Technical Dive Sites

Technical Dive Sites

Written by Stephen Burton

Mark Ellyatt on 270meter dive. click for hi-res imageMark Ellyatt on 270meter dive. click for hi-res image

Steve Burton - Trimix instructor. click for hi-res imageTrimix dive - Multiple gases de-rigeur

PICTURE CREDITS:- Mark Ellyatt at

[Thailand, all locations]

Depths 80-300meters; Trimix technical diving onlyonly

(Please email me Steve Burton to add your dive site’s details)

The “Samaesan Hole” (Pattaya)

Dive Site Details

At a depth 85meters/ 280ft This is the deepest dive site in the Gulf of Thailand, and is for full TRIMIX certified divers only. Sunlight rarely permeates down to the bottom here, and the use of Both Hypoxic TRIMIX (at this depth), multiple torches, multiple computers, and formal technical diver training should be considered the minimum equipment and experience necessary to survive this dive. The dive site is also in an area of very strong currents (maybe the strongest in the Gulf), AND is also an inland waterway with a heavy daily traffic of oil and gas tankers who’s hulls reach down well into your top 4 stops. Oh, and I forgot to mention the unexploded bombs littering the sea bed here in what is labeled on the chart as an ‘explosives dumping ground’. A better idea of the strength of currents at this site can be gauged by the fact that it is not unusual to meet the 1 meter diameter teardrop buoy submerged by current at your 15meter stop. Deploying the lift bag at this point to ‘drift on the bag’ with the current could result in surfacing either in Pattaya or Cambodia depending on which way the currents running once the ‘stops’ are completed if dived during a ‘spring run’. I have been ‘officially lost at sea’ during such a dive, returning home someway up the coast after luckily bumping into an Ocean going Deep sea trawler. May I humbly suggest this site is dived at slack water only.

The first successful dive into the bottom of this ‘black silty hole of death’ was made by myself and Claes Martinsson in 1998. It was an unlucky day. All torches imploded, 3 out of the 4 dive computers including backups all failed (permanently) &/or gave stupid indications of depth or time. This dive site is now used as the ‘passing out dive’ for local TRIMIX technical dive students.

GPS Location

WGS84 N12’32.322″ E100’57.605″

Last dived by:-

Axel Schoeller, Tim Partridge

Mark Ellyatt,  Steve BurtonBruce Konefe, Andrew Yates,   Lars Steffensen Claes Martinsson,

The Samaesan Cliff – A Deep Air/Trimix dive

With the overhanging top at 50m and the bottom at 85m this unusual discontinuity in the sea bed is tricky to find and must be dived at slack water. Bally deep air divers who fancy practicing compass navigation in 4 tank rig while stoned will enjoy this dive. The profusion of fish tells you when your near.  Shoals of 200+ dinner plate sized grouper, mean looking baracudas, dinner table sized marble rays, 2-3 meter cobias, make this a dive site worth hunting down. Land on the seabed on 50m then head off west(270 degrees) along the 50m contour. Enjoy.

Last dived by:-

  Steve Burton

GPS Location

(see chart above for transits. accurate placement is essential for this dive)

Phuket Deep holes     [top]

Dive Site Details

Although in the Gulf of Thailand, the  maximum depth attainable is only 90meters, Within a few hours off Phuket, the continental shelf ends and quickly drops off to ‘world record breaking’ TRIMIX dive depths.

Courtesy of Mark Ellyatt, Holder of the world record deepest ever wreck dive, most dangerous ever cave dive (Coniston Copper mine) and strangely still alive to tell the tale…has kindly revealed where there are some interesting incredibly deep holes of death where one might chose a little Helium in the back gas and a trustworthy support team to hold you on your deco stops for a few hours while you rotate in a swirling cloud of your own vomit. A phone call to the chamber, a good inner ear hypo baric doctor plus US$50,000 in cash for treatment prior to heading off down on these dives with a slight bit of current and descent line at 45 degrees might also be a good idea. Further recommendations include that the support divers have dived to the planned support depth before, can plan their own TRIMIX deco dives, can read both a watch a SPG and understand what happens when the SPG needle enters the ‘red zone’… will further encourage success.

251meter Hole at N07’45” E097’52

254 meter Hole at N07’28.6″ E097’54.5″

317 meter Hole at N07’43.1″ E097’49.5″