Camera Bay: a dive where you will want your Camera!
Camera Bay is located on the North-Western part of Racha Noi Island, one of the Racha Islands, (also known as Raya Islands) around 12-15 miles South of Phuket. This comprises of two islands; Koh Racha Yai and Koh Racha Noi. Koh Racha Noi, “Ko / Koh” meaning island, “Noi” in Thai meaning Small or Less, and is the furthest; roughly 45-60 minutes past Racha Yai.
As you pass Racha Yai on your way to Racha Noi be sure to keep your eyes peeled as, Dolphins, Sail Fish and even Whales are regularly spotted here!
As Racha Noi is the “last” dive site before the Andaman Sea really starts to gets deep the location and water movement helps brings in the larger pelagic fishes Including Manta Rays, the occasional Whale shark, large Tuna, Barracuda, Trevallies and Black Tip and White Tip Reef Sharks, which Racha Noi is famous for! And it's a great place to dive Phuket!
Camera Bay itself is suitable for all levels of divers with little current and an excellent variety of hard corals with white sandy patches surrounded by the boulders and rocky edges of the island itself. Although sheltered from the current in the bay a popular end to the dive is to go out of the bay and drift. As such divers often exit the bay and let the current take them North where the boat will be waiting for you.
Depths start from 5-15m in the bay itself going off to 30m+ as you head North out of the bay, with visibility the usual 10-30m+
Racha Noi Camera Bay: yes you will want your camera with you
Camera Bay has a “centre” of flat sand around 18m surrounded by an interesting mixture of Hard corals and rocks. These rocks are like the large granite boulders which make up The Similan Islands.
To start the dive, we normally enter the water well inside the bay where there are several permanent moorings. We then descend down to around 5-8m onto the sand where you will find plenty of Kuhl’s Stingray and Garden Eels. Rebreather divers see if you can sneak up on the Garden Eels before they vanish into their holes. Additionally there lots of Partner Shrimps with their friend; a little Gobie.
In and around the rocks you will find everything you have come to expect from Phuket Diving. This includes Butterfly Fish, Parrot Fish, Anemone Fish and Nudibranchs. You can often find Octopus and Cuttlefish among the rocks and corals. Additionally, there is also schooling Barracudas, Triggerfish, Puffer and Porcupine Fish. And if you are lucky a turtle or two. For macro enthusiasts if you look very carefully you should be able to find a Frog Fish, otherwise known as an Angler Fish. These tend to hide in the yellow Finger Coral, however if you can’t, ask your PADI Divemaster to show you one.
When you have finished inside the bay we usually head to the Northern end of the bay. Here you will find a “ridge” which marks the end of the bay. From here head North with the current for a bit of a drift dive before being picked up.
Be warned though that there are depths of more than 30m and if you are not careful, especially when the visibility is excellent, it is easy to go deeper than planned. Again, especially when the current is strong.
Diving in currents at Camera Bay
If you don’t have much or any experience diving in currents, such as a number of our European and American Customers who generally dive in Lakes, then Racha Noi is an excellent place to take your PADI Drift Dive Specialty Diver Course. We schedule these courses for Racha Noi whenever we can, as almost all the Phuket dive sites can be used for some terrific drift dives. If you are qualified to make Drift Dives ask your Instructor to organise the logistics with the boat Tour Leader.
DO NOT do this without permission / instructions from the Tour Leader! However there really are some superb Drift Dives possible around Racha Noi.
On a lucky day, maybe a Manta Ray will pop round the rocks and boulders to have a look at you ...