A Surprisingly Diverse Range Of Wrecks To Dive Around Phuket
Phuket is not well known for wreck diving but we do have a few and some are very good. In one bay at Racha Yai we have 5! Ok, we’re using the term wreck a little cheaply for a couple of them but they were boats and now they’re on the ocean floor – so it’s a wreck.
The King Cruiser Wreck
Our premier Phuket wreck, it’s the oldest of our recreational diving wrecks and very much worth a visit for all experienced divers. The bottom of the wreck is over 30m deep and recommended only for Advance Open Water divers and above. You can read an in-depth description of this fantastic dive site here.
An old steel hulled liveaboard was purposely sunk in 2009 in an effort to take some pressure of the reefs at Racha Yai after the tsunami damage. The bottom of the wreck is at 22m and the top at 14m, it’s not a large wreck but it’s fun for all levels of divers. The usually clear water at Racha Yai makes it an easy wreck to navigate and what ever is lurking inside can be easily spotted through the large openings.
Batfish, lionfish and boxfish are almost always hanging around on the main deck area and the wreck does occasionally through up some surprise sightings; harlequin shrimp, jenkins whiprays and some very large barracuda can occasionally be spotted.
The Andaman Eagle
Pretty much just a big pile of wood but you can still just about make the shape of a boat. This all wooden fishing boat was sunk in 2007 – again as an artificial reef. It lies just a little bit south-east of the Harruby at 24m. It very often has a school of blue-lined snapper and yellowfish goatfish swimming around the wreck adding a splash of colour to an otherwise dull area.
One part of the wreck is a cleaning station and is full of durban dancing shrimp, boxer shrimp, blue streak cleaner wrasse and occasionally pacific skunk shrimp. Large moray eels, lionfish, reef stonefish and sometimes freckled frogfish all make the Andaman Eagle home, if your NDL allows it’s worth taking a quick look to see what special animals might be around.
Sunk in 2000 by the former owner of a Phuket dive company, Marla’s Mystery sits deeper (34m) than the other wrecks at Racha Yai and so therefore is rarely dived. This has been beneficial to the wreck, there’s plenty of hard and soft coral growth on the hull and deck which in-turn attracts large schools of snapper, some very large groupers and moray eels.
A bathtub race to the bottom was arranged to celebrate the new artificial reef and the chosen chariots are scattered around the wreck.
The Speedboat Wreck
The speedboat is just off the south corner of Homerun Reef, the bottom of the wreck is at 22m and the top is 21m… so not the most imposing wreck you’ll ever see but it’s location on an area of barren sand attracts the local wildlife. A big school of 5 lined snapper are always hovering around the horizontal collection of boat parts as well as durban dancing shrimp, stonefish and occasionally robust ghost pipefish. Always worth a little swim out in the sand to see what you can find hiding amongst the debris.
Cargo Freighter Bow
The Sinaran Andaman cargo vessel struck Coral Island in a heavy storm in 2015. After most of the wreck was salvaged, for some reason nobody wanted the bow section so it was generously donated as yet another artificial reef for the now quite full Bay 1 at Racha Yai.
It’s not been down long so the marine life hasn’t quite taken over but it’s cavernous interior is sure to attract some cool creatures eventually. It’s only a short swim from both the Harruby and Andaman Eagle, it’s quite possible to do all three wrecks in one dive.
The Boonsung Wreck (Khao Lak)
The Boonsung was an old tin mining vessel that sunk in 1985 and created an oasis for marine life just outside the port of Thablamu, the departure point for many of the Similan Island liveaboards. It’s completely different from the rest of the diving on the Similan Island liveaboards but well worth a visit – check out our in-depth description in our Similan Island dive sites section.
MV Sea Chart (Khao Lak)
Even closer to Thap Lamu Pier, the MV Sea Chart sunk in rough weather as it was transporting teak logs from Myanmar. Not a regular on most liveaboard safari’s because of the depth – the MV Sea Chart is lying in 40m of water and the very shallowest part of the wreck is at 22m.
There’s a fair amount of marine life but unlike the heavily degraded Boonsung Wreck, the solid structure of the MV Sea Chart allows for a couple of short penetration points.
The best way to dive this wreck is from day trips based out of Khao Lak, it’s very close to the pier and makes a nice double dive with the other wrecks in the area.
The Premchai Wreck
The Premchai wreck is the sister ship of the Boonsung, unlike it’s sister ship the Premchai remains fully intact. Like all the wrecks in this area the visibility is never great but they all attract a great deal of life including; nudibranchs, moray eels, cuttlefish, spearing mantis shrimp, schooling snapper and specials such as ornate ghost pipefish and orang utan crabs.
The wreck was sunk for the benefit of recreational divers and is perfectly positioned just outside Khao Lak at 21m, the top of the wreck is around 12m. An easy to navigate wreck that’s worth visiting if you’re staying in the Khao Lak area or have a couple of days to kill after a Similan Island liveaboard.
we do have some excellent deep wrecks around Phuket such as the HMS Vestal and HMS Squirrel, these wrecks lie at almost 100m so strictly for tech divers only. There’s not a huge tech market in Phuket but we are planning to explore these wrecks and offer it as an option for tech divers.
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