5 Reasons To Put Sail Rock on your Diving Bucket List
Sail Rock is undoubtedly the most famous dive site in the Koh Samui archipelago here in the Gulf of Thailand. This rock pinnacle, shaped like an iceberg, emerges from a sandy bottom below 40 metres to tower 15 metres above the oceans surface.
Together with a number of surrounding smaller pinnacles, Sail Rock offers an amazingly varied topography, with plenty to see and do for all levels of scuba diiver. The waters around Sail Rock are overflowing with colour and diversity. But why do we love diving Sail Rock much?
We’ve put together a list of why, when visiting Koh Tao, you shouldn’t miss Sail Rock….
The sheer abundance of schooling fish is just one of the appeals of Sail Rock. Barracuda school in their thousands just off the rock in the deep blue, larger schools still of Travellis and Fusiliers twine within them and circle the pinnacle. The vast numbers of these fish is impressive, and as you descent down into them they separate and circle around you. Next thing you know you and your buddy are surrounded and it’s awesome!
Looking into the blueness away from the pinnacle itself you see hunting Queen Fish up to 2 meters long darting into schools of smaller fish to get their lunch. Whilst a variety of larger pelagic fish form huge schools around the rock, present on the rock itself is an incredibly varied ecosystem formed by countless species.
Huge Giant Groupers sit lazily on the rock watching divers go buy and ‘posing’ for photographs. Moray eelscan be found lucking in the craggy face of the rock along with Giant Clams and Oysters. Snappers school together around the more shallow part of the rock where there is also a huge garden of Magnificent Sea Anemones where many small fish such as pink anemone fish and damsel fish hide from bigger predators.
For the makro lover, Nudibranchs can be found in all sorts of sizes and colours along the walls and tiny shrimp can be found hiding in the crevices. You can also expect to see Angel fish, Batfish and Butterfly fish and Wrasse to name a few.
And of course the number one thing to see for any diver; the Mighty Whaleshark. This majestic creature can be spotted (no pun intended) at this dive site more often than others nearby. The currents around, and life on the pinnacle, make the water perfectly nutritious for this incredible creature to come and feed.
The diversity and colours of the fish and corals that call Sail Rock their home make it one of the reasons we say come to Koh Tao & Dive Sail Rock.
The Chimney is located on the main pinnacle; the natural erosion of the sea has created this large vertical swim though that is one of the main attractions at Sail Rock.
The deepest entry point lies at around 18m it looks like a wide cave, where Moray Eels and Pufferfish lurk in the darkness, but peer up into it and the natural light from the sky above rains down into the chimney and you can see all the way to the surface.
As you come up through the chimney there is an exit/ entry point at 12 meters before you get to the top of the chimney at 6 metres where the natural light penetrating down makes it fantastically picturesque.
There are many corals, sponges and crustaceans that live on the walls of the chimney which gives you plenty of things to look at one the way up (or down!), as well as giving even the advanced diver some good buoyancy practices.
Entering the cave at the bottom surrounded by large fish, the journey then takes you serenely though a calm and quiet tunnel and finally you emerge in the middle of a huge anemone garden, a truly breath taking experience.
Another reason to say yes to a Sail Rock day trip whilst diving Koh Tao.
The Secret Pinnacle
Another fantastic sight at sail rock is a smaller pinnacle that starts at around 18 meters and goes down to about 30 meters called ‘The Secret Pinnacle’. This slightly smaller pinnacle lies 3 minutes swim away to the east. Often a lot quieter than the main pinnacle due to its depth there is still a great deal to keep you entertained.
Huge schools of Yellow Tailed Barracuda circle the pinnacle, and the shape of the rock itself makes the dive much like a wall dive with interesting creatures and critters right the way to the top. Between the Secret Pinnacle and Sail Rock there is also a large artificial reef made from giant hollow concrete blocks piled atop one another that creates a new habitat for the fish.
Huge schools of Batfish gather here along with Snapper and Grouper to name a few. Look a little closer into the blocks to find Crabs and Nudibranchs too!
Another reason why we love Sail Rock so much is because we get lunch on the boat! Home-made Thai food is served between the first and second dive and boy is it yummy!
After a breathtaking first dive, it’s no wonder that we get hungry, and lunch is served during an extended surface interval giving you enough time to eat your fill and relax with the lovely see views while you let excess nitrogen release from the body and let lunch go down.
We always have Chicken Massaman Curry a firm favorite with tourists and Thais alike. This thick Creamy Curry with mild spice and potatoes hits the spot. Other choices are: Crispy pork with pepper and garlic, Vegetables in Oyster sauce and of course to finish it off with rice and your all pumped and ready to go for the next dive.
Continuing Your PADI Education
Sail Rock is the perfect complement to many continuing education PADI courses. The Deep Specialty is one of the most popular PADI courses with our scuba divers and it’s easy to hit your maximum depth just off the pinnacle so you don’t waste your decompression limits swimming to find it.
Once you’re done with the skills there is plenty to see from 40 meters all the way up to the surface.
This course can combined with either the Deep or Naturalist Specialty courses and allows you to extend your bottom time giving you more time to see that big spotted fish, as well as earning 2 PADI certifications at the same time!
So now you know why we love Sail Rock.
Wanna Find Out Ror Yourself?
Crystal organsies Sail Rock day trips every Tuesday (weather permitting) consisting of two dives. We depart at 08.00, returning around 15.00. The price is 2,500 THB which includes all equipment hire and delicious Thai lunch during your surface interval.
Author: Nina Horne (PADI MSDT #355693)