Liveaboard Diving in High Rock
What To Expect On a High Rock Liveaboard
High Rock liveaboards offer scuba divers a mix of steep drops and gentle reefs, at depth of only 5 - 25m. Sailing to High Rock is only 500 meters to the south of Quion Island and just 25 km from Kawthaung. High Rock is an easy dive site around a small pinnacle shaped islet with a single tree. This is usually the first dive on a Myanmar dive safari and often dived on the last day of a trip in the waters of the Andaman Sea, as most of the islands south of here are closed to diving boats. This Burma liveaboard dive site has a rocky reef on its south and west and a wall on its east and north sides. The visibility ranges from 5m to 15m. Although surface conditions can be rough and strong currents can occur, liveaboard diving to High Rock is also suited for intermediate divers.
High Rock liveaboards operate from October - May and offer scuba diving with water temperatures of 25-28°C. The seas are calm(er) this time of year, the skies are more clear and the most remote dive sites are better accessible and enjoy better conditions.
Old nets of the Mergui fishermen are draped around parts of the wall and are now encrusted in corals, scuba divers should be wary of entanglement. Dense growths of orange and green cup corals covering many of the rocks. High Rock is also an excellent to scuba dive at night too, when all the cup corals burst open in magnificent orange.
Liveaboards to High Rock also make for spectacular night diving together with the orange reflected eyes of the Durban dancing (hinge beak) shrimps. While parrotfish sleep in their protective cocoons, moray eels swim over the wall, avoiding divers' torches. Whether scuba diving High Rock at day or night, the whole wall appears alive and feeding in the nutrient-rich water together with a small overhang, which makes marine life thrive here.
What You Can See at High Rock
When you're on a liveaboard to High Rock you'll notice the sheer volume of fish life as soon as you descend. Huge schools of fish obscure the reef wall from views, such as blue line snappers, Glassfish, gold-striped fusiliers, and yellowtail barracuda. Titan (giant) triggerfish guard their territory. Large flutemouths stalk their prey as do trevally dart into shoals of baitfish that move as one.
The walls and a small overhang inhabits a huge variety of invertebrates like lobsters, hermit crabs, zigzag clams, black Diadema urchins, oysters, and squid. Yellow-margin, fimbriated, giant and white-eyed moray eels can all be seen in abundance and different species are often even seen sharing the same hole. Striped soldier fish and squirrel fish congregate together in the many cracks and crevices, and barrel sponges dominate the seabed. Don’t be surprised to see nurse sharks, between the crags for, snoozing the day away. The seascape below 21 m is dominated by large black-coral bushes, huge green tubastrea coral, and complemented by pastel-green rope sponges, feather stars of almost every color, and red harp gorgonians.
Liveaboards at High Rock offer you a chance to spot camouflage experts like harlequin ghost pipefish, frogfish and sea horses. yellow tiger tail seahorses commonly found wrapped their tail around remnants of fishing nets, while other critters are also found hiding in the corals. Look for freckled porcupine fish hiding in the crevices. Touching anything is a risky business as the walls feature common lionfish, false stonefish, bearded, and humpback scorpionfish. You’ll notice these poisonous fish are prevalent most places when sailing around the Mergui Archipelago on a liveaboard and there highest numbers are here. White-lined and blue-lined grouper are commonly seen here as are wrasse and leatherjackets.
Getting To High Rock
A Myanmar Liveaboard is the best way to get to High Rock, which usually departs from Phuket, Khao Lak, and Ranong in Thailand. Direct flights are offered by Bangkok Airways from Bangkok to Ranong, on the Thai side of the Myanmar border. Then you can take a taxi from Ranong Airport to the port of departure. The main hub for domestic flights is Yangon International Airport and local airlines include Air Bagan and Myanmar National Airlines. It is easier to book domestic flights via agencies once you are in Myanmar. Most travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay, and Bagan, as well as guesthouses and hotels elsewhere, can arrange cars and drivers.