Sail Rock – a full day trip with Master Divers

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Sail Rock – a full day trip with Master Divers


Have you heard of the famous dive site Sail Rock yet? Often dubbed as the ‘best dive site in the Gulf of Thailand’ it definitely has quite the reputation… And we can confirm: it’s living up to its hype!


Sail Rock – a bucket list dive

Sail Rock is a pinnacle that sticks out of the ocean in the ‘middle of nowhere’, somewhere between Koh Tao and Koh Phangan. It takes our captain P’Dong around 1.5-2 hours to bring us there and we therefore schedule our visits to Sail Rock as a full day trip.

diver-on-the-way-to-sail-rock

On a good day you can expect visibilities of 30m (and more) and what we like to call ‘fish soup’. However, the conditions at Sail Rock can be a little bit tricky at times and you would be surprised how strong the currents can be. We carefully choose the days when we go on our full day trips, to make sure the diving conditions are at its best and the journey over isn’t too wavy either – trust us, being sea sick for an entire day is something you wouldn’t wish upon your worst enemy…

But when the time is right, you are in for a treat! Let us take you on a ride so you can get an idea what it is like to join Master Divers for a full day trip.

Rise & shine

Our day starts at 7:45am – which is actually an hour later than our regular morning boat – and we meet on the wetside to pack our gear, tanks as well as food & drinks for the day. Once everything is loaded on to the longtail we head out to our big boat, P’Dong’s boat, to make our trip down South. Today is actually a stunning day to go on the full day trip: flat seas, sunny skies and not a bit of rain in sight!

mae-haad-koh-tao-songserm-pier

Once all customers and staff have set up their diving gear and weight belts, breakfast is served. On Master Divers’ Sail Rock trips we are super lucky to be provided with delicious and healthy food from our own beachside café, Coconut Monkey. Breakfast is equally nutritious as it is delicious and with our bellies stuffed with multigrain bread with homemade peanut butter and honey, we are ready for a day of diving!

breakfast-on-the-boat

There is still a little longer before we arrive at the dive site, so everyone scatters around the boat; some divers decide to have a nap while others chat until it is time for our dive briefings. We have a lovely small group of divers today, and some of our fun divers even decided to book a private guide for this special trip. It means that we almost end up having a 1:1 ratio between customers and staff!

Getting ready for the first dive…

As soon as we see the Rock getting close everyone starts gearing up and performing their buddy checks. Because it is such a popular dive site, Sail Rock can get a little bit busy at times, but with our mid-morning departure we usually get there when the first divers are ascending from their dives. Today our timing works out wonderfully!

During the first dive, most groups tend to explore the entire site and circle the pinnacle at least once while slowly shallowing up. There is a vertical swim through, called ‘the chimney’, and a ‘secret pinnacle’ which, when the visibility is right, is actually not a secret at all. You can easily find 40m of depth at Sail Rock, which makes it ideal for doing the deepest dive of your PADI Deep Diver Specialty, but it’s equally as pretty on the shallow depths where the sunrays brighten up the colourful reef.

fish-soup-at-sail-rock

As with all of our fin dives, each group is given a maximum dive time of 60 minutes. Since we are lucky enough to be diving on Nitrox rather than air today, we can make full use of this time without having to worry too much about our NDLs for our second dives.

Time for the second dive!

Once up from the first dive, it is time to change over tanks and enjoy a little snack during our surface interval. There is some amazing vegan-friendly chocolatey banana bread and refreshing pineapple & watermelon. After a break of 60 minutes all divers have warmed up and ‘off-gassed’ enough to get ready for the second dive.

chevron-barracuda-at-sail-rock

This time around, it is time for us to find some more interesting marine life and take some more pictures. The list of marine life that you can see out there is almost endless, but some of the highlights include:

  • Barracudas – From the enormous schools of the smaller yellowtail barracuda all the way to the Great Barracudas, which are more solitary hunters, you can find barracudas of all size and shape.
  • Bat FishBat fish, bat fish and more bat fish. Huge schools of them.
  • Yellow boxfish – The cute little clumsy squares that bump around the reef.
  • The small critters – From weird nudibranchs to almost see-through shrimps or camouflaged scorpion fish.
  • Whalesharks – everyone’s favourites, and for some divers the main reason why they want to dive at Sail Rock. But trust me, even without a whaleshark a dive at Sail Rock is usually amazing
pacific-clown-anemone-shrimp

Every great dive has to end at some point, but once we are up on the boat and our gear disassembled and packed away, it is time to head back to Koh Tao. On our journey back we have some fantastic lunch with delicious wraps from the Coconut Monkey – chicken for the meat lovers or falafel wraps, which are even suitable for vegans.

Our tummies are full with good food and we spend our journey back looking through the best pictures of the dives on our cameras, having a little nap or chatting with our dive buddies. At around 3:30pm our full day trip arrives back to land and after washing our gear and logging our dives, we have the rest of the day to relax and enjoy a pretty sunset!

Would you like to join us for a full day trip to Sail Rock?
Send us a message and find out when the next one is scheduled.

diver-with-a-surface-marker
The author’s (logged!) dive no. 2000 at Sail Rock – reason enough for a very big smile…

Photo credits: Elaine Brett, private

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