SIMILAN DIVING CONDITIONS 2017
During the most extensive and longest lasting Global coral bleaching event in history (2015-16), there has been surprisingly little bleaching on dive sites around the Similan Islands. This is during a time when the largest living structure on Earth, the Great Barrier Reef, is dying at an alarming rate. Currently A large amount of coral found in the Similans is relatively young and has grown since the bleaching event of 2010. It has already been proven that some of these corals, particularly those exposed to the LAIW described above, are already more resilient to fluctuating water temperatures.
It is possible the Similan Islands are beginning to withstand stressful conditions and are able to continue their ongoing recovery. When the National park closed for the South West monsoon in May 2017, the coral reefs in the Similans were at their healthiest since 2010. Similan diving currently appears unaffected by the 2015 Global bleaching event, but this could change. We will continue to update this section as regularly as possible. As a diver, one thing is clear. If you want to see beautiful and diverse coral reefs anywhere in the world, you need to come and see them soon. They may not be here forever.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
As a society, the best thing we can do is work to reduce global warming. However, as an individual diver, the best thing you can do is act responsibly. As has previously been mentioned, coral bleaching is made much worse on a reef that is already under stress. Pollution and human interaction have very damaging effects, so here are a few things you can do to help on your Similan diving trip.
Do not feed the animals. Fish are unable to digest many foods and this causes internal damage. Turtles can be attracted to boats and are at risk of injury from propellers. Do not apply sunscreen before entering the water as the chemicals are toxic to the reef. Do not touch the coral. Oil residue from our skin damages delicate coral polyps. Be careful of your fins. Do your best to maintain good buoyancy, and if you are not so confident with your diving ability, stay a few meters back from the reef.
Lastly, the Similan Islands are under the protection of Thailand’s National Park status. If you see any tour operators or tourists breaking the rules of the national park then please report it. If everyone acts with the same level of responsibility, we can work together to preserve the reefs.