Phi Phi Dive Sites King Cruiser Wreck
Phi Phi Island Diving | Phi Phi diving at the King Cruiser Wreck
King Cruiser Wreck was an old car ferry which sunk after hitting Anemone Reef and now provides the best wreck dive around Phi Phi Island. Located to the west of Phi Phi Island about half way to Phuket, itís the largest wreck accessible to recreation divers in the area at 85 meters in length and 23 meters wide.
Itís twin hulls sitting comfortably on the sea bed in 32m of water. The shallowest part of the wreck used to be 15m but as time takes its toll and the upper sections collapse itís now around 17-18m. Due to the depth of this wreck itís not suitable for beginner divers below Advanced Open Water. Strong currents are frequent on this site so descent and ascent lines are used to reach it.
Dives tend to be shorter here due to the depth and limited bottom time. Although many of the hazards have been removed already as the wreck continues to age (you can hear it creak and moan during the dive) you should always be aware of fishing nets and sharp pieces of metal. The large loading doors at the bow and the stern are both open and large windows provide even more vantage points to see inside. Itís not advised to enter the wreck any more but if you take a torch with you itís still an amazing sight to see from the safety of a window.
Thereís a staggering amount of life on the King Cruiser, even during your descent down the mooring line you can see large shools of yellow tail barracuda, fusiliers, trevally and snapper. Itís also worth keeping an occasional eye out into the blue as whale sharks have also been known to swim by (not very often, but it has happened).
Following the stern down to 32 m youíll find the twin propellers with the ever present and graceful lionfish, thereís also normally a nurse shark sleeping underneath the open cargo ramp. From there youíll want to ascend up to around 20-22 meters as you swim past the large open windows to the cargo bay. The wreck is home to thousands of scorpionfish which are perfectly camouflaged with the rusting steel and barnacles so, if you have to hold on to something, look closely before you touch. Itís go practice to give the area a quick waft with your hand as this makes it easier to spot what is ship and whatís not (if it moves donít grab it!). As you make your way towards the bow itís worth looking out for a very large great barracuda which likes to hand round this area as well as a very friendly hawksbill turtle, the turtle has been known to play with divers air hoses so keep an eye on yours.
Dive operators try to keep two lines on the King Cruiser but in many cases there may be only one line available, since you need to use the lines for descent and ascent this dictates the route you take round the wreck and the amount of time spent on each area. The main line is also covered with barnacles so avoid sliding your hands along the rope. When thereís only one line it can also get a little crowded during your safety stop so you should always be aware of the divers above and below you.
Brief History Of King Cruiser
Originally starting her life as a car and passenger ferry in Kobi Japan until she was purchased by the Songserm company in 1990. From then on King Cruiser served as a passenger and cargo ferry between Phuket and Phi Phi Islands (there are no roads on Phi Phi Island so it wasnít used as a car ferry). For the following seven years she made the same daily journey between Phuket and Phi Phi until one day in May of 1997 she strayed off course and struck a well known and charted submerged bt shallow rocky pinnacle (Anemone Reef - Hin Jom). There was and still is wide controversy as to the reasons why a different course was taken which is still widely speculated amongst divers today.
Kingcruiser Wreck Reef Basics: Sunken car ferry wreck
Depth: 12 - 32m
Visibility: 5 - 20m
Currents: Can be strong
Surface Conditions: Can be rough
Water Temperature: 27 - 30įC
Experience Level: Intermediate
Number of dive sites: 2
Diving Season: All year round
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Last Updated: 03 Mar 2010