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.
The 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 that 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.
Conditions : Expect calm conditions and visibility up to & above
Average Depth : 16m, Maximum Depth :
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.
Conditions : Excellent Visibility often exceeding 25m
Average Depth : 20m, Maximum Depth :
The west & northern quarters reach 30m & the south & east
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.
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 :
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
Conditions : Visibility ranges between 15-25m. Currents can be strong.
Average Depth : 18m, Maximum Depth :
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.
Shark Fin Reef
Conditions : Visibility ranges from 5m ( bad day ) to
25m. Again currents can be strong.
Average Depth : 16m, Maximum Depth :
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.
Conditions : As the rock is in open seas there can be strong currents. Visibility ranges
from 5m to 30m+
Average Depth : 19m, Maximum Depth :
This is among the worlds top listed locations for sighting whalesharks. One of Thailand's best 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.
Conditions : Visibility is good often reaching 30m
Average Depth : 24m Maximum Depth :
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.
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
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
When no additional trips further inland to Burma or Northern Thailand are planned by
guests, no inoculations or anti malaria pills are needed.
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.
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
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. Anchorages 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.
Asian Adventures -