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Name: Bora Raan
Born: 28th June 1978

What does he do?

Dive Master for Eco Sea Dive Sihanoukville stationed at Koh Rong Samloem guesthouse

Where did we meet him?

After a few days of convincing I finally got Kat, Andrew and Jossy to sign up for their open water diving license. So off we go to the dive shop and get them registered..... they tell them to pop by the next morning to start all the boorrrring theory work. Before we leave they give us a disclaimer to sign just incase a sharky starts chomping on one of their legs. Day after that we head of on the dive boat and head to Koh Rong Samloen where we are supposed to do diving. It is here that we meet Bora as he is stationed on the island


His story.....

He was born in Kandal province about 50kms outside of Phnom Penh during the reign of the Khmer Rouge regime. Obviously he does not remember any of those times but he did mentioned that he had to leave home at 14 to look for work. So off he goes to the city and he finds a job in a Chinese aircon shop. He says he was lucky as the owner made him go to a Chinese high school. In between he also took lessons in English at a language school.

After about 4 years he started work with a few foreign NGO`s including the WHO. I could tell that he worked a lot with foreigners as his command of English was very very good! Most Cambodians speak very broken English so it was really nice to meet someone who could discuss various issues in an insightful way.

In 2003 he made the decision to leave Phnom Penh and go to Sihanoukville as he is not one for busy city life. To the beach he came and got a job in a dive shop where he got his licenses to take people out on dives. I enjoyed diving with Bora. As Cambodia does not have that many reefs, he knew every site we went to really well. It was like seeing him in his own playground. He knew every nook and corner of all the reefs we went diving at.

The last dive I did we were alone, after about 10 minutes at 15m depth, we saw a shadow in front of us. Visibility was not that good as the current was strong, at first I thought we were looking at a shark but as we chased after the movement we noticed that it was a huge ray!! Later on we realized it was an elusive Mangrove Ray. We followed it and it came to rest on another ray!! Definitely it`s mate. We were face to face with two giant rays about 1m in diameter. After hovering for a while the moved on and we gave chase for about a minute and half. Amazingly he told me later that was the first time he had seen these rays here...... and he has dived in Cambodian waters more than a 1000 times!!

Currently he stays on Koh Rong Samloen where he built and manages the 3 small but enchanting guesthouses on the island. He is married to a girl from Sihanoukville and has one daughter. He is not one for the fast life and enjoys the isolation of living on the island though he is separated from his family on the mainland.

We became really good buddies over those two days...... and we have have him to thank for getting us off the island to get back to Sihanoukville in time for New Years celebrations. I would say he is one of the most experienced divers you can find in Cambodia . His knowledge of the reefs were outstanding. It would be nice to come back and one day see him setup with his very own dive shop. He will be a friend for life.