Scuba Diving the Similan Islands

Scuba Diving the Similan Islands
clown_fishScuba diving the Similan Islands is amazing! It was hands down the best diving we did in Thailand.

I had done a bit of research before we left for Thailand, and we had planned to try to make it to the Similan Islands during our Thailand stint. They are a small group of islands in the Andaman Sea located roughly 44 miles off the west coast of Thailand. The islands have been declared a national marine park, and are closed to the public from mid-May to mid-October, so we were there at the perfect time.

Both Jannika and I had logged about a dozen dives within the first 2 weeks of our trip to Thailand. We had done day trips from Phuket, Phi Phi and Ao Nang, and they were all great…  But none of our previous dives compared to the diving in the Similan Islands… the Similans deserve their own blog post.

Getting there wasn’t the easiest, but the dive companies have everything dialed in. Once we booked our overnight trip through the dive shop, everything else was set. We were picked up from our guesthouse at 6:00am by a minivan, then driven about 2-3 hours north to Khao Lak. From Khao Lak we jumped in a speed boat that through out our backs and bounce our brains around for an hour, but it was a straight shot to the islands. Once we arrived on our dive boat (The South Siam 3) around 10:00am, we checked our gear that the dive shop sent out for us, and jumped in the water.

From the second we did our long stride off the back of the dive boat and looked down into the water, we knew the scuba diving was going to be great around the Similan Islands. The visibility was 30-40 meters, there are huge granite boulders under the water the make up a scuba diver’s play land, and the marine life was so much more abundant. The islands are far enough out into the Andaman Sea that larger predator fish come in to feed on the small fish that hang our on the reefs year round.

In total, we did seven dives in two days… we wish we would have stayed longer. There are so many dives sites around the Similan Islands that we barely scratched the surface of what the islands have to offer. That said, both Jannika and I are thankful for the two days that we did have. We saw things that will be in our memories for the rest of our lives… White tip reef sharks curiously checking us out (which is rare I hear), a school of large eagle rays hunting at 7:00am, and the best was saved for last when we swam with a giant manta ray for over 15 minutes.

It was our last dive of the second day, and we were diving off the island of Koh Bon (about 3 miles north of the Similan Islands, but was added to be part of the National Marine Park in 1998). The west side of Koh Bon island often has a strong current the runs north to south, and we were told that large fish love to hang out in the current. The dive briefing for the last dive was spot on… we dove down and fought the current for about 100 meters swimming northwest. Then, there it was. A huge manta ray just chill in’ out in the current. The five of us all grabbed on to a rock so that we wouldn’t have to fight the current and waste air, and we just enjoyed the moment. We stayed on the same rock for over 100 bar, and the manta ray eventually came within arms reach. It was amazing.

We have my mom to thank for this wonderful experience because without her to watch Freya overnight, there’s no way we could have made this trip. Thanks again mom!

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