Phuket Dive Sites
Shark Point is part of a marine sanctuary and is justifiably one of the most popular of the local sites for scuba diving in Phuket. The official Thai name for this site is Hin Musang or 'Shark Rock', named after the docile leopard sharks (Stegastoma varium) that are often encountered here resting on the sandy seafloor.
These docile creatures grow up to approximately 2.5 metres, are nocturnal, and sleep on the sandy bottom at the edge of the reef during the day. Shark Point offers a great opportunity to get up close to these trusting, approachable sharks and take photos. Remember though not to take advantage of their docile nature and touch the sharks; handling by divers in no way benefits them and can cause infection and distress.
Situated approximately 25 kilometres east of Chalong Bay in Phuket, this site was given official marine sanctuary status in 1992 by the Thai government to protect the abundant eco-system and preserve the huge variety of marine life that lives here. Consequently all forms of fishing have been banned along with the collecting of marine life. Official mooring buoys are in place to prevent damage from anchors.
Shark Point is made up of 3 large rock pinnacles, the largest of which breaks the surface and appears as a tiny rock outcropping when approaching from the sea. Beneath the surface lies a large multicoloured reef the size of which surprises most people. The rocks reach a depth of about 18 to 20 metres and teem with an abundance and vast array of marine life. The sheer density and diversity of coral and fish life makes diving here a wonderful, visual experience.
As well as leopard sharks, bamboo sharks can be found here hiding under the coral ledges but there is so much more to see aside from the sharks. There are vast schools of tropical fish, plenty of purple and pink coloured soft corals and sea fans that decorate the limestone pinnacles, as well as huge barrel sponges. The 3 pinnacles form 3 main sections to the reef and several days can easily be spent exploring the different facets of the site. Literally every surface is covered in something alive and the surrounding water is filled with fish!
Schools of fusiliers are all around the reef along with glassfish which form a constantly moving carpet over the rocks. Hunting trevaliies cause these schools to disperse intermittently. Lionfish are seen all over the reef - sometimes as many as 20 in one dive! Scorpionfish are also common but harder to spot as they are incredibly well camouflaged against the coral. There are many different types of pufferfish including the yellow boxfish. Moorish idols and bannerfish are plentiful and blue-ringed angelfish and emperor angelfish are also common. The very timid potato groupers can grow up to 1 metre long.
There are plenty of moray eels living in the crevices and banded sea snakes can be seen in the shallower areas. Just off the south west corner of the main rock lays a small outcrop at 18 metres deep which is home to a bright yellow seahorse. Keep a sharp eye out also for banded boxer shrimps, hinge-beak shrimps and white-eyed morays.
From the relatively steep main rock pinnacle, the reef flattens out to the south until it rises towards the surface again several hundred metres away. Currents can be strong at this site providing plenty of nutrients for the hundreds of different species of hard corals and tropical fish. There are plenty of places to shelter from the current and when it runs in the right direction it can allow for an excellent drift dive back to the dive boat.
A visit to Shark Point Marine Sanctuary is an excellent Phuket diving experience at any time of the year.
Shark Point Reef Basics: Pinnacles with soft and hard corals
Depth: 5 - 22m
Visibility: 5 - 20m
Surface conditions: Can be rough
Water temperature: 27 - 30°C
Experience level: Intermediate
Number of dive sites: 3
Diving season: All year round
Distance: ~25 km east of Phuket (1¾ hours), 20 km west of Phi Phi (2 hours), 40 km southwest of Krabi (3 hours)
Access: Krabi, Phi Phi and Phuket dive daytrips
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