stronger in the water!
Leave in conditioner – de-tangle hair with ease because the water, mask, and any ties will leave you in knots
Shaver – it never hurts to be well groomed when you’re in a bathing suit all day
Head scarf – Consider taking a head scarf or headband to hold back unruly hair
Hair ties and Bobby pins – keep your face clear if hair to avoid water seeping into your goggles
Practical clothing options
2 Bathing suits – Choose one that gives you a bit of extra coverage because nothing’s worse than taking your wetsuit off and your swimsuit top is all out of place
Lightweight sundress – a boat is a great setting for a photo shoot – live it up!
Long sleeve tunic or kaftan – for those that desire additional protection from the sun in between dives
Swim shorts – to chill out or for a bit of coverage
Cover up dress – I like to wrap myself up as soon as I get out of my wetsuit and an easy to wear tube dress or Sarong dress might be nice to slip in and out of with ease. Choose a fabric that dries easily because no matter how many ways you can use a sarong, that fabric takes ages to dry.
Fleece – Depending on the location, at night it might get chilly in the middle if the ocean especially after you’ve been in the water old day. It’s important to packs clothes that can help keep you warm after a day in the ocean and to soothe you right to sleep. A fleece hoodie keeps you warm and dries quickly, too.
You have to remove your shoes as a standard practice on boats so flip flops are more than enough to get you to and from the boat but if you have in between activities planned, water shoes might be a good idea.
Additional items to consider
Motion sickness tablets – worth packing some to avoid unexpected nausea to ruin your trip
Pain killers – headaches are no fun especially on a rocking boat in the blazing sun
Ear plugs – in case your sleep compartment is next to the engine or if you’re a light sleeper
Sunglasses – keep your eyes protected and add a little glam to your “I’m on a boat” paparazzi shots
Socks – not only do they help warm you up if you’re cold at night but also helps prevent blisters when worn with your fins
Travel towel – just in case you don’t get towels and also it’s nice to have a towel for showers and a separate one to dry off the salt water after diving
Watch – keep track of your time underwater because you can’t always count on your guide to do it for you (better yet, get your own dive watch)
Handy Diving Accessories
Underwater camera case – this is one of my travel techie must haves. I love to capture those once in a lifetime underwater images. If you’re a serious about diving, invest in a camera case and skip the waterproof cameras that can only be used down to 10 meters/30 feet.
Waterproof dive log – don’t lose your logged dives when the paper gets wet and falls apart
Waterproof bag – for your iPhone or other electronics
Dry bag – handy for general travel too
Kindle – no need to charge for endless hours of reading
Memory card – especially if renting a dive camera
Underwater iPod – if the sounds of the ocean aren’t enough to get you in the mood
TFG recommends: Canon camera set because so many divers have recommended this to me and their shots are amazing! It’s all about the white balance setting.
Travel tip: invest in your own Dive Mask if you’re an avid diver. A dive shop’s leaky mask can ruin your entire trip.
Not all liveaboards are equal
Not all diving liveaboard experiences are the same and not all provide the same amenities.
Inquire about your inclusions such as towels and toiletries. Also, determine if there are any side trips or activities during the dive trip that require that you bring shoes or other items.
Although this list doesn’t cover what you should pack when you’re not on the boat, this is a guide to help you choose what you should bring on board. For this special scuba diving packing list it’s less about fashion and it’s more about practical clothing and protecting your beautiful skin!
Planet Ocean Giveaway (this is closed)
One of my favorite travel activities and personal passions is diving and the ocean. For this liveaboard diving packing list, I bring you a special giveaway to share my love of marine life with you lovely travelistas!
Whether you’re a diving fanatic or an ocean lover, enter to win the new PLANET OCEAN documentary on DVD or Blu-ray. (US residents only, sorry!) With beautiful cinematography and actor Josh Duhamel narrating, this documentary takes you around the world on an unprecedented journey into the least known regions of the earth. It touched me and rekindled my interests in protecting a place I cherish.
TFG recommends: The Dive Inn on Koh Phangan were absolute rockstars when it came to diving the famous Sail Rock in the Gulf of Thailand. If you have time in between Full Moon Parties and island hopping, stop by and check out dive this amazing site with beautiful coral, large schools of fish, and possibly even bull sharks. For more info, check out my review!
What are your scuba diving travel essentials?
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