Burma Dive sites - Moken, Myanmar Sea Gypsies

Diving Information

Scuba diving in Burma

1. Mergui Archipelago Dive Sites

a. Kawthaung district
b. Myeik (Mergui) District

According to the divers, the diving sites in Mergui archipelagoes (Myeik) are as beautiful as other famous international diving sites because of the hard corals and Sea Fans. Nowadays, the good reputation of the Mergui Archipelago and diving sites are more and more popular thanks to the coverage by National Geographic Magazine and Discovery Channel. (Moken Sea Gypsies, Burma's Forbidden Islands)

The Mergui Archipelago (Myanmar), is a unique area both above water as well as below. There are over eight hundred islands , most of them uninhabited, scattered over an area of some 12000 square miles. The place is endowed with the breathtaking scenery, virgin rainforests and diving on reefs that have never been explored before.

The Archipelago was strictly closed to all foreigners until in 1997. You can find a wealth of knowledge about the area which is rivaled by very few others. Because of it's isolation, this place is only superficially charted, the interior of many of the islands has never been surveyed at all. Wildlife is abundant, as is the vegetation on the rain forest -clad islands. Beaches are clean and stretch for miles.

The only humans you are likely to encounter are the friendly Moken Sea Gypsies who roam the area in their small boats, like their ancestors have done for centuries.

Underwater there is world class diving to be found.
Reefs, drop- offs, sea mounts, caves and tunnels, which sometimes cut right trough an island with exits on both sides. Enough to keep every diver very happy.

Fish life is abundant. Scuba diving in the Mergui Archipelago usually means frequent encounters with sharks, manta rays, large swarms of eagle rays, and occasionally, whale sharks. The reefs are in excellent condition. All of yachts like exploring and, if guests want to, new sites which have never been dived before are tried out.


Mergui Dive Sites

1. Western Rocky
2. Sea Fans Pinnacle
3. Boulder Rock
4. McCarthy Rock
5. Stewart Rock
6. Cavern Rock
7. High Rock
8. Rocky It
9. Shark Cave
10. South Twin
11. North Twin
12. Gorgeous anchorage http://www.burma-diving.com/dive_burma.htm#north
13. Black Rock
14. Horse Shoe Island
15. Colona Rock
16. Great Swinton
17. Burma Bank
18. Little Torres
19. Peacock Island
20. Pu Nala
21. Rocky Island
22. Freddie's Pass
23. North Sentinel
24. Stewart Island
25. Horsburgh Island
26. McLeod Island
27. Davis Island
28. Barwell Island
29. North Rock
30. Clara Island

1. Western Rocky

Located 80 km off the coast of Myanmar, Western Rocky offers a sloping reef, great wall diving and several surrounding pinnacles. A tunnel leads right through the island, with lots of crayfish and usually some large sleeping nurse sharks. Western rocky is one of Burma's best spots for shark sightings. Encounters with Whitetips, Gray reef sharks, Blacktips or even Bull sharks are fairly common.
http://www.sunrise-divers.com/burma_divesites.html

 

Another dive site visited by all Santana MV Discovery scuba diving Burma Banks liveaboards. For many, the highlight of this Andaman Sea dive site is the cave that cuts right through the island. From the middle of the cave one can just see daylight coming from either end. Looking with your torch at the walls of the cave, lined with spiny lobsters, you could be forgiven for thinking you were starring in a sci-fi movie.

Outside the cave one can see a plethora of marine life, often including octopus and a variety of rays. This Andaman Sea live aboard dive site shares many of the characteristics of Shark Cave, but in comparison with that site, Western Rocky is usually free of surge and there is plenty of time to explore the hidden small treasures.

At 20m you'll swim through a large, picturesque arch populated by a shimmering school of yellow fusiliers, a great opportunity for underwater photographers aboard of Santana's MV Discovery live boards in Burma Mergui!
To see more visit Bubble Vision's Burma underwater photos or underwater video all made during our dive holiday Burma Banks live aboard.

Small towering rock plus several scattered pinnacles. The main rock has a tunnel right through the island ,entry at 28m (85 ft)exit at 16m ( 50ft).The tunnel is literally covered in crayfish and there are usually some large nurse sharks piled on top of each other. The pinnacles surrounding the main rock offer good reef diving with a good chance of seeing sharks as well.
? Western Rocky stands at number 4 in the world,? said dive master. The entrance of the cave is in the south and many sea creatures including sharks live in it. So it is a popular dive site for the divers. Western Rocky offers you an overwhelming choice of wall diving, reef diving, pinnacles and an impressive passage through the center of the island.

A small barren island, perhaps 60 m wide, the southern wall is split by a tunnel five meters below the surface. The passage entrance runs for 30 m from a maximum depth of 24 m and opens out through a small exit hole onto the north side?s fringing reef at a depth of 21m. There is also a large archway to the west of the tunnel entrance, that provides an easy swim through, and there are four small pinnacles to the east of the main island.

As you?d expect with tunnels and caves, Western Rocky is home to hundreds of painted spiny lobsters and some playful nurse sharks, cuttlefish and big reef squid are common and giant fusiliers sweep over the reef, made up of large flower corals and yellow feather stars. The wall is covered with soft purple tree corals and is host to bearded scorpion fish, spot-faced moray eels and white-eyed morays.
Myanmar(Burma) authorities have declared Western Rocky Island off-limits to boats for "security reasons" since late 1998 and until 2001, Western Rocky, a small limestone island with several nearby outcroppings, offers Fascinating underwater topography, big-animal potential and a plethora of invertebrate be circumnavigated on a single tank, although it would take many dives to see everything this site has to offer.

After investigating the perimeter, swim east-northeast from the island's eastern tip. You'll cross a narrow sand channel before reaching the first of two groups of pinnacles. The nearest group consists of four spires connected by a common base at 24m; the more distant group is a pair of somewhat larger rocks with a similar structure. Both groups reach well above the surface. East-northeast beyond the base of the more distant pinnacles is a huge field of orange fan corals, starting at about 30m deep and continuing beyond recreational diving limits. The nearly vertical sides of the pinnacles and the main island are ideal for multilevel dives.

Like most limestone formations, these structures are honeycombed with crevices that provide superb cover for shy-reef creatures. A large tunnel runs completely through the island, and there are several smaller caverns and a huge archway. The most obvious entrance to the tunnel is at 21m on the island's south leads to a roomy inner chambers. Here a shell-and-rubble bottom slopes uphill slightly before dropping down to 24m, where the chamber narrows to fairly small exit on the north side of the island.

Several species of crab and shrimp, murex and cowries shells, big eye snappers and robust fusiliers and even spiny lobsters live within the tunnel. The lobsters are crucial prey for the large tawny nurse sharks that sometimes inhabit the tunnel. If you are lucky, you may get a look at these amiable creatures, some of which measure nearly 3.5m long.

While at least a glimmer of daylight is usually visible from any point inside the tunnel, this is an advanced cavern dive because of its depth and distance between openings. Be sure to keep your fins off the bottom to avoid kicking up silt___ even the easiest cavern dive can become a nightmare if visibility is reduced. To further ensure safety and enjoyment, no more than six divers should be inside at a time
Regardless of whether or not you enter the tunnel, this site has a wealth of marine life , with something to see at every depth. In deeper areas, stingrays, white tip reef and leopard sharks lie on the sand bottom, while grey reef and spinner sharks sometimes patrol in the distance. You'll see plenty of reef fish as well, including blue-ringed angelfish, and many varieties of moray eels.

Invertebrates are also well represented, with a wide assortment of nudibranchs, shellfish, feather stars, anemones and hermit crabs. On occasion, even rarities like clawed reef lobsters, harlequin shrimp and frog-fish are encountered. While only limited hard coral remains after years of blast fishing, large portions with orange cup corals and small, multihued soft corals. It is still an extremely since site.

North Rocky Island
1. lies ten kilometers to the east of Western Rocky.



Western Rocky Reef Basics: Tunnels and nurse sharks
Depth: 5-35 m
Visibility: 10-45 m
Currents: Can be rough
Water Temperature: 25-28 C
Experience Level: Advanced
Diving Season: October to May
PADI Course Suitability: Great for cavern diving
Distance: ~55 km west of Kawthaung ( 3 hours)
Access: Burma live aboard diving from Kawthaung or Ranong in Thailand.

Sea creatures
1. Manta
2. Leopard Shark
3. Grey reef Shark
4. Nurse Shark
5. Snapper
6. Barracuda

Water
Very clean and good.
 

2. Sea Fans Pinnacle

Fan Forest Pinnacle
The pinnacle rises from a depth well beyond the limits of recreational divers, to about 5-meters below the surface. It features huge orange sea fans, black coral, and large barrel sponges. The potential for spotting larger fish is excellent, but even if you do not, the dive site is very dramatic and the fish life excellent, including groupers or potato cod at the deeper depths.
Fan Forest Pinnacle, like Western Rocky, has been off-limits to dive boats for "security reasons" since late 1998. The authorities have not indicated whether this restriction may be lifted. Just 10km north of Western Rocky, this large limestone pinnacle rises from more than 45m deep to within 5m of the surface. Accordingly, it offers a good multilevel profile, although the shallowest portions are rather barren.

Perhaps the site's most striking feature is a tremendous number of huge, undamaged orange fan corals, most of which are below 30m. Blue-ringed angelfish, lionfish and coral trout are among the most common reef fish, in addition to mid water species like jacks, barracuda and batfish. You'll also have a good possibility of encountering big animals like leopard, grey reef and white tip reef sharks, mantas and eagle rays.


The Pinnacle dive site is located five miles to the north of the Western Rocky. It is a huge rocky under water and has a mass of sea fan in the east but it is very deep and stone in the north and south.

Sea creatures
1. An abundance of Leopard Sharks
2. Big eyes Trevally Fishes
3. Barracuda
4. White tip reef shanks


Since early 2002 Santana's dive vacation live aboard Burma cruises have been visiting the isolated, submerged rock that has become known as Hin Taleh. The underwater landscape is a spectacular forest of enormous gorgonian sea fans. Swimming or resting amongst these fans it is common to find leopard sharks and large species of stingray such as black splotched fantail rays or Jenkyn's stingrays. As usual, white tip reef sharks patrol the depths in the Andaman Sea.

The top of the rock, in 5m depth, is perfect for your safety stop. Either hang on or look out for manta rays, which are frequent visitors to top your adventurous vacations, or search the nooks and crannies for smaller creatures such as hermit crabs, lobsters, moray eels and cuttlefish.

Some publications refer to this site as "Fan Forest Pinnacle" or "Western Rocky Pinnacle".

 

(3) Boulder Rock
The corals are in the north-eastern island and the best location for the drive is in the east and west.

Creatures
Nurse shanks, Eagle Rays, Barracudas Grey reef shanks.

Water
Blue water. Dive site ratio is 6/10.

 

(4) Steward Rock
There are many different spot corals of various colors on the wall which is 18-meters deep, in the western dive site. Some soft corals and sea fans are among the boulders that are 26-meters deep and three swim-throughs are still there where the divers can take a swim.

The creatures under water
1. Barracudas
2. Large Snappers
3. Black Spotted Stingrays
4. Scorpion Fishes
5. Moray eels

Water
Sometimes clean but sometimes not.

 

(5) Mac Carthy Rock
Boulder and soft Corals are in the western dive site, More boulders and soft corals sea fan can be seen in the northern and southern McCarthy Rock, are not very good for the green divers because of the strong current.

Creatures under water
1. Scorpion Fish
2. Stone Fish
3. Moray eels
4. Shark

Water
Sometimes clean but sometimes not.

 

(6) Three Sisters (Cavern Island)
A lot of reefs are in the west and the boulder are in the south.

Creatures
Scorpion fish, Sting Rays, Snappers, Moray eels.

Sea creatures
Barracudas, Rays, Ghost pipe fish, Star fish.

 

(7) High Rock

A mix of steep drops and gentle reefs around a small island, known as High Rock. The depth is only 18 - 25m with plenty of soft coral and cup coral especially in the deeper parts. Seahorses are commonly found hanging on remnants of fishing nets, while other critters are also found hiding in the corals. The site is only about 35 miles from Kawthaung and is often dived on the last day of a trip. http://www.sunrise-divers.com/burma_divesites.htm

Marine live thrives here, with dense growths of orange cup coral covering many of the deeper rocks and vertical walls. Below 21 m , huge green tubastrea coral and large black-coral bushes dominate the seascape , complemented by red harp gorgonians, pastel-green rope sponges and feather stars of most every color.
High Rock also offers a chance to encounter camouflage experts like harlequin ghost pipe fish and frogfish and sea horses

High Rock lies 500, to the south of Quion Island. It is a small islet with a single tree, and has a wall on its north and east sides, and a rocky reef on its south and west.
The walls feature common lionfish, bearded scorpion fish, orange and green cup corals and a small overhang.
High Rock lies 500m to the south of Quion Island. It is a small islet with a single tree, and has a wall on its north and east sides, and a rocky reef on its south and west.
The walls feature common lionfish, breaded scorpion fish, orange and green cup corals and a small overhang. Look into the crags and you may be surprised to see Indian Ocean nurse sharks snoozing the day away. Gold-striped fusiliers sweep over the seafans, whilst flute mouths stalk their prey.

High Rock Reef Basics: Pinnacle and nurse sharks
Depth: 5-26 m
Visibility: 5-15 m
Currents: Can be strong
Surface Conditions: Can be rough
Water Temperature: 25-28 HC
Experience Level: Easy ? intermediate
Number of dive sites: 1
Diving Season: October to May
Distance: ~25km northwest of Kawthaung (1.5 hours)
Access: Mergui live aboard diving from Phuket, Khao Lak and Ranong in Thailand

 

(8) Shark Cave Island

Many consider Shark Cave Island to be the finest liveaboard dive site in Myanmar Mergui and Thailand, and we are not about to disagree! This is a group of 3 small islands in the heart of the Mergui Archipelago. Each of Santana's Burma Banks liveaboards Mergui scuba diving vacations cruises pays a visit.
As you enter the wide gully through the center of the main island expect to see grey reef sharks circling or huge, dense schools of small barracuda and fusiliers, hunted by circling jacks above. Look under the stones and you can see black splotched fantail rays.

To pass to the other side of the island take one of two routes: either allow the surge to whisk you through the main canyon, or swim through the cave itself where 3m nurse sharks usually sleep.
Once outside the cave, the scene is a veritable orgy of life. Cuttlefish and squid choose Shark Cave Island as a favourite mating ground, and honeycomb groupers, banded sea snakes, scorpion fish, lionfish and barracuda are everywhere.

Smaller gems such as seahorses, pipefish, nudibranchs and cowries are regularly found amongst the beautiful hard and soft corals. For sheer diversity, there is nowhere to beat Shark Cave Island, you'll enjoy your live aboard diving Myanmar Burma Banks dive vacations adventure in the Andaman Sea.

Some publications also refer to this site as "Three Stooges" or "In Through The Out Door".

One of the best sites anywhere in the Andaman Sea, also known as "3 Islets". A channel in the main island at 14-18m takes you to a natural bowl where Gray Reef Sharks are usually found cruising. On the far side of the bowl a tunnel leads to the other side of the island and a beautiful hard coral reef. http://www.sunrise-divers.com/burma_divesites.htm
As the clean water, hard corals and soft corals, it is the best dive site in Myeik archipelago. A cave is under water where so many kinds of fishes especially Nurse Sharks can be seen permanently.

 


Creatures There
1. Tuna
2. Travally
3. Wahoo
4. Grey reef sharks
5. Nurse Sharks
6. Manta Ray
7. Sea Sharks
8. Stone fish
9. Sea Horse
10. Currer Fish
11. Squid

 

(10) South East Point (South Twin)

It is a boulder dive site where very soft sea fans can be seen among the boulder, very clean blue water, see though 25 meters deep. South Twin is a grassy, tree-topped island, one kilometer long, lying in an east-west direction. There are two small bays on the south side. Topographically similar to the Similan Islands, South Twin Island has deep, large rock structures forming gullies, long swim-through passages and overhangs.
In the shallows you?ll find fine table corals hidden amongst the boulders. There are tiger cowries here and the elusive ribbon eel. Look carefully; as they are really very small, only showing may be three centimeters above their holes in the sand. Male ribbon eels are black and females blue with bright yellow fins.

South Twin Reef Basics: Ribbon Eels
Depth: 5-40m
Visibility: 10-40m
Currents: Easy
Surface Conditions: Calm
Water Temperature: 25-28 HC
Experience Level: Easy ? intermediate
Number of dive sites: 2
Diving Season: October to May
Distance: ~ 85 km northwest of Kawthaung (5 hours)
Access: Burma live aboard diving form Phuket, Khao Lak and Ranong in Thailand

Sea creatures
Tunas, Wahoo, Leopard Shark, Moray eels, Small fishes and especially Lion fish can be seen.

 

(11) North Twin and South Twin Islands

Those travelers who have already been on the Similan Islands in Thailand will be surprised by the resemblance. These islands are granite rocks rather than limestone, like most other islands. The resemblance continues under water, here we also find the big boulders, lots of staghorn coral, rich soft coral as well and the fish life is mainly reef fish. The abundance of fish is quite staggering.

Twin Cheeks (North Twin)
A plateau dive site a lot of fishes, can find and sharks are in the northern dive sites where the shallow part is 9 to 12 meters deepest and deep area is 26 to 35 meters when you away from the dive site.

North Twin is the slightly smaller, tree-topped, sister island of South Twin and lies 20 km to the north.

North Twin Island?s waters are visited by pelagic fish such as Zambezi-bull sharks, rainbow runners, and eagle rays. One kilometer to the North West of North Twin lay a series of sloping rocky ridges. These ridges have sea fans, feather stars, and flower corals. Local inhabitants include several loose groups and nurse sharks hidden under the overhangs.

North Twin Reef Basics: Pinnacles, rocky ridges and large marine life
Depth: 12-35 m
Visibility: 15-40 m
Currents: Can be strong
Surface Conditions: Can be rough
Water Temperature: 25-28 C
Experienced Level: Intermediate- advanced
Number of dive sites: 3
Diving Season: October to May
Distance: ~90 km northwest of Kawthaung (5 hours)
Access: Scuba Burma liveaboard from Phuket, Khao Lak and Ranong in Thailand.

Creatures
Leopard Shark , Bull Sharks, Grey reef Shark, Schools of Snapper, Groupers fish, Eagle Rays.

Black Rock
This pinnacle is one of most spectacular dive sites in the Mergui archipelago with an excellent variety of reef life and abundance of large pelages including Silvertips, Gray reef sharks, Black tips, Bull sharks, Eagle and Manta rays. There are beautiful soft coral formations in the deeper areas.

This is the most northerly point of your Burma Banks dive holiday liveaboard diving Myanmar Mergui adventure, and a tremendously exciting dive site. The steep cliffs of Black Rock continue as dramatic walls below the water, gradually turning into a shelving seabed strewn with granite boulders.


It is at depth that Black Rock has the most to offer. Venturing to 30m and beyond, one can see whitetip sharks, grey reef sharks, leopard sharks, spotted eagle rays, and enormous black splotched fantail rays, sometimes in schools of 10 or more. Keep an eye out too for stocky bull sharks emerging out of the gloom - an impressive sight indeed, but don't worry, there have been no reported attacks on regular liveaboard scuba divers.

Take in all manner of reef fish and pretty corals during your ascent and then observe bonitos, trevally, tuna and barracuda zipping about in the current during your safety stop. This is one of those dive sites that gives one the feeling that anything might swim by, and we make new discoveries at Black Rock with every live aboard visit. And remember to always keep one eye on "the Andaman Sea's blue" as there is always the chance of seeing manta rays, whale sharks and other large pelagic species.
To see more visit Bubble Vision's underwater photos

Black Rock is an 80 m wide islet, standing in a northwest to southeast position, with steep banks all around, and a wall on its west and southwest sides.
Black Rock arguably the most spectacular dive site in the Archipelago. 16 miles from the nearest land in deep water it is an ocean site. There is an abundance of life with BIG pelagic being the order of the day. Grey reef and silvertip sharks are almost guaranteed, black tips, hammerheads and bull sharks by no means exceptional. We have seen stingrays the size of barn doors, manta's, devil rays and also whale sharks. Additionally the reef life is excellent as well with beautiful soft corals, gorgonian's and plenty of reef fish. We, weather permitting, anchor overnight on this spot . Night dives here are spectacular to say the least and not for the faint hearted!

Many divers? favorite Burma scuba diving spot in the Mergui Archipelago, Black Rock will have your heart pounding from spectacular passes of whitetips, silvertips and blacktip sharks.

Standing alone in the Andaman Sea, Black Rock is just as famous for its incredible schools of mobula rays. Then, there?s the majestic encounters with manta rays and eagle rays soaring above and around you off the deep north western corner, and huge marble stingrays and leopard sharks on the sandy bottom.

Diving down on to the boulder slopes to the south you?ll find sprawling carpets of brown disc anemones (Corallimopharian Discosoma) and purple soft corals (Dendronephthya). Home amongst the lower boulders is the granddaddy of all great barracudas. Over 1 ? m long, this thick set monster is so huge it ignores divers, intent instead on receiving dental surgery from the cleaner wrasse. Its scars bare testimony to many a bruising encounter.

Head to the shallower eastern section for mantis shrimp, red swimmer crabs and large hermit crabs, and dotted on the rocks are the unusual white hairy urchins (Lovenia Elongata).

Explore the wall for blue, yellow, green and orange soft tube corals, and the banks for hunting big-eye trevally, pompano and banded sea snakes.

Please do take note that currents can be strong and terminally downward, particularly on the deeper sides of the islet. Altogether, a truly awesome Burma dive site.

Black Rock Reef Basics: Sharks and rays
Depth: 5->40 m
Visibility: 15-50 m
Currents: Can be strong
Surface Conditions: Can be rough
Water Temperature: 25-28 H C
Experience Level: Advanced
Number of dive sites: 3
Diving Season: October to May
Distance: ~140 km north northwest of Kawthaung (7 hours)
Access: Burma liveaboard diving from Phuket, Khao Lak and Ranong in Thailand

Rocky Peaks

12 km to the north of Western Rocky lies Rocky Peaks. Mountains granite rocks, capped with soft corals and black diadema sea urchins, rise to urchins, rise to within five metres of the Andaman Sea surface at Rocky Peaks.

The north and east sides sport thick forests of orange and pink gorgonian sea fans. Here you can see schools of blacktail barracuda, yellowfin emporer and lone remoras. Often there?s whitetip and leopard sharks resting in the day time. The north west corner has a small fishing boat wreck.

At the south of Rocky Peaks is a cliff face. Undulated moray eels receive dental work from ghost cleaner shrimps, and the ugly devil scorpionfish waits for usnsuspecting strays. In the far south west corner at 25 m is a swim-through archway. Check out the gorgonian fans in this area, as there are often lime green harlequin ghost pipefish and tigertail seahorses hiding there.

This Burma diving site is also known as Fanforest Pinnacle.

Rokcy Peaks Reef Basics: Mountains terrain and sea fans
Depth: 5->40 m
Visibility: 15- 30 m
Currents: Can be strong
Surface Conditions: Can be rough
Water Temperature: 25-28 H C
Experience Level: Advanced
Number of dive sites: 2
Diving Season: October to May
Distance: ~55 km west of Kawthaung (3 hours)
Access: Burma liveaboard diving from Phuket, Khao and Ranong in Thailand

Little Torres Islands

Here?s a dive site to catch your breath, and take in the finer parts of diving. Soft corals, red whip corals, mosaic corals, and table corals have all made Torres Islands their home amongst the rocks.

You?ll see round batfish, long-nose and ornate butterfly fish and the awkward and clumsy, but beautiful azure moon wrasse.

Don?t think that you won?t see anything special here, as there are usually lots of leopard sharks and sting rays.

Little Torres Islands Reef Basics: Pinnacles, rocks and large marine life
Depth: 10-25 m
Visibility: 10-30 m
Currents: Can be rough
Surface Conditions: Can be rough
Water Temperature: 25-28 HC
Experience Level: Intermediate
Number of dive sites: 1
Diving Season: October to May
Distance: ~ 165 km north northwest of Kawthaung (9 hours)
Access: Burma liveaboard diving from Phuket, Khao Lak and Ranong in Thailand

Tower Rock

Located off Northeast Little Torres Island, this island rises dramatically out of the sea and plunges over 60-meters to the bottom. Schools of mobula rays are seen here often. It?s also a good place to spot sharks, but the remarkable landscape and the chance of seeing ghost pipefish is the more reliable interest. There are over eight dive sites we've found in this area now.

Tower Rock, as its name suggests, is a magical dive site with towering walls descending into the depths, below the water you?ll find a lunar site of boulders, made up from the taller reaches of Tower Rock in years past.

The walls are laced with whip corals and sea fans, oysters and clams. White banded cleaner shrimp and ornate spiny lobster hide amongst the crags, whilst blue faced angelfish and yellow striped fusiliers dance their way up the walls.

Tower Rock is manta ray country, so prepare yourself for some special close encounters with schools of these massive creatures.

Keep your eyes peeled also for those reclusive blacktip sharks, often staying just out of vision, behind the boulders.
Water Temperature: 25-28 HC

Tower Rock Reef Basics: Wall diving and manta rays
Depth: 10-35 m
Visibility: 10- 50 m
Currents: Can be strong
Surface Conditions: Can be rough
Water Temperature: 25-28 HC
Experience Level: Advanced
Diving Season: October to May
PADI Course Suitability: Great for dive propulsion vehicles
Distance: ~195 km north northwest of Kawthaung
 


Dive site in Myeik District

1. As rich of Marine life, hard corals, soft corals, sea fans and blue water some dive sites are very popular among the divers. They are as follow ?
a. Black Rock
b. Submarine Rock
c. North East Little Torres
d. Elether Point

(1) Black Rock
The rock wall is in the east and Sea fans and Corals are in the north and east. A lot of Manta Rays were seen there in 1997-98. Nowadays, so many different sharks and few Manta Rays are still there.

Marine Life
Different kinds of Sharks, Monta Rays, Lobsters and fishes.

(2) Middle Little Torres Submarine Rock
When you see it at first sight as if a submarine is floating. It has different Rock Reefs from the other dive sites and can be seen Rays, fishes and sharks.

(3) North East Little Torres
This small island is surrounded by deep water and boasts a healthy hard coral reef and a good chance to see larger pelagic fish such as schools of "devil" rays, a smaller cousin of the manta ray. At the West end of the island is a narrow rocky ridge which drops down into the depths and you may catch a glimpse of a shark or two. Follow the ridge towards the island and you come to the reef with a wide variety of species on display.


http://www.sunrise-divers.com/burma_divesites.htm

The best dive site in Myeik district. A lot of corals are in the western island like a garden. During the open season, Manta Rays, Devil Rays and Eagle Rays are around there.

Marine Life
Sharks , Rays, Lobsters and Turtles.

(4) Elether Island North West Bay
A good place for Noght Dive and 10 to 22 meters deep, has many corals and sea fans but no shark.

Gorgeous anchorage
a small beach surrounded by towering rocks and scattered rocky pinnacles. Good snorkeling. On shore there are caves, you will probably see (and hear) crab-eating maquaqes (a type of monkey), hunting their prey around sunset and sunrise.

Horse shoe island
A lovely jungle-clad island with a spectacular anchorage. Towering cliffs and numerous caves are there to be explored

Colona Rocks
tiny islet, one of three . The main dive is a small cove with a tunnel which exits on the other side of the island. The cove itself is usually crammed with snappers, groupers, jacks, trevallies etc. Silvertip sharks often join the fun.

Burma Banks
The Burma banks are a collection of seamounts located some 180 km north west of the Similan Islands. With surrounding waters exceeding a depth of 300 m, the top of the banks rise to within 15-24 m of the surface. The Banks used to offer one of the world's best shark dives due to their large population of Silvertips, but in recent years, fishing has made the reefs much less active. Some boats now don't go to the Banks and prefer the better sites in the Mergui Archipelago. 
http://www.sunrise-divers.com/burma_divesites.htm

The Burma Banks are a series of under-water plateaus lying in the Andaman Sea, some 200km west of mainland Myanmar, rising up from a general surrounding depth of 300m. Positioned incorrectly on the British Admiralty charts, the Burma Banks were discovered in their correct position in the late 80s by the german native sailor Mikel Diehl on board of his Angemiva live aboard and are well worth the liveaboards dive vacations charters out.

Your Burma Banks dive vacations liveaboard will travel overnight to the Burma Banks in time for you to make a full day's diving Myanmar adventure. First you will notice how clear and blue the Andaman Sea is at the Burma Banks, permitting a panoramic view of the coral-covered landscape. Nothing beats the thrill of diving Myanmar dive vacations with sharks and this is what diving the Burma Banks live aboards is all about. Wander around the reefs with your eyes peeled or just hang onto a corner of corals and wait for the action!

The "Silvertip" Burma Bank is a flat plateau at a depth of 15m, covering about 1 square km. As the name suggests, the chances of seeing stunning silvertip sharks aboard MV Discovery's liveaboard here is very high and smaller reef sharks and nurse sharks are also common. Hammerheads too have been spotted recently aboard the Burma Banks liveaboards. "Brutus" the giant barracuda and "Freddy" the inquisitive potato cod are also resident at the "Silvertip" Burma Bank.

The "Nurse" Burma Bank is further out in the Andaman Sea and a little deeper. The top of the Burma Banks here is at 18-25m. Expect to see lots of big tawny nurse sharks, and a range of reef sharks such as whitetips, gray and silvertips. Some of the coral heads at the Nurse Bank are huge, with cracks and gullies lined with sea fans and wide enough to swim through and enjoy your MV Discovery liveaboard Burma Banks adventure.

Burma banks are a number of shallow patches rising up from the ocean floor. None of them actually breaks the surface. They are way out of sight of land and one therefore moors in the middle of nowhere. The main attraction is the abundance of sharks, silvertips, black tips, but also bull sharks and at times hammerheads. The "reefs" themselves are not particular outstanding, but fish life is quite good.

Great Swinton Island
Idyllic anchorage with a sparkling white beach . Rainforest in the background. Some rocky pinnacles 1/4 of a mile off provide good snorkeling and diving. You will find soft corals, reef fish, gorgonian's and the odd pelagic. We have seen iguana's here so large we first thought they were alligators. North side of the island has a large beach with a fresh water stream flowing in the sea. We often stop here for lunch.

Little Torres
A small island surrounded by deep open water, this site has a good selection of reef fish and invertebrates , along with a chance of seeing sharks and other big animals. Keep an eye towards the open water in this area, as spinner, bull and grey reef sharks sometimes patrol just off the reef.

Peacock Island
Beautiful beach, the island is forested. South tip has a good dive site, a ridge at 12m. The continuous slight current encourages the growth of soft corals which are abundant. Many reef fish, notably snappers, jacks and also smaller stuff. Good snorkeling as well.

Pu Nala
One of the few inhabited islands. There is a small monastery with one monk. When we visit we pay our respects. Neighbouring is a Sea Gypsy village, about 100 huts. This we can visit as well, it is certainly no touristy place. At low tide the people wade for shellfish, sea cucumber, prawns etc. These are traded or used for food.
Rocky Island North
Bare limestone pinnacle. One side has a wall to 45 m. Abundant soft coral. Reef life very prolific, if not in size than certainly in quantity. West side is shallower, but has large gorgonian's Good snorkeling as well.

Freddie's pass
Spectacular 3 mile passage . A very narrow channel separating two islands zigzags between towering cliffs covered in rainforest. You are sure to see (and certainly hear !) a lot of wildlife.

North Sentinel
Small island, mostly barren, surrounded by some rocky islets. Large boulders are scattered on the seabed. Good for soft corals and reef life.

Stewart Island
consists of a 200m long ridge, lies North to South, rises to about 30m (100ft) above the surface. One huge arch cuts right through the island above the surface, several smaller caves do the same below water. Best diving 12-20m, prolific reef life, soft corals, sea whips many small sharks.

Horsburgh Island
On the West side is a very large pristine beach which is cut in two by a spectacular towering cliff. As Horsburgh lies on the Western edge of the Archipelago you can watch Hollywood-like sunsets (including the Green Flash).

Mc Leod Island
Andaman Resort is built with 15 chalet type bangalows. More info for the Resort refer to the home page www.mergui.org.
Beautiful anchorage in a horse shoe shaped bay. A short walk through the rainforest brings you to the West side of the island to a perfect beach. Watch the perfect sunset. But after that you'll have to walk back to the yacht through the forest in the dark!

Davis Island
high island covered in rainforest. Idyllic anchorage and a good beach. A short walk inland brings you to a freshwater stream cascading over the rocks and plunging into a pool you can bathe in.

Barwell island
Pleasant anchorage a short distance from Kawthung.

Cavern island
Spectacular scenery topside, a nice dive consisting of 5 pinnacles on the SW side.onsisting of gigantic rocks piled on top of each other. At 10-15 m depth there is a large anemone garden

North Rock
Fabulous critter dive, lots of small reef life, nudibranches etc. Plateau at 18 m. Sandy bottom at 30 m, good for leopard sharks.

Clara Island
Anchorage in a large bay. Good for watching sunsets.

West Canister
Located almost 80 nautical miles north of Black Rock, the island looks almost exactly like Ko Bon in Thailand, just flipped 180?. The best site is a pinnacle located almost in the middle of the small bay, and is almost connected to a ridge that runs from the westernmost point of the island. On dives we?ve done there, the top of the rock acts as a cleaning station for manta rays. It?s a huge granite rock starting about 15-meters and continuing to over 40-meters. From there, you?ll find a hard coral reef sloping down to over 60-meters. Large sea fans swathe the granite boulders, with purple, pink and orange soft corals covering most of the rock. Barracudas, fusiliers, jacks, Spanish mackerel, and rainbow runners cruise over the top of the reef. Painted crayfish hide in the overhangs. Visibility can be well over 30-meters here.

Freak Island
A small island with enough tree cover to keep a pair of sea eagles happy, it is located about four nautical miles east of West Canister. The island can easily be swam around in one dive, but here it?s important to slow down and look carefully, as the smaller marine life is what you should be enjoying. With usually clear water, the boulders with sea fans and soft corals make powerful topography, while the hard corals are healthy and colorful. Anemones and sea whips dot the terrain, and you?ll see various triggerfish, stonefish, scorpionfish, and tigertail seahorses.

End Bit

During my vacations in spring 1999 my dive buddy Broschi and I dived extensively in the Mergui Archipelago in Burma (Myanmar). This part of Burma is very nice, because there are so few dive operators. Diving in Burma has only been open since 1997 so the area is operated by Myanmar owned Kawthaung based live boards ? The Mergui Princess. We were always the only scuba divers around. The ship would anchor in unspoiled bays - clean beaches with no other footprints than our own. Stars in the sky during the night, murmuring of waves and the noise from insects at the beach. We saw hornbill birds, monitor lizards ....... and sand flies!

My favorite dive sites around Burma
Colona Rock: we did a total of four dives here, first because it is a sheltered place but mainly because it is just great!! You dive at the narrow part of the rock. There are two tunnels that connect the two bays. One is more like a covered canyon, the other a very narrow underpass (don't get stuck!) with lobsters living underneath.

As we jumped into the water here, we landed in the middle of a school of squids preying on small fusiliers. When we looked around more, there were two cuttlefish just mating, they were positioned face to face and entwined their tentacles. The four divers around didn't bother them at all, they kept at it for about 5 minutes. Further on we saw two of the rare Devil Scorpionfishes (very similar to stonefishes but they have a distinctive humpback). We then saw a gray reef ray, moray eels, nudibranchs, a sea snake and lots more .... also plenty of small jellyfish, when we surfaced, specially in my face!

On another dive Broschi found a beautiful yellow seahorse. It was small but extremely conspicuous, no other yellow animal around. Only on a later dive did we realize that some of the tubecorals around the dive site will sprout yellow tentacles during dusk and night. We figured, these would be a perfect camouflage for our seahorse.


C?ola (Italian for dome). It is a very special place. You enter through a underwater passage and exit in a huge cavern. I believe, the roof is about 20 meter high with about 3 openings to the air, one large enough to climb down. Some trails of plants were growing down into the cave and some birds swooped in and out.

This cavern is used by a type of sea swallow (Collocalia esculenta) for nesting. Those nests consist of the saliva of the birds, mixed with bits of plants and some feathers. The saliva hardens when exposed to air. When cooked the nest soften and separate and look like bean thread noodles. The Chinese believe them to be a medicinal food that imparts sexual vigor! So of course they are hideously expensive (prices of about 2000 US dollars per kilo were quoted to us).

During harvest time, this cavern is guarded by armed men from the sea gypsies. When we arrived, there were only 3 men living inside the cave on a rack made with bamboo. We came up close to the underwater passage and paddled slowly to the rack. We greeted them, then looked around. All over the cave long bamboo poles were wedged so it is possible to climb up to the nesting areas just under the roof. I have no idea, how they climb up, it looked very dangerous to me! They also had two small boats in the cave, so I think during low tide there must be a small passage out of the cave.

We dived back through the tunnel, where we encountered a large jellyfish, that had drifted there from outside. The dive on the outside was nothing special, because visibility was quite bad. http://www.starfish.ch/dive/print/Burma-print.html
The Mergui Archipelago has something for everyone, and although the dive sites here can often learn towards the advanced, even intermediate divers will love the place as long as the dive sites are picked carefully. As always, consult with the divemaster before diving to make sure you aren't getting more than you bargained for. Conditions change constantly due to fluctuating tides and your dive professional is the best source of current information.

At a Glance: Burma (Myanmar) & Mergui (Myeik Archipelago)

Reef type : Sloping mountains, walls, canyons, caves, pinnacles
Access : 5 to 14-days by liveaboard boat
Dive boats visiting : There are currently about 6-10 boats visiting Mergui on a regular basis. Here is a list of some of the better ones.
Visibility : Variable from 15-60 meters
Current : Variable, strong in many areas
Coral : Varies from excellent to poor
Fish : Fantastic, large schools, many species of shark
Highlights : Silvertip sharks, bull sharks, gray reef sharks, big nurse sharks, mobula rays, great topside wildlife and jungle; be ready for anything. One of the last pristine areas in the world.
Post Tsunami : No damage at all; none, nada, zip. The boats which were visiting were not even aware of the waves until people on shore called them and told them. No damage because of mud or silting at all even far inshore.
http://www.siamdivers.com/sites/mergui.htm

 


Diving Education

1. SCUBA DIVING

Here you are, surrounded by all those divers, even watching them from the surface, breathing hard through your snorkel? So, what's the deal? Half-hour of theory to understand the main bases, a few skills in shallow water to get comfortable with the equipment, and there you're gone for a proper dive, safely guided by one of our instructors?

Can you imagine a better swimming pool?


2. Open Water

With this course, you'll become a certified diver, allowed to dive everywhere in the world. Theory and shallow water training sessions are usually conducted at Koh Payam, so that the best part of the program, the dives, can be done during the trip of your choice. The big advantage is that once the 4 actual dives of the course are over, you still can join the other fun-divers and enjoy the rest of the cruise. If you feel like completing your experience, you can also easily enroll in the advanced course, directly onboard.


3. Advanced

Ideal on a live-aboard, this course is above all practical: no final exam here, but a perfect way to review theoretical knowledge and be introduced to different kind of diving. The 5 dives of the program (amongst them, the Deep dive, the Navigation dive, the Night dive ) will also give you a perfect way to assess your underwater skills. Finally you'll get out of there more confident, ready for new underwater adventures?


4. Medic First Aid

The necessary step before you starts the Rescue course (unless you show proof of similar training within the last 2 years). This program gives you the essentials of general first aid, so it concerns also non-divers.


5. Rescue


Through this course, you'll definitely make a big step towards capability and comfort. The academic sessions, conducted at Koh Payam, will complete your knowledge in diving physiology, equipment and more. You will be then given the best ways to handle stress in the water, applying the Medic First Aid's theory to more specific diving problems.
Be honest: haven't you ever dreamt of saving your instructor from the most perilous situations??


6. Dive Master

First professional level of the PADI system, the Dive Master is a guide for certified divers and is also an Instructor's assistant. 4 to 6 weeks minimum are required to complete the course. The candidate has to be willing to provide fun and comfort to the divers he will at last be in charge of. He'll become responsible of the equipment and the logistics. None of these are simple tasks? but there is the challenge!

 


2. Burma West Coast ? Ngwe Saung

Reference:
http://www.sunrise-divers.com/burma_divesites.htm
http://www.siamdivers.com/sites/mergui.htm
http://www.burma-diving.com/dive_burma.htm#north

See also :
Dive sites of Burma
Map of the Mergui Archipelago
Expeditions to the Andaman Islands

 



Diving in Ngwe Saung, Burma

Inclusive with:

Professional Dive Assistant, Tanks, Weight Belt, Boat Transfer (only valid for minimum of 4 persons) for round trip, Lunch Box & Drinking Water from Myanmar Treasure Beach Resort. Additional charges for equipment rental & complete dive set will be required.

Information:

? One day dive with 2 different dive sites (we can provide more dive sites) to explore the under water and can see so many kind of sea fishes in deep water like group of Tuna, Grouper, other marine lives, hard coral and etc.
? Non divers pay for snorkeling with equipment (if snorkel with other divers in a same time, boat transfer will be inclusive). If the guest would like to snorkel only will be needed to pay extra boat transfer fees.
? Extra dive will be charge
? First aid with oxygen equipment will be provided by Myanmar Scuba divers team.
? Diving team has 10 sets of diving suites (in different sizes) and 15 snorkeling sets.
? The good time for diving in Ngwe Saung is during the high season (from November to April) and among these months January and February are the best months for diving.
? Day trip should be started at 0800 hrs and reach to island (dive sites) at 0900 hrs (with diving boat). First dive will be started between 1000hrs and 1100hrs, time interval for lunch break at 1230hrs and second dive will be started between 1330hrs and 1400hrs. Day dive trip will be ended and will be returned to hotel around at 1500hrs.

With local fishing boat to the islands will take 1:30 driving hours.

Note:

Full set does not include: dive computer, wet suite & diving light.Boat master will not be included for less than 4 diving person and snorkeling guest. Extra boat transfer will be charged or can be rented local fishing boat. At least one week prior reservation with detail information and dive certificate will be needed for agents & individual bookings.
**Extra excursion to Sin Ma village 2 weeks in advance for trip arrangement to get there. Charge will be informed due to number of persons, activities and trip requirements.

Island information:

First Island: (In English Map-south calventuras island) temperature of under water 40 to 60 feet is 30'C and the island is good for open advance type of divers. And can see so many fishes near the rocks but there is no beach at this island and it is 3 stars standard dive sites. The visibility is quite good and secure for the divers (there are no aqua-marine-animals to harm people)

Second Island: (In English Map-north calventuras island), temperature of under water 40 to 60 feet is 30'C and the island is good for professional divers. There are 3 access to reach onto the island and it have beach for people to take a walk or rest. And can see so many fishes near the rocks but there is no beach at this island and it is 3 to 4 stars standard dive sites. The visibility is quite good and secure for the divers (there are no aqua-marine-animals to harm people)

Third Island: (In English Map-north west group of calventuras island), temperature of under water at 140 feet is 29'C and the island is very good for open advance type of divers. And can see so many fishes near the rocks but there is no beach at this island and it is 4 to 5 stars standard dive sites. The visibility is quite good and secure for divers (there is no aqua-marine-animals to harm people)

Note: Please be noted that due to the weather condition and availability of equipments & diving boat we might have to cancel the reservation. However we will advise you prior to arrival. All the diving payment can be settled directly at the hotel & diving team.

Elephant Camp

Departure from hotel : 0830hrs
Arrival to Camp         : Approx: 0915hrs
Remarks                    : Elephant are available at the camp from 0900hrs to 1200hrs everyday

 


 

? Burma banks diving
http://www.mergui.org/burma_banks.htm

 

? Burma liveaboard

 

? Burma scuba dive Education and Places of Interests

 

? Myanmar diving safari packages

 

? Thailand diving

Boat Rental & Charter

mergui 2

Charter Rates 1-8 Pax 9-16 Pax
MV Mergui Princess US$ 1950 per day US$ 2450 per day

Please contact our Agent

Mergui Princess is a fast and comfortable liveaboard with 3 air-conditioned private cabins which can accommodate 6 clients and 4-5 crew members. It is 79 feet (20.lm) long. It is equipped with modern navigation and communication system like echo sounder, GPS, i-com radio and a satellite phone.

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Mergui Princess Cruise1

mergui-08

Mergui Princess Cruise (1) is newly live aboard which can be accommodated maximum 6 passengers. All cabins onboard are air-conditioned and offering great sea view. She has one queen size bed and one bunk bed room with en suite bathroom are on the main deck and one twin bed room without en suite bathroom is on the upper deck.

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Tour Programs

MSK - 01 (3 days 2 nights) Kawthaung Base
Kawthaung - Taung La Bo - 115 Island - Myauk Ni Island - Thay Yae Island( USD 937/ Pax )
MSK - 02 (4 days 3 nights) Kawthaung Base
Kawthaung - Taung La Bo - 115 Island - Nga Man - Kyun Phila - Myauk Ni - Thay Yae Island - Kawthaung ( USD 1158/ Pax )
MSK - 03 (5 days 4 nights) Kawthaung Base
Kawthaung - Taung La Bo - 115 Island - 254 Island - 256 Island - Nga Man Island - Kyun Phila - Bo Ywe - Myauk Ni Island - Thay Yae Island - Kawthaung( USD 1389/ Pax)
MSK - 04 (6 days 5 nights) Kawtthaung Base
Kawthaung - Taung La Bo - 115 Island - 254 Island -256 Island - 60 Island - Crocodile Creek - Ko Phwat - Tar yar Island - Nga Man Island - Kyun Phila - Bo Ywe Island -  Myauk Ni Island - Thay Yae Island - Kawthaung ( USD 1621/ Pax )
MSK - 05 (6 days 5 nights) Kawthaung Base
Kawthaung - Taung La Bo - 115 Island - Nga Man Island - Kyun Phila - 254 Island - Salet Galet Island - Marble Island - Wal Island - Mergui Island - Myeik (USD 1812/Pax)
MSK - 06 (6 days 5 nights) Kawthaung Base
Myeik - Mergui Island - Wal Island - Marbel Island - Salet Galet - 254 Island - 256 Island - Nga Man Island - 115 Island - Taung La Bo - Kawthaung (USD 1812/Pax)
MSK- 07  (4days/3nights) Kawthaung Base
Kawthaung – Kyet Mauk I (Cock’s Comb) – Say Tan I (Dunkin I) – Nyaung Oo Phee I – Kha Yin Gwa (Maclcod I)  – Myauk Nee I (N.Phipps) – Thay Yee Island – Kawthaung. (USD 1158/ Pax)

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The Islands in the Mergui Archipelago

There are so many islands lying between North Lat 98.38' E to 11N in Kawthaung district. Among them, some islands have the beautiful sandbanks, clean water, sea creatures and animals that c