Be sure to hold your regulator in your mouth when you first dive Richelieu Rock as your jaw drops open at the sheer beauty of it. This dive site is part of the Surin National Marine Park, although it is set apart from the islands in the middle of the Andaman ocean.
Only the first 1 meter of Richelieu Rock breaks the surface at low tide, it was discovered by Jacques-Yves Cousteau and the dive site is so named from the shape, it is said to resemble Cardinal Richelieu’s collar as a series of pinnacles form a horse shoe shape under the water. The stunning array of colours will leave you breathless as you descend into a vision of purple corals, surrounded by all manner of marine life imaginable.
This dive site offers a vast range of pelagic life, you will be swimming through huge schools of Snapper, Trevally, Barracuda, Fusilier, looking for Seahorses, Pipefish of every kind, an abundance of all types of shrimp and Moray Eels including the rare and incredibly beautiful Harlequin shrimp. But the main attractions of this dive site are the Whale Sharks that visit the area regularly.
Being shy creatures they do not like to be chased, but hang in the water and wait and they will reward you by swimming up nice and close, back and forth, coming close to you for as long as your air will last. As they are most regularly seen at depths of 5m this definitely makes for one spectacular safety stop.
There is a buoy on the south east pinnacle; this is used as reference point to descend by. Each dive is different, your dive guide may spend the first dive exploring deep on the east side to find the Tiger Tail Seahorses, then take you up around the north pinnacle to shallower depths looking for Durban Dancing shrimp, Banded Boxer shrimp, Moray Eels and the rare Tomato Anemone fish seen swimming in the colourful anemones at the top of the pinnacle.
Your following dives may explore the west side, or in the middle of the horseshoe looking upside down under rocks for the shy and wonderful Harlequin shrimp, whichever way around you go always remember to look up into the blue for the Whale Sharks. 1, 2 or even 3 dives in a day are not enough for this Surin dive site, there is so much to take in, so much to encounter, it is the most talked about dive site on a Similans Liveaboard cruise for a reason, just come and see for yourself why it’s one of the worlds and definitely Thailand’s top dive site.