Scuba Diving in Cambodia, More Fish & Less Divers!
by Fred Tittle [January 29, 2007]
If there is a saying that would speak the loudest for Cambodia diving it would be More Fish & Less Divers. If you look at a map of South East Asia, Cambodia is surrounded by great scuba diving. You have Vietnam known for its Nudibranch and soft corals, and Thailand known for diving in two different bodies of water, the Adman Sea, famous for its leopard sharks and lion fish, and the Gulf of Thailand with its warm water where whale sharks can be seen, as well as a large assortment of reef fish like wrasses, parrots and angel fish.
In Cambodia you have 2 PADI Dive Centers and a few smaller dive shops with instructors from SSI, CMAS, and NAUI. Go to Koh Toa in Thailand and you have on just one small island 35 dive shops. Koh Chiang has over 20 dive shops and is less than 100 miles away as the crow flies from Sihanoukville, where all the diving takes place in Cambodia. The only difference between Koh Chiang in Thailand and Cambodia is a political border, fish as you can guess don't need visas, and can cross the border anytime that they want without going through passport control.
Cambodia reefs are relatively shallow and close to islands, with a couple of notable exceptions being Condor Reef, 6 hours out from Sihanoukville, and Sponge Factory, which is between Koh Rung Samleom and Koh Rung. Their use to be wrecks, but they have been salvaged for the scrap metal. The US Army is still seeking "MIA's" believed to be on a helicopter off the Northwest side of Koh Tang, that is still missing, but local fisherman and dive operators figure that it to have been salvaged for the very expensive metals in a helicopter, namely aluminum, titanium and magnesium. Recently an ancient Chinese junk wreck was found, but it is under the control of the government, and you need special permission to dive it.
The islands in the Koh Rung Group is where the majority of the day diving takes place in Cambodia and can be reached in under 2 hours. Most the dive operators leave around 8 am and get back around 4 pm after doing 2 or 3 dives. At these islands, you can find very large schools of snappers and fusiliers. Schools of orbital batfish often times following the divers around the dive sites. As the sites are not so deep, many dives will last over 1 hour for the divers that are better with air consumption.
The Koh Tang Group is located about 4 to 5 hours out depending on the tide and the dives tend to be deeper and the visibility is almost always double what you will find at the day dive sites with 40 meter visibility a possibility every time you go there, with the average being 20 - 25 meters. Even when there is a lot of rain fall, the diving is good at Koh Tang, where you can see large pelage's like sail fish, tuna's & cobias that get to be 2 meters long. Dolphins and white bellied sea eagles are seen here as well.
About the Author
Fred Tittle has lived in holiday vacation resorts his entire life, from Lake Geneva's Playboy Club, as a rock jock for KSPN FM in Aspen Colorado, Hawaii Scuba Diving in Waikiki and EcoSea Dive in Sihanoukville Cambodia where he teaches PADI & SSI Scuba Diving and runs liveaboards & adventure tours, http://www.ecosea.com
Fred's new project http://www.CheapCharliesHotels.com where he reviews Asia cheap hotels , budget guesthouses & discoun