At this time of year, the weather and sea conditions, as well as marine life, can throw surprises at us. Now we’re into November, the Similan local weather conditions & marine life sightings are keeping up their surprises, both good and bad.
The dive season began three weeks ago in mid-October, and although some of our boats start their first trips later than others, all of them are now operating and taking eager divers out to Thailand’s best diving area. The local authorities close the Similan & Surin National Marine Parks to all public activity from mid-May until mid-October due to high or unpredictable waves from the Indian Ocean Monsoon. Diving only takes place from October 15th until May 15th every year.
Now that we’re properly into November, the weather is great and so is the diving. Already Whale Sharks & Manta Rays have been spotted on a few occasions at Koh Bon, and all the best fish species, invertebrates and marine reptiles are there to be seen by divers of all certification levels. Our divers are enjoying short and long liveaboard diving cruises, as well as a few going on Similan day trips.
So, with great weather and awesome marine life, what could go wrong? Well, this week higher than average waves caused by winds on the water’s surface are affecting a few trips. Even though the weather is warm and sunny, the wind out west is bringing up a bit of a swell. For most of our boats, this doesn’t affect sailing, and the divers just need to try a bit harder to return to the boat. Those with a weak stomach may have already found out the hard way that the seasickness medication only works if taken in advance.
However, this change in weather is quite normal and our boat captains are very experienced and always have a contingency plan. In most cases, they stay on the eastern side of the islands whenever possible, as this give the boats shelter from the waves that are coming from the west. They can cruise to a dive site and drop divers in the water, then return to the sheltered areas at other times. Once underwater, the waves do not affect the diving at all.
Most of the larger boats aren’t really affected by these wavs. It’s mainly the smaller liveaboard diving boats and those which depend on speedboat transfers.
The Similan Islands have more than 15 great dive sites, and lots of areas to find shelter from any waves. A little further north Koh Bon’s & Koh Tachais’ dive sites are on their southern & western sides, so shelter can easily be found by the boats between dives. Richelieu Rock is Thailand’s premier dive site and being even further north than Bon & Tachai and totally exposed means that this is usually the first dive site to be cancelled if seas are rough. The issue is usually travelling the distance to these islands across rough seas. The captains and cruise leaders always put safety first, followed by the comfort and enjoyment of the guests on board.
We expect just a few days of rough seas and then it will all return to normal.