Black Rock: A must for anyone diving Burma!
Lying 188km northwest of the Thai / Burmese (Myanmar) border town of Kawthaung, Black Rock rises from the water to about 10m above sea level. Occupying the only shallow water in the area, Black Rock is roughly 70km from the nearest inhabited island. On most Burma Liveaboard Safaris this is typically the Northern most Burmese dive site you will dive.
Black Rock is a jagged edged limestone island which looks almost menacing and inviting. That is until you drop below the surface to find massive banks of Anemones and carpets of purple Soft Coral. In fact you could say that this dive site can have it ALL! For those who like the “Big Stuff” there are giant Oceanic Manta rays and Whale Sharks can usually found here. In fact this dive site has been recognized by esteemed marine biologist Andrea Marshall, ‘Queen of the Mantas’, as one of the Top 10 Manta Ray sites in the world. And in addition for the Macro fans, there is also an abundance of minuscule Harlequin Shrimp and Ornate Ghost Pipefish.
For ANY Burma / Myanmar Liveaboard Trip, Black Rock should definitely be on your bucket list ...
What is the best diving at Black Rock in Burma?
Not only Black Rock is one of the best Dive Sites in Burma, but is actually a collection of different dive sites rolled into one!
To start the dive, you can go several ways depending on the current. And also, which side of the dive site you wish to start from. Along the Eastern side of Black Rock is a sloping coral reef that drops down to 25-30m. This then slowly edges out into a series of rocks at 40-45m which then drops off much deeper than that.
This is a great dive site and one of the best Burma Dive Sites for your PADI Deep Diver Course dives. If you are not yet an Advanced Open Water Diver, then you should consider taking the course. Or if not, then least the Deep Adventure Dive. This is because a lot of the best dives are greater than 18m. Therefore, if you are lucky enough to be on a Burma Liveaboard Safari, it would a shame to miss out on the best Burma diving!
If you dive the West side you will see there is a more significant wall dropping steeply. This drops off to 30m before another set of boulders. These boulders level out before another big drop off down to even deeper water. The North and Southern end of the sites are steep boulder walls. As such you should be prepared for some hectic down currents.
As the current brings you from one side of the dive site to the other, there is some marine life you should be looking for.
What marine life can I hope to see?
When diving at Black Rock you should be looking out for schools of Barracuda. These can be found at most depths, in addition to the various types of sharks and large Stingrays which hang out across the sand. Moreover, there are usually plenty of Eagle rays and Oceanic Manta Rays all along the dive site.
We typically make 4 dives here at Black Rock, all in the space of the 1 day. And we have often seen more than 10 individual Mantas in a single day.
Black Rock has many great things to offer divers aside from Mantas
There are lots of Giant Frogfish, Bentstick Pipefish, Harlequin Shrimp and Peacock Mantis Shrimps. These are just a few of the ‘specials’ that can regularly be found here. You should also be keeping your eyes peeled for the school of large tuna and trevallies that like to hunt along the top of the reef. Various types of moray eels inhabit the reef, some of which you don’t commonly see in other areas.
Do be careful with your buoyancy as Scorpionfish, Lionfish and Sea Urchins do populate these reefs and are often well spread out over the boulders.
As you move up to the purple soft corals you will see Glassfish swirling trying to avoid the predatory hunting fish. Additionally, we usually see Cuttlefish, often in mating pairs, in the shallow area above 10m as you head up to make your safety stop.
For those of you who are already certified as a PADI Rebreather Diver or Advanced PADI Rebreather, this can one of the best dive sites for a 3-hour long Rebreather dive! Chris and Indepth can supply you with scrubbers and support for your Rebreather diving trip.
Commonly regarded as one of the best scuba diving dive sites in the Southern Mergui Archipelago Black Rock is well worth a visit. And we have often had guests asking if we can spend an entire 2nd day here ...