At a meeting with the Koh Tao dive schools the Department of Marine & Coastal Resources (DMCR) said they plan to double the number of concrete blocks they use to create artificial reefs around and to take the pressure off the existing reefs. They showed the areas where they would like to put the new reefs and asked for feedback from the diving schools in Koh Tao.
I volunteered to dive with them the next day to survey the areas suggested at the meeting to look at the seabed to check it was suitable for the concrete blocks and to see the existing marine life. A 8am meeting at the pier and onto the DMCR speedboat with members of the DMCR & local army, with some fried chicken and rice to keep us going.
We headed off to the first dive site, Buddha Point by Chalok to survey, I have never been there before and it is good to go someplace new and see what it has. We moored up on the buoy and dived down & headed north into a square pattern first turning west. I saw only my second lionfish on Koh Tao, there were two sea pens, only the second place I’ve seen them here, and soft corals in the sand. The average depth was 12m.
The next place was north of Japanese Gardens, mooring up just outside the bay; we dropped in and headed north towards Red Rock at an average depth of 15m, turned around & came back.
Then we went around the corner to Hin Wong to check on an existing artificial reef that was previously deployed. A short swim north from the south side of the bay, at a depth of 15m, was the large area with the concrete blocks arranged in a geometric patter two blocks high. The blocks are 1.5m square. It is now a nursery to lots of fish & a large Star puffer was the highlight, with young marine life attaching themselves to the concrete blocks.
Last year Coral Gardening planted smaller a different type of concrete structure to create an artificial reef in Hin Wong bay but at a shallower depth & closer to the reef & less exposed to the underwater elements. It will be interesting to see how these two reefs attract the marine life.