HK diving

Hong Kong's rocky reefs and coral communities shelter a diverse and exquisite range of fish and marine fauna

Hong Kong is surrounded by sea. The approximate sea surface area is 1650 sq km, and dotted with some 200 islands. The rocky reefs and coral communities of Hong Kong shelter a diverse and exquisite range of fish and marine fauna. Over 300 species of reef fish and 84 species of corals (hard & soft) have so far been recorded. 

Underwater Hong Kong

Underwater visibility in Hong Kong does vary and is subject to prevailing wind and tide conditions. Depths also vary from shallow 5-10m dives, to deep 20-30m dives. There are a variety of artificial reefs and offshore islands to dive on. Small coral communities can also be found along the eastern coastline, which make ideal snorkeling spots.

There are many dive operators based in Sai Kung and some dive shops also hire out diving equipment.

Asiatic Marine/HK Outdoors is Hong Kong's most knowledgeable resource on diving conditions and dive related news.

Snorkelling at Bluff Island, from Explore Wild Hong Kong:

If you have any questions then please contact Charles Frew/Asiatic Marine Limited - info@asiaticmarine.com

Hong Kong Diving Log - for the latest diving and snorkeling conditions

East Hong Kong Waters - general conditions (September 2007)
Looks like the summer is nearly over with easterly winds starting this week.  Good visibility at the moment n shallow water but cold deep down. Should be some great diving early this week.

If you get the chance then I strongly suggest you try diving or snorkeling as an underwater activity in Hong Kong. Asiatic Marine will regularly post detailed information on diving conditions and what we have seen underwater on this website.

In addition, Asiatic Marine is logging all dives with EARTHDIVE. This means that all dives we do in and around Hong Kong and Asia Pacific will be logged (fish and sharks seen, anthropogenic pressures, key indicators and dive site) - thus creating a unique Global Dive Log in an effort to monitor and conserve marine life. Please view Earthdive for more details.

Date: 09 Sept 2007
Dive Site: Lemas
Visibility was amazing all over the region yesterday.  Down at the Lemas, it was over 20m in places, nice clear water.  Saw the infamous Seer Fish (100lbs), amazing new soft corals and the Barrel Sponge Xestopongia sp. Where are we again?...just south of HK.  Plenty of reef fish out, snapper, tuna and lionfish. Strong thermocline in some places and current picking up/ Top dive.

Date: 02 September 2007
Dive Site: Oil Rigs
Great  visibility at over 30m. Plenty of fish around including some tropical species (sweetlips and an Australian lobster).  Amberjack are also back, indicating change of seasons. I also heard that a whaleshark was also seen at PB yesterday 01 Sept 2007. Sounds like the sameone I saw on the 19th.

Date: 25 August 2007
Dive Site: Pedro Blanco
Wind has started coming in from the East. Very low vis..and actually got buzzed by the Pedro Blanco Reef Shark...I had to take cover in a small crack as non too sure where he/she went to after it came in close for a curious look.  Sadly the dynamite fishermen were back, probably the worst amount of dead fish on the bottom ever seen.  Can't believe nothing gets done about it..and I am suspicious of HK registered fishing boats. Otherwise not much to see.

Date: 19 August 2007
Dive Site: Pedro Blanco
Here we are some 90 mins away from HK,  southern China and millions of people.  Yet go for a dive out here on any given Sunday, despite big seas and strong winds..and what do you see..a 4m whaleshark, giant marble ray, spotted eagle ray, possible Grey Reef, ..shall I go on..mackerel, tuna, snapper, parrotfish, barracuda (great and yellowtail), batfish, amberjack, stonefish..Imagine if China ever makes this into a marine reserve.  Perhaps the best dive in Asia.

Date: 28 June 2007
Dive Site: Victor Rock
Underwater pinnacle some 7m below the surface.  Drops down to about -28m. Amazing soft corals in the deeper water.  Schools of  yellow tail barracuda, and assortment of reef fish in the cracks etc.  Great dive but be careful of currents.

Date: 14 January 2007
Dive Site: Lemas
Wind starting to pick up again, some 2-3 m seas.  Visibility churned up, with 3-4m in places.  But the good news is athe Chinese Seer Fish are around, saw one at 15m.  Maybe nore out there, but difficult to see.

Date:22 October 2006
Dive Site: Oil Rigs
Fairly lumpy boat ride out there, but managed to dive t rigs. One was covered with some kind of sludge, but had many pelagics around, including rainbow runner, barracuda etc.  Rig No.5 was teeming with baitfish, few GTs, Yellowfin and a large spotted eagle ray.  Fab viz, incredibly blue water.

Date: 15 October 2006
Dive Site: Pedro Blanco
Murky conditions probably caused by lack of current.  No fish around at all.  Saw a few juvenile barracuda and that was about that.  Probably the most uninspiring dive out there in a long time.  Water temp still too warm as well.

 
Date:18/19 September
Dive Site: Tung Ping Chau
Just had 2 great days diving out at Mirs Bay, today visibility in the shallows exceeded 10m.  Lovely blue water, 25 C.  Looks like the blue line is set to continue.  However a little rough getting out beyond Port Shelter.  Go and have a look at the corals, as not too many fish around. Did see an Octopus today..
 
Date: 03 September
Dive Site: Pedro Blanco
Sightings: Evidently the dynamite fishers had and still were carpet bombing the seafloor. Looks like HK registered fishing boats.  It would be sad if the fishers had dynamited for a whole month from the last recorded sighting.  Having said that fish life was scarce, especially when we had over 30m visibility.  Saw a huge black spotted ray, and thats about it. Testimony to the fact that dynamite fishing is not sustainable and is destroying an exceptionally rich environment.

Date: 13 August 2006
Dive Site: Pedro Blanco
Sightings: Visibility was initially very poor, but with the incoming tide, patches of blue water appeared, along with tuna, barracuda, mackerel, rainbow runner, amberjack..and then the dynamite started.  Two massive explosions on the outer pinnacle soon put an end to all diving.  3 mainland chinese in a sampan, dynamite and scoop nets. So many juvenile fish littered the sea, and all the terns were gorging on them. Would be great if China could spend a fraction of its arms budget to enforce marine protection....

Date: 11 June 2006
Dive Site: South China Sea Oil Rigs
Sightings: Just a quick note that a group of divers saw some Longnose Bottlenose Dolphins around Shelter Island on 04 June, so keep your eyes open.
Down at the rigs, incredible plankton blooms down to 30m made visibility very low. Always expecting large marine reatures like whalesharks to appear.  However the resident manta showed up and put on an incredible display getting very close to the camera which was unusual. On one pass the manta stopped and we could clearly see that it was in distress with mona filament fishing line and hooks embedded into its mouth and back.  Unbale to free the manta, we will definitely return and see if we can rescue by cutting with scissors, hope to have some downloads from video clips.

Date: 01 May
Dive Site: South China Oil Rigs
Sightings: Amazing seeing a marlin scream through the middle of the rig chasing a tuna mackerel, thrashing it sword. Luckily for the tuna it missed.  All the baitfish have departed the rigs protection zone, and fish numbers have declined considerably. Many more fishing boats out there, mainly from the mainland.
 
Date: 05 April 2006
Dive Site: South China Oil Rigs
Sightings: Spectacular as always. Large groups of schooling fish, mainly barracuda (3 species), Amberjack and snappers.  Visibility was so-so, with perfect weather and sea conditions. Saw Honeycomb Grouper on one of the legs...another rarity for these waters. Possibly sighted a shark at about 40m, distinct swiming pattern with remora attached to tail.

Date:02 April 2006
Dive Site: South China Oil Rigs
Sightings: Ahh the usual plethora of marinelife. Stunning visibility and a possible spawning aggregation of snappers. Also saw a Dark Fin Hind (a rare grouper), as well as baracuda and bait fish by the millions.  And the best sighting of the day, a marlin sunbathing - estimated at 80-100lbs.

Date:19 March 2006
Dive Site: South China Oil Rigs
Sightings: Mama mia as they say in Chinese. Headed out in flat calm seas only to be caught short by the intense monsoon winds. Big seas approaching 3-4m made diving difficult, but worth it to film all the bait fish and predators.  Viz about 15-20m, seas 24C and great to see free swimming morays and reef fish in the current

Date: 12 March 2006
Dive Site: South China Oil Rigs
Sighting: Never in all my life have I seen so many bait fish and juvenile fish hiding beneath a rig.  Pitch black and swimming through tunnels of fish.  Perhaps the most amazing dive I have done in a long time.  Other than that the sea temp was 25C (an interesting 5C warmer and only 125 kms from HK).  Loads of pelagics still and a manta ray being followed by about 20 cobia. Vis over 25m, blue water, flat seas and then the cold front moved in.

 
Date: 27 February 2006
Dive Site: Steep Island (Ching Chau) Port Shelter
Sighting: Sighting of Finless Porpoise, swimming at surface.
 
Date: 26 December 2005
Dive Site: Lobster Bay, Sheung Sze Wan
Sighting: Potential sighting of a shark swimming on the surface some 200-300m from the shore at 09.00. Possibly a Tiger Shark. Sea Temp 17-18C, glassy sea and red tide in the water.Nothing to be worried about, but if anybody else saw anything fishy then let us know.

Date: 11 September 2005
Dive Site: South China Oil Rigs
Dive Profile: Flat calm conditions, dived on 3 different rigs. Interesting to see different marinelife community on those rigs that have coral encrusting growth and those that have recently been cleaned. Besides the amount of pelagic species including Barracuda, Rainbow Runners and Trevally, saw a Giant Manta.  Flew gracefully overhead and captured on film.  That is a WOW. Oh and vis was over 25m.

Date: 04 September 2005
Dive Site: Pedro Blanco
Dive Profile: Rough conditions, and strong surge down to 10 m.  Super pronounced thermocline at 12 m forcing all the fish into the upper surface layer.  Rather dizzying watching all the Tuna Mackerel, but also came across Marble Ray.  Visibility 8m.

Date: 21 August 2005
Dive Site:South China Oil Rigs
Dive Profile: Headed out in rough seas - 2 m swell and F4-F5.  Super clear water exceeding 30m .  As always when diving offshore platforms a great variety and number of pelagics including rainbow runner, trevally, also saw Giant barracuda, numerous reef fish and a  graceful Manta Ray ( 2-3m span).

Date: 31 March 2005
Dive Site: Wong Shek
Dive Profile: Shore dive near Wong Shek Pier. Great stuff including huge cuttlefish, seahorse and incredible sized hard coral. There is some construction going on at the pier and boat trafiic is heavy, so avoid diving the pier area. Visibility was over 8m.
Date: 19 March 2005
Dive Site: Chek Chau
Dive Profile: Caried out a couple of dives in the shallow bay. Visibility was down to 5m but was impressive was the healthy condition of the black coral. So much life sheltering amongstthe bushes, thousands of fry etc. Also saw a 50 cm Reef Ray dozing under the coral and siwimming lazily around (missing its tail...)

Date: 01 March 2005
Dive Site: Ko Lau Wan Pier, Long Harbour
Dive Profile: Visibility was over 10 m in the shallows. The sargassum weed is now growing at full height with abundant squid eggs around the base. Saw a super long cornet fish and a seahorse (Hippocampus kuda) in -4m. Coral is healthy and recommend a snorkel further along the coast

 

Date: 23 Februray 2005
Dive Site: Ko Lau Wan, Long Harbour
Dive Profile: More of a recon dive than anything else. But staggering hard coral cover in the shallows (-2m). Visibility was well over 10m. Not many fish around. Must still be hiding in warmer conditions. Sea temp was hovering around 16C.

Date: 26 December 2004
Dive Site: Lemas, Back Up Bay
Dive Profile: Yes a little chilly but nothing a 7 mm semi dry suit could not counter. Great variety of swim throughs made more dramatic by the bright sunshine and average 5m visibility. Looks like the fish have migrated south to warmer climates. But keep an eye out for the mackerel.
 
Date: 26 September 2004
Dive Site: Pedro Blanco
Dive Profile: Visibility affected by turning tide. Cloudy layer rising to 10m. All Terns have now migrated, and with that the tuna and mackerel have moved on. Looks like the end of diving at Pedro for this year.Saw very few fish, occasional snapper, rainbow runners and a couple of morays

Date: 19 September 2004

Dive Site: Pedro Blanco
Dive Profile: Unbelievable visibility, well over 20m+. Slight surface chop and moderate swell. At last underwater footage of a Grey Reef Shark, it has been a long time in coming and I hope it stays around long enough for everyone to see. Also saw a Spotted Eagle Ray and school of barracuda. The terns have left their roost, also means the giant mackerel are moving to better pastures.

Date:05 September 2004
Dive Site: Pedro Blanco
Dive Profile: Flat calm with very light winds. Never have I seen such an utterly dynamited rock, so many fish covering the seafloor, hundreds of bait fish, rainbow runners and snapper all dead and decaying. Fishermen said they had been dynamiting for 2 days and during the night. As to what we saw, a possible Black Tip reef shark, cobia, mackerel and some parrotfish. Red Tide made visibility really poor, down to 5 m in places with strong thermoclines - a very sorry looking marine environment.

Date: 30 July 2004
Dive Site: Pedro Blanco
Weather: Hot, sunny and flat calm. Light winds and zero swell.
Dive Profile: Visibility was clear in the upper 15m depth but strong thermocline at 20 m reduced visibility considerably. Average 10m. Large school of Pickhandle barracuda, barrage of mackerel, some snapper, tiger garoupa, Pearlscale angelfish (new record for PB) and a large Reeve's Moray . Very few baitfish and some signs of recent dynamite fishing. But on a good note we were pleased to see a Chinese Patrol Boat escort us out of the area.
 
Date: Sunday 25 July 2004
Dive Site: Pedro Blanco
Weather: Moderate E winds, heavy chop, sunny
Dive Profile: 15-20 M vis, with cold upwellings. 3 spotted eagle rays, cobia, mackerel, little tuna (large school), hamachi, mating black reef rays and an unconfirmed shark sighting (possible Gray Reef) - lots of fish being active.
We also heard 2 dynamite blasts (yet again) coming from the Mainland. Asiatic Marine and HKoutdoors urges the Chinese Government to sort out their fishing policy.

Sunday 18 July 2004
Dive Site: COI Buoy - 70 kms south of Aberdeen
Weather: Light SE winds, sunny
Dive Profile: The buoy acts as a 'FAD' Fish Aggregating Device. Visibility was 10m not bad considering the rains following the STStorm. Schools of small rainbow runners, hamachi and little tuna. Small reef fish exploited the underneath side of the buoy.

Thursday 15 July 2004
Dive Site: Bluff Island, Sai Kung
Weather: Calm and sunny, perfect
Dive Profile: Visibility 5m, but water chilly at 24 C. Flying gurnard, scorpionfish and schools of rabbit fish. For underwater photographers there is a good object here that will produce some great results....

Sunday 11 July 2004
Dive Site: Lemas
Weather: Moderate SW winds, moderate swell, sunny
Dive Profile: Visibility 5-8m, strong thermocline of 22C, large schools of Chinese Seer fish, parrotfish, tusk fish and plentiful baitfish - Interesting dive.

Sunday 04 July 2004
Dive Site: Lemas
Weather: Moderate swell, strong F5 SW winds
Dive Profile: Water churned up by stong winds, heavy sediment. Visibility 5m. Barracuda, snapper, large sweetlips and one turtle swimming in bay.

Thursday 01 July 2004 (it was either protest march or go to the best dive site in the South China Sea)

Dive Site: Pedro Blanco
Weather: Moderate swell, F2-5 SW winds
Dive Profile: Visibility 20m, pronounced thermocline at 25m. Largest Black Reef Ray I have ever seen! Schools of little tuna, barracuda, large squid, baitfish formations, juvenile threadfin Trevally, 8 -10 mackerel and a school of hamachi.

Saturday 26 June 2004
Dive site: East Dam Wall, Sai Kung
Weather: Fine, light winds
Dive Profile: Unbelievable visibility 15-20m. Schools of barracuda, some parrotfish, butterfly fish, snapper and healthy coral.
 

CharlieF

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