Racha Noi: Banana Bay a fun easy dive for everyone
Banana Bay is found on Racha Noi island, which lies 10-15 miles South of Phuket. Racha Noi is the “last” dive site before the Andaman Sea and is roughly one 45-60 minutes past Ko Racha Yai. When cruising between the Racha Islands keep your eyes open as Sailfish and dolphins can sometimes be seen jumping out of the water. Whales have also been spotted between the two Racha Islands.
Banana Bay is at the East side of Racha Noi, and got its name from the shape of the bay. Which not too surprisingly, looks like a banana. To be fair the bay is surrounded by banana trees, hence the name is actually quite accurate. The bay stretches almost 1km and thus provides postcard-quality scenery, with a beautiful green landscape, powdery white sand and crystal blue waters. A nice and easy dive site for beginners and PADI Open Water Diver Course students as there is plenty of places for skill practice. However, there is still plenty for experienced scuba divers.
Visibility is generally from 10m-30m+ with the depths ranging 2-40m+ ...
Banana Bay is an easy dive site for both beginner divers and experienced divers
Banana Bay is a large banana shaped bay with a gentle sloping sandy bottom. Here you will find a large number of small and large “pinnacles.” These are in the middle of the bay and are covered in Hard and Soft Corals. There are some nice “boulder rock formations” at the Southern end. There are in fact similar to the topography you can expect to see in The Similan and Surin Islands. Additionally, in the shallower waters areas there are some large Staghorn Coral fields.
In the shallow parts of the reef and out on the sand, Turtles can often be spotted. And if you are lucky maybe an Eagle Ray or 2 who seem to have made this bay their hang-out. Banana Bay is a nice, easy dive site and thus great for photographers. However not only is Banana Bay great for macro-photography, but also for some stunning landscape photography. Due in part to visibility usually being 20-30m in the October to May months.
Is underwater photography good at Banana Bay in Racha Noi?
One of the nice things about Banana Bay is the dive site is nicely laid out compared to other local dive sites. Consequently, there seems to be much more “space” than at the Racha Yai dive sites for example. As such this makes underwater photography very good a Banana Bay. This makes it a popular local dive site with Instructors for teaching the PADI Digital Underwater Photography Course. Not only due to the clarity of the water, but also the diverse marine life and large pelagic fish that come in from the deep.
After all who doesn’t want “Manta Ray Selfie” or a “Whale Shark Selfie?
The Racha Noi sites and Banana Bay are also liked by the Phuket Rebreather Diver Community. This is due to the aforementioned layout of the dive sites which allow for long drift dives along with some exciting dives in the deep.
You can find all the usual Phuket Andaman marine life you would expect see. There are many different species of Anemone Fish, Moray Eels, Butterfly Fish and Parrot Fish. Out on the sand you have Ghost Pipefish, Kuhl’s Stingray, Cuttlefish and Jenkins Rays.
Just keep your eyes open as you never know what you are going to find at Racha Noi. On a good day you maybe encounter with a shark or two, or even see a Manta Ray flying by ...