Anemone Reef gets its name from the mass of gorgeous blue and green coloured anemones that cover this huge lime-stone pinnacle. Its Thai name is Hin Jom which means 'submerged rock' and this is a popular and beautiful Phuket dive site. Located about 600 metres north of Shark Point Marine Sanctuary, the rock rises 30 metres up from the sea floor to just beneath the surface then abruptly ends and drops back to a bottom of sand and oyster shells.
Vast fields of sea anemones cling to every conceivable surface and gently sway in the current creating the illusion that the giant rock is alive. As expected there are plenty of colourful anemonefish and clownfish living and hiding among the anemones that make great photo opportunities.
Diving this Phuket site usually begins with a descent to the bottom of the pinnacle from where you can then slowly circle your way up the pinnacle. Currents can be strong here at times so it's advised to navigate the reef by zigzagging to avoid finning against the current.
The profusion of sea anemones and the nutrient-rich water are a magnet to a vast array of reef fish found feeding or taking shelter. Large schools of tropical fish abound including various species of snapper, grouper and fusiliers, as well as soldierfish that congregate together in the crevices. Red-tailed butterflyfish, bannerfish, Moorish idols, trumpet fish, cornetfish and parrotfish are all common here as at the other Phuket dive sites.
Anemone Reef is also a well-known site for common and spotfin lionfish, sometimes encountered in-groups of up to 10. You can see them gliding about in the open or resting in the barrel sponges away from the current. The barrel sponges dot the lower slopes, and you can sometimes find large bearded scorpionfish resting inside them too. Away from the barrel rims, these fish are often difficult to spot as they are able to change their skin colour and markings to perfectly blend in with the granite rocks that they rest upon.
The pinnacle's eastern slope is covered in huge lemon sea fans. Look closely as they provide a safe haven for smaller critters such as the yellow tiger-tail seahorses. You can spot them at the deeper levels of the site but it takes a good eye and patience!
Oriental sweetlips and harlequin sweetlips can also be seen under the corals and you may even be lucky enough to see the exquisite juvenile harlequin sweetlips. There are plenty of giant morays, undulated and white-eyed moray eels too, as well as the odd honeycomb moray eel.
In the shallower parts of the dive, look in and around the anemones for their resident fish; you can see plenty of skunk, pink, Clark's and tomato anemonefish, among others. However, they are not the only creatures to inhabit the anemones; porcelain crabs can be seen hiding here along with shrimps. Damselfish such as the 3 spot dascyllus are also seen everywhere.
Anemone Reef's proximity to Shark Point means you are likely to see a leopard shark passing by, also larger game-fish like tuna and barracuda. You may even spot a hawksbill turtle that is frequently seen here and on the King Cruiser Wreck.
Anemone Reef Reef Basics: Anemone-covered pinnacle
Depth: 6 - 25m
Visibility: 5 - 20m
Surface conditions: Can be rough
Water temperature: 27 - 30°C
Experience level: Intermediate
Number of dive sites: 1
Diving season: All year round
Distance: ~26 km east of Phuket (1¾ hours), 19 km west of Phi Phi (2 hours), 40 km southwest of Krabi (3 hours)
Access: Krabi, Phi Phi and Phuket diving day trips
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