Located about 29 km from Phuket, this is a superb wreck dive around an old car ferry that sank in May 1997. The King Cruiser used to journey between Phuket and Phi Phi but was used mainly as a passenger ferry and for transporting goods, not cars, as there are no cars on Phi Phi island. On that fateful day the captain, who had made the journey many times before, hit a submerged reef called Anemone Reef, that put a large hole in the hull of the boat. After proceeding a further 800 metres the captain switched off the engines and the boat slowly sank.
At the time there were many other boats in the area so all the passengers and crew, nearly 600 in total, managed to get off safely. Theories abound as to why the accident occurred. They range from possible insurance fraud to the latest theory that the local dive companies paid the captain to sink the vessel as, up until that time, there were no wreck dives around Phuket. Don't believe everything you read or hear!
Whatever the real reason Phuket now has a fantastic new dive site. The wreck itself is approximately 80 metres long and 25 metres wide, and sits in an upright position on the ocean floor at a maximum depth of about 32 metres. Most of the upper deck has now collapsed into the car deck but there are many interesting features including the toilets, the old VIP/cinema area and the captain's cabin. The shallowest part of the wreck lies at a depth of approximately 13 metres where the remains of the original mast can be found with the upper deck at 18 to 20 metres deep and the car deck at approximately 25 metres.
As well as the wreck itself there is lots of coral growth and an abundance of fish. Small fans and soft corals can be found growing along the sides and top of the wreck. Schools of big-eye trevally are often spotted circling above the captain's cabin and swooping down to catch their prey. Large schools of yellow snapper hang around the entrances to the car deck and along the remains of the upper deck, plus massive lionfish can be seen dotted around the wreck. If that wasn't enough there have also been chance encounters with leopard and bamboo sharks, great barracuda, turtles and even whale sharks! This is so much more than just another wreck