Published: March 10th 2007March 7th 2007
These are beautiful granite islands covered with jungle
On Monday and Tuesday I went out with Pearl Andaman Diving (Bang Tao, Phuket) for a couple of days diving in the Similan Islands. It was a spectacular trip.
I had met Gerald Poschauko, the owner of Pearl Andaman Diving, soon after arriving in Phuket. He took me out for a couple of local dives several weeks ago. He was also very kind in taking Bea and I over to the other side of the island for food shopping as we were "getting our feet on the ground" in Phuket. Gerald leads dive trips on the Andaman during the season and then moves over to the gulf when it get too rough here.
The Similans, located about 100km west of Phuket in the Andaman Sea, are comprised of nine granite islands covered in tropical jungles. They are protected as a Thai National Park. These islands provide the most beautiful and diverse dive destinations in Thailand.
We had a great small dive party with divers from: Austria, Germany, Russia & Thailand. Fortunately, English was the common language though we all made our weak attempts at Thai phrases. My favorite English heard frequently was: "Thank you very big!" Guess the
gerald's Boat was fast and comfortable for a group of divers. Here it is off the beach at the Similan Park
difference between "big" and "much" is subtle.
Here's a good description of the diving from Wikipedia:
"The eastern fringes of the Similan islands feature pretty hard coral gardens in the shallows and sloping reef banks down to thirty metres. At some dive sites such as East of Eden, large bommies (coral heads) rise from the sea bed and are blanketed with soft corals, fan corals, and swarms of smaller tropical fish. East coast Similan Islands diving is relatively easy-going, allowing you plenty of time to explore the sites at your own leisurely pace.
The western side of the Similans along with the north and south points can offer more exciting diving as currents swirl around huge sunken granite boulders, which form a series of arches, tunnels and swim-throughs at sites such as Christmas Point and Elephant Head Rock. Growing on, and between, these enormous rocks you find a tapestry of colourful soft corals. In the channels between the boulders, sea fans can grow to some three metres across, and in such numbers that you cannot possibly swim through. The contrast between the east and west coasts and the variety of underwater topography is one of the reasons
This picture shows how beautiful the water and beachs are along these granite islands
the Similan Islands are so popular - every dive offers you something different.
For underwater photographers and lovers of marine life, then diving in the Similan Islands is difficult to surpass for variety and abundance of tropical fish. Leopard sharks make appearances on a regular basis and you'll also see whitetip sharks. It's not a 'big fish' paradise, but it's consistently great for sheer diversity of marine life. You may find anything from tiny ghost pipefish to turtles and giant bumphead parrotfish.
Although the tsunami of 2004 did affect a few of the reefs here, most are in excellent condition and many divers in the last season have commented to us that they could not see any reef damage."
There are more photos below