Ko Bon West Ridge: diving with Manta Rays
Just north of the Similan Islands you will find Ko Bon, a beautiful uninhabited limestone island famed as being one of the best places in Thailand for seeing the big pelagic fish. And one of the favourite Similan & Surin dive sites is Ko Bon West Ridge. Ko Bon West Ridge is especially good between October and May, and scuba divers often have the chance to scuba dive and snorkel with Oceanic Manta rays and Whale sharks.
Add this in addition to all the Hard Corals and the sheer abundance of marine life. Ko Bon West Ridge is a dive site you don’t want to miss, or ever leave. And if you haven't dived for a while, why not refresh your dive skills and dive Phuket before your Ko Similan & Surin Liveaboard Trip? We can easily arrange for a Phuket Scuba Diving Day Trip for you. After all you wouldn't dive skills and miss the ....
Mantas, Mantas, Mantas ...
Will I dive with Mantas at Ko Bon West Ridge?
Ko Bon West Ridge is very large dive site and the jump-in point is generally determined by the currents. Remember the currents can be quite strong here. Thus, if the current is moving North, then divers generally jump in to the water in a sheltered bay at the South of the island. There is a is a wall you follow down to about 15m, which gets deeper as you move further West.
Along the wall you should be looking for Banded Boxer Shrimp, Moray Eels and various types of rare and colourful Nudibranchs. Additionally, found here is the Maldivian Sponge Snail. This is a small strange, black, rubbery looking creature that according to the marine identification books can only be found in the Maldives. However, they can be seen at Ko Bon West Ridge as well as several other places in Thailand.
Ko Bon West Ridge is full of Snappers, Sweetlips and Groupers. Moreover, guests are always amazed by the abundance of marine life and how healthy the reef is.
Ko Bon West Ridge Wall
At the bottom of Ko Bon West Ridge wall there is a very healthy sloping hard coral reef. This goes down to about 27m and inhabited by several large varieties of fish. Here you can find Napoleon Wrasses and Giant Sweetlips. And there is also the “usual” Leopard sharks that can be seen on the sand. This is at the edge of the reef throughout the dive site. In fact, last season there has been a mating pair who appeared blissfully unaware of divers as they courted each other over the reef.
The wall continues out for another 50 or 60m after the island ends at the surface. From here it turns into what can be best described as “an underwater ridge with jutting uneven edges.” On either side of the ridge is a deep plateau between 24-35m deep. And depending on how far along the ridge you are, you will see schools of Snappers and Sweetlips. Our friend The Napoleon Wrasse is usually here, along with Banded Sea Snakes, Moral Eels and Lion Fish.
Do NOT miss The Manta Fly-By
One thing we know you will be doing at Ko Bon West Ridge is looking for Mantas! Ko Bon West Ridge is one of THE places in Thailand to see Manta Rays.
Look out into the blue and keep your eyes open for Mantas. Quite often you will see them first if you are looking carefully, however if not, you might well get dive-bombed by a Manta Fly-By!
Please remember to be very aware of your position in the water column. This is because strong currents can make coming back to the reef tricky if you don’t pay attention! Every season divers get blown away and must picked up separately.
Coming around the end of the ridge you can head towards the Northern side of the dive site where you can look out for Trevallies, Barracuda and various types of Snappers. One of the coral pinnacles in this area acts as a cleaning station for the Mantas so take care not to sit over the top of it or the Mantas will consider this cleaning station to be occupied and move along further north and you will lose sight of them.
Rebreather Divers enjoy this dive site due to the fact they can easily explore the whole dive site. This is of course in addition to when the Mantas appear. After all who could resist NOT being on a Rebreather and spending a couple of hours swimming with Mantas.
Can I dive on Nitrox?
The PADI Nitrox (EANx) Course is one of the best courses to be taking while you are on a Liveaboard Safari in The Similan and Surin Islands. This is because the depths of the dive sites ensure that you will get the maximum dive time that you can with a one tank dive. Thus, you will find that you are running out of gas well before you run out of dive time!
The PADI Nitrox course can easily be taught on any Similan / Surin Liveaboard. Just ask us and we can include the course in your Liveaboard package.
Currents at Ko Bon West Ridge
One point to note is that the currents can change with very little notice. Consequently, if the current starts going against you, an experienced Dive Guide will turn the dive and go back into the bay. This is at the Southern side of the Island. In addition you will probably be surprised by the sheer number of schooling fish. It really is like an aquarium and you could easily spend 15 minutes just staying in one place. Therefore, please do keep an eye on your no decompression time / your dive time.
If the current is running South the dive site can of course be done in reverse. By this we mean jumping in on the Northern side as there is a large very healthy area of Hard Corals running out to a rocky outcropping. This drops down to 30m at the back and current allowing, you could easily spend an entire dive just on this area. There are many Blotched Fantail Rays, Barracuda, in addition to the Leopard / Blacktip and Whitetip Reef Sharks.
Ko Bon West Ridge typically has excellent visibility and is worthy of more than one dive. This is demonstrated by the fact that most Thailand Liveaboards usually make several dives here. Hopefully this gives you plenty of opportunity to experience the Mantas and huge abundance of marine life to be seen here.
Don’t miss diving Ko Bon West Ridge ...