West of Eden
Situated on the west side of Island 7 (Koh Pa-Yu) West of Eden is a typical western Similan Island dive site consisting of giant granite boulders that create nice small canyons and crevices. Its walls are encrusted with colourful numerous sea fans, soft corals and sponges. Different marine life dominates this small reef.
Some refer to it also as ‘West of Six’. When East of Eden became too crowded and for the moment, the site is even temporarily closed, liveaboard tour operators started to look for a new dive site nearby and discovered West of Eden. It certainly has enough trumps.
Depths Range from 12 -30 meters with good visibility and it is a great dive for all levels. West of Eden is sometimes classified as a Drift dive and a great place for spotting and diving with Sharks!
All about the dive at West of Eden - Similan Islands
Drop in and ascend the maximum depth on either the northern or southernmost tip of the site and slowly drift with the current, while shallow up to small coral gardens and bommies. The walls and canyons are without doubt the main highlight, so don’t travel too far north of south where a rubble and sand slope to 30 meters. Tons of glass fish cover the rocks. Keep an ear out for the creaking boulder, quite an eerie sound when diving.
The shallows are home to many reef fishes, and have stacked granite boulders covered with hard corals, soft corals, feather stars and gorgonians. The size, shape and appearance of the gorgonians are highly correlated with their location. The more fan-shaped and flexible gorgonians tend to populate shallower areas with strong currents, while the taller, thinner and stiffer gorgonians can be found in deeper, calmer waters.
It is also quite common to see large schools of pelagic fiches such as Barracudas, giant trevallies, and groupers. Yellowback and neon fusiliers often shoot past, typically in trains of a few hundred, and sometimes tuna arrive, on the hunt for tasty morsels. The critter fans will be delighted with many nudibranchs, ghost pipefishes, cowrie shells and fire goby. Lucky for the diver who can spot frogfish or stonefish - their camouflage disguise is simply fantastic – they often cannot be easily seen as they look similar to rocks or coral.
The Similan Islands are well known for their shrimp-goby symbiotic partnerships; goby and shrimps live and work in pairs, sharing a home in the sand. The shrimp having poor eyesight relies on the goby to look out for danger, and the goby makes the most of having its very own cleaner!
The marine life is indeed diverse with moray eels, hawksbill sea turtle and black and whitetip reef shark at lower depths.
Unlike the blacktip reef shark, the whitetip reef shark can lie motionless for hours on the bottom and actively pump water over its gills for respiration They hunt primarily at night or during slack tide when many fishes are asleep and easily taken, and spend much of the day resting inside caves alone or in small groups. Individuals may stay within a particular area of the reef for months to years, time and again returning to the same shelter. Whitetip reef sharks are rarely aggressive towards humans, though they may investigate swimmers closely.