A popular day trip for experienced divers will see you diving the King Cruiser Wreck, Shark Point & Koh Doc Mai
King Cruiser Wreck
Formally a Japanese car ferry the King Cruiser was converted to transport passengers between Phi Phi and Phuket. She sank with over 100 travellers onboard in 1997 after striking Anemone Reef whilst on her way to the port Phuket. All passengers survived the disaster.
The top of the wreck is now at about 20 metres with the bottom at approximately at 32 metres. She is 85 metre long and 35 metre wide wreck sits basically upright and is in very poor condition these days and and is considered unsafe to penetrate. The waters around the wreck have strong currents and the visibility can be poor which makes it a dive site only for the experienced.
A positive is that at times the visibility can be hampered the sheer numbers of fish on the wreck and it has amazed scuba divers with the sheer numbers. Vast schools of snappers, barracuda, fusiliers, rabbitfish and goatfish have become a bigger attraction than the wreck itself and when the visibility is good makes for a stunning dive.
Extreme caution should be taken when diving the King Cruiser, the currents can be strong and diving difficulty. There are many protruding objects and sharp metal objects to crash into. The site is also covered with Black Diadema Sea Urchins are as every diver knows they should be avoided as well. Given it’s depth NDL’s are often pushed so keep an eye on your dive computer when diving here.
Named after the Leopard sharks that frequent the site often on the sandy bottoms. The sight is made up of three main pinnacles running from north to south. The pinnacles are number as they head in a south direction and also get deeper as they go. The first pinnacle is the only pinnacle that is visible from the surface. Commonly only pinnacles one and two are dived, normally starting at pinnacle one, depending on the currents with the depth of pinnacle three (about 15 metres) being an issue towards the end of a dive.
Much like Koh Doc Mai on it’s day it can be stunning however visibility and strong currents can hamper a dive.
Shark Point is blessed with a beautiful selection of the Giant Gorgonian Fan Coral, some as big as 3 metres, a stunning selection and bizzarly shaped barrel sponges and colourful range of soft anemones. This site has a fantastic mix of marine life which delivers both the large 3.5 metres Leopard sharks and small creatures such as Ghost Pipefish and Seahorses.
Recently there has been an abundance of Kuhl’s Stingrays and Cuttlefish in between the first and second pinnacle. This site has at times provided some rare and wonderful sea creatures lurking about including Whale Sharks, Spotted Eagle Ray and recently even a Spotted Shovelnose Ray has tantalized the senses.
This dive site is more suited to experienced divers and can often be intimidating to beginner divers given the strong currents and rough seas. With careful planning it can be dived by novice divers however extra care should be taken.
This is a great scuba diving site and one of the best in the Phuket area.
Koh Doc Mai
Koh Doc Mai when translated means “Flower Island” and this beautiful limestone island is situated about an hour and 15 minutes from Chalong bay.
A fantastic wall dive littered with possible Phuket’s best selections of macro marine life. Get it on a good day and it can be one of the best dives in the area. Having said that on occasions she can be hampered by strong currents and poor visibility. If you love your the small stuff and exploring small nooks and crannies then this is your dive site. It is best done at a relaxed pace as not to miss any of the small creatures lurking in the many cracks and crevices. Typically only one side of the island is dived during the standard 50 minute dive.
A dive site for divers with some experience, it may not be appreciated by beginner divers. The marine life begins as soon as you enter the water and is thick all the way to the bottom of the wall at around 25 metres. Has two small caves at 13m and 18m.
There are plenty of small eels and shrimp on this site and is Puket’s best site to find a nice range of Nudibranchs. It really is a macro photographers underwater dream site. Sourcing under the many rocks will help you find the many Bamboo Sharks that live on this site. It may pay look into the deep occasionally as the famous Whale Sharks have been known to cruise by on rare instances.