DIVING KHAO LAK, SIMILAN ISLANDS, THAILAND DURING YOUR IDC/DIVEMASTER INTERSHIP
On the doorstep to the Similan Islands, during your PADI Divemaster and/or Dive Instructor training in Khao Lak, Thailand, you have access to some of the best diving in Thailand. Your divemaster package includes Similan live-aboard trips and you can add live-aboard trips to your IDC package. Below are just a few of the great dive sites you can explore in the Similan Islands during your PADI Divemaster/IDC internship.
HIN LUANG (KOH BON PINNACLE) – Similan Island
Hin Luang which means Yellow Rock in Thai language is given this name due to the thousands of tiny beautiful yellow soft coral that dominate this site, and as you descend onto the pinnacle it looks like a little diamond reaching out from the sandy bottom. Located 200 meters north off Koh Bon’s north ridge not far to swim back to the reef when your deco time runs out! This impressive deep pinnacle is worth a liveaboard dive even if it’s just to stare in awe at the breath taking topography of this Thailand diving underwater mountain.
KOH BON – Similan Islands
Koh Bon Thailand is small island situated north of the Similan Islands, however it is still considered to be part of the Similan National Marine Park. A favourite dive site is the western ridge of the islet, which falls steeply away to the deep. The reef slopes from a depth of 10 metres down to sandy bottom at 25 to 30 metres. The majority of corals here are hard corals including staghorn coral and brain coral that are interspersed with a few big coral heads. The ridge is covered in tiny yellow soft corals and has an abundance of life due to the usually medium/strong currents but this is what brings in the big fish. This is the number 1 place in Thailand to see Manta Rays, they love to hang out on the ridge with us and get cleaned by the butterflyfish and play with our bubbles; all you do is sit back and enjoy the show
RICHELIEU ROCK – Surin Islands
Richelieu Rock is a dive site in the Andaman Sea near the Surin Islands, north of the Similan Island Archipelago. It is part of the Surin National Marine Park although being about 18 km east of Surin Island. The most famous dive site of Thailand, Richelieu Rock is an isolated diving pinnacle which is home to the largest and most diverse species of marine life unlike anywhere in the country. The site is marked by the top with a pinnacle which is 1 metre above the sea level during low tide, and disappears underwater during high tide.
The horseshoe-shaped reef discovered by Jacques-Yves Cousteau on his way to the Similan Islands is known for its purple corals (it reminded Jacques Cousteau of Cardinal Richelieu´s purple robe apparently) as well as diverse marine life ranging from small fish to super large pelagics like whale shark, manta ray, barracuda and grouper. The pinnacle falls steeply to the surrounding sand bottom at a maximum depth of 35 metres. The south side is a bay with a slope that gently falls to the deep, while the rest comprises sheer walls, groups of rocks and numerous small caves that are home to various marine life.
The majority of corals are colourful soft corals jostling against the wall, accompanied by huge sea fans, hard corals and sea anemones. Covered with colourful soft corals and sea fans, the group of rocks to the northwest host some spectacular species.
PREMCHAI WRECK – Khao Lak Diving
Though sunk on purpose in 2001 for the benefit of recreational diving, the Premchai is the twin sister of the Boonsung Wreck. As the Premchai was sunk after the Boonsung, it is not quite as heavily inhabited, but month after month more and more aquatic life is finding it’s home on this beautiful wreck.
Placed close to the Taplamu coast, the visibility is largely affected by the coastal tide. On a good day, the visibility may not get much better than about 10meters, but you can still hope to see a variety of nudibranch, mollusks, pipefish scorpion fish, cuttlefish, crocodile fish, mantis shrimp, orangutan crab, and moray eel.
Don’t expect to get any deeper than 22 meters, however, unless you bring a shovel. You’ll have to pay close attention to your deco limit because, although you can’t go any deeper than 22 meters, you will spend the majority of the dive between this depth and the top of the wreck, found around 12 meters.