Snapper Alley is one of the easier dive sites at The Similan Islands, and is suitable for all levels of certified PADI divers. It is also good for night diving. Some Similan diving operators don't list or recognize it as a dive site itself, and just include it as part of Breakfast Bend, but we see the two as separate sites. As its name suggests, there are plenty of Snappers here, but there's a lot more to see among the easy-diving granite boulders on the southeast corner of Koh Bangu (Island 9).
- Night diving
- Suitable for all divers
- Lots of fish
- Maximum depth of 20m.
At the south end of Breakfast Bend, on the corner of Island 9, divers will find the fantastic diving site known as Snapper Alley. Like most of The Similans Islands diving sites, it is made up of scattered granite rocks and boulders. The depths and lack of strong currents here make it good for both night diving and licensed divers with any amount of experience. Snapper Alley didn't get its name for no reason. Here, divers will be able to see schools of various species of Snapper. It doesn't really matter whether or not they can identify each species, as just watching them patrol the reef in huge groups is a sight to behold. The three most popular types to be found here are Checkered (Lutjanus decussatus), Black & White (Macolor niger), and Bluestripe (Lutjanus kasmira). There are, however, lots of other fish and invertebrates here worth looking for, or at. Various Parrotfish (Scarinae), Lionfish (Pterois), and Barracuda (Sphyraena) swim around confidently, while Moray Eels (Gymnothorax) tend to hide in holes in the rocks until after dark. The marine life is quite similar to what is available at Breakfast Bend, which includes Spotted Garden Eels (Heteroconger hassi), Blue-Spotted Stingrays (Neotrygon khulii), and Leopard/Zebra Sharks (Stegostoma fasciatum) out on the sandy bottom, among and away from the rocks.
As previously mentioned, Snapper Alley is not nearly as challenging as some other Similan Islands diving sites, and it can be used to review a diver's underwater skills or a 'check dive,' which is when the group or tour leader can evaluate his or group's diving level and ability on the first dive of a liveaboard cruise. During night dives here, there are lots more invertebrates out looking for food, while many of the reef fish have found somewhere to sleep for the night. The Moray Eels also become active and the luckiest divers may even see a Whitetip Reef Shark (Triaenodon obesus) or octopus. With mild currents for most of the month and a relatively shallow maximum depth, it's easy to spend a long time underwater at Snapper Alley. Divers' air lasts much longer, but the dive site isn't very big. Therefore, the best advice is to take things as slowly as possible. Patient, observant and inactive divers tend to get to see a lot more reef action than those who race around trying to see everything. It's unlikely, but possible, that a large pelagic filter feeder such as a Manta Ray (Manta alfredi) or Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus) will pass by, but with plenty of time on their hands, divers should keep an eye to the south or east out from time to time.
As the reef and rocks spread out to the bottom here on the southeast corner of Koh Bangu, there's a lot more space and it appears less life. With so much colour and so many fish near the rocks and surface, most Divemasters keep their groups nearer to the island. Depending on which way the currents are travelling will decide on which way the group travels. If it's clockwise, (towards the south of the island and with the reef on one's right) the dive could lead out to an area where there are large numbers of Blue-Spotted Stingrays. This is not possible every dive, and sometimes they're not there, but it's certainly an interesting sight. The downside is that after seeing them, there's not a great deal else as you travel around the southern tip.
Regardless of how you travel to Snapper Alley, you're more than likely to have a great dive. Speedboats take divers there from Khao Lak and Phuket, and there are liveaboard cruises which spend several days out at sea.