News Announcement: The Similan National Marine Park is now closed until 15th October.
After an excellent season of Similan diving the national parks need to close for six months. This enforced closure happens yearly and is due to weather and sea conditions making it unsafe for visitors, and it is also for the rejuvenation of the marine environment.
There is no access to the Similan Islands whatsoever from the 8th May 2015, fishing boats are included in these exclusions. Dive companies and fishing operators that offer trips in the Andaman Sea between 08/05/15 – 15/10/15 are acting illegally, so please think very carefully if you are considering taking a trip during this time.
Top Diving Season in the Similans
The Similan diving industry has had an excellent season from Khao Lak. Numerous Whale Shark and Manta Ray sightings have been noted and the marine environment continues to improve after the 2010 coral bleaching.
Having said this, the current state of the islands and the coral reefs has drawn unexpectedly high attention within Thailand itself in the past few months. This has put a lot of pressure on the authorities to change the number of day trip visitors to the island (which is now officially 60 people per day, but actually more likely to be in the thousands). This recent focus on the Similans could possibly lead to new regulations for the 2015 – 2016 season. Stay tuned for more information…
Having said this, it has been a relatively quiet season in the Andaman. The islands and dive sites were not as crowded as they used to be. This is excellent for the environment and not so positive for the local economy, but we have still had a very good season.
Busy in the Office at Thailand Dive and Sail
At Thailand Dive and Sail we have had a busy six months, with many successful trips under our belts. We have had a number of private day trip charters go out to the Similans, Surins, Koh Prathong and Koh Tachai, a few Boonsung Wreck trips and of course, one hugely successful Manta research charter.
After an excellent time travelling through the Similans and Mergui Archipelago as joint Cruise Director, Clive continues into the low season with the Thailand Aggressor. He has stated that they saw Manta Rays on 8 out of 10 trips to the Mergui – those are not bad statistics at all! In the next few months the boat will continue around the southern Islands before moving on to Indonesia, and then back to Thailand’s Similans in November.
Ric has also had a fantastic year diving. He has led numerous groups and couples through the Similans, Surins and Mergui Archipelago and has led a few private charter day trips. The highlight for Ric, however, has been the success of the Ray of Hope Expedition in February and March, hosted by Dr. Fabrice Jaine of the Marine Megafauna Foundation. In response to Ric’s work for Manta research and his enthusiasm for these majestic creatures he has been asked to be an official volunteer for the Marine Megafauna Foundation. We’ll continue to keep you up to date about his work and presentations with MMF.
Our new addition to the office (but not the company), It, has settled into Khao Lak well and continues with her efforts for the marine environment. She has been out on a variety of boats already, getting some Similan diving in, these include the MV Deep Andaman Queen, MV Hallelujah and the Thailand Aggressor. Next season we are looking forward to introducing her as our new dive master 🙂
Introductions for the 2015-2016 Season
Next season promises to be another fantastic diving period and we will have a number of new boats to introduce to our portfolio of options for you. The MV Dive Race Class E’s schedule for 2015-2016 has now been released, we have seen her in the water already and she looks set to be an impressive Similan diving liveaboard. We are also looking into a few other options to introduce. Right now we are focusing on plans for the Ray of Hope 2016 and we may have some surprises up our sleeves 😉
We’ll keep you updated…