The bountiful reefs in this corner of the Indian Ocean embrace all levels of the tropical aquatic food chain: colorful hard and soft corals, crustaceans, starfish, urchins and schools of coastal and oceanic fish. Sea turtles, rays and moray eels are common, as are several kinds of shark--none of which, it must be said, are likely to ask you to lunch. At Richelieu Rock, divers frequently encounter filter-feeding whale sharks from February through April, when the massive, yet essentially harmless, leviathans inexplicably congregate around an isolated underwater pinnacle.
A diverse fleet of Phuket-based live-aboards provides easy access to the impressive range of dive sites scattered among the chain of islands. If the missing link was an aquatic ape, there's no better place in Southeast Asia to get in touch with your sunken ancestral roots.
--By Morris Dye
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Source Citation:"Detour." Time International 46 (Nov 20, 2000): 8[D]. Academic OneFile. Gale. BROWARD COUNTY LIBRARY. 13 July 2009
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