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Similans

 

Diving in Phuket, Thailand.

 

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Adventure Diving

LogoDonald Duck BayThe Similan Islands

The Similan Islands can certainly lay claim to being one of Asia's top dive sites. Thriving reefs with abundant hard and soft corals highlight the dramatic terrain, the tremendous diversity of marine life makes it a fantastic observation point for the larger pelagics, Richelieu Rock has the reputation as being the place to see whale sharks and manta rays in good numbers.

Lush Tropical IslandsThe Similan Islands lie about 100 km Northwest of Phuket. Declared a National Park in 1982, the Similans are comprised of 9 islands which run roughly North to South and numerous smaller rock outcroppings. With snow-white beaches and a tropical jungle above the water and spectacular dive sites in often crystal clear water below, it's not surprising The Similansthat the Similans are ranked as one of the top 10 dive sites in the world!

Nearly all of the 9 islands are surrounded by huge underwater rock formations, eroded by the action of a relentless sea. These stone giants are home to an amazing variety of marine life and reach down to 40 meters or more, with passages, caves and gorges forming a unique underwater landscape. All this has made names like 'Elephant Head', 'Sharkfin Reef' and 'Christmas Point' justly famous. A world of giant underwater boulders, caves, narrow passages, some 500 species of hard and soft corals and an amazing variety of marine life including leopard sharks, guitar rays, whale sharks and manta rays is waiting to be explored.

Our  liveaboard cruises are an amazing experience felt by divers and snorkelers alike. Leaving the busy Island paradise of Phuket in the early evening allows you to get settled on the boat in your own time whilst getting acquainted with the dive crew over a couple of sun-downing drinks. Sailing off into an Asian sunset with days packed full of diving in front of you, aboard our comfortable liveaboards  can only mean one thing :- a fantastic asian adventure.


Dive Sites

Breakfast Bend
Conditions : Expect calm conditions and visibility up to & above 25m
Average Depth : 16m,  Maximum Depth : 34m
The site is so called as it is generally the first dive of the excursion, funnily enough after breakfast! The western section is relatively shallow, averaging 8m. Southeast of here are the beginnings of a reef of staghorns, which eventually achieve garden like proportions. They are bigger but less frequent on the steep reef slope. There are lots of Sargent majors darting in & out making it an ideal site for snorkelers. The reef slope drops to 18m then steeply sloping sand-banks descend to 34m. Often Octopus are present around this site.

Swim ThroughChristmas Point
Conditions : Excellent Visibility often exceeding 25m
Average Depth : 20m,  Maximum Depth : 34m
The west & northern quarters reach 30m & the south & east 18m. The south-western section features triangular boulders at 22m, these continue down to depths greater than 25m where you'll find leaning boulders, offering mazes of swim-throughs. The walls are highlighted by radiant soft corals with parrotfish, dog faced pufferfish and clown triggerfish in abundance. The overhangs & caves offer a home to prides of lion fish. Traveling northwards you'll see many more soft corals, leafy, brain, slipper & lip corals to name but a few, as well as groups of schooling pennant & Indian bannerfish alongside butterfish, wrasse & if lucky manta rays.

Elephant Head
Conditions : Visibility is good ranging from 15 to 25m+. Currents can be strong flowing north-south with possibility of strong surges.
Average Depth : 24m, Maximum Depth : 70m+
The underwater terrain is breathtaking. The dive takes you around huge boulders sitting individually or stacked high to form daring swim-throughs comprising arches, caverns, gullies & tunnels at all depths. There is plenty of marine life and hard & soft corals. Southwards the boulders take on a different formation. Around these boulders are emperor & imperial angelfish, titan triggerfish and sheltering schools of yellowtail fusiliers & juvenile yellow snappers. The southern most point of the site is a tiny group of submerged pinnacles in very deep water. A great place to observe small reef sharks.

Deep Six
Conditions : Visibility ranges between 15-25m. Currents can be strong.
Average Depth : 18m,  Maximum Depth : 40m
This is another deep dive following a ridge that features large seafans in its deeper sections. Turtles & leopard sharks can be found on the sand. The diversity of fish life is average with bannerfish and angelfish making their presence felt.

Large RayShark Fin Reef
Conditions : Visibility ranges from 5m ( bad day ) to 25m. Again currents can be strong.
Average Depth : 16m,  Maximum Depth : 40m
The north-eastern side features a sloping reef, the south-eastern side a more dramatic sheer drop-off. Rocks resembling fallen hexagonal pillars are the highlight of this site. At the south-eastern end of these formations at about 16m is a large swim-through that provides an almost purpose built opening to the sites other side. The marine life is much more intense & diverse comprising schools of batfish, surgeonfish, Moorish idols and bannerfish alongside Napoleon Wrasse. This section is also a good place to spot passing sharks & large rays.

Richelieu Rock
Conditions : As the rock is in open seas there can be strong currents. Visibility ranges from 5m to 30m+
Average Depth : 19m,  Maximum Depth : 45m
This is among the worlds top listed locations for sighting whalesharks. One of Thailand's Whale Sharkbest sites, this is a wall dive around the main outcrop which is surrounded by smaller submerged pinnacles whose peaks range from 3m to 10m below the surface. The pinnacles have numerous shelves and ledges at all depths. The three southern pinnacles are at 22m and you'll find orange gorgonian seafans immediately below radiant hermetypic corals. Around the corals is the usual abundance of marine life including snappers, Shovelnose rays, scorpeonfish, stone fish, moray ells, sea horses, shrimps and crabs. As this is the only food source in the area all the pelagics congregate there.

Koh Bon
Conditions : Visibility is good often reaching 30m
Average Depth : 24m Maximum Depth : 34m
This submerged pinnacle lies 18m from the surface. The main attraction is the healthy number of whale sharks, other sharks and manta rays which for some reason are attracted to this otherwise plain site.

Join Us onboard the: "MV Somboon 2"as we head on out to the Similan Islands & Richelieu Rock.


Basic Information

WEATHER
There are two distinct seasons: the dry one from November to April and the wet monsoon from April/May to November. In the dry (North East) monsoon one can expect ideal conditions with temperatures around 30C+, a refreshing sea-breeze giving good sailing conditions. Seas are only slight to very slight, never uncomfortable. Sea sickness is very rare In the wet monsoon there are frequent violent rainstorms, big winds and large swell. Conditions are not comfortable. MV Somboon does not operate in the wet monsoon period.

CLOTHING AND SUN PROTECTION
Guests do not need to bring warm clothing; loose fitting cotton shirts are ideal. On some cruises a village and a monastery can be visited. As a matter of respect one then wears appropriate clothing, which in this case simply means a shirt and shorts or pants. Women are to cover legs and shoulders. Swimwear is not appropriate. For excursions ashore walking sandals or light hiking boots are ideal as footwear. A high-factor sun-cream as well as a broad rimmed hat is advisable, especially for those unaccustomed to the tropical sun.

HEALTH
When no additional trips further inland to Burma or Northern Thailand are planned by guests, no inoculations or anti malaria pills are needed.

WATER TEMPERATURE
This is generally around 26 C. Thermoclines do occur however. Best choice for a suit is a two piece 5mm.Alternatively use a Lycra and a 3 mm overall.

FOOD
Cuisine consists of a combination of local (mostly Thai) and European dishes. 3 meals per day are served with snacks in between. Special dietary requirements or preferences, such as vegetarian, can be catered for provided advanced notice is given. Standard of cuisine is high.

DAILY ROUTINES
You can expect an average of three to four dives per day there will be some night-dives as well. On most days we can anchor in front of a beach around lunchtime and you can go ashore if you wish. In the late afternoon the yacht will anchor for the night. Night passages are avoided when possible. Anchorage’s are well protected and invariably of great beauty. Arrival time at the night anchorage is usually late afternoon so that there is still ample time for shore excursions. In general, it should be remarked there are no tight schedules, trips such as these are about relaxing and having a good time, not about clocking up as many dives on as many different sites as possible.

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