Since there is just so much to see at this dive site, the guides usually schedule more than one dive here. You will appreciate the chance to experience all these attractions, plus schools of mackerels and barracudas, more than once. You can join a 3 or 6 day liveaboard to Richelieu Rock
One of the most famous dive sites of Thailand. Richelieu Rock is an isolated pinnacle to the east of Surin Islands. Forming a horseshoe figure, the pinnacle falls steeply to the surrounding sand bottom at 35 metres depth. The south side is a bay with a slope that gently falls to the deep, while the rest comprises sheer walls, groups of rocks and numerous small caves that are home to various marine life. The majority of corals are colourful soft corals jostling against the wall, accompanied by huge sea fans, hard corals and sea anemones.
Richelieu Rock is part of the Surin National Marine Park, yet located about 18 kilometers east of the islands themselves. Richelieu Rock is just barely exposed at the lowest of tides-thus a navigational hazard for those boats not equipped with a GPS navigation system. Situated 200 kilometers Northwest of Phuket and 70 km from Khao Lak – the rock is closer to the Burmese (Myanmar) border than Phuket.
A massive underwater limestone pinnacle rising up from 50 meters to the just below the surface. Horseshoe shaped with several smaller boulders surrounding it at the depths, protection from currents is assured for the experienced guides. Steep walls and deep crevices offer both stunning scenery and great hiding places for all manner of amazing creatures.
The unique shape and location are part of what Richelieu so special. There are no other pinnacles or submerged rocks anywhere nearby so all the marine life in the area have one place to go. As this is the single pinnacle, it also generates a strong disturbance to the tidal currents. This creates strong upwellings of cold water – which causes plankton. And this plankton feeds the diverse fish and corals. Want to dive Richelieu on a liveaboard?
Richelieu Rock Marine Life
While Richelieu Rock has long been famous as the easiest place to see Whale Sharks, but a worldwide decline in numbers has really reduced the number of encounters. The frequency of encounters over the last 4 years has been about once every 2 weeks.
Disappointed? Don’t be, the Richelieu Rock has an amazing amount of diversity. Expect to see schools of chevron barracudas while larger sharks and rays can be seen in the deeper water.
Vast Schools of Snappers, Tuna, Mackeral, Jacks and Trevallies circle the site hunting and hiding from one another.
The crevices, cracks and fields of soft corals are home to such an amazing diversity of fish such as White-eyed Morays, Nudibranchs, Tigertail Seahorses, Harlequin shrimps, Ghost pipefish, Lionfish, Glassfish, Frogfish, Leaffish and even some very exotic species like Pineapplefish. Just keep your eyes open, take your time and enjoy. There is so much to see.
Richelieu Rock Diving
Depths range from 5 meters in low tide to 35 meters.
As with all dive sites, Richelieu Rock is best left to experienced guides. The site itself can be dived for nearly any skill level, but with ineprienced guides or those unfamiliar with the area it can be a disappointing dive.
There can be a strong current and if so the mooring line should be used to descend. Shelter can usually be found at on the opposite area of the dive site.
Richelieu Rock Hazards
You can dive here over and over and see something new. The currents change constantly, andthat can be challenging to new or unskilled guides. But, if you have an experienced dive guide and they give a good detailed briefing, you can learn how to hide from the currents and have a very enjoyable dive.