Similan Diving Sites
East of Eden
Similan Island No.6 - Koh Payu
Please note that, due to extensive damage caused by coral bleaching, East of Eden has been closed to all Similan dive operators since 2011.
Located on the southeast coast of the island, this dive site has the most incredible bommie in the Similan Islands. Just to the south of the main reef and from a depth of 21 metres up to 12 metres, the concentration of marine life is unequalled in the Similans. The main body is covered in a breathtaking array of blue and purple soft corals, lobophyton soft corals, and red bulb tentacle anemones hosting skunk anemone fish and western clownfish. Small groups of redtail butterflyfish, checkered snapper and yellow boxfish are ever-present.
The lower reaches of the bommie have green sea fans and overhangs full of yellow soft corals. It's a good idea to bring a torch on this dive site as dory snapper and black snapper lurk here in the shadows, as well as the incredibly beautiful but reclusive regal angelfish. Pairs of longnose butterflyfish go about their endless feeding, unperturbed by prying eyes. Circling round on to the upper section the marine life is rich and diverse with a good chance to find a frogfish or other odd critters. Underwater photographers may spend half a dive on this bommie alone!
Elsewhere on the reef you'll drift gently along the lower reaches, spellbound by the magnificent maroon and golden gorgonian sea fans, some larger than yourself! The topography at the bottom of the reef is quite varied with many rock and small bommie formations, used by peacock groupers and large schools of blue-striped snappers and yellow goatfish.
Starting your ascent, you'll move over huge bankings of brown and sky blue-fringed sheet corals (echinopora lamellosa), stacked from 10 metres all the way down to 25 metres. Bluegreen pullers fly delicately around, yellow damsels and Indian triggerfish are common residents here. Yellowback and neon fusiliers often shoot past, typically in trains of a few hundred, and sometimes tuna arrive, on the hunt for tasty morsels.
As you come shallower still, any current that was present tends to die down and the dominant life forms change to table corals and stubbly finger corals with their resident brown and cream spiny-tailed puller damselfish and humbugs. The sandy shallows are interspersed with patches of blue corals, red elkhorn and fire corals. Octopus can be seen foraging through the coral rubble and 3-spot dascyllus are often nearby. Juvenile dascyllus display the 3 white spots for which this species is known, but as they mature the spots fade until they become jet black adults.
The abundant fish and coral life here makes East of Eden a popular choice for Similan liveaboards.
East of Eden Reef Basics: Fringing reef and coral bommies
Depth: 5 - 34m
Visibility: 20 - 40m
Currents: Can be strong
Surface Conditions: Calm
Water Temperature: 26 - 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: Similan liveaboard and day trips from Phuket
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