Diving at King Cruiser Wreck
Phuket Scuba Diving Guide
On the 4th of May 1997 the 85-meter passenger ferry 'King Cruiser' on a routine run to the Phi-Phi Islands made history by straying several miles off course and hitting the Anemone Reef. With a huge hole ripped in her hull the ship went down in less than an hour. The absolutely ideal weather conditions at the time of the accident no doubt greatly aided the rescue efforts and fortunately the several hundred passengers (mostly tourists) and crew on board at the time all managed to escape to safety.
Most of the passengers on board that day may have preferred not to participate in this little drama, but surviving a ship-wreck would certainly be an unforgetable experience and make for an unusual and exciting travel story to tell the folks about back home. Any passenger or crewman who may have wanted to congratulate the captain of the vessel for his creative navigational skills, or to thank him for stopping the boat so everyone could enjoy a swim would have been sadly disappointed as he had already fled the scene.
If the Phuket dive scene had been previously lacking in anything it was a decent ship-wreck for divers to explore. This unplanned addition to Anemone Reef has become one of the most popular dive-sites around Phuket. Not only is the wreck located near an already popular dive-site but it is positioned almost perfectly at a depth between 12 and 30 meters. With it's multiple decks and spacious open areas the King Cruiser wreck is providing sheltered living quarters for large numbers of fish and crabs. Over time it will become an even better dive-site as it takes on a patina of age, and becomes encrusted with a variety of colorful corals.Read More
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At 25 meters, you'll find the engine room and the car deck, a huge open area. The engine room has been penetrated, but it is a pretty small place, and still lots of stuff is floating around... like oil. Yuk.
Moving up to 18 meters you'll find the passenger section which has the heads, the bar, and lots of tables and chairs. Even though the ceiling is pretty low, this is safe to penetrate as the doors are now broken so there's no chance of being caught inside. For further penetrations, a reel is a must.
At 12 meters lies the captain's cabin and the wheel house. Many things have unfortunately have been taken as "souvenirs", such as the wheel and telephone, but it's still a nice view over the bow of the boat. We did find a nice bottle of Mehkong Whiskey in the captain's cabin, so that makes you think a bit. No wonder they couldn't find him after the 'accident'. Hmmmm....
The smokestacks are sitting at about 6-7 meters, so a nice place to hang for your safety stop.
Lots of fish have been attracted to the wreck so far, as well as eels and zillions of crabs. It's location near to Shark Point has undoubtedly had something to do with it's rapid population growth.
It's extremely popular with local and visiting divers alike. You can do penetration dives. We couldn't have planned it better. Wow.