This is a superb, exciting dive site with plenty of big
fish action. A coral ridge runs from north and is interspersed
with canyons; the bay itself has a mass of white sponges
and healthy hard corals, whilst the reef is covered in large
seafans with several kinds of barrel sponges. There is plenty
to see here – manta rays, eagle rays, rainbow runners,
bluefin trevally, bumphead parrotfish. The maximum depth
is 32 m, with visibility averaging 25 m. Currents can be
strong, therefore recommended for more experienced divers.
The bottom of this site is very pleasant, consisting of
coral-covered rocks and pinnacles with lots of beautiful
hard and soft corals. The reef slopes very steeply seawards.
There is an excellent diversity and representation of marine
life, including giant sweetlips which can go up to 1.5 m
long, as well as manta rays, fusiliers, leatherback turtles
and silvertip reef sharks. Maximum depth is a whopping 40m
with 20m visibility.
The bottom of this site is covered mainly in hard corals,
with sporadic sandy patches and hosts a multitude of reef
animals. The reef-flat has many mounds of hard corals, again
with a big population of marine life. Hard corals also predominate
on the reef-slope. It has been said that the hard corals
here are the best so far discovered in the waters around
the Andaman Islands. The marine life includes white tip
reef sharks, large cod and groupers, and coral trout. Maximum
depth is 22 m, visibility is around 20m and currents are
weak to moderate.
North Button Island:
This is an easy dive – the bottom mainly comprises
coral-covered rocks with patches of sand. Here you can find
humpback snappers, giant groupers and schools of spinyfoot
and unicorn fish among mostly hard corals, with a few seafans.
There is a very good diversity and representation of reef
fish and on the reef-flat are boulder corals, staghorns,
coral laminates and finger corals. Maximum depth is 20 m
and currents areweak to moderate.
Barren Islands – Walls ‘n’ Ashes:
The island is an active volcano, and the coral here is still
recovering from a 1995 eruption. The site offers a series
of wall dives, with the main bottom in a depth exceeding
90m. This is an interesting dive but there are little coral
on the walls. Between the walls are enormous areas of sloping
black volcanic ash with many semi-buried dead and broken
trees. Black seafans, colourful crinoids and bushes of white
stinging hydroids are in evidence, and hosts of orange encrusting
sponges cover the rocks. Silvertip reef sharks come up in
numbers from the depths to investigate. Dog-tooth tuna,
giant barracuda, rainbow runners and trevally are characteristic
of this site, which also has plenty of black-banded sea
snakes. Maximum depth is 44m, and currents can be strong.
South Button Island:
This is a good site with nice hard corals in the shallower
waters and coral mounds at greater depths. The southern
wall drops to 15 m from where a sandy slope continues down.
Schooling hammerhead sharks can often be seen in the distance.
This gently sloping offshore reef affords a nice shallow
dive. The bottom here is almost rocky, with some healthy
corals. The reef flat is at a depth of 9m. Many reef-fish
are in evidence, as are visiting pelagics – look out
for large potato cod, whitetip reef sharks, big schools
of blue-fin trevally and various spadefish.
Invisible Bank – Flat Rock:
The topography is fairly dramatic, with scattered rocks
over a sandy bottom, and the concentration of fish is incredible.
The pelagic are especially noteworthy. It is difficult to
know where to start, but you can expect to see schools of
black unicornfish, surgeonfish, mackerel tuna and trevally.
Grey and whitetip reef sharks are likely to be in evidence,
as are nurse sharks, dog-tooth tuna, great barracuda, and
giant and bluefin trevally. A fabulous dive spot, with plenty
of big fish. Maximum depth is 16 metres, with visibility
over 30 meters.
North Cirque Island – Southeast Reef:
The southeastern part of the reef consists of tremendous
hard and soft corals; these are very dense on the rocks
down to about 16 metres, below which there is far more sand
than rocks. The corals are very healthy and completely free
of damage; they are amongst the healthiest in the region.
There are many fish in evidence. Maximum depth is 22 metres
and visibility can stretch as far as 30 metres, currents
Passage Island – Fish Rock:
This aptly named site offers an extremely colourful dive,
with millions of fish. The topography consists of rocky
slopes, boulders and drop-offs, featuring large fan corals
and plenty of basket sponges. Below 25m the rocks are covered
in small bushy soft corals in numerous hues. Grey and White
tip Reef sharks are almost always in the vicinity, as are
Maximum depth is a whopping 35 meters, with visibility ranging
from 10-40 metres.