East of Eden
Similan Islands dive site
Location: Along the east side of Koh Pabu (Similan Island #7)
Depth: 5-35+ m
Type: Fringing reef
Level: Suitable for all level of diver
East of Eden is one of the Similan Islands best and most beautiful dive sites. It’s an easy dive for any level of diver, even when currents are present divers can just drift with the current, no need to fight it.
Visibility is always good. Maximum dive depth is 35 metres, where the reef slopes off into the sand. The reef starts at 5 metres. This is also a good reef for snorkelers.
The entire reef has incredible soft corals from shallow to deep water but the highlight of the dive is a huge coral bommie covered in a variety of soft corals, sponges, anemones and fish.
This bommie is big enough to spend an entire dive on. In fact a National Geographic team once spent a week filming in just this one place. It is definitely worth doing more than one dive here. The bommie is located half way along the reef. It starts at about 9 metres under the surface and goes down to 30 metres.
In some of the smaller outcrops of coral around the bommie it’s possible to find frogfish, along with many scorpionfish and lionfish. Banded sea snakes also hunt in this area. On the bommie itself the coral is dense and any crevices are filled with glass fish. Sweep them aside with your hand to see boxer shrimp and hingebeak shrimp inside.
Emperor angelfish circle the bommie and if you are lucky you may spot a beautiful juvenile emperor angelfish. Look in the seafans for longnose hawkfish. Coral grouper are one of many fish that have made the bommie home. Others are oriental sweetlips, damselfish and anthias.
Emma the thumb eating moray eel
Just to the north of the big bommie is a patch of coral home to Emma the friendly giant moray. This eel has become famous in the Similan islands for coming out of it’s hole and swimming around divers. Be warned though that it 2006 Emma bit off a diver’s thumb while he was feeding her sausage.
Elsewhere on the reef are huge orange and red gorgonian seafans. Schools of blue lined snapper are everywhere, as are fusiliers. Butterflyfish and parrotfish will be seen as will Titan triggerfish and Indian triggerfish. Trumpet and cornet fish are also numerous.
Leopard sharks and blue spotted rays can be seen out in the sand at the edge of the reef.
Turtles are often seen on the reef and eagle rays occasionally pass by.
How to dive the Similan Islands
You can dive the Similan Islands by day trip from Phuket or Khao Lak, or by liveaboard. Liveaboards are ideal given the size of the area, the variety of dive sites, and the distance from the mainland.
A typical Similan liveaboard itinerary is 4 days 4 nights and also includes Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock. Shorter 2d1n or 3d2n trips are also available.
If you don’t mind longish transfers then Similan diving day trips with 2 dives run five days per week from Phuket.
The Similan Islands diving season is from 15 October to 15 May.