Sunday, May 28, 2017

Phuket Scuba diving During Monsoon Season.

Phuket Scuba Diving During Monsoon season.

What can I expect on a Monsoonal day?

       Scuba diving in Thailand during monsoon season can be a great time of year to visit phuket thailand. Phuket is positioned about half way down the west coast of Thailand in the Andaman ocean. Thailand has a northern and southern monsoon. Phuket being central can get either northern or southern monsoon, both or neither. When diving Phuket this time of year can have warm sunny days and mainly short sharp showers  at night. During the day can produce again heavy showers that last 20 minutes or so then dry up in 15 minutes as well. During Monsoon season the weather and winds come from the west, right across the Indian Ocean and can produce good surf all along the west coast resorts such as Patong, Karon and Kata beaches.

What is Monsoon?

The word monsoon literally means ‘season’ in Arabic. Traders travelling the waters off the Arabian and Indian coast noted for centuries that dry, cool, northeast winds blew for 6 months and then suddenly changed to warm, moist air from the southeast. So in a nutshell, the monsoon weather is a change in the type and direction of winds (and therefore swell) that brings moist air.

When and How Does it work?

Between April to September, the wind blows from the southeast as the land mass of India, the Himalayas and beyond heats up relative to the ocean. This causes moist warm air from the Indian ocean to rush into the gap as the warmer air rises. This is the moist ‘maritime’ air that brings the monsoonal rains. Between October and March, this phenomenon is reversed, as the temperature of the Indian Ocean is warmer relative to the land. This pulls dry, cool ‘continental’ winds to Phuket Thailand. This is often called the ‘dry’ or ‘high’ season but even the flash floods only last 30 mins or so. 

 What does it mean for the scuba diving Phuket? 
During monsoon season in Phuket is really mid May till mid October. This time of year is not bad for scuba diving in phuket. The weather is better in monsoon season than it is in many countries on a good day. As far as the ocean goes we can have flat seas on good days and up to three meter waves on the really bad days. As an average the waves are 75cms to 1 meter high. This does not really effect the dive boats here as they are mostly large sturdy boats built for diving in these conditions. The main difference is the direction of the wind, weather and swell. All the locations are useable all year round. The only exceptions are King Cruiser, Shark point and Anemone reef. Although very rare these sites can be canceled in extreme conditions as they are situated out in the middle of the ocean with no protection. 

The diving is fine but if the waves become too big it can become too risky getting back on the boats after a dive. Both Phi Phi and Racha Noi and Yai are good all year as they both offer sheltered bays on both the East and West side of the islands. This means calm flat water all year. The trip out and back to Phi Phi can be longer if there is strong wind or big waves as the boats run with the wind and waves on the way out and against on the way back. The trips to the racha Islands is ok too as there is protection from the waves for most of the way from Phuket and Coral island. Then from Racha Yai. However from Coral island to Racha Yai can be a bit exposed as can from Racha Yai to Noi. This however is only in the worst conditions and most days are great conditions. You can expect an odd shower at anytime during monsoon season but then again the clouds do tend to hang around the mountains on Phuket and the days on the sea tend to be nice. During this time of year the weather will change from day to day, week to week. Just ask in the office to check the conditions on the days you wish to dive and you can pick the locations depending on the weather. 

The best things about Monsoon season.

The best thing about the Phuket diving during this time of year is the cheap hotel prices and there are less people on the dive boats. The dive sites are less crowded and the fish are less spooked. The visibility is normally very good too unless a big storm has just passed by. There can be a bit more wind or an odd shower and remember even if its cloudy and raining on phuket there is a good chance of sun out on the ocean. Phuket scuba diving is great all year round. In a two week holiday you can get a bit of everything. From one extreme to another. 

All the normal Phuket tours run here all year round. Ok yes when the weather is really bad the small speed boat tours to places like James Bond island may be canceled until the weather changes. But in the tropics that can be just one day as the weather changes from hour to hour. There are plenty of other trips available that are not affected by the sea. A great Phuket safari thats a must for nature lovers and photographers is a visit to the Khao Sok national park. This can be an over night trip exploring the jungles or lakes or you can do a 2 night trips combining both jungle and lakes. 

Then for the keen fisherman Phuket game fishing is some of the best in the world. Just like the scuba diving people come from all over the world for the awesome game fishing phuket has on offer. Again this can be affected by the weather in low season but one day can be rain and the next blue sky and sun. All its means is that there is a chance that you will have wet days as well as sunny ones.

One last thing to remember is that the similan islands that lie to the west of phuket being a marine national park closes from mid May and does not open again till mid October. The similans are closed for 6 months each year to give the stunning reefs and wildlife a break from the noise and disturbance that tourism brings. The similan islands liveabaords are the best way to explore the islands when it comes to scuba diving. Then for the best snorkeling in Phuket the best way is by speed boat that will take you to four of the nine islands and get to all the best snorkel locations. The similan islands are by far the best of the phuket islands for both diving and snorkeling.

Just remember that this time of year one day can be a typical monsoon day and the next a typical tropical island paradise style weather. This time of year is awesome and does create the most stunning sunsets. Truly worth a visit.

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