Diving Khao Lak – Similan islands is guaranteed to expose you to a wide variety of marine life – from the tiniest nudibranch to awe inspiring whale sharks. Personally however, when I think about diving Khao Lak, my head just fills with barracuda. No, not the Heart song (although that too is pretty epic) but rather the infamous ray-finned monster that can be found on many a Similans dive site.
So, just in case you need a reason, here are my top three reasons why barracuda make diving Khao Lak, Similan Islands essential for all scuba lovers.
A little teaser on what you will see in the Similan islands.
Soooooo many goddamn baraccuda…
Barracuda belong to the family of Sphyraenidae which in Latin translates to ‘pike like’. And it’s a big family, especially when you’re diving Khao Lak. While like all relatives they share a strong family resemblance with their elongated bodies, massive mouths, razor sharp teeth and insanely strong jaws – the sheer variety of species in the Similan Islands will blow you’re mind. You’ll see chevron or blacktail barracuda, yellowtail barracuda, pickhandles, great barracuda, and more. Ranging in colours from dark green, through silver, blue, yellow and black, you may well find yourself surrounded by a barracuda vortex on your safety stop. Just try not to look too delicious.
Watch the hunt
Barracuda are opportunistic predators. When hunting they rely on taking their victims by surprise and are capable of sudden short bursts of extreme speed, up to 30 mph. This ‘ram feeding’ not only makes them creepy as hell, but it’s also fascinating to watch. You’ll be pleased to hear that baraccuda mainly feed on other fish – in the Similan Islands their diet consists primarily of jacks, groupers, snappers, and small tuna. Although any fish that gets in their way could quite easily end up as dinner. They tend not to like eating divers (perhaps it’s the neoprene?), but given their penchant for shiny things, you might want to cover up your jewellery when in their vicinity… just in case.
Some of the hugest barracuda in the world
Diving Khao Lak is primarily notorious for the abundance of life, rather than big fish. Barracuda, however, make quite the exception. As a favoured hang out of great barracuda, these beasts really can get rather huge. The great barracuda tend to be solitary and found lurking round corners just waiting to see what stumbles across their path. Known to reach up to 2 meters in length, you wouldn’t want to bump into one on a night dive (or maybe that’s just me?). However, during the day, keep your eyes peeled, as the Similan Islands has it’s fair share of these gigantic beasts prowling its waters.
Check out Pirate Divers Khao Lak Videos on YouTube!