Macro Diving in Thailand
As a new diver you are usually more impressed and fascinated by the larger marine animals in the sea rather than the critters. This includes schools of fish, sharks, turtles, eels and barracudas for instance that draw the attention away from the actual reef. Even Manta rays are a not too uncommon breath taking sight on some of the dive sites certain time of the year.
But, the truth is that most of the species of fish and crustaceans are living close, on or actually inside the coral reefs. But to see more of these animals, we need to slow down, get close and take our time looking on the walls and crevices for these goodies.
Funnily enough, the word Macro (deviated from Makro) means large or enlarged. Why we call it Macro diving is simply that when we take photos of these small animals we need magnifying lenses.
As mentioned we have to change diving style when looking for the small inhabitants on the reef. First of all, good buoyancy is essential so we do not damage the reef or make unnecessary movements that can hurt the fragile critters. Second, going slow and taking the time to really look everywhere is also important. Third, carrying a light helps, but we want to avoid using high intensity lights and strobes so we don´t blind our small friends.
Some of the bizarre creatures you can find during macro diving here in Thailand include seahorses, pipefish, sea dragons, shrimps, gobies and even the unfortunate shaped Angler- or Frogfish. All of which has a very important role in the ecosystem, for instance cleaning the reef and fish from parasites and protecting the corals and anemones from intruders.
The best thing about Macro diving is that we do not need good visibility, which opens up a lot more exploration to do closer to shore. So during your next dive spend at least 10 minutes over an area of 3x3 meters and you will be amazed what you can find on the reef.