Live aboard diving Similan - Surin Islands Thailand
Thailand is a wonderful country with some excellent diving. To the west of Thailand is the Andaman Sea, with the best diving in Thailand. The Similan / Surin Islands in are located 100 kms Northwest of Phuket. This archipelago of nine small granite islands sits some excellent diving sites. The islands and their surrounding waters cover an area of 128 sq km. They feature lush rainforest inhabited by squirrels and bats. Bird-life is also well represented. There are two fully staffed park offices, but otherwise the islands are uninhabited. The Similans can certainly lay claim to being one of Thailand top diving destinations. The dramatic underwater terrain is highlighted by triving reefs and abundant soft corals, and the
tremendous diversity of marine life includes many of the more exciting, larger pelagic.
Some of the best Diving Sites on the Similan / Surin Islands
The reef is a rather innocuous sandy slope with some spectacular coral bommies and patches, made up of table corals and staghorn corals. On the gentle slopes you can see lionfish and the reclusive and beautiful clown triggerfish and colourful Oriental sweetlips. There are several soft coral bommies, smothered in soft tree corals and sea fans, Large orange seafans host longnose hawkfish. The scattered coral patches are made up of staghorn and bottlebrush corals, sheet corals, knobbly finger corals, with some larger coral species such as lobed and star coral. Slender grouper and Diana's hogfish hide out in the crevices. Common schooling residents are the delicate blue damsels and jewel fairy basslets, and blinding masses of slender fusiliers. Roundhead parrotfish and titan triggerfish tend to roam around, eating the hard coral, with yellowfin goatfish in attendance, guzzling up the resultant scraps.
One of the most colouful dives in the Similan Islands, a dive at Christmas Point begins by heading down a mooring to the bottom at a depth of about twenty metres, then dive deeper to the southwest where one finds several giant arches and some of the best swim-throughs in the Similans. The rock walls are covered with soft corals and sea fans. Diving around the site you can find schools of trevally constantly darting in and out of the blankets of small fry that cover the boulders. Things like ribbon eels, fire gobies, white tip or leopard sharks are to see
Hard and soft corals both grow between the boulders. You can find ribbon eels and mantis shrimps. Jacks, surgeonfish and fusiliers. Look also into the blue and above for a big shoal of chevron barracuda. In the shallows there are enormous flat plains of cauliflower leaf corals and stubbly finger corals. Covering as much area as you can here, you're bound to run into green turtles and black and white banded sea snakes.Further north on a white sand valley with a depth around the 40 metre take a look down and you will possibly see sharks resting after the night, sometimes also manta rays are spotted here.
Batfish Bend gets its name from the schools of 50 or so longfin batfish that seem to hang out here. There are expansive reef flats and gently sloping beds of healthy hard corals and some of the largest table corals you are ever likely to see, staghorn corals, hibiscus corals, branching and encrusting fire corals, and massive lobed leather corals, as well as white wire corals. You'll find red-toothed triggerfish, blackbelt hogfish hiding out under the table corals. Other fish common are raccoon butterflyfish, meyer's butterflyfish, humphead unicornfish, Oriental sweetlips and bigeye. Big fish that you may see here include brown marbled grouper and impressive-sized blue yellowtail emporers. Thailand's last few Napoleon wrasse can sometimes be found here too. At the deepest section are often leopard sharks, some huge greenish sea cucumbers green triggerfish.
The site is located to the north Islands with green soft corals. Many types of fusilier gather here to feed, and this attracts hunting fish such as schools of rainbow runners, bluefin trevally and giant trevally.
Boxfish, the beautiful surgeonfish, and grouper are to spot here. Butterflyfish, bannerfish and Java rabbitfish are common schooling residents. On the deeper part lots of blue-spotted sting rays, white tip reef sharks and leopard sharks can be found.
East of Eden
There are blue and purple soft corals and red bulb tentacle anemones hosting skunk. Anemone fish, western clownfish, groups of redtail butterflyfish, snapper and boxfish are present. You have also a a good chance to find a frogfish or other odd critters. The topography at the bottom is quite varied with many rock and small bommie formations, used by groupers and large schools of blue-striped snappers and yellow goatfish. The shallow parts are interspersed with patches of blue corals, red elkhorn and fire corals. Octopus can be found foraging through the coral rubble.
Elephant Head Rock
Diving through the tunnels you'll see blue-ringed angelfish, Andaman sweetlips and parrotfish. Yellow goatfish and snappers always hang around at the deepest levels, as well as several species of lionfish and grouper,as well as hawksbill turtle. Also to find larger snappersand giant sweetlips. At thirty metres on the sand you can look for purple fire gobies and the rare McCosker's dwarf wrasse. The southern point of the site has a group of pinnacles in very deep water. A great place to observe small reef sharks.
Due to its exposed location it is possible to see almost anything, including whale sharks and manta rays. Boulder City is a large granite outcropping. There is very little coral growth here except for branching green cup corals on the rock surfaces and golden gorgonian fans. However, the algae growth here is substantial, meaning a prolific amount of grazers, including both nudibranchs and fish. The masses of unicornfish, butterflyfish and angelfish picking at the algae almost resembles cows grazing on the summer pasture. In the deeper sections you can see small schools of Oriental sweetlips, large moray eels, blue-lined snapper, barracudas, triggerfishes, filefish and Leopard sharks as well as white-tip reef sharks.
Sharkfin Reef Similan Islands No.3
It's really a series of massive granite boulders covered in gorgonian, seafans and hard corals. The marine life is large cube boxfish, clown triggerfish, schools of batfish, palette surgeonfish, blue-faced angelfish and bannerfish. It's also a good place to see sharks and big rays.
The large alleys the rocks form, host gorgonian sea fans, barrel sponges, common lionfish and scorpionfish. The are frequented barracuda, tuna, trevally as well as home to long-nose butterflyfish, yellowtail wrasse, angelfish and yellow or black and red ornate ghost pipefish,
Koh Bon Island lies an hour north of the Similan Islands. It's one of the best places in Thailand to see manta rays, from April to May. Also Leopard sharks are common and white tip sharks can be seen on the reef. Yellow and green Soft corals dominate. To the west of Koh Bon Island lies Koh Bon Pinnacle. This Thailand diving site lies in deep water and it is only possible to dive here good conditions. The wall are covered with small, yellow soft corals, and has a large cavern. There is a smaller pinnacle with eagle rays, black tip sharks, and manta rays.
Koh Tachai lies about halfway between the Surin and Similan Islands and is one of the best sites for Thailand scuba liveaboards diving . There are several dive sites around Ko Tachai, but the best is the Plateau which lies southeast of the island. Big visitors are manta rays, whale sharks and nurse sharks. Leopard sharks are common and turtles are often seen. Other fish you will see here are blue-dash and yellow-backed fusiliers, red-tooth triggerfish, bigeye trevally and unicornfish.
The Richelieu Rock is one of the best places in Thailand, to dive with whale sharks. It's not the only Thailand diving destination where whale sharks are seen, but Richelieu Rock certainly attracts more than other places. Generally February to April is the best time for a visit if your aim is to enjoy the exhilaration of swimming with these massive creatures onboard liveaboards in Thailand. The Richelieu Rock consists splintered rock pinnacle, with several other smaller rocks around its edges. The limestone rocks are covered with anemones, sea fans, barrel sponges and soft corals of all kinds. From anemone fish, yellow boxfish, white-eyed moray eels and mantis shrimps to nurse sharks, manta rays, one metre Malabar groupers and chevron barracuda, there's always plenty of life to grab your attention on this dive.
Safari itinerary diving Similan Islands Thailand