This marine national park is the Thai island group closest to Burmese waters. The Surins are uninhabited but for a few park rangers and the Singh (or Lion) Tribe of Chao Lay (sea gypsies), who have a settlement on Koh Surin Tai.
For cruising yachts these islands represent a much calmer environment than the Similans, as considerably less commercial diving boats frequent the anchorages. The same charges and regulations as in the Similans apply.
The Surins consist of two main islands with off-lying islets and rocks. Pretty coral and clear waters are of Similan standards, though the fish life is not as abundant.
The shallow channel between the two principal islands (about 2 metres at high tide) has one of the most remarkable panoplies of coral reef to be found anywhere.
National Park HQ is on Koh Surin Nua and has basic accommodation at a modest price. The contact for reservations is the visitor centre +66 (0) 76 491378. Information about weather and current numbers of visitors can sometimes be obtained from the park office on the island by calling +66 (0) 76 419028-9.
Opposite the National Parks office is a wooden effigy carved to look like a ‘Red Indian’, suggesting to the uninitiated that these islands are sacred to the Chao Lay.
South of Koh Surin Tai, between two rocks, is a tidal anomaly, that can create a dangerous standing wave with ground swell from the west and wind from the northeast.
The light on Koh Chi is reliable. Remember: only a few miles north is the Burmese border and permission is required in advance before entering these waters.
Located approximately 10 miles east of Koh Surin Tai, this famous pinnacle rock rising from a depth of 40 metres is a spectacular dive site. The largest fish in the world, whale sharks, are often spotted here in March and April.
Anchorage is not possible, but dive boat mooring buoys may be vacant if you’re lucky.
KOH SURIN NUA
Anchor on sand in 15-20 metres on the edge of the fringing reef. The bottom rises sharply from depths of more than 25 metres and the anchorage should be approached with care and a good lookout. There is good snorkelling off a fine beach backed by lush vegetation.
108 miles from Patong Bay
This anchorage, lying between the two islands on the northeastern side, provides a good overnight haven in the northeast season.
Anchor in 18 metres well out in the bay, avoiding coral on a sandy bottom. There are a few large moorings and a number of yacht moorings available to visitors at a small charge.
In the north of the bay, the park headquarters on Koh Surin Nua boasts a restaurant, showers and toilets and some bungalows. South of the bay, on Koh Surin Tai, a sandy spit with a spring at its northern end is accessible at high tide. The channel between the two islands is not navigable.
There is a daily ferry from Thap Lamu. The bay immediately north of the channel also has moorings but is not as convenient for the national park HQ.
108 miles from Patong Bay
This small secluded bay offers good protection in the northeast in 12-15 metres.
106 miles from Patong Bay
This is a great spot in heavy north easterlies. Approach the shore very carefully and anchor in 10-15 metres.
While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this book is accurate, the charts of anchorages are based on personal experience and satellite imagery and are intended as a guide only. They should not be used for navigation. Please refer to Official Hydrographic Charts of the respective countries.
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