Scuba Diving Around Pattaya’s Koh Sac Island
Koh Sac is a small almost kidney shaped island lying just to the North of Koh Larn.
It is very popular with the large numbers of Asian tourists that come to Pattaya, and the waters can be very busy particularly in the mornings. From midday onwards the tourists tend to depart, leaving the divers and snorkelers to enjoy the beautiful bay and plentiful corals. This bay is well protected from the prevailing winds for most of the year and the water is calm and clear.
There are numerous dive sites around the island, most being in the 3 – 15 meters range although on the eastern side some deeper corals are to be found at around 26 meters. The North East corner starts off with clean white sand progressing to the usual range of hard corals as you approach the island. Here the corals are at depths from 1-6m and as you round the corner they progress deeper, extending to 18 meters. This corner is home to a few Hawksbill and Leatherback Turtles as well as numerous Grey Nurse Sharks. The sharks are however hard to find as they tend to be very shy and divers need to search them out, usually under the coral heads.
As you round the corner and the depth increases the area abounds with whip corals, barrel sponges some soft corals and gorgonian fans. Once round this corner, the corals continue right round the Southern shore of the island.
An interesting dive site as you approach Koh Sac from Pattaya is to be found directly off the small cliff face about 100m out at a depth of 26 m. This site consists of predominantly soft corals and hydroids on a flat sandy bottom and is home to numerous colonies of sea horses, pipe fish and dragon fish. Unfortunately the diver must catch this dive at the right time of day when all the soft corals are open, to really enjoy the myriad of beautiful pastel and fluorescent colours present.
In the sandy bay of Koh Sac as you head out in a North West direction away from the island there are no corals to mention. The area is home to some very unusual species, including the above mentioned two, as well as Sea horses, Pipe fish, short spined Urchins, Sand dollar Urchins, Star fish Tube and Banded Tube Anemones. Flat fish, Spider crabs, juvenile Octopus and the Periclimes shrimp.
At the West part of the bay there are large areas of shallow corals (2 – 4 meters) with abundant marine life that are suitable for the snorkeler and diver alike, although the snorkelers must beware of the large amount of surface traffic, jet skis, banana boats and speed boats. The best time to be here is from midday onwards, when the hordes of tourist leave the island to return to Pattaya. It is a great pity that we do not have any regulations that are enforced to protect these corals and the visitors viewing them.
Moving on to the North West corner of Koh Sac, leading off from the corals in the bay, the corals extend deeper down to about 15 meters as the divers round the corner. The corals here are in excellent condition, and the area is categorised by huge Boulder Bommies, as well as Tiered Staghorn , Plate, Encrusting, Brain and Mushroom corals. The marine life is plentiful and includes various Damsels, Banana fish, Copper Banded Butterflies, Bantayan Butterflies, Wrasses of all types, Puffers, Squirrels Jacks and Fusiliers. There are also a few Turtles. Grey Nurse Sharks, small Morays and Blue Spotted Stingrays to be found.
This is an excellent site for divers (novice and experienced) and snorkelers alike.
Phillip Boyes, highly experienced in marketing now living in Thailand is co-owner of Adventure Divers. http://pattayadivers.com
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