The best diving season is from November to May, with Whale Sharks being sighted throughout this period. The weather is at it’s calmest during the months of February to April. Diving during the period of June to October is also a satisfying experience with the reduced numbers of divers, snorkelers and sight-seers. Although you can expect a little rain and slightly choppy waters, the diving is even more exciting since unusual large marine animal sightings that can occur, and the chance to view the reef inhabitants without the tourist rush.
A dive at Anemone Reef usually starts with a descent to the bottom of the pinnacle. You can then slowly circle your way up the reef until you reach your safety stop level at the end of your dive. Sometimes the currents make it difficult to circumnavigate the reef in which case your guide will lead you on a zigzag route up one side of the pinnacle to avoid heavy finning against the current. Which ever way Anemone Reef is dived, it’s a spectacular diving spot.
Koh Dok Mai
The name means Flower Island in Thai and this diving site must be named for its underwater beauty because above the water there are no flowers, only a few trees and bushes. As soon as you descend however, the colourful flower-like coral covering the wall makes the name understandable.
Koh Dok Mai is a small limestone islet rising vertically out of the sea. The site is mainly a wall dive down to 30 metres, with a hard coral staghorn reef sloping to the west. On the east side of the island are a series of caverns and caves which are great for practising penetration techniques, and maybe search and recovery!
Koh Dok Mai is a favourite dive site for Phuket’s diving pros because of the diversity of small stuff on the wall and it’s famed for the resident yellow tiger-tail seahorses.
This beautiful palm covered island is dotted with small sandy beaches, and surrounded by fringing hard coral reef. Racha Yai is a granite island which means the water is always clear and the many shallow protected bays all around the island make it an ideal trip at any time of the year. Racha Yai is the perfect place to learn scuba diving in Phuket, for snorkellers, and for divers who haven’t been in the water for a while.
Local residents in the coral gardens and staghorn reef include titan triggerfish, moray eels, cuttlefish, octopus and giant pufferfish. Titan triggerfish are quite mean looking fish, with their beady, swivelling eyes. In nesting season their moods change to match their looks. The male stands guard of its nest on the sand, and woe-be-tide you if you cross into its territory – the zone in a full circle directly above the nest. The titan triggerfish will charge at you continuously until you swim out of its territory once again.
King Cruiser Wreck
The King Cruiser was used as a passenger ferry between Phi Phi Islands and Phuket. In May 1997 the ferry struck Anemone Reef and sank nearby. There were over 500 people on board when she went down but no lives were lost and now the wreck remains as an underwater attraction in the Phuket dive industry.
The King Cruiser wreck is 85 metres long by 25 metres wide, and has 4 decks with large passages and window holes. The wreck is resting in an upright position on 32 metres, with the captain’s cabin the shallowest area at 12 metres. This depth, together with the frequent strong currents and low season rough seas, makes the diving here unsuitable for beginners.
This beautiful uninhabited island is surrounded by hard coral reef, with huge granite boulders descending to depth at the north and south points. With Similan-like formations, the best visibility of all local sites, and the greatest chance of seeing manta rays and whales, this Phuket scuba diving site is probably the best outside the Similan Islands and Hin Daeng.
Racha Noi South Point is great diving for experienced divers. The dive starts with a free descent to 18 metres where you’ll find yourself on a large rock formation surrounded by deep water. The fish here are larger and schools of tuna and jacks sweep past. Mantas are really quite common here too. You can also be fairly certain to find some blue-spotted stingrays resting near the reef.