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Similan Islands after the Tsunami!

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The Arabian Stallion
Feb 5, 2004
This article is from the Similan Divers dive club website ( a great dive club which I dived with in the Similan!)

Report of the first 4 Days and 4 Nights live-aboard trip
January 11th to 15th, 21 days after the Tsunami…

Similan Island #4, Jan 15 th, 2005
On the 26th of December 2004, at 10 am a Tsunami hit the West coast of Thailand, here in Khaolak at 10,30am.
Our boat and staff were so lucky to be out at sea. To be precise, we were at the dive site called Richelieu Rock and about to jump in the water. Suddenly, currents came from every direction and it turned into a washing machine. In the next moments the water level rose and the mooring line nearly dragged the boat under water. We cut the mooring line and left for shelter towards the Surin Islands.

After directions from the authorities we headed for the mainland. It was surreal as the closer we got, the more information we got about the disaster, but at the same time the sun was shining, the sea was calm… What was happening?

Devastation and new hope
When we got back on land, reality hit big time. Khao Lak all the Beach Resorts were gone!
Flattened, devastated…Myself (Melissa, Dutch inst) Scobby Australian inst, Gerald, Australian Dm, Jenny, Swedish inst, and Stefano Italian inst, working for Similan Diving Safari’s, helped out for a few days and then I and Scobby went to Koh Tao for a break.

Joe, the owner, then rang us if we would be interested to do a trip on the 11th to check out the dive sites. He also said it would be good to see that Khao Lak is building up again. ‘What do you mean trip?!” We wondered… Khao Lak is gone, the dive sites are gone, there is nothing to go back to…

Building up
We decided to check it out though. Two weeks after the Tsunami hit we got back to Khao Lak. We were completely astonished by how far they got in the cleaning up process. Hardly any debris Khao Lak was clean. Some super markets opened their doors again, some restaurants are up and running. There is accommodation available.
Bungalows, Rooms, and Five star Hotels are open.

The main road in Khaolak was not affected only the beach resorts. Similan Diving Safaris dive centre on the main road was untouched, this means Similan Diving Safaris can offer you the same services as before.

First liveaboard trip
On the 11th of January we left with 10 customers. It felt like a big adventure.

What was it going be like?

The sun was shining, the sea was calm, and the beaches looked as stunning as ever.

That was a great start, but what about the underwater world???

Condition of the dive sites
The first dive was in Barracuda Point, island #5 and 6. What a relief… The visibility was 30m+, some of the coral was broken off but that was all about it. Loads of fish acting as if nothing happened, and still lots and lots of beautiful coral. A great dive.

On our way to Deep Six, island #7, we were accompanied by a big pod of Dolphins. Lovely. Deep six was unfortunately in damaged state. coral was broken off in some areas, a sad sight. Still there were lots of fish, and great swim throughs,

We did 14 dives this trip. In the Similans we checked out Barracuda Point, Breakfast bend, North Point, East of Eden and Deep Six. Deep Six is damaged but the other dive sites hadn’t suffered much at all. Still amazing! Beautiful coral, big fish, small fish, turtles, as amazing as before!.

After we left the Similans, we checked out Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock. Nothing has changed in Richelieu Rock it still lives up to it’s reputation as one of the worlds top dive sites. We did 2 day and a night dive there. Excellent diving. Koh Tachai Plateau had a hard hit. Part of the coral on the plateau has been wiped out, some massive boulders have moved. But then again, lots of coral is still there, and four leopard sharks were all over the place…Koh Bon is our Manta dive site, no luck on this trip, I think once the plankton comes so will the Manta’s soon soon. The wall and the ridge were not affected this is great news.

Last but not least we checked the Boon Sung wreck, close to the shore. This old tin dredger is not that interesting in itself but it is one of the highlights of our diving trips. It’s what you call fish soup. It serves as a kindergarten for juvenile barracuda’s, snappers, and all sorts of fish. Nudibranches, scorpion fish, lion fish everywhere.

The wreck is only at 19m depth, so we really did not know what to expect.
Well the wreck was upside down, broken in three pieces and all over the place. However, all the fish were still there. The visibility was not that good, so a passing leopard shark nearly gave us a heart attack. I actually think that, because there is more space to hide now, the wreck will become an even better dive site than it was before!

All in all, it was a superb trip. The weather conditions were outstanding. The visibility was great, the dive sites were in surprisingly good condition, so there is lots to be happy about. What a relief!

Time for you to return!
I hope that this report will give you the motivation to come over and give it a try. Khao Lak has suffered enough. If the tourists stay away, it means another disaster. So many people who have lost so much already will also loose their livelihood if the tourists don’t return.

Hope you found that Interesting!
The pictures attached here were taken after the Tsunami! I had the pleasure to visit these Islands and I must say they are the most beautiful in Thailand!



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Gorgeous water! I couldn't doctor it up to look that pretty if I tried.

Good coverage of your experience!
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