East of Eden Similan diving site is almost a thing of myth. It is surely one of the most beautiful diving sites in Thailand, and possibly the world. It does exist, and you can dive there! In the last ten years, East of Eden has been closed to the public more than once. As of the end of the 2012/13 diving season it is officially open to divers. This is excellent news, because there really are few underwater oases more picturesque than this.
The location of East of Eden is on the southeast corner of Koh Pabu, which some still call Island 6, but is now Island 7. It runs north-south and can be entered at either end depending on the currents and how many other boats are there already. It is now becoming common knowledge that the site has reopened. The colourful reef comes up from a depth of nearly 40 metres almost to the surface, so snorkelling and night diving are popular here. However, with both the tsunami and the 2010 bleaching, the soft corals and anemones in shallow water suffered the most. These are the fastest to grow back but some damage is still evident. Just over half way down the reef is where most divers at East of Eden spend their time and/or end up. Here they will come across the largest bommie in the archipelago. It is covered in hard and soft corals, anemones and sea fans. Its top is at a depth of around 8 metres and it sits on the sandy bottom at about 25 metres. Some love it so much that they can spend most of their dive on this bommie alone. It is teeming with invertebrates and fish of all shapes and sizes. It even gets visits by passing turtles and sea snakes. The rest of the dive site is similar, with bommies on sand scattered around among sea fans and areas of hard corals, such as table coral and sheet coral. The soft corals are usually blue and purple, but come in several other colours, too.
It’s very difficult to know which fish and invertebrates not to list here, such is the range of different life forms. The usual suspects of Similan marine fish and sharks and rays are all present, including various species of Snapper, many of which decide to hide in dark and sheltered areas under outcropping corals on and around the bommies. A couple of interesting fish here are a pair of Yellow Longnose Butterflyfish and a shy Regal Angelfish, which is usually found hiding at the big bommie at about 16 metres. For many years there was a large specimen of Giant Moray Eel in the main bommie. It was known by many names, and has sadly died. However, another eel of the same species but a little smaller has taken the place and appears to enjoy being visited and photographed. Other notable fishes to see are solo Triggerfish, usually the Titan and Indian species, and huge schools of Fusilier and Glassfish. Slow-moving and usually solo Lionfish (Pterois) lumber around without a care in the world and Potato Grouper do similarly. Finally, the very eagle-eyed or lucky diver can spot Ornate Ghost Pipefish and Frogfish if they have the patience.