It’s Hua Hin’s latest addition to the already vast range of tourist attractions, but this time it’s maritime. It’s fast, comfortable, safe and convenient. It offers day and overnight trips from the Hua Hin beachfront to see Islands, hidden and secluded beaches, views of the seafront you are unlikely to have seen before as well as another way to visit Pattaya. It’s called the Hua Hin Sea Discovery.
Hua Hin and Cha-Am Today was invited on a ‘test cruise’ to see what is on offer and to experience first-hand what visitors to Hua Hin (and locals too) can look forward to enjoying.
The Sea Discovery is probably best described as a high speed ocean going cruiser, but more of the technical details later. She (all boats are female) was delivered on 30th August this year by road transport from the boat builders in Pattaya. September 9th saw the Buddhist blessing ceremony for the boat, crew and operating Company. During the remainder of the month, trials to trim and test were completed in addition to adding important finishing touches and crew training. Now she’s ready to rumble
This has been a labour of love for the owners, including Belgian Harry Patry, a major shareholder who has vast experience in operating charter boat operations for over 10 years in the South of France. Harry was our host on the test cruse which was also enjoyed by staff from the Hyatt Regency and the Ananatasila Resorts.
Harry described a long and detailed approval process so that all the necessary assurances could be provided to the various authorities involved with full and detailed insurance for passengers being an understandable requirement. This included discussions with Mr. Weera Sriwathanatrakoon, the Governor of Prachuap Khirikhan Province.
The Sea Discovery’s home is at the Pranburi Marina however passengers can embark from the beach front at the Anatasila Resort (about 5 kilometres) South of Hua Hin. We also picked up the Hyatt staff from the beach directly seaside of that Resort.
She is specifically designed with a shallow draft and just one of the three powerful outboards gently and carefully ‘backs up’, allowing passengers to easily climb abroad after wading out in knee depth water.
We boarded the Sea Discovery on a rather dull but pleasant morning and first impressions were – Wow! It’s something like a giant speedboat. The welcoming sounds of “Conquest of Paradise” were immediately recognisable through the boat’s sound system.
This is a 1992 song recorded by Vangelis with a nautical flavour and a stirring anthem adopted by a number of sporting teams and events. If you want to hear more just visit the Company website (details below) and you will hear and understand just how appropriate this is!
After gently pulling away from the beach on one motor all three motors were engaged and the Sea Discovery very quickly rounded the Khao Takiab headland towards the Hyatt pick-up point.
If you remember outboard motors as noisy, smelly, vibrating and generally an unpleasant form of boat propulsion you are in for a very pleasant surprise. These motors seem to hum rather than roar. It’s like comparing the sound of a modern motor scooter with that made by the exhaust of a Harley Davidson.
Some may like the Harley sound, but not when there are three of them and you want to relax, have a conversation and enjoy the ride. So that’s the first of our many positive reports, she’s not too loud!
After picking up the group of exuberant passengers we headed south towards Sam Roi Yot. Our on-board hostess Khun Mai introduced the other four Thai crew, including Captain Khun Sompob Aonpraiwaan. He has a wealth of local knowledge including about safe beach access. After all Hua Hin is ‘Stone Head’; not all shallow waters have only sand below, Harry said the Captain knows every rock underwater and is a local legend. The crew were all eager to be passenger friendly and looking very nautical in their blue and white stripped sailors gear.
Of course safety is a given with the boat fully equipped with lifesaving equipment, fire extinguishers, radios, GPS and speed. Harry reminded us that in some waters (not around Hua Hin, but nor far from Pattaya) piracy can be an issue. However with a cruising speed of 40 – 50 KPH and a top speed of up to 75 KPH it’s hard to imagine any pirate boat being able to pose a threat!
Hua Hin also is protected by a variety of army and navy units so a helicopter or even a naval frigate is generally not far away. This sort of reassurance hardly seems necessary, but it may still be nice to know for some.
Many of us have never really had the opportunity to survey the coastline from the ocean. We often read about our region’s ‘beautiful coastline and beaches’ however this is really the way to appreciate these natural attractions. You’ll also see some impressive resorts and private residences that you never knew were there. Additionally many small coves and untouched secluded beaches come into view.
Approaching Sam Roi Yot we passed close to many small islands which will provide the opportunity for a swim, snorkelling and perhaps checking out if the monkeys are interested. Our trip was really a ‘test run’ without these visits on the agenda but that will certainly be part of the real cruising experience in the future. Also calling in for lunch at one of the beachside restaurants and river cruising will be a feature.
On the return trip to our embarkation point the ‘skipper’ was eager to put the boat through its paces. The Sea Discovery undertook some high speed manoeuvres without any hint of instability and without any passenger discomfort; very impressive. I recalled some advice offered by others before the trip about how the journey was likely to be unpleasant because at speed the boat would be ‘bouncing’ and the ride would be a jarring experience.
Not so; even in choppy and windy conditions the ride can be described with one word – SMOOTH. Our crew offered seasick pills before commencement but that was not an issue for anyone on board. No wallowing in the swell just cutting through the swell and more like an aircraft ride than a boat at sea.
You know that rather unpleasant experience of feeling of like you swaying from side to side and still ‘all at sea’ well after return to dry land? It doesn’t happen after a trip on this boat.
So if many regard Hua Hin and surrounds as ‘Paradise’, the Sea Discovery now provides a way to complete your conquest of the ocean around the region! That is certainly the feeling as you once again listen to the theme music as you return to the beach.
We had a great day on the ocean and look forward to another opportunity to experience what’s on offer from the crew at Hua Hin Sea Discovery. Check out the (still developing) web site for more information:
www.huahinseadiscovery.com and www.huahinseatours.com
WHAT’S ON OFFER?
There are three trips available and described in more detail on the Company website:
- 1. One Day Day Trip To Sam Roi Yot – 110 kilometres
Visiting Ko Sai (Lion Island), Ko Sadaao (Turtle Island), up the river at Mae Nam Pran Buri, Monkey Island, Dolphin Bay, Prayanakoren Cave. Departing 9.30 AM, returning at 4.00 PM.
- 2. Two Day Prachuap Khirikhan Tour – 220 kilometres
Visiting unseen scenery, snorkelling, swimming, relaxing on the beach with good food and drinks and staying one night at a beach front hotel in Prachuap khirikhan. At the second day visiting Sam Roi Yot National Park. Departure 9,30 am , returning 3.00 PM the second day.
- 3. Two Day Pattaya Golf Tour – 220 kilometres
An early departure from Hua Hin to the Ocean Front Marian at Jomteim Beach Pattaya. Play golf on the afternoon of the first day and on the morning of the second day. Returning to Hua Hin around 5.00 PM.
However these options are only those currently planned by the Company. You may wish to discuss and plan your own ‘conquest of paradise’. This could be any Club, corporate group or just a group of friends or family members.
It’s also worth mentioning that there is likely to be some changes to the tours above as the experience of the operators and the preferences of customers is developed.
SOME TECHNICAL DETAILS
– Builders: NPSK Boar Co. Ltd, Pattaya Thailand, NPSK 470 Commercial
– Design: Single hulled ‘V’ Design
– Dimensions: Length: 14.32 metres, Beam 3.49 metres
– Engines: 3 x 250 HP 4 Stroke Honda Outboards
– Fuel Capacity: 400 litres
– Seating Capacity: 40