The Boonsung wreck started her life in the 1950’s as a tin dredger. This mining boat was owned by the Boonsung Tin Mining Company and operated up and down the Andaman coast throughout the tin mining boom, which ended early last decade. She sank in 1984 after some rough seas on the west coast of Thailand in one piece at 18-20 meters under sea level on a flat brown sandy seabed. It is also called the Bangsak Wreck, named after the village of Bangsak 5 km away. The boat itself was about 30 meters long, 10 meters wide and had a highest depth of 12 meters. At first, due to its large size, the wreck lay close to the surface making it a safety hazard to local fishing vessels. So the Thai Navy was called in to bomb the boat, reducing its height by collapsing the decks.
On top of that the 2004 tsunami damaged the wreck to the point that she broke into six main parts spread out on a small area. Over the years these wreck pieces developed into a well-populated artificial reef with an outstanding variety of marine life. With very few other places to for the fish to go in the area, they all hide at the shipwreck. A real “fish soup” as the locals describe it. Sometimes the density of fish makes it hard to spot the wreck while descending!
All about the dive at Boonsung wreck
Once you are down, you enter a world of huge clouds of juvenile yellowtail barracuda, yellow snapper and the hordes of common porcupinefish that linger around the bottom of the mooring line. Long-fin batfish serenely hang around in small groups and spotfin lionfish can be seen hovering the entire site. Lionfish are well known for their ornate beauty, venomous fin rays, and unique tentacles to attract their prey, mostly crab, shrimp and small fish like glassfish. They blow jets of water while approaching its prey, apparently to disorient them. The lionfish then spreads its large pectoral fins and swallows its prey in a single motion. Let us say, they always have the right of way.
Obviously, fish enough to spot. Whatever your taste is, also interesting is what you will find in nooks and niches like many types of moray eels who claim the wreck their home. The wreck is littered with nudibranchs - the kings of this site - including several rarer varieties. Ghost pipefish have been seen here, even seahorses. Since they are poor swimmers, sea horses are most likely to be found resting with their prehensile tails wound around soft coral. They have long snouts, which they use to suck up food, and their eyes can move independently of each other.
No wonder that the site is popular for macro photography.
In the open sandy areas keep an eye for leopard sharks and the occasional rays.
Although inviting, there is more than one reason why you shouldn’t penetrate the wreck. Firstly, the state of the wreck itself and the fact that bottom silt is so easily kicked up by careless or inexperienced divers, causing visibility to drop.
Also be aware of the sharp structures of the wreck and especially the numerous venomous fish like scorpionfish and stonefish waiting to ambush a next prey. Besides from that, it is perfectly safe to hover around this site and enjoy it all.