Hideaway Bay between Similan Islands #4 and #5 is known by several other names, such as Honeymoon Bay, Barracuda Point and Eel Garden. It is a truly wonderful diving site which offers divers of all levels to enjoy the fantastic visibility which the Similan Islands are famous for. Its gently sloping sandy bottom may look a little barren or colourless at fist glance, but the two huge coral pinnacles are home to lots of interesting macro life, there is the possibility of seeing reef sharks in the distance, sting rays on the bottom and garden eels for those who have stealth and patience. The protected location and reasonable depth (25+) of this multi-named underwater location makes it one of the best diving sites in the Similan Islands.
It is well-known for its huge population of Garden Eels which are very shy and need to be approached slowly and carefully. These interesting little creatures cover large areas of sandy seabed, each poking the front halves of their slender bodies out of the sand to collect tiny food particles passing in the current. It looks like they are gossiping with each other, as they come face to face with alternating neighbours. When divers come near they all disappear into the safety of the sand, but any PADI diver who stays low and not too near will soon see them reappear and continue their funny little ways.
Blacktip Reef Sharks have been spotted here, although they are also quite shy. Blue Spotted Stingrays are often found semi-submerged in the sand and will reluctantly move a few metres away if disturbed. Fish which divers do not want to surprise are Scorpionfish (Scorpaenidae), as a sting from their poisonous spines is enough to ruin any Similan Islands diving vacation. Moray Eels are popular here, too. They spend their days in their favourite rock cracks, then come out to hunt at night. Barracuda used to be common, but this is sadly no longer the case. Other bony fish are the ‘usual suspects’ at the Similan Islands, such as Sweetlips, Lionfish, Fusiliers, and Surgeonfish, just to name a few. One should not expect to see anything large, like manta Rays or Whale Sharks due to the location and depth, but there is always a small chance, so keep your eyes open into the blue from time to time.
Acrapora corals help to add colour and fertility to Hideaway Bay, although other Similan Islands diving locations are more colourful, potential visitors should not be put off. It is a wonderful place to enjoy diving for more than just vibrant colours. The great visibility and sandy bottom, interspersed with large, medium-sized and small coral pinnacles make it a great place to drift away from one’s dive buddy a little and enjoy diving for the sake of diving. As already mentioned, many creatures are here, but hide when divers approach. Those who remain still and observant can see the reef and sand return to life in front of their eyes. In some ways, the lack of colour and depth here seem to enhance the wonderful visibility and feeling of remoteness from the outside world. Divers can relax, safe in the knowledge that their dive buddy is in site, but not holding their hand, and that the conditions don’t allow for becoming too deep or drifting away.