Racha Noi West Side – Boulders, Swim Throughs And Hard Corals
The west side of Racha Noi is exposed to the low season weather making the topography completely different from the east side. Any sand gets washed away exposing the granite rocks that tumble down to meet the usually clear water. Both of our regular dive sites are quite similar and easy to manage if there is current.
We’ll always start the dive in the sheltered bay. If you’re participating in a PADI Discover Scuba Diving or Open Water course you’ll probably stay in the calm water. For certified divers you’ll descend near the rocks and make your way out of the bay.
There’s usually small schools of twin spot snapper and fusiliers around the beginning of the dive. Occasionally a hawksbill turtle makes an appearance. You’ll cross over some very nice branching coral gardens that hide lots of damsel and wrasse species. Sometimes the beautifully coloured lyretail groupers are cruising over the corals. A small sandy area before you reach the outside of the bay is home to cuttlefish, peacock mantis shrimp, robust ghost pipefish and reef octopus.
The boulders completely take over on the outside of the bay. The coral becomes naturally very sparse although there’s still plenty to find in the cracks between the boulders. Your guide will probably take you away from the wall to marina rock, there’s some nice swim throughs and a chance of seeing a passing giant manta ray and dogtooth tuna.
The dive will finish back on the boulders where you can usually find some nice nudi’s. Bearded scorpion fish and the usual array of reef fish that are common in the region. A nice easy dive with the chance of something big. Racha Noi West side does get occasional visits from manta rays.
Just a few hundred meters north of marina bay we find the much larger camera bay. The dive will be very similar and again you’ll probably start near the rocks and continue out of the bay. The bottom of the bay is covered in delicate funnel corals so please make sure you adjust your buoyancy. There’s not as many fish in this bay although napoleon wrasse have occasionally been spotted. If you look in the finger corals you may find a freckled frogfish as well as some extremely well camouflaged coral crabs.
The drop off on the outside of the bay is a little steeper than at marina bay and again offers the chance of an encounter with a giant manta ray. We’ll usually head back to the boat to finish the dive as the outside wall hasn’t a great deal going on. Staying shallow you can explore the rocks for colourful flatworms more frogfish, giant and yellow margin morays and occasionally ornate ghost pipefish.