The island of Koh Rong Sanloem (KRS) is accessed by speed ferry from Sihanoukville on the coast of Cambodia. Those who require a constant supply of electricity and luxuries like air conditioning and pub crawls go to the bigger brother island of Koh Rong where pizza restaurants sit next to wooden beach huts. KRS has three or four bays where small resorts overlook the white sand and clear water. A lengthy jungle trek or a boat taxi can take you between the bays. I stayed in the minute village of M’Pai Bay. The handful of restaurants and sleeping places are run by a mixture of locals and expats, like Tom Mellon originally from Ireland.
Tom runs Ecoseadive, one of several dive shops on the island. He came to the island 7 years ago, working for different centres before branching out less than a year ago. KRS is diving heaven. There’s a shallow reef practically outside the dive shop where those gaining their certification practice safety procedures in the company of seahorses.
My first dive involved counting fin-kicks and compass navigation (passed with flying colours in case you were wondering) while being distracted my some little rays, before our second dive visiting a buzzing and colourful reef. There were parrot fish, nudibranches, pufferfish, sea urchins, more rays and a big school of whitebait. The colours and variety was the best I’ve seen in my short diving career. The water was warm and visibility good and Tom could point out all the coolest things.
After checking in with the film crew and a lovely lunch at a little resort on Sunset Beach we found we had enough time (and more importantly air) to fit in a third dive! As I admired the bright blue and red corals I felt incredibly lucky to be there.
As we cut through the waves on our return to the village we talked dive careers, island life and filming movies before a cold beer or two.
Thanks Tom. I left KRS one step closer to my Advanced and inspired by the underwater world to continue my dive education. I can not recommend this island paradise enough, and Tom and Ecoseadive in particular. Oh and don’t miss eating at Erin’s kitchen: comfy seats, plenty of veggie options (try the creamy amok curry) and the freshest fruits. Save me a seat because I’ll be back.