Most years Manta Rays (Manta alfredi) are the most exciting marine life visitors at the Similan Islands. They tend to come in late February and continue for up to two months, with March being the best time to get a chance to spot them. This season (Oct. 2016-May 2017) has been quite strange. The weather has been wetter and less predictable than in recent years. The sea conditions have also been varied, with some limited visibility. However, the best of the Similans appears to have arrived. The weather, sea, and marine life sightings have all been excellent for the past couple of weeks. We are expecting a very exciting end to this Similan diving season.
At the start of the season there was a lot more rain than normal, and even some flooding in southern Thailand. Even into New Year there were days that experienced heavy rain. That appears to have stopped now, and each day is bright & sunny. Glorious sunsets can be seen almost every evening, with the sun sinking into The Andaman Sea. In addition to the weather, the sea was not our best friend in the early months. Of course, the weather brought up waves, but also under the surface the visibility was affected by what some call ‘the green monster’ which is algae blooms and lots of plankton. Great for the animals, but they’re more difficult to find in the cold green gloom that this area is not known for. Again, this natural even has improved for divers in recent weeks.
Finally, the marine life! Whale Sharks (Rhincodon typus) have been a bit elusive this season, but some have been spotted and swum with by lucky divers. Manta Rays are extremely popular, and they even appear to ‘play’ with divers by swimming around in vertical circles. The Manta Ray has the largest brain of all fish when compared to its body size, so it’s quite possible that these gentle giants really are playing with humans. Manta Rays have been seen more and more regularly around the northern Similans, especially at Koh Bon. Koh Tachai is still a good place for them, but Koh Bon is best. But it’s not just been these large fish which have been the highlight of many lucky visitors’ Similan diving trips. Dolphins and whales have been seen at the surface more often than usual, including dozens of dolphins swimming around stationary boats at lunchtime. Normally, they swim alongside fast-moving boats. There was even a report of a sighting of a Blue whale, the largest living creature, in March 2017! Of course, we never guarantee sightings of any creature, because they’re all free to swim away or hide, but visiting the Similan Islands, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai, or Richelieu Rock is very likely to offer something special in the second half of this weird but wonderful Similan diving season. Again, we can’t say that one boat is more likely than others to catch a glimpse of anything special, but a few are worth noting. For less experienced divers and those on a budget who want to enjoy the colourful Similan Islands and Koh Bon, without going north to the more challenging dive sites, Manta Queen 5 is unbeatable value. And for those who are after the best in luxury and a great diving team, the sister ships of Pawara and Sawasdee Fasai are our most popular mid-range and luxury boats this season. But get in touch with us to see what would best suit your needs and we can advise accordingly and let you know what’s available. MV Lapat is even offering 10% or more off of all trips until the end of the season, and the for the Manta Queen fleet we are giving a huge 4,000THB off of the remaining spaces.
Until the middle of May 2017, we have liveaboard trips of 3-6 days in length. The shorter liveaboard and day trips tend to stop running at the end of April. Come to see the Manta Rays, and everything else, but first contact us to see what’s on offer.