Similan Richelieu Rock Diving Cruise
FROM SIMILAN ISLANDS TO RICHELIEU ROCK DIVING SITES
To help understand the location of all the Similan dive sites, we have separated the areas into two.
► SIMILAN ISLANDS which has 9 un-inhabited islands.
► SURIN ARCHIPELAGO which is situated around 30 to 40 miles north of the Similan Islands and is made up of Koh Bon, Koh Tachai, the Surin Islands and the famous Richelieu Rock Diving site.
THE SIMILAN ISLANDS ARCHIPELAGO
The worldwide reputation of the Similan Islands is due to the area having the richest variety of marine life in Thai waters and together with the Hin Daeng and Hin Muang areas, which are situated to the south of Phuket, there are around 500 species of hard and soft corals, and an even higher amount of pelagic and coral fish with sizes that many other sites struggle to match.
The Similan Archipelago is also home to the biggest fish in the world, the whale shark, which together with manta rays, leopard and white tip sharks are regularly encountered during the peak season.
Aside from the aquatic realm, the seabed topography is truly fantastic: huge granite boulders covered with coral lie together all the way from the surface to 40 meters and beyond, providing lots of exciting swim throughs, canyons, archways and caves, some perfect spots for U/W pictures and video effects.
SURIN ARCHIPELAGO & RICHELIEU ROCK DIVING
The Archipelago is composed of the Koh Bon, Koh Tachai, Surin Islands and Richelieu Rock diving sites.
Koh Bon with its breathtaking drop-off where large sting rays are encountered, recently, a manta ray decided to appear here during the lunch break and spent 20minutes swimming in 5 meters of water (true story!!…).
Slightly further north lies Koh Tachai, with its reef in the middle of the sea and depths up to 35 meters, covered with granite boulders, sea fans and large schools of pelagic.
The Surin Islands offer a large number of dive sites with coral gardens, fields of granite boulders and therefore a wide and rich amount of fish and coral species.
Richelieu Rock diving is considered from many divers as the must of Thailand.
The famous Richelieu Rock, the origin of the name is not clear; however some say it was named after the red colour of Cardinal Richelieu‘s robe, due to the red to purple colours of the soft corals on the reef. Others claim it was named after a Danish naval officer who became a Siamese admiral in the Royal Thai Navy. There is enough on show here to justify several dives; Sand sharks, (leopard, nurse) big sting rays and other pelagic such as barracuda, tuna, mackerel, which are a common feature and what about that whale shark waiting for you to take a swim with? Only a few short years ago, two of them where actually “residents” of the islands, don’t miss the chance of this unique experience…
We will guide you through the best sites, swim-throughs, coral reefs, drop-offs and pinnacles the Islands have to offer, but we won’t take you to the most crowded!
SIMILAN ISLANDS DIVING SITES
- BOULDERS CITY : in the south East of the Similans – crystal waters – submerged huge boulders & white sand spread over a wide area from 15 to 45m depth – gorgonian sea fans, tree corals – home of leopard sharks & stingrays – manta rays during the season.
- SHARK FIN REEF / HIN PAE : South East of island #3 (ko payan) – huge long submersible boulders from a sloping sandy bottom covered with boulders to depths of 40m and beyond – formation of rocks always protected from currents on one side
of the dive site– tree corals – leopard sharks – white & black tip reef sharks – manta rays – school of hump head parrotfish.
- BIRD ROCK : South Point of island #4 (koh Miang) – boulders from 10 to 40 m – rocks covered with soft, yellow coral (can only be found at Koh Bon and Surin Tai). Pelagic fishes; jackfish, tuna, barracuda – current can be very strong.
- HONEYMOON BAY : East of sland #4 (koh Miang) – rocks and hard coral – beautiful at night – rich variety of lobster, shrimps & crabs – mostly protected from waves and current – suitable for beginners and check out dives.
- HIDE AWAY – BARRACUDA POINT : North East side of the islands #5 and 6 (Koh Ha / ko Hok) – sloping bottom of white coral sand, covered with pinnacles of hard & soft corals – 15 to 25 m – rich variety of tropical reef-fishes – pelagic species on the bottom – current mostly mild following the reef on one direction
- EAST OF EDEN / MORNING EDGE : North East side of island #7 (koh Payu) – sloping bottom of white coral sand, covered with pinnacles of hard & soft corals – reef descending from the surface to 25-30 m – rich variety of tropical reef-fishes & pelagic species – mostly protected from waves and current.
- DEEP SIX : Certainly the “Deepest dive” of the Similans – Starting with Arches above the surface the reef descends like a wall to 50m depth – rocks covered with hard and soft corals – gorgonian sea fans – smaller reef species as well as pelagic – turtles – grey reef shark – current is often present with protection on one side of the reef.
- ELEPHANT ROCK : a group of three large granite boulders emerge between island #7 and #8 – a spectacular dive site formed of arches, tunnels & swim-throughs – rich in soft corals and gorgonian sea fans – jackfish fusiliers – tuna – giant moray eels – 10 to 35m depth, with moderate to strong current but protection amongst the boulders is easily found
- BEACON REEF : Eastside of koh Similan (#8) – sloping bottom with hard corals – wreck of a diving liveaboard at 18 m – rich variety of reef fish, snappers, octopus, spiny lobsters – current mostly mild following the reef in one direction
- THE BOUDERS – DUCK BAY : North West point of island #8 – group of shallow boulders – max depth 12 m – most beautiful at night – hard and soft coral species – lobster, rich variety of crabs and shrimps – small swim-through – side of the bay always protected from current & waves on the winter season
- SNAPPER ALLEY / BREAKFAST BEND : Eastside of island #9 (koh Bangu) – sloping sandy bottom with pinnacles of hard and soft corals – reef from the surface tol 25 m – rich in various reef fish – leopard sharks – current mostly mild following generally the reef in one direction
- CHRISTMAS POINT : West side #9 (koh Bangu) – boulders and arches – dynamic dive site from 10 to 30 m – soft & hard corals – leopard sharks – white & black tip reef sharks – turtles – pelagic fish – tuna, mackerel, barracuda – current moderate to strong
- NORTH POINT : Huge boulders forming large granite canyons area – from 10 to 30 m – gorgonian sea fans, soft corals – home of batfish school, giant moray eels, barracuda & turtles – current mostly mild.
SURIN ARCHIPELAGO & RICHELIEU ROCK DIVING SITES
- KOH BON / THE ROCK : Pinnacle at 18 m depth and descends to 50 m and beyond -covered with soft yellow corals – rich variety of pelagic species; barracuda, tuna, jackfish, sharks – in season manta rays often encountered – current can be strong
- KOH BON / WEST RIDGE (THE POINT) : depths between 15 and 35 m – covered with soft yellow, green and blue corals – rich variety of pelagic species – in season manta rays often encountered – current can be strong
- KOH TACHAI / SOUTHERN PLATEAU: Platform in open sea surrounded by boulders – 10-35 m – covered with hard and soft corals – leopard sharks common, white and black tip reef sharks, pelagic fishes – in season manta rays and wale sharks encounters possible – current can be strong
- KOH TACHAI – CORAL GARDENS: Sloping reef with mostly hard corals – 5-25 m – rich variety of tropical reef fishes – in season manta rays encounters possible
- RICHELIEU ROCK DIVING (Hin Pla Nam in Thai) : Limestone pinnacle in open sea between Surin Islands and mainland of Thailand – 8-30 m – covered with soft corals and anemones – very rich variety of reef fishes as well as many pelagic; best dive site to encounter whale sharks – current can be strong but one side of the dive site is mostly protected from current
- KOH TORINLA : South from Surin Islands – 5-25 m – beautiful rocks covered with gorgonian sea fans, hard and soft corals combined with a stunning sloping reef – rich variety of hard corals, tropical reef fishes as well as pelagic: tuna, trevallies, barracudas, turtles common – dive along with current in one direction
- YELLOW ROCKS: Beautiful dive site south from Koh Surin Tai covered with yellow soft corals – 10-25 m – very rich variety of reef fishes together with pelagic – oriental sweetlips very common as well as turtles and mangrove whip rays – current can be very strong
- ANDAMAN ROCK: Submersible rock at the south point of Koh Surin Tai – 5-15 m – hard corals – spiny lobsters and variety of crabs – most beautiful at night
- TURTLE EDGE : Eastside of Koh Surin Tai – 5-20 m sloping reef with mostly hard corals – rich variety of tropical reef fishes – turtles common – follow current into one direction
- HQ BAY: Protected bay between Surin Tai and Surin Nua – sloping reef with hard corals – most beautiful at night – variety of crabs, shrimps and tropical reef fishes
- HIN KONG : Tiny island west from the Surin Islands consisting from boulders and one tree – 2-20 m – underwater boulders are combined with hard corals – most beautiful at night – rich variety of reef fishes, shrimps, crabs and lobsters – mangrove stingrays can be found – current mostly mild but can be strong
- MOKEN BAY: Nordcoast of Koh Surin Nua – huge sloping reef with a very rich variety of hard corals (mostly staghorn) – smaller reef fishes, turtles are common – current no have
- KOH CHI : Small island north of Surin Islands – 5-25 m – at the west coast boulders can be found under water – fusiliers, mangrove whip rays and white and black tip reef sharks can be seen here – at the north coast we find a beautiful sloping reef with a rich variety of hard corals – turtles common here
- HIN RAP: Small island similar to Hin Kong – 10-35 m –white tip and black tip reef sharks, leopard sharks, and in season manta rays can be found – current can be strong
- KOH LAP : Beautiful sloping reef with mostly hard corals – 5-25 m – variety of tropical reef fishes, turtles are common, white and black tip reef sharks often seen – current mostly mild
- CAPTAIN’S ROCK : Boulders at a depth from 18-35 meters – fusiliers, snappers, barracuda, jackfish, white tip and black tip reef sharks – current can be strong.
2 departures per week, on board our own boats: