Reef And Coral Diving in Pattaya
Pattaya has an excellent range of hard and soft corals ranging from depths of 3-25 meters. They include sponges, sea whips, barrel sponges, table corals, sea anemones and sea fans. Marine life includes angelfish, sand rays, blue-spotted rays, pufferfish, moray eels, boxfish and schooling fish. Turtles are also seen on a daily basis.
With an experienced dive guide, you can easily slip away from the main reef and explore the sandy muck diving areas. For Macro Diving enthusiasts, this is where some of Pattaya’s best-kept diving secrets can be found. You may encounter anything from rare species of Nudibranch, exotic shrimps or crustaceans, leafy filefish, pipefish, pegasus fish, octopus or snake eel. Especially lookout for the thorny sea urchins as they provide a perfect habitat for the local seahorse species (hippocampus spinosissimus). Take a minute and have close up inspection of this type of urchin and you might get lucky.
There are many coral dive sites around the Pattaya islands and as far south as Samae San and Sattahip. The best is Koh Rin, which is 22 km away from Pattaya beach and has a few great dive sites around just one island. Also out on the Pattaya far islands, Koh Manwichai is a very nice dive site. Max depth.25m. The biggest creatures we usually encounter here are turtles, Blue-spotted rays, Barracuda and once in a while, big marble rays will pay a visit.
The Pattaya near islands also have a few surprises. turtles are seen regularly at many of the nearby dive sites and for more experienced divers, the near island shipwrecks now have a large amount of coral growth.
Coral growth rates vary between species. Some species, such as staghorn coral can grow as much as 10-20 cm per year whilst other corals can be as slow as 1 cm per year.
Growth rates are influenced by environmental conditions and change in response to any environmental disturbances including changes in ocean chemistry, changing ocean temperatures and sunlight, etc.
Seafari joined Ocean Quest in a program to propagate and grow new natural coral reefs around the Pattaya area.
The most common species of coral around Pattaya are stony varieties, such as the finger-like Porites lutea, the table coral Acropora formosa, Acropora nobilis and Acropora humilis and brush corals like Pocillopora damicornis.