Racha Noi Banana bay is An Easy Phuket Dive Site With Great Visibility
For many students Racha Noi will be part of your first Phuket diving experience. The clear shallow bay is often devoid of current. Making it an ideal dive site for first timers and more experienced divers who haven’t got wet for a while. That’s not to say it’s a bad dive site, just a very safe one.
The dive will begin near the very beautiful coral gardens at around 4-5 meters. Many species of jewel like damselfish, butterfly fish and quite often a hawksbill turtle make a pretty start to the dive. A rubble patch will follow that although not very picturesque is a great place to look for cuttlefish, octopus and reef stonefish as well as the occasional eagle ray.
At 18m plus we find a lot of small reef bommies. The dive slows down a bit here as your guide looks in all of the nooks and crannies for moray eels, comets and various species of cleaner shrimp. The small bommies usually have small schools of yellow goatfish and snapper. They make a nice contrast to the clear blue water. Small patches of robust staghorn intercede the bommies – a rare sight around Phuket after the coral bleaching in 2010 but it’s great to see then coming back.
For some reason giant frogfish love Racha Noi. They’re not a common fish on any Phuket or Similan Island diving site so why we don’t know. Frogfish are masters of camouflage so we certainly can’t promise anything but we will try!
Don’t Ignore The Sand Patches At Racha Noi
On the sand patches at 20m we should be able to find you some kuhl’s stingray and if your lucky jenkins whiprays can make an appearance. Some unusual nudibranchs and juvenile cockatoo waspfish are always there but very very difficult to find so please excuse your guide if they get a little over excited when they find one of these minuscule critters.
The dive guide will usually end the dive back where you started from unless there is an unusually strong current. In which case you’ll drift gently along with it and get picked up outside the bay. As with all the dive sites at Racha Noi keep looking up. Giant manta’s rays glide along the dive sites on there way to the cleaning station at the south tip. You’ll have to be lucky but there’s definitely a chance…