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Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Myeik (Mergui) Archipelago Diving

The Myeik (Mergui) Archipelago, comprising some 804 tropical islands scattered like emeralds across the Andaman Sea, was closed to foreigners for over 50 years, until 1997. Due to the area’s isolation, the islands remain pristine and are home to some of the best diving in South East Asia. The diving in the Myeik Archipelago is similar in some ways to Thailand, but here there are almost no other boats and divers, and there is an abundance of uncommon and unusual sea life. The islands are almost uninhabited, meaning that the environment remains unspoiled, the reefs untouched, the beaches deserted.

Mr Myanmar can arrange diving trips to the region using live-aboard dive boats based in the southern Myanmar town of Kawthoung. We can also arrange diving packages from Fork Island, and the Myanmar Andaman Resort. Travel to the region is by flight from Yangon or across the nearby border from Ranong, Thailand. There is no schedule for dive trips as very few people dive here. Please contact us as far in advance of your proposed travel date so that we can find a suitable boat for you, or make an island reservation. We can also charter boats for you so that you can enjoy your own, private, island diving adventure. Please contact us for more details.

Dive Sites.

Black Rock.

Black Rock is one of most spectacular dive sites in the Mergui archipelago with an excellent variety of reef life and an abundance of large pelagics including Silvertips, Gray reef sharks, Blacktips, Bull sharks, Eagle and Manta rays. It stands in a northwest to southeast position, with steep banks all around, and with a wall on its west and south west sides. There are beautiful soft coral formations in the deeper areas. Black Rock is a truly awesome Burma dive site. Not to be missed!

Shark Cave.

Another of the top Mergui Archipelago diving sites, Shark Cave is known for its resident docile nurse sharks. The ragged cave entrance is on the North West corner of the islet, and is 5-16 metres deep. Often found guarding the entance are several grey reef sharks, long-fin trevally and silver sweetlips. On the far side of the bowl a tunnel leads to the other side of the island and a beautiful hard coral reef.

Twins Island.

South and North Twins Island lie 48 nautical miles far west of Shark Cave. The Twin Islands' waters are visited by bull sharks, rainbow runners, and eagle rays. One kilometre to the North West of North Twin lie a series of sloping rocky ridges. These ridges feature sea fans, and flower corals. Lobsters and many rays can also be seen here.


High Rock.

High Rock is a small islet with a single tree. The depth is only 18 – 25 metres with plenty of soft coral and cup coral especially in the deeper areas - Seahorses are commonly found here. There are many cracks and crevices, and barrel sponges dominate the seabed with common lion fish and bearded scorpion fish sheltering inside their rims from the currents.


Western Rocky Island.

A small barren island, perhaps 60 m wide, it is home to hundreds of painted spiny lobsters and some playful nurse sharks. Cuttlefishes and big reef squid are common, and giant fusiliers sweep over the reef, made up of large flower corals and yellow featherstars. There is a tunnel leads right through the island.


Burma Banks.

The Burma banks are a group of seamounts with surrounding waters exceeding a depth of 300 m, the top of the banks rise to within 15-24 m of the surface. Silvertip sharks are quite common here. Tawny nurse sharks are also easily spotted, as they doze half-hidden under the overhangs created by the table corals that dot the flat seascape here.

Live-Aboard Sample Itinerary.

Dive boats sleep up to 8 guests, in three cabins. Crews include a divemaster / instructor and a Myanmar guide. Departure and arrival times in Kawthoung can be tailored to guest’s needs. Prices generally include transfers in Kawthoung, meals, water and soft drinks, towels, cylinders, weights and belts.

Day 1: Meet your representative at the pre-arranged point; Kawthoung Airport, Ranong or Kawthoung immigration point. Transfer to the jetty and depart at around 1700, sailing overnight to the first dive site, Western Rocky Island.

Day 2: There are three great dives scheduled for today. Highlights of the dive site are a big cave filled with fifty or more lobsters and thousands of Glassfish. Good chance to see Manta-rays and Whale-sharks as well as the resident Grey Reef, Black Tip and White Tip sharks at this open ocean dive site.

  • Dive 1 – Western Rocky Island.

  • Dive 2 – Mojo’s Pinnacle.

  • Dive 3 – North Point Pinnacle.

Day 3: Three dives, plus optional night dive. Great macro life makes these sites a ‘must see’ on any diver’s checklist. Commonly seen are Sea Horses, Ornate Ghost-Pipe fish, Frog Fish, Stonefish, Turtles, Rays, Sea Snakes, Cuttlefish and much more.

  • Dive 1 – In-the-Middle Move to South Twin.

  • Dive 2 – Barracuda Point.

  • Dive 3 – Joel’s Point.

  • Dive 4 – night dive South point.

Day 4: Early morning travel to North Twin - three dives again. A night dive is available as additional dive.

  • Dive 1 – Twin Cheeks.

  • Dive 2 – White Men Walk home.

  • Dive 3 – Franken Reef.

Day 5: Overnight to Black Rock, the most northern point on the itinerary. This dive site consistently provides some of the best diving to be found anywhere in the Andaman Sea. This is a truly oceanic site with no land in sight.

Big pelagic are common, Manta-rays, Whale-sharks, plus lots of other different types of sharks and rays can all be seen here. Also, you can expect to see schools of Jacks and Tuna. If this isn’t enough the macro life is also first-class but expect to spend your time looking away from the reef at the bigger stuff out in the blue.

  • Dive 1 – Black Rock.
  • Dive 2 – Black Rock.
  • Dive 3 – Black Rock.

Day 6: Considered by virtually all of our guests to be the best dive of the trip, the highlight of ‘In Through-the-Outdoor’ being, the big ‘swim-through’, which is home to Grey Reef sharks.

Inside the cave also lives a family of Nurse sharks, one of which is about four meters long. A very healthy coral reef, inhabited by a profusion of fish life is another bonus. Sea Horses are common here.

  • Dive 1 – Nine Pins Rock.

  • Dive 2 – In Through-the-Outdoor.

  • Dive 3 – In Through-the-Outdoor.

Day 7: Disembark Kawthaung at 9.00 am, local transfer to Kawthaung or Yangon Airport.

If you wish to extend your stay in the Archipelago, we can often arrange for boats to drop you at the Myanmar Andaman Resort where further diving opportunities are available.

Myanmar Andaman Resort.

Located on Fork (Macleod) Island in Myeik (Mergui) Archipelago, this small, environmentally friendly resort is designed to meet the requirements of those who wish to enjoy the sun, sand, sea and pristine nature of this beautiful island. Myanmar Andaman Resort is located on a picturesque one mile deep bay with a white sandy beach, idyllically situated between scenic, thickly-forested hills. Mr Myanmar Travel can book packages to this island resort that include dives in this unspoiled archipelago. The resort is also a perfect location for snorkeling, sea kayaking and fishing as well as bird watching and island trekking. Please contact us for more details.

 

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