I am always keen to explore different dive sites in Hong Kong, especially if I’ve not been to them before. This Sunday I headed out with a buddy for a diving day-trip aboard Ocean Sky’s boat. The planned destination was Sung Kong Island 宋崗, part of the Po Toi group of islands, and a spot that most of the Sai Kung-based dive boats don’t usually go to. Perhaps because it’s a long journey, it’s exposed to the elements, and the depth and currents make it unsuitable for beginners.
Although it was a fine day, the sea was little choppy with some swells on the journey out, making more than one guest on board feel seasick. The site itself was slightly sheltered from the bigger swells but the surface was still pretty choppy in the morning. Conditions improved in the afternoon. Water temperature was 22°C, a slight improvement on last month!
The dive site
The boat anchored near a rocky outcrop to the northwest of Sung Kong island. No one knew quite what kind of visibility to expect, but we were in for a pleasant surprise. Although the silty bottom directly below the boat at around 22 metres had very poor vis of just 1 or 2 metres, as we followed our compass heading towards the slopes of the outcrop visibility improved to a reasonable 5-7 metres once we reached 17 metres and up. It is often the case that visibility is ‘layered’ in this way in Hong Kong, but to have such a deep layer of fair vis is a nice treat!
We did three dives at this site. There was a bit of a current flowing southwest, so we started off by heading slowly into it and working our way along the reef slope for half of the dive before drifting back. It was essential to have an SMB and Ocean Sky’s dingy driver was kept very busy all day picking divers up from where they had drifted. The current was present in all three dives so our dives took a very similar route each time.
The site consisted of a sloping rocky reef from about 18 up to 6 metres depth with big scattered boulders, slabs of rock, and overhangs. At the northern end of the outcrop, the rocks were huge, house-sized, with narrow swim-throughs. The site was very rich in the pastel-coloured soft corals typical of Hong Kong’s rocky reefs. There were also a lot of small sea fans, sea whips, and bushy ‘black coral’ colonies in the deeper parts of our dive. In the shallows, huge schools of rabbitfish zoomed past us every now and again, and smaller groups of them hovered about, being nibbled by cleaner wrasse. We also spotted several large cornetfish, some sweetlips, a squid, and many brightly coloured sea apples. But the highlight was on our ascent from our second dive: a fleeting school of kawakawa (small tuna). Hong Kong never ceases to surprise me.
Photo gallery: click on the photos to view
My buddy and I had a very enjoyable day at Sung Kong and I would say this is among Hong Kong’s better dive sites. I must stress that it is for experienced divers only due to the currents. At time of writing (28/4 evening) I head that there is a diver missing in the Po Toi Island area (not related to our Sunday trip). I have no further information at this time. It is essential to carry an SMB, plan carefully and not dive alone at these kinds of sites. Dive safely.
Dives 1-3: max depth 17-22m for approx 50 min each
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