Connect with us

Thai Life

Diving: House reefs – providing junkies their dive fix

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: Most of us have only a few precious days a year to get a fix for our diving addictions. Of course, those in the profession spend more days in the water than out of it, but for the rest of us, it comes down to one or two diving holidays a year.

After six months of day dreaming about what you might discover once you splash in (the yet-to-be confirmed presence of pigmy seahorses in Thailand, Chinese junk buried in the sand or a WWII mini-submarine – it’s your imagination, why limit it to manta rays and nudibranchs?), the last thing you want to hear when you wake up for the big day is the thundering sound of Phuket’s southwest monsoon.

Though “Green Season” diving along the Andaman coast still offers some fantastic opportunities, the chance of heavy weather is very much a reality, making it all the more important to confirm your hotel has access to a “house reef”.

House reefs are rarely the jewel of a diving location. However, sometimes you just want to get wet – who cares about where you do it?

In early September, it wasn’t the sound of the rain that woke me, but the wind. The shutters on my villa at Zeavola were shaking… we had a big day of diving planned: seahorse hunting, visiting the sea snake cave and exploring some of the lesser-known dive sites around Phi Phi Don.

Umbrella in hand, I trudged down to the activities center – I should have just called, but there is always the hope that being there in person will somehow change things – to confirm my fears with the activities manager, Jennifer Arbuthnot.

No diving.

It was the last day before returning to Phuket, and there was no diving. The water was simply too rough for the longtails and the speedboats.

What could we do? I needed my fix. There are certain withdrawal symptoms divers get, which boil down to two major categories: impulse online shopping for diving gear you simply don’t need and “diving” with Google street maps.

Neither was going to be enough. So, Jennifer offered a contingency plan: house reef.

If things cleared up, the house reef, mostly sheltered at this time of the year, could be tackled – we could squeeze in a night dive if we needed to.

The weather broke an hour before sunset, so moping about in fear that there would be no diving was obviously not necessary.

Rolling back off the longtail we splashed into the dark.

A school of razor shrimp fish bobbed vertically in a large tangle of staghorn corals, a jewelled hermit crab the size of a man’s fist worked his way across the reef, ignoring elegant feeding sea feathers and prickly urchins as he went.

Night is always a crustacean’s paradise: reef crabs, porcelain crabs, Durban dancing shrimp, striped boxing shrimp and commensal shrimp all find their way into the spotlight.

After 60 minutes of watching the crustaceans, nudibranchs and others who come out to play at night, I had my fix.

It wasn’t a WWII mini-submarine, but it was diving – a world of difference between returning home on a washed out day and once again seeing the wonders below the Andaman’s surface.

— Isaac Stone Simonelli


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand10 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Phuket resort land encroachment case; OnlyFans arrest calls for reform| Sep 27

Thailand11 hours ago

Monday Covid Update: 10,288 new cases; provincial totals

Guides11 hours ago

Local resturants you can’t miss when travelling to Ayutthaya

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Coronavirus (Covid-19)12 hours ago

Thailand reduces quarantine to 7 days for fully vaccinated arrivals from October

World13 hours ago

Australian official suggests borders may re-open by Christmas

Thailand13 hours ago

Gilligan’s Island, Farangs, Grammar and Onlyfans | Thaiger Bites | Ep. 26

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Guides13 hours ago

Travel hacks for a stress-free holiday in Thailand

Thailand13 hours ago

Consumer complaints hotline targets rip-off shopkeepers

Thailand13 hours ago

Phuket Car rental business says gang rented cars and then sold them off

Guides13 hours ago

A guide to Doi Inthanon National Park

Bangkok13 hours ago

Curfew shortened, Bangkok spas, gyms, cinemas can re-open from October

Tourism14 hours ago

TAT pushes for Indonesia, Malaysia to be added to approved list for Phuket sandbox

World14 hours ago

Powerful earthquake strikes near the Phillippines main island

Guides14 hours ago

Top business and investment opportunities in Thailand

Thailand15 hours ago

OnlyFans arrest sparks calls for reform of prostitution and pornography laws

Thailand2 weeks ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism7 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11