Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Amazing Dive Sites Of Phuket Thailand And The Similan Islands. "Banana Bay"

The Amazing Dive Sites Of Phuket Thailand And The Similan Islands. "Banana Bay" 

The dive sites of Phuket Thailand has always been a big draw for scuba diving and for Phuket snorkel tours alike. What makes Thailand Phuket especially popular is the diving is easy with mild currents and shallow depths. Ok there are many other places with shallow diving but very few are as stunningly beautiful with such a varies sea life as when scuba diving Thailand.

When diving Phuket there are many choices. Do you dive the east side in the gulf of Thailand or the west side in the Andaman ocean?  What will follow will be a guide to let you know the best dive sites, the most popular dive sites, when is the best time to dive them to help you get the most out of the scuba diving Phuket has to offer. It does not matter if you have never tried it before or are an experienced diver diving in Thailand will will impress you.

Racha Noi Island is one hour south from Racha Yai Island by dive boat so an easy location when in Phuket diving. The island in uninhabited  and is ment to be the "home of the spirits" which it has remained empty. There are lots of wildlife here and you will see many goats on the rocky shoreline. There are two major areas, the north and the south ends of the islands. These can be great diving all year round as there are great sites on the east side for the months June till November when the weather comes from west and many more great spots on the west side for months November till May when the weather comes from the east. This is a great day out for people who want to go diving in Phuket but also have families and friends who do not dive as it offers some of the best snorkeling in Phuket too.  There are hard coral reefs, which stretch across areas filled with granite boulders.  There is always great visability here as there are so many bays that if you arrive at the island and there is a boat in one bay then fine we just go to the next bay. This is also a great reason why so many people choose to discover scuba diving Phuket as the locations are so good.  This way you are always going to get plenty of space to explore. There are 4 or 5 of the dive sites are popular among Phuket dive operators on each side of the island.

Banna Bay:  Possibly getting its name from the abundance of banana trees that grow on the bay. Its located on the east of Racha Noi Island and is very good diving for most of the year with 20 - 40 meter visability the norm here. This is an easy dive site, with a clear shallow flat area starting from 3-10 m, and the hard coral reef sloping gently down to 25 m with staghorn coral occupying most of the area punctuated by white powdery sand. This is perfect for all budding underwater photographers as great light, great viz and lots of colour.  For those people looking for the PADI  open water Phuket can not be bettered and you will be in Banana bay for sure for at least one if not two dives. Any good Phuket dive shop will make sure you are diving on Racha Noi for sure as its a confidence boot to dive in perfect conditions and see so much too. 

Dive Trip
Like the other dive sites of Racha Noi Island Banana bay has a huge selection of reef fish such as fusiliers, triggerfish, butterflyfish, and colorful fairly basslets are often found on top of staghorn coral. Small schools of yellowtail barracuda may also make an appearance. In the shallows, you can find giant morays, and black-and-white snapper, particularly those in juvenile stage. On occasion you may also spot great barracuda and sea snakes. The deeper waters, on the other hand, may present you the opportunity to see big fish like leopard sharks. If you are a nudibranch lover, look out for the 5-cm "Kentrodoris rubescens" and the pretty pink ribbon-like eggs it lays on the top of the corals, a common sight here. You may also be pleasantly surprised by rare species like twin-spotted lionfish, seamoths, or even a manta ray! 
In the last few years there have also been the Whale shark in all locations around the island. Also along the rocky shoreline is a great place to see octopus, cuttle fish, turtles and even the odd ribbon eel. The last two years has seen an increase in other ray's too like the Eagle ray, Marble ray and Jenkins ray.  Then when you can see all of these when you learn to dive in Phuket it can bee a very good place to be. In the deeper water 30 meters plus there are still the odd white tip reef shark but they are shy and do not like the noise from the divers and dive boats but can still be found if you "go deep" and stay quiet and just drift. However unless you see one there is not much to see deep compared to the shallower depths so it can be an uneventful dive to go searching for them but always worth keeping one eye above for the Manta and one on the deep for the White tip just incase. 

This is a relaxing dive because of the good visibility and mild current. Even when you might have to cope with windy and rough conditions on the surface, the conditions underwater are always quite good. Banana Bay is especially popular in the rainy season (May to October) because the boat can be sheltered during the dive, and the surface is calmer than that of the west side. Normally, the dive starts from the mooring line at the north end of the bay, or from the south part of the bay, where one can drift along with the current and be picked up. Using a safety balloon when ascending is recommended.
The diving here is good all year and can be done on one of the few Thailand liveaboards to run in the low season. The trips are normally over night or as a two day phuket liveaboard as it can then take in Phi Phi too.  The high season similan islands trips are better than Racha Noi but the south end of the island can still provide some very good diving that on its day can rival the Similans.  Racha Noi can be done everyday of the year through and good Phuket dive shop and with a good guide will be a very good days diving.