In September of 2011, I journeyed to Thung Yi, Thailand with a team of three other technical divers form Ban's Technical Diving (www.banstec.com). Thung Yi is home to the big sinkhole of Song Hong which has become a prime cave diving location in Thailand due to it's depth and penetration distances. The site consists of two ponds, one big and one small. These ponds are can be traversed by survey lines at 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 meters. Complex circuits can also be completed at these depths, depending on the divers certifications.
I teamed up with my old friend, Craig Werger who now runs Ban's Tec, in order to do some fun diving in this big dark hole! We took it easy on the first day completing the 30 m circuit. As the days progressed, so did our dives until we hit the 40m traverse. Song Hong is very deep and very dark as it is freshwater. It also has no discernible floor. This can cause many divers to feel the effects of nitrogen narcosis and disorientation, therefore it is important to complete your cave training and to dive within your limits. That being said Song Hong is a fantastic dive in an overhead environment. It is mythically spooky, but in a good way. I felt a little bit like India Jones, or maybe a Ghostbuster. For more information on the dives please watch "The Hydronauts of Song Hong" attached below.
The dives were excellent as Ban's Tec really knows their way around this cave system and takes extra time planning the dives with their clients so that they are comfortable with the cave layout and plan as well. Ban's Tec applies the latest tested techniques to cave diving, moving away from the old boy's school mentality that has been in place in certain areas of South East Asia, creating an enjoyable safe environment for cave diving in Thailand.
The town of Thung Yi (meaning big bag, or big field) is an interesting backdrop to cave diving. Locals will happily educate you on the creatures that live within the caves (dragons, a pale women, other creatures) and tell you ways to avoid being taken captive. The town is friendly and people will often drop by to check out what is going on.
I loved my time spent at Song Hong. The diving is very different from that of the Mexican Cenotes, and it was a great challenge. I hope return in the near future.
Now for Ban's Tec's latest video. . . "The Hydronauts of Song Hong"