Elephant Head Rock – Dive sites of the Northern Similan Islands

Elephant Head Rock

The site is named after an unusually shaped rock that juts out of the water just southwest of Koh Similan. The huge boulders that form Elephant Head Rock create daring swim-throughs, arches, caverns, gullies and tunnels – great places to hide, and great places to discover!

 

Swimming through the tunnels you’ll come across blue-ringed angelfish, triggerfish and bicolour parrotfish. Yellow goatfish and snappers always hang around at the deepest levels, as well as several species of lionfish. Take a look under the overhanging ledges to find several species of the larger snappers, such as one-spot, mangrove and black and white, as well as giant and Andaman sweetlips – an endemic species.

Hang out in the shallows here to off-gas at the end of your dive. Powder blue surgeonfish make their way across the boulder tops, grazing on the algae. Bigeye bream hang out here, seemingly eying you curiously, as large trains of traveling robust fusiliers arrive on the scene from other nearby feeding stations. Keep an eye out for the great barracuda’s that do some serious hunting here. You will often be surprised by the assaults of the huge Jacks that dive into these passing fish too!

The southern most point of the site has a tiny group of submerged pinnacles in very deep water. A great place to observe small reef sharks. There is a possibility of strong surge and current. This makes it one of the more challenging Similan Islands diving sites.

Diving is done from 5 – 35 meters (15-115 feet) with most time spent 15-30 meters (50-100 feet).

Currents can be present but any experienced dive guide will take you to the sheltered spots.

Visibility is often quite good 30 meters+ (100 Feet) but can be affected by prevailing currents.

Divers should be experienced due to depth and currents. Swim-throughs are a hazard to be conscious of as well. (photos)

As with all dive sites in the Similan Isiands, it is strongly recommended that you go with only registered and reputable dive operations, carry suitable travel insurance that covers diving accidents and evacuations as well as trip cancellations insurance due to the potentially erratic weather conditions.

 

In March and April 2010 the Similan Islands suffered from a naturally occurring event called the Reverse Indian Ocean Dipole. This is very similar the “La Nina” that changes water temperatures and currents in the Pacific ocean. In this case, the water temperatures in the entire Andaman Sea were raised between 2 or 3 degrees above median. This was enough to damage the living corals in shallower sites and those with limited tidal interchange. On the Western facing side of the Similan National Park, the affect on the sites was minimal. On the shallow sloping reefs of the Eastern side , there was a more noticeable impact on the corals. His has caused some bleaching, and on two of this sites a – a noticeable impact. The National Park system shut down several sites throughout the Andaman region to protect the reefs from potential human impact (diving, snorkeling and fishing). These sites are already showing regrowth and at least two of the sites have re-opened at this time.

Plus understand that the bleaching is not the result of direct human impact, or over use. It is the results of vast climactic changes that are happening on our globe. The reefs are accustomed to these temperature changes and can easily adapt and regrow. They can not regrow from the damage done to them physically or chemically by inconsiderate divers and snorkelers.