Junkyard Reef is Eco Koh Tao and Crystal Dive’s very own artificial dive site. The site is situated 400 meters off shore from the north side of Mae Haad and is approximately 10 metres deep. It’s one of the most popular artificial dive sites on Koh Tao.
Junkyard – A Brief History
We started developing Junkyard Reef 6 years ago. The dive site’s early days started with just a few objects deployed. Most of which were objects just lying around the dive school & a building site close by which is now the Koh Tao Regal Resort.
An old fin rack, broken disused porcelain toilets, large planks of wood, cement table & chairs, pretty anything that would prove to be a good substrate for coral to grow on or make a home for fish.
Today we are still creating, maintaining and expanding the site. We have learnt a great deal on what works and what doesn’t. Most of the structures have been deployed by longtail which at times has been incredibly tricky and frustrating, especially when the engine fails to start or the weather changes.
Recently after a full day of ECO activities including a beach & dive site clean-up, our DMTs, Divemasters, Instructors and even one of our PADI Course Directors helped with the lifting, moving & deployment of our final 3 metal dome for Junkyard.
These domes were deceivingly heavy. It took more than 12 people to carry them 100 meters down to the beach with the odd rest break in between, clambering down sandy tracks, maneuvering over freshly cut down trees covered with ants, so overall, a great feat!
Three longtail trips later, all of the domes were dropped near the buoyline, so when we went out the next, they were easy to find, although still extremely difficult to move and to fix into position.
The idea behind these domes is to transplant coral fragments from our coral nursery onto them, using different methods that have proven to be very successful.
Junkyard Reef is a fabulous artificial dive site with many dives schools using it daily. It really does demonstrate how reef restoration, research and artificial reef development can work. Knowing it’s taken some of the stress off our natural reefs here on Koh Tao feels good and is no small feat.
If you wish to learn more about marine conservation on Koh Tao then please check out www.ecokohtao.com/projects.
Open your eyes to a whole new world of diving!
Author: Jenny Dowling (Reef Check Instructor)