The Latest from the Similan and Surin National Parks.
As in the 2019-2020 season this Similan Liveaboard season has started with some rather cooler waters around. When we say “cooler” we mean by as low as 19 degrees Celsius in places.
Why are the Waters in the Andaman Sea Cold this Year?
ANSWER- The Indian Ocean Dipole
The IOD is shifting the warm surface waters in the Indian Ocean between east and west.
This season it is warm in the east and cold in the west part. It’s effecting Africa, Asia and parts of Australia. Whether it be more rain, drought or changes in sea temperature, this phenomena is affecting multiple continents and isn’t showing signs of slowing down just yet, with most predictions indicating at least another 4-6 months of potentially turbulent water movement.
The conditions we have now is called a positive IOD (it can be neutral = normal waters or negative = warmer waters in The Andaman Sea)
Right now, cold waters from the depths of the Indian Ocean raise up and move eastwards. They are moving further eastwards than normal, even for positive IOD years.
This year the pull of the IOD is stronger than normal. As a result more cold and nutrient rich bodies of water are pulled from the deep. These thermoclines or as we refer to them, “the green monsters” bring a dramatic difference in water temperatures. This season as low as 19 degrees Celsius, in some areas of the Similan National Park.
The Benefits of Colder Water Around the Similan Islands
The cold nutrient rich waters are essential to reef health and promote coral growth. Whats great for us is that brings in vast amounts of marine life. We are seeing more rays and sharks moving to shallower waters. When we say shallower waters, we are referring to dive range of 40 meters to the reef tops.
The murkiness of the water allows for great encounters as the marine life aren’t startled or worried by divers, as long as you behave in a sensible and non intrusive manner.
Several encounters with Blotched Fantail Rays and “guitar sharks” or shovel nose rays have made for some really enjoyable diving. We’ve also encountered leopard, nurse, black and white tip reef sharks and on a couple of occasions as heavily pregnant white tip reef shark. The numbers of reef sharks showing is encouraging and the general health of the national park seems to be pretty good.
Planning your next Similan Liveaboard?
So this Similan Liveaboard season could be a bit chilly for a little while longer..
Trust us, we understand all this cold water talk can be a little off putting, but us being Big Blue, we’ve thought about that.
What to do?
Coming soon Sharkskin T2 titanium range. Keep your eyes peeled!!