As if frequent whale sharks sightings at Richelieu Rock & Surin Islands over the past month wasn’t enough, Blue Guru are ever so excited about the prospect of having a new dive site to survey as part of our Ocean Action Project. This is not just a widening of project scope – this is a whole new dive site being created ….
HTMS Prathong 715 was originally a World War 2 US ship, which subsequently participated in the Cuban missile crisis before being sold to Thailand and used by Thai Royal Marine Corps for training purposes. This historic ship is now due to be sunk tomorrow off the coast of Koh Phra Thong where Blue Guru is based. How exciting?!
Last year, Blue Guru’s Managing Director Chris Williams was invited on board the vessel by Thai authorities to advise on which doors should be opened and which sealed off to ensure diver safety. Now, after many months of fundraising, the ship is to be sunk creating a new artificial reef. Thai officials hope to bring more divers to Phang Nga province. This new underwater attraction could also relieve the pressure on Similan National Park reefs by attracting divers further north in Andaman Sea.
It will be extremely interesting to survey & monitor what marine life is attracted to the wreck over the coming months & years. As part of Blue Guru’s Ocean Action Project funded by Project AWARE we are specifically recording sightings of sharks & rays – should be a chance of seeing some at this new Koh Phra Thong offshore location! Additionally, as part of our wider support for Shark Guardian’s eShark project, we will also record sightings of any turtles, seahorses, whales, dolphins, jellyfish … and hopefully no debris!
Watch out for our next blog with news about the sinking and initial marine life sightings on the new wreck. Place your bets now - which will be seen first: shark, ray or fishing boat?