Liveaboards in Burma: Company Profile of South East Asia Liveaboards, Phuket, Thailand
Ten years ago two young Englishmen, namely Adam and Graham Frost (brothers) bought a 60 ft. motor - sailing yacht called Crescent in Hong Kong. After six months of re-fitting the boat and converting her to a high-standard liveaboards diving vessel, they set off to seek their fortune! Their destination was Phuket, Thailand. Their aim was to get into the liveaboards diving market. Their passion was water sports and adventure.
The first big hurdle they had to cope with, after setting off from Hong Kong was a typhoon in the South China Sea!
Since then they have come a long way - now operating three live aboard yachts, a base in Burma, with an ever-increasing number of staff in both countries, are member of the PADI International Resort Association and operating as a BSAC International School in Phuket.
During the past ten years they have successfully run Diving and Adventure Safaris in the remote regions of South East Asia including Vietnam (treasure hunting!), the Andaman Islands (Bay of Bengal), India, the East coast of Malaysia, Similan and Surin islands, Thailand, Sangihe Archipelago, Indonesia and the Mergui Archipelago, Burma.
In 1991 they were offered a partnership in one of the existing diving companies in Phuket, Thailand. Graham became Managing Director, whilst Adam had full responsibility of diving trips on the yacht Crescent. The company flourished and expanded due to their efforts.
In February 1995 another family member joined forces with Graham and Adam, namely Marlene Frost. Her role has been very varied - but she is well known to many hundreds of customers of South East Asia Liveaboards, helping them to arrange their holidays. Her skills are with communications, sales and marketing!
Two years ago in May 1996 it was time to break away and form their own company which is of course South East Asia Liveaboards!! 1996 was indeed a remarkable year!
1996: the beginning of our trips to the Sangihe Archipelago (Indonesia) and the opening of Burma (Myanmar)
In 1996 they started diving trips to the very remote Sangihe Archipelago off North Sulawesi, Indonesia. In some of the remote island communities that they visited they were welcomed by the village chiefs and were told that they were the first white people ever to visit the islands.
On Christmas Eve 1996, after lengthy negotiations and many visits to Yangon (Rangoon), they finally succeeded in being the first ever company to be granted a license to operate Diving Tours and Adventure Safaris in the Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar (Burma). They are very proud of the fact that they have been the pioneers of trips to this exquisite archipelago which had, until their first trip in January 1997, been closed to foreigners for over fifty years.
It soon became clear that the exciting new year was perfect also for Sea Kayaking Safaris. Preparatory work for these new trips started early in 1998, with the project coming on line in November 1998. Yet another coup - the only trip of its kind in the Mergui Archipelago. The set up and the trips themselves during the first season (November 1998 through to May 1999) were overseen by Graham. Invaluable experience was gained during that period. More and more wild and wonderful discoveries came to light. Beautiful rivers meander into the heart of the jungle , not to mention the incredible wild-life.
Another great event took place early in 1998 - again being another "first". This was the first ever pioneering live-aboard surfing trip to the very remote Andaman Islands, Bay of Bengal, India. SEAL is renowned for its live-aboard diving trips to the Andamans - with seven years experience in that area.
That first surfing trip was an enormous success, with surfers contacting SEAL from all over the world, leading to more trips earlier this year.
You have only to look at our collection of Press Releases to see just some of the newspapers and magazine articles on the adventures of SEAL which have been written throughout the world to realize that this is an exceptional pioneering company.
SEAL goes where others fear to tread - but they soon try to copy!
Comments from the Directors:
Adam Frost: "After ten years of travels and adventures in the remote archipelagos of South East Asia, the experience we have gained is invaluable. Witnessing the different cultures, as well as finding the islands most beautiful bays, beaches and dive sites, has helped us enormously. Our aim is to show our customers the best of what we have seen on our travels and to leave them with unforgettable images and moments which they are able to take home with them, whilst leaving behind only footprints in the sand."
Graham Frost: "Although we have been lucky to achieve a great deal in the past few years, we are by no means ready to leave it at that. More new frontiers are waiting to be bridged. We have another new project in mind, but thats on hold till 2000. A lot of research and sometimes set-backs can happen when you go for the seemingly impossible. Not to mention the frustrations we try to smilingly endure! The main thing is to be good , really good , the tops in fact , at what you do. We dont believe in doing things by halves and then rushing into something else just for the sake of doing it. But there are more incredible places that we want to show you!"
Marlene Frost: "I would never have believed how small the world now seems, with people writing to us every day of the year from all corners of the earth. Its wonderful to meet up with many of them too when they come here to join our trips , just like meeting old friends. Part of my reason for joining SEAL was the opportunity to live on a beautiful tropical island plus the challenge of the unknown. The unknown has now become the known, but the challenge is always there , always new and very exciting , such as visiting the beautiful Mergui Archipelago and meeting the sea gypsies who are the indigenous people of that region. If thats too tame then theres always the chance of exchanging glances (from one of our boats I might add!) with cannibals who live on one of the remote Andaman Islands!
A great measure of our success has been the high percentage of return customers we get, many of whom come back year after year for their holidays with us, and some of whom have become our friends. Why not join them? We would love to see you and share our experiences with you."
- South East Asia Liveaboards
see also : dive-burma.com