Located just off the southern point of Koh Ha, Similan island no. 5, Hideaway is often referred to as 'Barracuda Point', however schools of barracuda are not that common here any more.
This is an interesting Similan diving site which combines some of the best features of the different topographies that dominate the local seascape. Some parts of the dive are mostly large boulders and other sections constitute fringing coral reef. The visibility is generally good here, above 20m and currents are normally mild so this dive site is suitable for all levels of diver. The maximum depth is 35m and the reef rises up as shallow as 7m.
The southernmost area of the dive is the deepest and here you'll find the largest sunken boulders which typify diving in the Similans. These deeper, more isolated boulders resting on the sandy sea bed have smooth, clean surfaces with little coral growth, save for a few clinging dark green branching cup corals. Look on the sand to see the occasional blue-spotted Kuhl's stingray as it hurriedly darts away from you. Black-spot garden eels can also be seen here. By the southwest corner of island 5 is the wreck of a Taiwanese fishing boat, 'The Tuna Wreck', sunk by the national park in 2003 and sitting between 26 and 40 metres.
Most of the splashes of colour are provided by the clown triggerfish as it explores the rocks. Batfish are normally in evidence along with emperor angelfish. You may spot a solitary great barracuda out in the blue away from the reef as well as schools of yellowfin goatfish that add yet more colour.
Moving shallower and further north, the rocks are alive with soft corals and sea whips. You'll notice plenty of sea stars, urchins and sea cucumbers as you come to the sloping reef at around 20m. The reef is home to schooling bannerfish, moorish idols, trumpetfish and dogfaced pufferfish. Oriental sweetlips are often seen resting under the table corals at the Similans. Checkered snapper and blue lined snapper are common, as are bicolour parrotfish, wrasse and fusiliers.
Further on you come to a series of small structures set up by the national park in 2005 as a memorial of the tsunami. They are set in about 10m depth, just as the flat sand starts to slope down. There also a couple of small statues of mermaids in this same area, which is often used for night dives.
To the far north is a section of shallower reef covered in mosaic and star brain corals along with lobed pore corals. You can see small groups of common lionfish here, hiding out under the seclusion of the domed coral colonies. Powderblue surgeonfish and orangespine unicornfish feed on the coral surfaces while red fire gobies flit about above the sand. Reticulated damselfish cover the fingers of the knobbly wart corals as black pyramid butterflyfish glide gracefully through the shallows.
Hideaway Reef Basics: Boulders and fringing reef
Depth: 7 - 37m
Visibility: 20 - 40m
Surface conditions: Can be rough
Water temperature: 27 - 29°C
Experience level: Beginner - intermediate
Number of dive sites: 1
Diving season: October to May
Distance: ~90 km northwest of Phuket, 65 km west of Khao Lak
Access: Liveaboards and daytrips
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