Perhaps the most exclusive and pristine dive sites in Asia are to be found here. Few tourists, remote but habitable and surrounded by deep water to the west and the shallows to the east. Visibility is often at oceanic standards. Many consider it a perfect diving combination. Dive schools and shops are few and far between, many close due to lack of business.
The best time of year for diving the Andaman Islands is reckoned to be November to May. That way you avoid the brunt of the monsoon season.
Andaman Dive Sites
This is a superb, exciting dive site with plenty of big fish action. A coral ridge runs from north and is interspersed with canyons; the bay itself has a mass of white sponges and healthy hard corals, whilst the reef is covered in large seafans with several kinds of barrel sponges. There is plenty to see here – manta rays, eagle rays, rainbow runners, bluefin trevally, bumphead parrotfish.
The maximum depth is 32m. Visibility averaging 25 m.
Currents can be strong, therefore recommended for more experienced divers.
The bottom of this site is very pleasant, consisting of coral-covered rocks and pinnacles with lots of beautiful hard and soft corals. The reef slopes very steeply seawards. There is an excellent diversity and representation of marine life, including giant sweetlips which can go up to 1.5 m long, as well as manta rays, fusiliers, leatherback turtles and silvertip reef sharks.
Maximum depth is an oceanic 40m! Visibility is 20m.
The bottom of this site is covered mainly in hard corals, with sporadic sandy patches and hosts a multitude of reef animals. The reef-flat has many mounds of hard corals, again with a big population of marine life. Hard corals also predominate on the reef-slope. It has been said that the hard corals here are the best so far discovered in the waters around the Andaman Islands. The marine life includes white tip reef sharks, large cod and groupers, and coral trout.
Maximum depth is 22 m, Visibility is around 20m and currents are weak to moderate.
North Button Island
This is an easy dive – the bottom mainly comprises coral-covered rocks with patches of sand. Here you can find humpback snappers, giant groupers and schools of spinyfoot and unicorn fish among mostly hard corals, with a few seafans. There is a very good diversity and representation of reef fish and on the reef-flat are boulder corals, staghorns, coral laminates and finger corals.
Maximum depth is 20m. Currents are weak to moderate.
Barren Islands – Walls ‘n’ Ashes
The island is an active volcano indeed the coral here is still recovering from a 1995 eruption. The site offers a series of wall dives, with the main bottom in a depth exceeding 90m. This is an interesting dive but there are little coral on the walls. Between the walls are massive areas of sloping black volcanic ash with many semi-buried dead and broken trees.
Black seafans, colourful crinoids and bushes of white stinging hydroids are in evidence, and hosts of orange encrusting sponges cover the rocks. Silvertip reef sharks come up in numbers from the depths to investigate. Dog-tooth tuna, giant barracuda, rainbow runners and trevally are characteristic of this site, which also has plenty of black-banded sea snakes.
Maximum depth is 44m. and currents can be strong.
South Button Island
This is a good site with nice hard corals in the shallower waters and coral mounds at greater depths. The southern wall drops to 15 m from where a sandy slope continues down. Schooling hammerhead sharks can often be seen in the distance.
This gently sloping offshore reef affords a shallow dive. The bottom here is in parts rocky, with some pretty corals. The reef flat is at a depth of 9m. Many reef-fish are in evidence, as are visiting pelagics – look out for large potato cod, whitetip reef sharks, big schools of blue-fin trevally and various spadefish.
Invisible Bank – Flat Rock
The topography is fairly dramatic, with scattered rocks over a sandy bottom, and the concentration of fish is incredible. The pelagic are especially noteworthy. It is difficult to know where to start, but you can expect to see schools of black unicorn fish, surgeonfish, mackerel tuna and trevally. Grey and whitetip reef sharks are likely to be in evidence, as are nurse sharks, dog-tooth tuna, great barracuda, and giant and bluefin trevally. A fantastic dive spot, with plenty of big fish.
Maximum depth is 16 metres. Visibility over 30 metres.
North Cirque Island – Southeast Reef
The southeastern part of the reef consists of tremendous hard and soft corals; these are very dense on the rocks down to about 16 metres, below which there is far more sand than rocks. The corals are very healthy and completely free of damage; they are amongst the healthiest in the region. There are many fish in evidence. Maximum depth is 22 metres. Visibility can stretch as far as 30 metres, currents are minimal.
Passage Island – Fish Rock
This aptly named site offers an extremely colourful dive, with millions of fish. The topography consists of rocky slopes, boulders and drop-offs, featuring large fan corals and plenty of basket sponges. Below 25m the rocks are covered in small bushy soft corals in numerous hues. Grey and Whitetip Reef sharks are almost always in the vicinity, as are nurse sharks.
Maximum depth is a whopping 35 metres. Vvisibility ranging from 10-40 metres.
Goa | Andaman Islands | Nicobar Island