Burma Dive Sites

December 10th 2012 | Posted by
Tags: dive, diving, divers, scuba, courses, liveaboard, Phuket, Thailand
 

Dive Sites of Mergui Archipelago Myanmar (Burma)

For the 2012 – 2013 diving season, Seaking Divers are excited to announce a new destination, dive the very best of the Mergui Archipelago and Burma Banks in Myanmar (Burma) with our popular live-aboard, the M/V Phoenix. Discover the untouched beauty of this remote area. The Mergui Archipelago in Myanmar (Burma) is made up of more than 800 tropical islands. As well as diving the best sites such as Black Rock, the Three Islets, Western Rocky and the Burma Banks, the sheer number of islands gives us the chance to make discovery dives on sites never dived before. Our aim is to show you the very best diving the Mergui Archipelago and Burma Banks has to offer.

Black Rock
An 80 metre wide islet, Black Rock stands in a northwest to southeast position, with steep banks all around, and with a wall on its west and south west sides.
Black Rock acts as a natural fish magnet and is just as famous for its incredible schools of mobula rays.

Marine Life
Soft corals are most dense in the deeper south west sections corner of Black Rock. This colourful area includes orange cup corals, feather stars, gorgonian sea fans, and tiger striped anemones that cover the large boulders. Spotted hawkfish can be found in the sea fans. Black spotted pufferfish seem too lazy to swim here, preferring to just rest on a rock ledge. Many unusual and rarely seen morays are common. Blue ringed angelfish swim around the rocks. This is a good spot for seeing reef sharks or even bull sharks.

Depth: 5 – 40m
Visibility: 15 – 50m
Currents: Can be strong
Surface conditions: Can be rough
Water temperature: 25 – 28°C
Experience level: Advanced
Number of dive sites: 3

High Rock
High Rock lies some 500 metres 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. Due to size of the island, getting around in a single dive is fairly easy to manage.
Marine Life
The walls feature orange and green cup corals and a small overhang.
Striped soldier fish and squirrel fish congregate together in the many cracks and crevices, and barrel sponges dominate the seabed with common lion fish sheltering from the currents inside the rims. False stonefish can also be spotted here. Several grouper species such as white-lined and blue-lined grouper are common as are wrasse and leatherjackets. Look into the crags and you may be surprised to see Indian Ocean nurse sharks, residents of the Mergui, snoozing the day away.

Depth: 5 – 26m
Visibility: 5 – 15m
Currents: Can be strong
Surface conditions: Can be rough
Water temperature: 25 – 28°C
Experience level: Easy – intermediate
Number of dive sites: 1

North Twin Plateau
1 kilometre to the north west of North Twin lie a series of sloping rocky ridges known as North Twin Plateau. This is a deep dive site that drops beyond 40m in places.
Marine Life
The boulder ridges have sea fans, featherstars, and flower corals clinging to the substrate. Local inhabitants include several loose groups of teira batfish, malabar groupers and nurse sharks hidden under the overhangs. Pelagic species such as great barracuda and bluefin tuna are seen patrolling in open water.
Its waters are visited by pelagic fish such as Zambezi – bull sharks, rainbow runners, and eagle rays. Manta rays also pay a visit here. Currents can be strong, and visibility is usually excellent.

North Twin Pinnacle
Several 100 m west of North Twin Island the dive site starts at 10 metres below the surface and drops down to 40 metres. The dive site is made up of large granite boulders.
Marine Life
The boulders are carpeted in purple soft corals and spiny sea urchins. Ember parrotfish, powder blue surgeon fish and blue-ringed angelfish swim between the rocks. Cuttlefish can often be seen in the shallower areas and hawksbill turtles are common, especially on morning dives when they can be found resting under rocky ledges. At around 25 m you can find Idian nurse sharks sleeping under overhangs.

Depth: 12 – 35m
Visibility: 15 – 40m
Currents: Can be strong
Surface conditions: Can be rough
Water temperature: 25 – 28°C
Experience level: Intermediate – advanced
Number of dive sites: 3

Western Rocky Island
A dramatic underwater terrain greets you at this divesite. It includes a long underwater arch and tunnel where large tawny nurse sharks are often seen resting or even guarding. The tunnel leads from one side of the island to another and is completely dark in the middle.

Marine Life
Marine life ranges from the tiniest nudibranch to occasional whale shark visits.
On the Southern Wall anemones and pore corals proliferate with a myriad of fish life, including thousands of glassfish being hunted by trevally. Fimbriated moray eels are common and banded sea snakes can be seen.

The south side of Western Rocky is a wall dive with gorgonian sea fans, feather stars and sea whips protruding from the wall. There are some small rocks a short swim away from the wall, in deeper water where white tip reef sharks can be found.

Depth: 5 – 35m
Visibility: 10 – 45m
Currents: Can be strong
Surface conditions: Can be rough
Water temperature: 25 – 28°C
Experience level: Advanced
Number of dive sites: 3

Burma Banks
The most famous dive site in Myanmar, the Burma Banks are enormous, flat topped sea mounts, rising to within 15 metres of the Andaman Sea surface, before plunging back down into the surrounding 300 metre deep waters.

Marine Life
The Burma Banks – Big, Silvertip, Rainbow and Roe Bank, plus Coral and Heckford Banks, offer some adrenaline-rich open ocean diving, and shark encounters are virtually guaranteed. Nurse sharks are frequently seen, with occasional grey reef shark sightings – you might see here.

Depth: 15 – >40m
Visibility: 20 – 40m
Currents: Can be strong
Surface conditions: Can be rough
Water temperature: 25 – 28°C
Experience level: Intermediate – advanced
Number of dive sites: 5

Three Stooges  ( 3 Islets) – Shark Cave
Shark Cave is 2 km north of Great Swinton Island and is made up of 3 small islets, the centre islet being the largest at 100 metres wide. In sharp contrast to the bare rocks that identify this site at the surface, Shark Cave will surprise you with its abundance of marine life.

Marine Life
Shark Cave is known for its resident docile nurse sharks. The ragged cave entrance is on the north west corner of the islet, and is 5-16 metres deep. Often found guarding the entance are several long-fin trevally and silver sweetlips. They come to hunt for the masses of juvenile barracudas, cave sweepers and silversides. The tunnel is 20 metres long and the ceiling is covered in beautiful marigold cup corals, and the floors with yellow sponges. Watch out for the strong surge as you make your way through, but you may just find some large rock lobsters.
Grey reef sharks can sometimes be met cruising through the tunnel, just stay close together. Groups of white tip reef sharks can also make a surprising appearance.

Three Stooges – Square Rock
The small rocky outcrop to the north is called Square Rock. This insignificant chalk white rock drops vertically down to about 15 metres before jumbled rocks spread out wider, reaching the sandy bottom at 26 metres. This site is dived in a circular fashion if currents will permit, and there is a smaller sister pinnacle just to the south. Currents can be fierce here with strong up and down currents.
Marine Life
Square Rock’s walls have green and orange Antipathes black corals, and white Anthothelidae sea fans. Check out the bases of these to try and spot the minute banded pipefish. In the cracks are hidden nocturnal grey bamboo sharks, a small species about half a metre in length. Under rocks at the bottom of the walls whitetip reef sharks and small nurse sharks can be found. This reef is full of scorpionfish, some small and well camouflaged, and some huge specimens almost half a metre long.
Three Stooges – Pinnacle
The southern outcrop, often just called The Pinnacle, is slightly deeper at 30 metres.
Marine Life
Olive green Theonella Cylindrica sponges and anemones with their attendant anemone crabs and saddleback anemonefish can be found here. Like the rest of the site too, there are innumerous scorpionfish here. At the safety stop, you’re likely to see porcupinefish and occassional schools of rainbow runners, darting past. Currents can also be strong here.
Tree Stooges – Submarine
The reef on the north east side of the islet (to 25 metres) is rugged with black and white featherstars, and green tube corals and cup corals.
Marine Life
Black and white banded sea snakes and black-blotched fantail rays hunt over the reef. Look closely for yellow ornate or harlequin ghost pipefish and tigertail seahorses. Bent stick pipefish can also be seen out on the sandy bottom. At night there are decorated sponge crabs, going about their daily chores. These rather drab-looking creatures are masters of disguise. Turn their back on you, and you could well think that you are staring at a lump of sponge. In the shallow areas magnificent anemones add colour, as do Clark’s and tomato anemone fish and the western clownfish.
Depth: 5 – 30m
Visibility: 10 – 40m
Currents: Can be strong
Surface conditions: Can be rough
Water temperature: 25 – 28°C
Experience level: Advanced
Number of dive sites: 3

Tower Rock
It 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.

Marine Life
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 fuseliers 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.

Depth: 10 – 35m
Visibility: 10 – 50m
Currents: Can be strong
Surface conditions: Can be rough
Water temperature: 25 – 28°C
Experience level: Advanced
Number of dive sites: 2

Nar Nat Thee
The west side of the island offers a fairly protected dive spot which is suitable for night dive. The bottom descents gently from the island and is mostly sand with scattered rocks and hard coral blocks. The max. depth is 15-16m, depending on how far of the island you explore the bottom.

Marine Life
You will find variety of hard corals, whip corals and soft corals as well a oysters, mussels and clams. The smaller cracks are filled with shrimps and crabs. Watch out for ornate ghost pipe fish and also nurse sharks resting in the sand.

Depth: 6 – 15m
Visibility: 10 – 15m
Currents: Mild to moderate
Surface conditions: Mild
Water temperature: 25 – 28°C
Experience level: Beginner
Number of dive sites: 2

Parsons Rock
Parsons Rock is a triangular shaped rock running in south-north direction barely touching the surface during the low tide and hard to find druing hide tide.
It’s quite famous amongst divers and fishermen, due to abundance of schooling fish that is surrounding the pinnacle.
Marine Life
If you a true admirer of schooling fish, this is definitely a site you don’t want to miss. here you can find every kind of fish schools that are common in this area, fuseliers, snappers and yellow tailed barracudas. amongst residents, you get all kind of moray eels sharings the same hole, even tough they are differnt species.
Depth: 5 – 40m
Visibility: 15 – 30m
Currents: Moderate
Surface conditions: Moderate
Water temperature: 25 – 28°C
Experience level: Advanced
Number of dive sites: 2

Mc Carthy Rock
The Rock, which is located below the southern tip of the island is shaped like a longstreched fin with gaps in between.
Most of the dive will be done on the western longside, however, there are beautiful canyons and tunnels which a wide enough to cross over from one side to the other. Due to tight currents the time and direction have to be choosen with care. Not ideal for novice divers.

Marine Life
The walls are bautifully decorated with red and yellow soft corals. When you get closer to the sandy bottom you will see huge fans as well. Cuttle fish are common here.

Depth: 5 – 25m
Visibility: 10 – 25m
Currents: mild to strong
Surface conditions: mild
Water temperature: 25 – 28°C
Experience level: Advanced
Number of dive sites: 3

Fan Forrest
This site is just a few miles north of Western Rocky. The pinnacle rises from a depth well beyond the limits of recreational diving, to about 5 m below the surface. it features huge orange sea fans, black corals, and large barrel sponges.

Marine Life
The potential for spotting larger fish is excellent, but even if you do not, the dive site itself is very dramatic with plenty of fish life, including groupers or potato cods at the deeper spots.


Depth: 5 – >50m
Visibility: 5 – 15m
Currents: moderate
Surface conditions: moderate
Water temperature: 25 – 28°C
Experience level: Advanced
Number of dive sites: 1

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