Koh Doc Mai Phuket dive site
Koh Doc Mai is a divemaster favourite. It’s a small karst limestone island about 45 minutes from Phuket on the route to Phi Phi and Shark Point. It’s normally dived as the last dive on a 3 dive day trip.
Koh Doc Mai is mostly a wall dive although there is a shallow ledge on the western side. It’s good for drift diving and deep dive courses can also be taught here although you’ll have to swim out away from the island a bit because the depth at the sand is about 25 metres.
Koh Doc Mai also has a cavern and a couple of small caves. The cavern on the east side is at about 18 metres with a large opening. You can explore it safely but recreational divers should stay out of the caves.
The undersea walls of Koh Doc Mai are alive with colour, a mix of hard and soft corals, sponges, zigzag clams, sea whips and sea fans. Dive slowly and look closely to find all sorts of critters. Seahorses are fairly common. You can also see pipefish, leaf fish and frog fish.
Moray eels are everywhere, so are lionfish and scorpionfish. Sweep aside glass fish to see whole families of white eyed morays free swimming up the wall crevices. You will also see a lot of shrimps like boxer shrimps and hingebeak shrimps.
If you’re a nudibranch nut you’ll love Koh Doc Mai, put the macro lens on your camera.
Are there sharks at Koh Doc Mai?
Although not really known as a shark dive site there are three types of shark that you can be seen at Koh Doc Mai. Small Bamboo sharks hide under rocks on the seabed, take some time to look under the rocks near the cavern entrance.
Whale sharks stop by at Koh Doc Mai few times a year and hang around for a couple of days before moving on. You just have to be lucky to see them, it’s usually in the low season.
The shark that really gets the heart racing though is the grey reef shark. We don’t see them anywhere else but at Koh Doc Mai and even then very rarely, hence the excitement when we do see them. They are a lean and mean looking shark, a wonderful creature to come face to face with as you cruise along the wall.
Koh Doc Mai also makes for a excellent night dive site if you ever get the chance. It isn’t dived that often at night because depth and currents make safety an issue unless the group are all experienced divers. At night all the tubeworms and crinoids open up in a colourful display and all the crabs come out of hiding.