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Western Rocky Island is a small group of pinnacles reaching the surface and with exceptional healthy coral down at its base.
|Name Dive Site:||Western Rocky Island|
|Depth: ||0-40m (0-131ft)|
|Inserted/Added by: ||burma_liveaboards|
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Located 85km west of Kawthaung, this is the southernmost dive site in Burma's Mergui archipelago. The dramatic underwater terrain of Western Rocky Island has something to suit most divers. There are walls, sloping reefs, boulders and pinnacles. The most popular section of the dive site however is the tunnel that runs all the way through the middle of the island.
The tunnel starts on the southern wall. Divers first descend to a large cavern that starts just 5m below the surface and drops to the bottom of the rock at 25m depth. On the western edge of the cavern is a large window archway that divers can swim through and which helps to light the cavern. The cavern is covered in clams, barnacles and sponges as well as hingebeak shrimps, crabs, lobster, fried egg nudibranchs and scorpionfish. Twin spot lionfish shelter on the wall whereas larger common lionfish are more often free swimming.
To the east of the cavern the tunnel entrance starts at 17m. The tunnel is approximately 30m long. There is a large chamber inside but it narrows dramatically as divers reach the northern side where it spits in two offering two possible exit routes. The left tunnel is very narrow are can only be wriggled through by removing the scuba unit. The right side passage is larger and exits onto the southern reef at 21m. The tunnel is very dark inside and strictly speaking this is an overhead environment dive that requires special training. However divers can always see light from the tunnel entrance. A torch is required inside the tunnel. Marine life is huge inside. Dozens of giant lobster cover the walls. Shrimps are also much bigger than on the outer walls. But the star attraction are the very large tawny nurse sharks that live in the tunnel and occasionally block the route through for divers.
The west side of Western Rocky has an attractive sloping reef with pore corals and soft corals plus sea fans and anemones. Schools of glassfish cover large sections of the reef and hunting fish like trevally dart around the edges. Lionfish and scorpionfish are prolific. Flutefish are large here and giant pufferfish are also common. Several species of moray eel can be seen, the most common are fimbriated and white-eyed morays.
Western Rocky south wall descends down to 35m and has an overhanging ledge in the shallows. Away from the wall are some rocky patches that are home to white tip reef sharks. The shallower section of the wall is great for night dives, very colorful with orange cup corals and red finger corals. Lobsters and crabs are everywhere, including the beautifully camouflaged sponge crab and decorator crab. White tip reef sharks may also be spotted on the night dive.
To the east of the main island are a scattering of small pinnacles that can be reached underwater from the eastern tip of Western Rocky or can be dived separately. All the same fish life is present here and currents swirling around the pinnacles also attract pelagic fish such as rainbow runners, tuna, chevron barracuda and giant trevally. This area also gets its fair share of whale shark visits.
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Liveaboard, Charter- Mergui Travel, 165, 35th st., Yangon
Mergui Archipelago, located in southernmost part of Myanmar (Burma), comprises over 800 beautiful islands. Due to its virtual isolation, the islands and surrounding seas are alive with an amazing diversity of flora & fauna and very beautiful underwater scenes and marine life. The only human inhabitants in the area are sea gypsies, namely Salon in Myanmar. They live on boats during dry season and remain on land during rainy season. They still practice the same fishing and boat building techniques used for generation.Mergui Archipelago, located in southern most part of Myanmar (Burma), comprises over 800 beautiful islands. Due to its virtual isolation, the islands and surrounding seas are alive with an amazing diversity of flora & fauna and very beautiful underwater scenes and marine life. Mergui Photo The only human inhabitants in the area are sea gypsies, namely Salon in Myanmar. They live on boats during dry season and remain on land during rainy season. They still practice the same fishing and boat building techniques used for generation. Being affectionate to sea, much skilful in swimming and diving, their ways of life and customs are so characteristic that traditional festival will be launched intending to attract international tourists as well as to operate marine eco-tourism around the islands in Archipelago. Just north of the Surin Islands, an imaginary line divides Thai waters from Myanmar's Mergui Archipelago. Also known as the Archipelago, this immense area covers approximately 36,000 sp km (14,000 sq miles) and included roughly 800 islands. Diving here is still in its infancy, as the entire region has been off-limits to outsiders since the late 1940s. After several years of negotiation by Phuket dive operators, the archipelago was opened for tourism in 1997, yet much of the area remains unexplored. The islands are similar to their Thai counterparts, with rugged, high-profile limestone and granite topography. One obvious difference, aside from the sheer number of Myanmar islands, is their unspoiled terrestrial scenery. Dense brush and rainforest cover most areas above the high-tide line, while vast stretches of mangroves and magnificent white-sand beaches are interspersed with rocky headlands, tidal creeks and a few freshwater rivers. Though several of the larger islands are home to small communities of Moken 'sea gypsies,' the vast majority are uninhabited and largely untouched by humans. Underwater, this region offers scenic reefs, fascinating topography and prolific fish and invertebrate life. One of the main attractions for divers is the strong possibility of seeing big animals, especially sharks and rays. More dependable, however, is the tremendous variety of smaller fish and reef creatures, including many unusual species, some of which are rarely encountered in Thai waters. Add to this the allure of diving where few people have before and you've got all the ingredients for a top-notch dive destination. Considering the vast number of islands and reefs, many more dive sites are undoubtedly waiting to be discovered.
|Travel to Mergui Archipelago |
+95 9 5150660
+ 95 1 245230
| ||165, 35th st.|
Messages from readers:
Western Rocky Island is the one of the best dive site in Mergui archipelago. This limestone island features beautiful underwater terrain, including a tunnel (often full of large tawny nurse sharks), which traverses the island about 20-meters down. The island is more like a series of pinnacles rather than one big rock and the soft limestone makes for crevices offering shelter for a wide variety of sea creatures. Some of the marine lives you will see here include mantas, gray reef and spinner sharks, and eagle rays in the open water next to the island, while leopard sharks and spotted rays lie on the bottom. On and around the rocks, spiny lobster, cowries shells, feather stars, anemones and an assortment of crabs abound. Reef fish include blue-ringed angelfish, moray-eels, snappers, frogfish, and ghost pipefish.
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