High Rock: the Rock that Rocks!
High Rock is located about 21 nautical miles South East of Great Swinton Island. Or in other words, about 6 hours by Liveaboard Safari from Kawthaung. High Rock appears insignificant, especially when compared with the much larger surrounding islands, however jump in and you are in for a pleasant surprise.
From the surface High Rock appears to be a large limestone pinnacle with one lonely tree sitting up on top. As such this makes for some very panoramic and memorable photographs and are a great “souvenir” to remember your Burma Liveaboard Safari. Being close to Thailand, High Rock is typically one of the first dive sites on a Myanmar itinerary. And you could like to dive Phuket, in order to refresh your skills and get back into Dive Mode, then we can easily around a Phuket Day Trip for you before your Burma Liveaboard!
Abundant with small macro life with the definite possibility for larger marine life, High Rock is a great site for starting your adventure in the Mergui Archipelago.
What is the best way to dive High Rock?
The best way to start a dive at High Rock is to first find out the situation with the current.
The current generally runs Northeast to Southwest or vice versa. Hence the easiest way to carry out this dive is to have the captain drop you on the sheltered side of the island. It is of course possible to jump in a current and drift around the side of the island into the sheltered area. However, if doing this, then please jump in close to the island so you don’t get blown off. Once you are in, you can then spiral around the island and change direction if you encounter a current moving against you.
The East Side of High Rock is a sheer wall running down to a sandy bottom at 30m. In contrast, the Western side has a more sloping reef covered in Gorgonian Seafans and delicate green Tubestrae hard corals.
Although locals have been fishing this area for years, for once this is no bad thing. Consequently, the steep side of the island is covered with old fishing nets filled with aged barnacles and oysters. However, the netting provides a perfect camouflage for the Seahorses and Pipefish which can often be found hiding within. The netting also provides a deep curtain down the side of the dive site. Therefore, you must be careful not to go inside any subsequent makeshift caves to avoid entanglement.
Please be sure to carry a knife when diving High Rock.
Extending your Dive Time on High Rock
The island is not huge and current allowing you can swim around the entire site underwater in about 50 mins. Or if you are diving on a Rebreather, several times.
With these depths ranges this Burma dive site is perfect for diving on Nitrox / EANx. Nitrox is available on many Burma Liveaboards. Nitrox significantly increases your dive time by changing the amount of Nitrogen in the air you are breathing. As such you get longer dive times.
If you are not already a certified EANx Diver we can easily enroll you in a PADI Enriched Air Diver Course while you are on your Burma Liveaboard Safari.
If you look along the sandy areas between 20-25m, a short distance from the main pinnacle, you should find some Blotched Fantail Rays. This is in addition to an all-time favorite, some Bluespotted Stingrays. Yellow Snappers fill this dive site along with Barracuda, Lionfish, Scorpionfish, Cuttlefish and Squid.
As you move on up the wall look in the nooks and crannies to spot various types of shrimps and crabs.
The North-Eastern side of the site has an open channel at about 12m depth. Whalesharks have been spotted from this channel so keep your eyes open.