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Scuba Diving in Ko Lanta, Thailand
Dive Site: King Cruiser Wreck
Location: Ko Lanta, Thailand
Description: Passenger ferry
Length: 85 metres (280 feet)
Depth: 32 metres max (105 feet)
Visibility: 10 - 20 metres (30 - 65 feet)
The King Cruiser is a large catamaran-style passenger ferry about 85m long and 25m wide. It has four decks giving it a capacity of 900 passengers. During a routine run to the Phi Phi Islands on May the 4th 1997, the King Cruiser struck a shallow underwater pinnacle, punching a huge hole into the ferry. It sank at 10:30am approximately 2km to the east of the pinnacle, with no loss of life.
The wreck is now lying in an upright position with a max depth of 32m, with the top deck at 14m. Despite the damage during impact, the wreck is still extremely well intact with fun things to see on the car deck and even the toilets! If the wreck itself is not enough, the whole area is positively teaming with life. Large numbers of big eye trevally, scorpion fish, barracuda, snappers and fusiliers surround the wreck with lots of sightings of squid, puffer ish and the usual moray eels. Watch out when lurking in dark corners as I have never seen so many lionfish in one area - a whole 'school' of them if that is the correct term.
The wreck is enormous and would need several dives to completely explore its hidden treasures; however, one can gain a pretty good idea on one dive alone. The visibility here is renowned to be poor for the area, but 10-20m can be expected. Expect currents and aim to hit this dive on the slacks (high or low tide) to make it a little easier.
Most dive centres in the Phuket/Phi Phi/Krabi area of the Andaman Sea will advertise this wreck as part of the famous "SUPERDAY". The wreck is one of the three 'scuba-triangle' dives, including Shark Point and Anemone Reef as they are excellent sites all within a couple of kilometres of each other. Anemone Reef happens to be the pinnacle that the King Cruiser actually hit and is known locally as Hin Jom meaning 'submerged rock'!
Overall, one of the top dive sites in the Andaman Sea part of Thailand's coastline, but due to the depth and the possible currents, it is recommended that divers hold at least PADI Advanced Open Water/BSAC Sports diver or equivalent.
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