Burma Banks, Mergui Archipelago, Black Rock
150 miles northwest from Phuket Island lay the little known Burmese islands of the Mergui Archipelago. Opened to divers in 1996, the 800 or so islands that comprise the Mergui Archipelago, give home to a wide and diverse array of Marine life. They are pristene and have been little dived compared to many of the worlds locations due to the previous Burmese authorities disallowing access. Myanmar as it is known now however has seen significant political reform recently and opened up considerably to diving tourism.
This is a dive destination that has it all whether you're an experienced or novice diver. The Mergui Archipelago will satisfy your needs with the quantity and diversity of its marine life plus the spectacular soft corals and ruggedly beautiful underwater terrain. Topside, these beautiful islands are uninhabited. Being covered with lush primal rainforest they give home to a rich display of flora and fauna. Countless white sand beaches can be see on nearly all of the islands, whilst healthy coral reefs make for good snorkelling between dives.
The Surin Islands and the famous Richelieu rock lie a good distance south east of Burma Banks . These islands are the furthest north off Thailands west coast before you enter Burmese waters. They are often dived along with the northern Similan Islands and Koh Bon and Koh Tachai if you do a combination trip that covers the South Mergui sites as well as the Similans.
A natural perforation is carved through Koh Bon island. A sheer wall off the south west plummets to 35m deep followed by a ridge that steps down descending to 45m. Regularly seen marine life includes Leopard sharks that relax on the ridge and on the sandy bottom below. Manta Rays are also another regular sighting at Koh Bon.
Koh Tachai's beautiful sandy beaches give way to lush tropical foliage which cascades over the granite. An underwater ridge that juts out perpendicular to the island is a unique well known feature of Koh Tachai. Rays, Nurse Sharks & Leopard Sharks are frequently seen here along with a vast diverse array of the more common marine life.
All of these sites are popular for frequent sightings of Mantas and Whalesharks in their deeper waters.