We as dive operators are passionate about the environment in which we live and work. Therefore we are very concerned about the condition of the reef. It is proven that there is absolutely no connection between diving and coral bleaching, but we feel the need to be even more careful around the reef to prevent further stress.
With more than 25 named dive sites, the region offers ample opportunity to dive and snorkel. Our recommendation would be to temporarily close the dive sites most affected in the Similan Islands, namely East of Eden, Beacon Reef and Breakfast Bend.
These dive sites are located on the east side of the islands. Dive sites on the west side have only been minimally affected and have many colorful corals and a wide range of marine life.
Famous dive sites such as Elephant Head Rock, Koh Tachai Pinnacle, and Richelieu Rock still offer great diving. The stag horn coral at Koh Bon has been affected; however there have been a record number of Manta Ray sightings this season.
In addition, we think it would be worth considering re-opening some of the dive sites around the southern Similan Islands, such as Fantasy Reef, which has had a number of years to recover.
Simultaneously, the KLDOF has contacted several scientists, organisations and universities specializing in monitoring and improving coral health. In previous coral bleaching events there has been successful recovery of damaged reefs, as the temperature drops.
Projects are being started to monitor the development of the corals and other individual projects are ongoing.
We will continue to observe all rules and regulations implemented for this region and offer our assistance to the National Park Head Offices involved. Additionally, we will re-enforce our strict rules for visiting divers on the boats operated by us, in terms of the policy ''absolutely no touching, feeding or harassing marine life and no rubbish thrown overboard''.
We, the dive operators and dive community in Khao Lak, are eager to do everything within our possibilities to protect and conserve the wonderful underwater world.