SIMILAN ISLANDS DIVE SITE
Located on the north east corner of Koh Bangu (Similan Island number 9), Batfish bend is a less visited dive site in the Similan islands. Liveaboard boats in the area tend to stick to the same schedule week in week out, copying where other boats dive. The more enlightened liveaboard tour leaders know that this site has plenty to offer and that a dive here will probably be free of other divers. The reef starts around 8m below the surface and drops down to about 30m. As with all Similan dive sites the visibility is always excellent and often divers do not realize how far they have descended because the water is so clear at depth.
Batfish Bend is a nice dive site to dive in the morning when the sun is in the east and the powerful rays light up the reef even further. This is a good site to do as your first dive of the day on your liveaboard trip before motoring north to Koh Bon and Koh Tachai. Currents can be strong here at times.
It’s pretty obvious where this dive site gets it’s name from. There are huge schools of longfin batfish living on this dive site and they are not concerned by the arrival of bubble blowing divers into their territory, instead they are very inquisitive and approach divers masks for a better look. They make a wonderful photo opportunity against a brilliant blue background.
The large hard coral reef beds have a wide variety of coral types including staghorn coral, hibiscus coral, encrusting fire coral, brain coral and wire coral. Table corals are huge here.
Turtles can often be found ripping away at the coral in a rather destructive manner that would get any diver a slap on the wrist from their divemaster. Parrotfish also spend their days munching on coral and leaving a clowd of sand behind for goatfish to hoover through. Titan triggerfish are another fish that can often be seen here with a mouthfull of staghorn coral or even a spiny sea urchin, it really is amazing that this reef is in such good condition.
Other fish to look out for on Batfish Bend are raccoon bannerfish, oriental sweetlips, harlequin sweetlips, humphead unicornfish, soldierfish, powder blue surgeonfish and squirrelfish. Napoleon Wrasse are sometimes spotted here although numbers of these beautiful specimens are, as in most of Asia, very low as they have been hunted aggressively.
Leopard sharks can be spotted resting on the sandy bottom just at the edge of the reef or around the boulders in deeper areas. Gorgonian seafans cling to the boulders and feather stars cling to the sea fans. Currents can wipe around the rocks at times making finning against them almost impossible. The boulders also act as cleaning stations for larger fish such as dogtooth tuna and chevron barracuda.
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