Phuket Marina Divers - Scuba Diving Centre - Phuket Thailand
"Experience Another World" with one of Thailand's most experienced international dive teams.
 
 
KOH SIMILAN

Koh Similan enjoys the reputation of being one of the top 10 diving destinations in the world....

Location 55 NM northwest of Phuket
Diving spot depth 5 to 40 metres
Visibility 20 to 50 metres
Surface conditions can be choppy
Divers experience level beginners with a Divemaster

Koh Similan archipelago comprises of 9 unspoiled "Robinson Crusoe" islands sitting some 90 km northwest of Phuket. These 9 islands are the centrepiece of Thailand's liveaboard diving. Similans is a national park covering about 128 sq km (51 sq miles). There are now two fully staffed park offices (on Koh Miang and Koh Similan), but other wise the islands are uninhabited and covered with lush rain forest.

The underwater topography is amazing with a unique landscape made up from huge boulders,caverns and drop offs with more than 500 species of hard and soft corals, giant gorgonian sea fans and beautiful tube sponges. You will discover an incredible number of fish species with different forms and colours, and have a good chance of spotting Whale Sharks, Manta and Eagle Rays and a host of other pelagics. After diving here you will understand whey the Similans rank in the top 10 dive sites in the world.

The diving in the Koh Similan is open to divers of all levels. For the inexperienced we will provide Divemaster guides. It is a perfect opportunity to continue your diving education through Advanced and Specialty Courses - underwater photography or night diving being two of many that are offered. It will take around 2 hours 40 minutes to reach these world class dive site with our high speed catamaran. Following are descriptions of some of the 25 dive spots we offer on our daily trips:
Turtle Rock
Distance 50 metres off the rocky northwest coastline of Koh Similan (Island #8), by the larger of the shore's boulders.
Access the site is unbuoyed
Conditions visibility generally averages about 15 metres (50ft.), and the current runs weak to moderate
Average depth 20 metres (66ft.)
Maximum depth 30 metres (100ft.)

Once you have jumped in the water you will descend directly to an area of large boulders at about 20 metres (66ft,). Our experienced Divemaster will take you around these boulders and through their interconnecting swimthroughs. The boulders are completely covered with marine life - large numbers of featherstars and clusters of hard and soft coral. Turtles are often spotted swimming between the boulders which are also home for Powder-blue Surgeonfish and juvenile triggerfish. Further out are larger triggerfish including Titan and Indian.

Heading northeast is an impressive gorge-like swimthrough, 3 metres (10ft.) across. Gorgonian seafans adorn its walls and provide hiding-places for small groups of lionfish and hundreds of small fish.
Fantasea Reef
Location 200 metres off the western coast of Koh Similan (Island #8) - about twice the distance southwest of Turtle Rock.
Access two mooring buoys, running east-west, act as securings for diveboats and serve as direct descent points to the site
Conditions visibility is generally high, between 15 metres (50ft.) and well beyond 30 metres (90ft.). There can be quick changes in the currents and novices must dive with a Divemaster
Average depth 18 metres (60ft.)
Maximum depth 40 metres + (130ft.+)

This is one of the top dive sites in the archipelago, if not the best. Aside from there being no wrecks, there is something here for every diver.

Descending at the eastern buoy takes you to a rocky plateau at 15 metres (50ft.), home of a huge Napoleon Wrasse. This is a great place for underwater photographers. You will find Powder-blue Surgeonfish, Spinyfoot and Masked Unicornfish, and Schooling and Pennant Bannerfish clashing with the extremely photogenic Moorish Idols and juvenile Titan Triggerfish, to name a few.

Heading down towards the southwest is a sheer-walled gully. You should not venture into it as you might damage the impressive gorgonian seafans and radiant soft coral. A giant moray eel is also resident here.

Another great area lies slightly northwest of the inner buoy, due north of the outer. A group of three rocks form a pyramid, broken by a narrow gorge running east-west. This site demands more than one visit.
Stonehenge
Location directly off the northern point of Koh Miang (Island #4)
Access there is no mooring buoy
Conditions currents are moderate to strong, and visibility is typical of the area, at about 15-25 metres (50-83ft.)
Average depth 28 metres (93ft.)
Maximum depth 40 metres + (130ft.+)

This deep dive offers its best features below 25 metres (83ft.). The site consists of large towering rocks. The alleyways between host large seafans and barrel sponges. This is a particularly good site for lobsters, and lionfish and Bearded Scorpionfish are likewise plentiful. Unicorn Surgeonfish and large angelfish are other common denizens, while pelagics like tuna, barracuda and trevally are frequent visitors. Leopard Sharks are often found on the sand in the deeper parts of this site. There is also a resident Shovel-Nosed Shark here.
Elephant Head 9 (Hin Pusa)
Location the giant rocky outcrop off Koh Similan's southern tip - as you approach the site from the west the outcrop resembles a partially submerged elephant, hence the name.
Access there is one permanent mooring buoy off the western face - descending to about 18 metres (60ft.), directly onto the site.
Conditions visibility is good, ranging from 15 metres (50ft.) to in excess of 30 metres (90ft.). Currents can be strong, flowing north-south, and there can be strong surges. Experienced divers only.
Average depth 24 metres (80ft.)
Maximum depth 70 metres (80ft.)

The dive takes you around huge breathtaking boulders, some with frames measuring over 30 metres (100ft.) sitting individually or stacked high to form daring swimthroughs comprising arches, caverns and tunnels at all depths.

Descend at the mooring buoy and head east to the first of the colossal granite boulders - many parrotfish adorn this part of the site. The eastern faces of the boulders have far more soft coral than the exposed western faces.

Southwards, the boulders take a different formation, single boulders some 3 metres (10ft.) wide lying with sandy pathways between them. Around these boulders are Emperor and Imperial Angelfish, Titan Triggerfish and sheltering schools of Yellowtail Fusiliers and Juvenile Yellow Snappers.

The southern most point of the site is a tiny group of submerged pinnacles in very deep water. These are a great place to observe small reef sharks.
Barracuda Point
Location around the two rocky islets about 500 metres due east of Koh Miang (Island #4).
Access there is no mooring buoy - drift off following the rocks.
Conditions currents are moderate to strong - the site can be drift-dived when currents run north-south or south-north. Visibility ranges between 15 metres (50ft.) and 25 metres (83ft.).
Average depth 14 metres (46ft.)
Maximum depth 34 metres (113ft.)

The deepest section of this area is the southern part where there are lots of large boulders on the seafloor. In the deeper waters these are adorned with seafans and sea whips. The shallower section of this area features hard coral, and there are normally plenty of batfish in evidence.

The site's northern part is shallower, with a maximum depth of about 22 metres (73ft.). The seascape is similar to that in the south, but the surrounding rocks are more prominently highlighted by colourful seastars, anemone and crinoids in radiant reds and yellows. The batfish you encountered at the southern section of this site may follow you to this area.
Shark Fin Reef (Hin Phae)
Location around the small collection of rocks which breaks the water at low tide - 3km (1.6 miles) southeast of Koh Payan (Island #3).
Access this site remains unbouyed.
Conditions visibility runs from as low as 5 metres (16ft.) to over 25 metres (83ft.) - as with many of the area's more open sites, there is a likelihood of strong currents.
Average depth 16 metres (53ft.)
Maximum depth 40 metres (130ft.)

The best locations to enter the water are off either end of the line of small rocky outcrops. The northeastern side features a sloping reef, the southwestern side a more dramatic dropoff. At the southeastern end, in about 16 metres (53ft), is a large swimthrough. This provides an almost purpose-built opening, whichever way you are going, to the site's opposite side.

The marine life at this site is much more intense and diverse along and below the sloping northeastern reef. Regular inhabitants include schools of batfish, surgeonfish, Moorish Idols and bannerfish. Large Napoleon Wrasse have also been seen. This section of the site is a very good place to spot passing sharks and large rays.
Boulder City
Location immediately south of Shark Fin Reef.
Access the permanent mooring buoy is located over the northeast section of the site in about 27 metres (90ft.) of water.
Conditions In favourable conditions you can expect good visibility - occasionally over 30 metres 100ft.). The site can experience strong currents from the north.
Average depth 19 metres (63ft.)
Maximum depth 32 metres (106ft.)

The site consists of a collection of enormous submerged granite boulders running southeast-northwest and more typical of a west-facing, rather than an east-facing, coastal rock formation in this area. As you approach them they fancifully resemble rocky mountains separated by wide valleys.

Descending directly from the boat, head southwest to pass over some large scattered rocks before you reach the rocky plateau. This area has many gorgonian seafans and sea whips, plus small table coral with Chocolate-dip Chromis, and a diversity of fire coral. If you maintain this heading you will then come to the smooth plateau.

The plateau are smooth, their sheer sides punctuated occasionally by clusters of soft coral and radiant crinoid - small crevices house a diversity of marine life, with lionfish, Blue-spotted Grouper, Red Coral Trout and Bearded Scorpionfish all adopting them as havens in the stronger currents. Schools of Pinnate Batfish meander aimlessly in the shallow, beyond which Great Barracuda constantly patrol.
Coral Gardens
Location following the eastern side of Koh Huyong (Island #1).
Access there is no mooring buoy.
Conditions visibility ranges between 15 metres and 25 metres (50-83ft.).
Average depth 10 metres (16ft.)
Maximum depth 24 metres (80ft.)

This very attractive shallow dive site is good for novice divers and for an afternoon second dive. Is has the typical formation of an east-facing site in this area with extraordinary coral tables on the reef-flat, which lies in 15 metres of water. The surrounding deeper waters have the usual seafans and whips, and these feature in the shallower waters as well. There are many fire coral on the reef-slope, along with anemone hosting various clownfish. There is a good representation of colourful reef-fish, including damselfish, butterflyfish and basslets.

This site offers the best condition to spot turtles, especially juvenile ones, as Island #1 is a protected reproduction area.
Surin Archipelago and Richelieu
Location 110 NM northwest of Phuket.
Diving spot depth 8 to 40 metres.
Visibility 10 to 50 metres.
Surface conditions can be rough.
Currents can be strong.
Surface conditions can be rough.
Divers experience level beginners with a Divemaster

Located north of Koh Similan, Surin Archipelago is made up of 5 islands throughout Koh Tachai and Koh Bon. Except a small community of sea gypsies, these islands are uninhabited and covered by green rain forest. In January and February this is a favourite spot for sighting Manta Rays which often join the divers for a dance.

Richelieu is a submerged pinnacle located 8 nautical miles east of Surin Island. This world class spot is famous for Manta Ray and Whale Shark. There is also a pretty good chance to see different kinds of sharks and rays.
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