Scuba Diving at Racha Yai Island, Thailand: Racha Yai scuba diving offers some of the best scuba diving around Phuket

April 3, 2010

Here’s the lowdown on scuba diving at Racha Yai Island, Thailand. Located just a short boat ride from Phuket, Racha Yai is teeming with marine life and aquatic gems that are difficult to find anywhere else in Thailand. There are several wreck dives at Racha Yai sunk there to create artificial reefs to attract and encourage marine life. Racha Yai scuba diving offers some of the best scuba diving around Phuket. The best scuba diving at Racha Yai is on the east coast of the island. Fact. The east coat is accessible all year round but there are many occasions during the first half of the high season (November to February) when the easterly wind blows so hard it makes diving conditions on the east coast uncomfortable and sometimes inaccessible.

On the east coast of Racha Yai our two favorite dive sites are Home Run, also known as Bay 1, and Lucy’s Reef, also known as Bay 3. Read on for a short to the

Home Run / Bay 1

Clownfish Home Run Racha Yai

Clownfish Home Run Racha Yai

The dive site Home Run is suitable for all levels of scuba diver. The dive boat will usually moor up in the bay and once divers enter the water they’ll head north, current permitting. Inexperienced divers will stay shallow and head slowly north following the gently sloping reef. Just at the bottom of the buoy line there is a small coral garden that’s home to a good variety of marine life. Moray eels, Loin Fish, and more can all be found here in the shallows. This is also a good place to snorkel between dives. A family of Clownfish inhabit an anemone at a depth of around 6 meters. They’re not shy and make for a great photo or video opportunity. Head slightly north from here and it’s possible to stumble upon Sea Moths. These creatures are pretty rare and hard to find. More experienced divers will head deeper before the reef starts, to explore an old speedboat wreck. There’s not too much left of the boat now, but the corals and fans that have grown over the last few years have made a fantastic environment that is now

Ghost Pipefish Racha Yai

Ghost Pipefish Racha Yai

home to an abundance of marine life including Snappers, Ghost Pipefish, Morays, Mantis Shrimps, Jacks, and all sorts of cleaner shrimps that will clean your nails if you put your hand close enough to them. They’ll even jump inside your mouth and give your teeth a clean if you take your regulator out for long enough.

After divers leave the speedboat they’ll head north to investigate the sloping coral reef. There are also some boulders dotted along the reef with overhangs where vast shoals of Snappers congregate. Home run is a good dive site to find Turtles. They are usually Green Turtles but occasionally Hawksbill Turtles are found here. Recently there have been and increasing number of Leopard Sharks sighted here, and even some Eagle Rays. The visibility here can range from around 8 meters up to 50 meters or more. Currents can be fiercely strong here and make for an exciting drift dive at certain times of the month.

Lucy’s Reef /  Bay 3

Sea Moth Racha Yai

Sea Moth Racha Yai

This is an ideal dive site for beginners right up to experienced professionals. Bay 3 is a sandy bay interspersed with coral bommies and cleaning stations. At the far north end of bay 3 at a depth of 12 meters there is a small coral bommie teeming with an abundance of marine life. There are at least 10 different types of Cleaner Shrimp infesting the nooks and crannies waiting for their next meal. An entire dive could be spent around this one tiny area investigating and studying all the tiny critters. Giant Morays appear regularly to get their teeth cleaned, and blankets of shiny Glassfish mesmerize as the flash and dart about avoiding predators like Lion Fish and Scorpion Fish.

More experienced divers will head out over the sand to enjoy what could be called Phukets premier muck dive. There’s little coral out here, but the small critters awaiting

Indian Ocean Walkman Racha Yai

Indian Ocean Walkman Racha Yai

discovery are awesome. Expect to find Seahorses, Pipefish, juvenile Blue Spotted Rays, Sea Moths, Cockatoo Leaf Fish, Rock Mover Wrasse, Robust Ghost Pipefish, and several Indian Ocean Walkman. The sandy areas here at bay 3 are a macro photographers dream. There’s also an artificial reef at a depth of around 20 meters which attracts Batfish, Moray Eels, Lion fish, and a whole lot more. Giant Barracuda hang out here, and Manta Rays are spotted overhead regularly. Recently the extremely venomous and rare Blue Ringed Octopus has been spotted over the sand areas at around 20 meters depth.

Continue south and you’ll come to Lucy’s Reef. It’s a gently sloping reef consisting of rocks, boulders, and both hard and soft corals. Huge schools of Yellow Tail Barracuda rotate around scuba divers. When the visibility is good here, it’s a fantastic dive, and it’s a favorite with most of the Phuket based dive instructors.

Please see our dive sites section for descriptions of other dive sites in Thailand or our day trip dive site map to see the locations of the Phuket dive sites outlined above.

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