Elephant Head Rock
Elephant Head Rock aka Hin Pusa – Island 7-8
At a glance
• Max depth: Seventy Metres
• Level of difficulty: Open water
• Visibility: Ten / Forty metres
• Current: None too strong
• Season: October through May
Elephant Head Rock is the most famous dive site in the Similans not only for the wonderful dive site itself but also because of its distinguishable rock formations with the actual main granite boulder looking like an actual elephant… honestly, it does from a distance anyhow.
This site is a huge favourite of all the Liveaboard and Day Trip Operators in the Similans and one dive here and you will see why.
It is also a spectacular untamed open dive site with rewarding challenges such as its swim-throughs and its depth, one must be mindful of gauges on this site as it’s easy to get carried away, also the swell here has to be mastered too.
Entering the site on the southern part of the site by the largest boulder, there will not be any mooring line, so a free descent is necessary and is always fun -it’s like skydiving in slow motion through canyons on Elephant Head Rock.
As you descend you may be met by a large school of slightly inquisitive Long Tail Bannerfish and at around twenty metres you will come across a large boulder navigate around this and you will find a large channel formed by the rock formations.
In the channel there are Peacock Mantis Shrimps scurrying and Fire Gobies moseying about, further down the channel you will come across a large hole this is known locally as the window and is a great chance for some fun photos.
Elephant Head Rock is famous the huge number of swim-throughs, some of which are very large and you don’t need a torch, I recommend that when going into these rock formations to go slowly and in single file be careful of the sides of the granite and keep you equipment tight close to your body and respect the swell of the water to.
As you exit the first swim-through into the centre of the dive site you will come across a large flat sandy area checking your depth it should read twenty metres or so. In this area you can find Garden Eels swaying in the current, also keep your eyes peeled for Blue Spotted Stingrays and more Gobies like Fire and Purple ones.
Look out for some very large Giant Moray Eels, I have encountered Octopus here too they always fascinate me; further on from here heading north you will come across another swim-through this is at twenty-seven metres and this should indicate that it is time to start a slow ascent.
On the ascent, you will find more predatory action with Giant and Bluefin Trevallies hunting in the currents as well as Rainbow Runners love it here too as do the Tuna, Snappers and the brilliantly coloured Fusiliers.
Other fish to watch out for are Porcupine Fish, Trumpet Fish, Butterfly Fish, Angel Fish, Unicorn Fish, lots Wrasse and Parrotfishes too. There are some really large Barracudas usually just lurking just out of site and waiting to pounce on any unsuspecting fish that might happen on by.
On a safety stop not so long ago my group witnessed something very special, it was large shark, at first I thought I was a Black Tip but on closer inspection, more its inspection of us than the other way around, I saw it was too large for a Black Tip and its behavior was not timid at all.
It was, of course, a Grey Reef Shark showing some erratic fin movements then another slightly smaller shark came by after seeing we were not food they flicked their tails and were gone as quickly as they appeared.
It just goes to show that you never know what will show up on a dive site, these creatures are always around but we just don't always see them as our vision is so limited underwater and the rest of our senses are very poor too, so to witness them in their domain is an honour and a privilege.
There is so much to say about Elephant Head Rock it is best to come and dive it yourself to really appreciate it though.