Ornate Ghost Pipefish at Koh Doc Mai (Flower Island) one of Phukets most reguarly visted dive sites.
Koh Doc Mai (Flower Island) is a small kidney shaped island just over 15km due east of Chalong bay, Phuket. Often used as a dive site on the way to/from the King Cruiser Wreck, Shark Point or Phi Phi, it’s considered one of the best ‘wall dives’ in the area. The larger east face and smaller north/south ends offer steep walls covered in small colorful corals that are just teaming with macro marine life, where as the west side offers a sloping/ledged hard coral reef.
The base of the island meets the sloping bottom at depths of between 18-22m, where the bottom continues out to well over 30m. Predominantly a sandy-rubble base on the east, north and south and a soft sandy base with large soft coral covered boulders on the west, this dive site can be prone to strong currents (great for drift diving) and very varied visibility – on a good day it can be stunning, particularly in the current – on a bad day, maybe 3-5m visibility.
Koh Doc Mai is well suited for experienced divers who want to see something special or for those on more advanced courses. It does offer 2 small caves on the east face but with so much marine life to see on the outside and over-hangs, they are not particularly recommended/interesting enough to enter unless for a cavern diving course for example.
Koh Doc Mai is perfect for the following courses:
The best reason to visit what can be a quite testing dive site:
Grey Bamboo Sharks, Tigertail Seahorses, various morays including Giant, White-eye, Fimbriated, Golden-edge, Honeycomb, Zebra, Snowflake and Bar-tailed. Glass shrimp, Boxer shrimp, Dancing shrimp and Cleaner shrimp, Ornate Ghost Pipefish (seasonal), Cleaner Pipefish, Banded Sea Snakes, many various Wart-Slugs and too many types of nudibranches to list them all, but including Pteraeolidia Ianthina, Flabellina Affinis, Risbecia Pulchella, Chromodoris Geometrica, Glossodoris Astromarginata and Rufomarginata.
Should you dive the lesser visited west side you have a better chance of seeing Koh Doc Mai’s other residents such as reef octopus, squid and cuttlefish. Also, for those that may have dived this site before and are able to dive deep, we’d suggest diving away from the western reef/other divers and visiting the soft coral covered boulders reef – take a good lamp and use nitrox for the best experience at between 25-30m.
Diving at Koh Doc Mai often also includes a dive at the King Cruiser Wreck and Shark Point as part of the day, and so adds to a great combination of site and marine life variety.