diving-thailand-2-eastern- by mensong


									110 Eastern Gulf

                  Ko Si Chang                                Nong Yai                                                                         Sa Ton
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              © Lonely Planet Publications
 Eastern GulfChabang
    100º40'E                   Bang Lamung
                                             Hup Bon
                                              Map Yang Tha Cham
                                                            101º20'E                   101º40'E

                                                                                                                              not for navigation
                                                                                                                                                  30 km
                                                                                                                                                   20 miles

                                                                                                                                                          Laem   Eastern Gulf
                                                                        Bung Sam Ngam                                         Pung Ngon
                                                                           Wang Chang
                      Pattaya                                                                                         Pong Nam Ron                                                                                               Hingebeak shrimp hitch a ride on a nudibranch
                Jomtien                                                     344
                                                                                                  Si Yack
                          3                  36                                                   Kong Din
                                                                           Klaeng                                                     317
                                            Ban Chang
                                                                               3                                Nong Khla
         Tao Than                    U-Taphao
                                                        Rayong                                                                                       12º40'N
   Ko Khram Sattahip                 Airport                 Tapong Nai                                                             Makham
                                                                      Suan Son        Laem Mae
                                                                        (Pine Park)                             Tha Mai
                                                                  Ban Phe             Phim                                    Chanthaburi
                 Samae San
                                                                     Ko Samet
                                                                                              Laem Sadet
  See Enlargement                                                                                                                 Chak
                                                                                                     Ta Chalap                    Yai
                                                                                                             Laem Singh

                                                                                                             Laem Ko Proet
12º20'N                                                                                                                                Tha Chot      12º20'N
           71             72
                                     Naklua                                                                                                             3

                     73                                                                                                   Bang Kradan Laem Muang
                                                                              Gulf of Thailand
                                                                                                                                      Laem Ngop
                                                                                                                                            Ban Khlong Son
                                      3                                                                                                       Ko
12º00'N    75                                            Depth                                                                                       12º00'N

                                   Tao Than                    0-5m
      Ko Khram                                                 5-10m

    0           5 km
                                Samae San                      30-50m
                                                                                                                                                                 PATTAYA                                            training sites, but there are some nicer
    0           3 miles               76                                                   74                                                                                                                       reefs away from the main tourist area.
11º40'N                                                                                                                                              11º40'N
    100º40'E                      101º00'E                  101º20'E                   101º40'E                    102º00'E                     102º20'E         The bustling resort area of Pattaya was            For the most part, it isn’t considered a
                                                                                                                                                                 Thailand’s hotbed of diving back in the            destination for a full-blown dive vaca-
                                                                                                                                                                 1970s. A favorite R&R spot for Vietnam             tion. It is more of a place to get in some
                                                                                                                                                                 soldiers, this bay had a few pioneer               dives while enjoying all of the other ac-
                                                                                                                                                                 dive shops and some small hotels that              tivities that Pattaya has to offer, by both
                                                                                                                                                                 hosted soldiers during their week-long             day and night.
                                                                                                                                                                 break from the war and also the military              This area is also known to have some
                                                                                                                                                                 and their families stationed in Thailand.          good shipwrecks with more being
                                                                                                                                                                    Things have changed. Pattaya is now             found on a regular basis. The east is
                                                                                                                                                                 a world-class mass tourism center in the           better known for wrecks than the west-
                                                                                                                                                                 order of Hawaii’s Waikiki or Australia’s           side of the country. From ancient ships
                                                                                                                                                                 Gold Coast, with all of the top hotels             to recent sinkings, there is a pretty wide
                                                                                                                                                                 and something for virtually everyone to            gamut to be seen by ‘wreckies’.
                                                                                                                                                                 do. This of course includes diving. The
                                                                                                                                                                 handful of dive shops has burgeoned                 Eastern Gulf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 GOOD SNORKELING
                                                                                                                                                                 to now include full-service PADI 5-star

                                                                                                                                                                 shops and those of other agencies to-

                                                                                                                                                                 tally equipped to outfit any diver and

                                                                                                                                                                 teach most any course.
                                                                                                                                                                    The majority of the diving done
                                                                                                                                                                 here is introductory scuba and basic                71 HTMS KHRAM                               • •
                                                                                                                                                                 to advanced training. But many other                72 HTMS KUT                                                            •
                                                                                                                                                                 specialties, including tech diving and in-          73 KO KHROK                                                            •
                                                                                                                                                                 structor training courses, all take place           74 KO RIN                                   •                          •
                                                                                                                                                                 around this hotbed of the east. Many of             75 PETCHBURI BREMEN                                                    •
 A frilly faced scorpionfish
                                                                                                                                                                 the nearby sites are somewhat shallow               76 HARDEEP                                  • •

112 Eastern Gulf                                                                                                                                                   Eastern Gulf 113

 71     HTMS KHRAM                              The Eastern Gulf                             72       HTMS KUT                            73     KO KHROK
                                                The Ko Chang area near the Cambodian
  Location: 300m off Ko Phai                                                                  Location: Northeast tip of Ko Sak,           Location: 4 nautical miles (7km)
                                                border is being explored and devel-
  Depth: 50-100ft (15-30m)                                                                    southwest of Pattaya                         southwest of Pattaya
                                                oped as a dive destination. The islands
  Access: Boat                                                                                Depth: 40-108ft (12-32m)                     Depth: 0-66ft (0-20m)
                                                here have excellent beaches and natu-
  Expertise Rating: Advanced                                                                  Access: Boat                                 Access: Boat
                                                ral beauty, and the offshore pinnacles
                                                                                              Expertise Rating: Advanced                   Expertise Rating: Novice
  1-=                                           are producing sites with good marine
                                                life. Ko Chang is a boom town right
                                                now, with the range of accommoda-
                                                                                              1-=                                          1-=
The HTMS Khram, a decommissioned US             tion extending from economically
warship, was sunk on 1 February 2003            priced bungalows to luxury resorts.         Very similar to sister ship HTMS Khram,      This site has a coral bed that runs down a
by the Thai navy. It now sits in 100ft of       Construction has been limited to the        HTMS Kut is the most recent of Pattaya’s     slope to around 65ft. Lots of hard corals
water near Ko Phai and Ko Larn islands          height of a coconut tree, so there is       growing fleet of undersea wrecks that        thrive here and a gentle current keeps
off Pattaya and has quickly become an           an attempt being made to retain the         now support artificial reefs. Its sinking    things healthy. The current can allow for
excellent artificial reef.                      natural aesthetics of the place.            on 17 September 2006 was a success,          shallow drift diving or drift snorkeling if
   It is officially the USS LSM-469 but             Offshore rocky pinnacles are home       as the wreck sits upright with moor-         there’s a surface current. Look for stag-
was given to the Thai Navy by the USA           to rays and some sharks, and the coral      ings stern and fore. It also underwent       horn, brain and star corals. The shoals of
and renamed HTMS Khram, way back in             cover is beautiful with good fish vari-     preparations by the Royal Thai Navy, so      chromis and damsels are found around
May of 1962. Once it fell out of use, the       ety. Live aboard diving is opening to       provides a similarly safe dive site. Muni-   the staghorns, while cleaning stations
idea of sinking her came about and the          this area and some dive shops are now       tions, engines, oil and pollutants were      for parrotfish, butterflyfish and other
Thai Navy went through environmental            located in Ko Chang, Ko Rang and Ko         removed, while large holes in the deck       tropical species are staffed by cleaner
procedures, drained it of oil, removed          Kut. They have sites like the Ko Rang       allow divers to easily enter the passage-    wrasse at the hard coral heads.
wiring and cut large passageways for            Pinnacles, Ko Wai Reef and Hin Luk          ways and engine rooms.                          During Pattaya’s meteoric develop-
divers to easily navigate. (This has also       Bat Reef. These sites commonly have            This ship sits on a bit of a slope with   ment, the corals suffered a great deal
been done with great success to two             visibility ranging from 20ft to 45ft with   the bow at about 108ft and the stern at      from runoff and other neglect due to in-
Australian decommissioned destroyers            mild currents and hard corals.              about 90ft in the sand. Marine life and      frastructure and construction work. This
farther south along the Australia west              Roughly 85% of Ko Chang, along          encrusting invertebrates are starting to     area has now been targeted by Pattaya
coast.)                                         with about 50 smaller islands, is part of   take hold, and schooling fish have al-       and Bangkok environmentalists to bring
   These days the ship sits upright with        the Ko Chang Marine National Park.          ready made the ship home. Visibility is      awareness to a new Pattaya Region En-
the bridge area coming into view at                                                         only about 20ft to 30ft on a good day,       vironmental and Use Policy, and aid in
50ft. Two moorings lead down to the                                                         so try diving at slack tide.                 coral growth.
ship aft and bow. If the water is clear,        Divers can enter the bridge of the
it is possible to go down the mooring        ship, which is open and devoid of any           Anemone colonies
and then swim to the center of the           old navigation equipment. Because the
ship when the bridge comes into sight.       HTMS Khram was a troop carrier, there
Visibility is typically low on the wreck,    is a large open deck which was used for
however.                                     vehicles and equipment and launching
   Soft corals and other encrusting ma-      troops onto a beach zone. The aft en-
rine life have already taken hold. The       gine room is also accessible, although
water here is very silty and that has also   the engines have been removed and
already covered the wreck, so penetra-       there is also a lot of light here due to
tion dives must be done with care to         cut-out access ways. (Pattaya dive op-
avoid silt kicks causing a white-out. The    erations use this for tech training.) This
passageways are open and well-lit and        area is also silty, so movement should
divers are not usually out of the natural    be slow and easy.
light. It has been noted that a few of the      Outside the ship there are a lot of soft
rooms have steel watertight doors still      corals, sponges, fish life and particularly
fitted, which could be locked easily with    baitfish. A batfish school has already
a diver inside.                              called the HTMS Khram home.
114 Eastern Gulf                                                                                                                                                  Eastern Gulf 115
                                                                                                                                                          © Lonely Planet Publications
                                                                                                                                        ged ship. When the current is running,
                                                                                           75        PETCHBURI BREMEN                   look for the school of resident eagle rays
                                                                                                                                        that favor this site.
                                                                                             Location: Between Ko Khram Yai &
                                                                                             Depth: 62-82ft (19-25m)                     76     HARDEEP
                                                                                             Access: Boat
                                                                                             Expertise Rating: Intermediate               Location: Between Ko Samae San & Ko
                                                                                             1-=                                          Depth: 50-85ft (16-26m)
                                                                                                                                          Access: Boat
                                                                                          The Bremen is in a fairly poor state due        Expertise Rating: Intermediate
                                                                                          to its use as a demolition target for the
                                                                                          Royal Thai Navy at one time. Its parts          1-=
                                                                                          cover an area across about 300ft of the
                                                                                          sea floor. Some wreck exploring can be        The Hardeep is a better wreck for those
                                                                                          done, as parts of the ship still remain       wanting to see a WWII victim. This Indo-
                                                                                          upright. Its biggest plus may be that it is   nesian freighter was sunk in 1942 (some
                                                                                          a very good artificial reef that schools of   accounts say 1943) by Allied bombs.
                                                                                          yellowtail snapper, barracuda and jacks       Only about 200ft long, she sits on her
                                                                                          gather around.                                port side on a sandy sea floor in depths
                                                                                             The ship went down due to an engine        ranging from 50ft to 85ft, and can be
                                                                                          room fire in the 1930s near the village of    covered in one dive. Encrusted with
                                                                                          Sattahip, just south of Pattaya. Its depth    sponges of brilliant orange and bright
                                                                                          and low visibility make it a good train-      yellow tubastrea corals, she has been
                                                                                          ing site for advanced divers who can          a fish magnet for decades. The ship is
                                                                                          navigate the ship and the sandy bottom        also decked out with large gorgonian
                                                                                          while getting the depth requirement           sea fans, barrel sponges and wire corals,
                                                                                          out of the way.                               and resident schooling fusiliers, snap-
                                                                                             It isn’t used that much for wreck div-     pers and longnose barracuda. Blue-
                                                                                          ing courses as penetration isn’t really       spotted stingrays like the sandy areas
                                                                                          safe due to its broken condition. The         around the ship.
                                                                                          newer HTMS wrecks are actually the               Divers normally follow the descent
 The detail of a scorpionfish fin                                                         shipwrecks of choice these days for a         line down, as visibility can be low and
                                                                                          lot of Pattaya wreck diving. The good         the wreck is small. Thus, currents can
                                             very popular as a day trip for divers and    news is that it tangles up fishing nets, so   easily push those free descending off
 74         KO RIN                           snorkelers.                                  net fishermen stay away from the jag-         the wreck. One line goes down by the
                                                Though shallow, there are canyons                                                       forward hold while the other is aft near
   Location: 13 nautical miles (24km)        between rocks, swim-throughs and hard                                                      the stern. It is wise to note where the
   southwest of Pattaya                      coral formations – some shallow enough                                                     line is and use it on the way back up as
   Depth: 0-46ft (0-14m)                     for snorkelers to enjoy. Black coral can                                                   well. There are open hold areas and the
   Access: Boat                              be found in just 40ft of water, and big                                                    bridge that can be entered. But some of
   Expertise Rating: Intermediate            barrel sponges host hundreds of tiny,                                                      the deeper parts of the ship are start-
                                             white sea cucumbers clinging to their                                                      ing to deteriorate and are not really safe
   1-=                                       outer surface. The fact that this site has                                                 for mass swim-throughs with a group
                                             some occasional current also helps the                                                     of divers.
Considered one of Pattaya’s best coral       invertebrate count, with nudibranchs,                                                         One can find more ship parts, includ-
dives with a nice selection of hard corals   flatworms and anemones all present.                                                        ing the mast and funnel, in the sandy
on a shallow and rocky reef and good         Fish include harlequin sweetlips, lion-                                                    area around Hardeep. There are also two
                                                                                           A jewel box urchin
visibility being the norm. This is also      fish, squirrelfish and ember parrotfish.                                                   large bombs close by.

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