During past seasons Koh Tao has had no significant wreck diving site in water shallow enough for normal scuba divers to enjoy.
We do have a scattering of small wrecks around the island such as an abandoned wooden dive boat near the Japanese Gardens, and a small catamaran sitting in Tanote Bay. In combination with a dive on the nearby coral reefs these small wrecks are fun to check out, but they normally don’t constitute a full dive. More of an obscure attraction near one of our coral reefs than a full-on wreck dive experience.
By contrast, out in the Gulf of Thailand there are many large wrecks including ‘The Unicorn’ cargo vessel resting a little way north of Koh Tao. But as we head out away from the island, the bottom drops away and we find these deeper wrecks lying in 50M of water or deeper. Scuba diving this deep falls into the realm of technical diving and requires a lot more training, physical fitness, scuba equipment and stringent procedures.
During 2010, the Koh Tao diving community received our first significant steel wreck diving site in shallow water. The MV Trident – A retired technical diving live-aboard vessel (and former Naval Cutter operating in the Baltic Sea) was deliberately sunk off the Southern tip of Koh Tao. The wreck now sits in 34M of water near Shark Island, making an exciting deep dive.
And now for 2011, there’s rumor of more good news for wreck diving in Koh Tao. The story goes that the Thai Department of Marine and Coastal Resources is preparing a larger decommissioned Thai Naval Vessel for sinking as an artificial reef off Koh Tao. The vessel is thought to be a Thai Navy landing craft, much longer than Koh Tao’s existing wrecks at 49M in length, with a beam of 7M and total height of 17.5M.
Expected to be ready for deployment during Spring/Summer 2011 work is currently taking place in conjunction with the Save Koh Tao group, to decide where the wreck will be best utilized for divers.
This is good news for both keen wreck divers and reef diving enthusiasts, as the new larger wreck will be sure to relieve pressure on the coral reef systems surrounding Koh Tao. More to follow….