When it comes to diversity of marine life Koh Tao has something for everyone, whether you are looking for large pelagic’s, colorful reef fish or you have an eye for macro all of this can be found in the clear waters surrounding Koh Tao. Here we will look at some of the most common marine life that you are likely to encounter during your diving trip on Koh Tao[singlepic id=149 w=320 h=240 float=left]First off we have the largest fish in the ocean the whale shark, they are frequent visitors to the dive sites around Koh Tao. The best time to see them is from January till May and then from September through to November. The whale shark can grow to 12 meters long, has a life span estimated at 70-100 years and is a slow moving filter feeder that feeds on micro algae, krill and plankton. They are currently listed as a vulnerable species so it’s a lucky diver who gets the life changing experience of diving alongside these gentle giants [singlepic id=148 w=320 h=240 float=left]Sea turtles are another common sight while diving on Koh Tao, with more and more taking up residency or stopping by for a clean and something to eat before carrying on their oceanic journey. The 2 most common sea turtles found on Koh Tao are the large green turtle up to 1.5 meters and the smaller hawksbill turtle up to 1 meter. Though sea turtle can live for over 80 years they are currently endangered as only 1% of turtles make it to sexually maturity. So while on Koh Tao (Turtle Island) why not ask about what’s been done for turtle conservation and what you can do to help. [singlepic id=140 w=320 h=240 float=right] If you’re looking for Barracudas Koh Tao is the place to come, we have a large range yellow-tail, chevron, pick handle and the large great barracudas. Of all the places to see Barracuda on Koh Tao; Chumphon Pinnacle is the number one spot with large schools of thousands of Barracuda creating a funnels towards the surface, quite an experience to be in the middle of one of these. Barracudas are night hunters and can often been seen when you go for night diving on Koh Tao!
[singlepic id=141 w=320 h=240 float=left]Malabar groupers are an amazing site on Koh Tao growing up to 1.8 meters and over 150kg they typically live in the deep portions of dive sites like South West Pinnacle, Chumphon Pinnacle and Shark Island. If approached slowly while in a cleaning station they will allow divers to get up close and personally. To be able to view these guys you’ll need to be an advanced diver, so if you’re not already while not do the advanced open water course on Koh Tao. [singlepic id=146 w=320 h=240 float=left]A favorite with all divers on Koh Tao is the little Blue Spotted Ribbon Tail Ray. These brightly colored and friendly little rays grow to only 35cm and make great photos when found under rocky out crops during the day. At night they bring the dive sites to life as they leave their rocky outcrops in search of mollusks, shrimps and crabs.
[singlepic id=142 w=320 h=240 float=left] The angelfish family is always a beautiful encounter while on Koh Tao. These large and brightly colored fish are very friendly and not scared of divers at all allowing you to get nice and close. Normally seen in mating pairs as they slowly feed on the algae along the reef helping to keep the reef and corals in good condition [singlepic id=145 w=320 h=240 float=right] Another reef fish found in abundance around Koh Tao is the puffer and porcupine fish family. Though closely related the two type of fish fall into different families, both suck in water to puff up when threatened but the porcupine fish also has little spines that stick out. Many different shapes and sizes can be found around the Island ranging in size from just 10cm all the way up to 1.5 meters. You’d have to wonder what a 1.5 meter puffer fish would look like puffed up. the puffer-fish has incredibly strong teeth and cracks up the hardest shells in the sea t get to it’s delicious inside.
[singlepic id=147 w=320 h=240 float=left] For those with a keen eye Koh Tao offers many types of the scorpion fish family either hiding camouflaged in amongst the corals or buried in the sand ready to ambush unsuspecting prey. For those with out a keen eye for these stunning looking fish never fear our dive leaders will always be able to point out some for you. For those divers with a deep specialty there is even a chance to see lion fish while muck diving off barracuda rock at Chumphon Pinnacle
[singlepic id=144 w=320 h=240 float=left]When it comes to macro life, Koh Tao has such a varied range of shrimps, pipe fish, sea horses, frog fish and juvenile reef fish, in fact you’ll never know what you’re going to see until you get close to the dive site. Macro diving is always a favorite with the dive leaders on Koh Tao and makes for great photos. If you’re unsure about taking photos in macro don’t worry we offer a range of digital underwater photography specialty courses. Simply ask your diving instructor, divemaster or dive guide. [singlepic id=143 w=320 h=240 float=left]Finally on Koh Tao we are blessed with a high concentration of Christmas tree worms. These brightly colored worms are an underwater videographers dream as they catch their prey inside their Christmas tree shaped tentacles and then retreat into the coral substrate only to slowly reappear to this colorful scenario shortly after. And as always, remember, we don’t need to touch things to feel them underwater.
These are just a glimpse of some of the fantastic marine life you are likely to see around Koh Tao. For more on what you’re likely to find check out the Sairee Cottage Diving Facebook page and the photos from our fantastic dives