The 2014 – 2015 Similan diving season began in earnest on 15th October. Most scuba diving operators took full advantage of the early opening of the Similan National Park and favourable weather conditions in the last half of October. The first reports of diving conditions are very positive. After Thailand’s hot season, followed by a fairly mild rainy season, there is little evidence of any significant negative effects on the corals and marine life.
The start of any particular diving season often bears scars of heavy fishing activity during the low season months when the Similan Islands are closed to supposedly give marine life a chance to recover. This does not seem to be the case this season. Though fish stocks are not quite as healthy as in May 2014, suggesting some illegal fishing has taken place, fish stocks in general at this point in the season seem more abundant than in previous years.
Larger pelagic fish can be seen at many Similan dive sites, including dog-tooth tuna, travelly, barracuda, snapper and rainbow runners. Although depleted there are still sizeable schools of Chevron Barracuda at both Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock.
By Ric Parker