Saturday, May 2, 2015
Lesser known creatures found in the dive sites around Phuket
When the majority of people book their diving trip to Phuket they plan the trip that gives them the best chance to see Manta Rays or the Whale Shark. Both of these are most common in the months from December till April. How ever there are so many other amazing things too see here ALL year round.
There are two pinnacle dive sites very close to each other. These are Shark Point and Anemone Reef. These are situated half way between Phuket and Phi Phi island. Both are very colorful with lots of soft corals, big sea fans and anemones. Both are known for the Leopard Sharks that can be seen most of the year round from depths of 6 meters down to 25. There are also several other pinnacles to the south of Shark Point as well. Due to the huge amounts of corals and sea fans there is such a large variety of marine life if you take the time to explore. Tiger Tail Sea Horses, Ornate Ghost Pipefish are a regular find here but if you have really keen eyes the the Pygmy Sea Horse may just make an appearance to you. These creatures are very small and grow to a maximum of 1 inch and are so well adapted to mimicking their surroundings they are a real find. There (so far) are 9 types and have only been discovered in the last 10 years so there can be many new ones left to find.
On the islands of Racha Noi and Racha Yai to the South of Phuket there are many sandy bays with plenty to see. However when crossing over these sandy areas take some time to look around in the sand as there is plenty there too see that most will miss. There are many Garden Eels who live in holes in the sand in groups and can look like whip coral or plants from a distance as they wave around in the currents. As you approach they slowly sink back into their holes and vanish. Along with these there are flounders, Crocodile fish and the rare Sea Moth. All of these are almost impossible to see unless they move. All are sand colored and dont move until you are on top of them.
On all dive sites you can find a large selection of Nudi Branches and tiny Gobies that live on 1 strand of whip coral for their entire life. Many if not all divers will see the large blue sea stars but look out for odd limbs of these creatures. This is a good sign that there may be Harliquin Shrimps around. Harliquin shrimps will take just one limb off the sea star to eat so as not to kill the sea star. The sea star will then regrow its lost limb and there for the Harliquin Shrimp will have an endless supply of food.
When as many people do they look for and take many photos of the Clown Anemone fish or Nemo, take some time to look a bit closer. Nemo is not the only creature to live in anemones. Pay close atention to the half closed ones and you may find the very strange colored and very small Anemone crab inside or tiny shrimps.
Phuket has so many varied dive sites that offer great diving ALL year round will always provide memorable dive no matter when you arrive. As long as you book your diving with a Dive Center like Thailand Divers rather than an agent. Agents may be a few baht cheaper but the service will let you down. The Dive Centers offer a day trip on a large comfortable boat, Freshly cooked meals and a western instructor. The Dive Centers have very experienced instructors that dive the waters everyday so they know how and where to get the most of each dive compared to agents who will not know the boat or instructors / Dive Masters. Pick a Dive Center with Western/ English staff as they are there to dive too so will be able to offer you the best and most current information. Also check out trip advisor
too to see what other customers are saying and you may even be able to pick your instructor based on their reviews.