Richelieu Rock is located near the Surin Islands in Thailand and is famous for its whale shark sightings. In fact, it is so well-known for whale sharks that it is now referred to as a “whale magnet” and is a favourite for liveaboard divers.
For a chance to see these gentle giants in action, divers flock to Richelieu Rock, just over 10 km away from the famous Mu Koh Surin marine park. With an average weight of 20 tonnes and an average length of 5.5 to 10 meters, these filter feeders are an absolute magnificent sight to behold. The largest whale shark ever measured was 12.2 meters or 40 feet long, but it is thought that they may be able to grow even larger. Needless to say, a dive with a whale shark is an experience you’ll never forget.
Richelieu Rock is in a horse-shoe shape and consists of a large and central pinnacle surrounded by smaller rocks covered in colourful life. Everything from anemones to sponges to sea fans can be seen on these rocks. It is the incredible nutrient-rich waters in this area that bring the masses of plankton and thus, the whale sharks, but even if the whale sharks aren’t around, there is still plenty to see at Richelieu Rock.
Look out for schools of multi-coloured reef fish, manta rays, dogtooth tuna and giant trevallies, not to mention a variety of coral. Among the macro life, divers can hope to spot the ornate and elusive ghost pipefish and beautiful tigertail seahorses.