3.6/5 (5)

Basalt Island

About The Site

Basalt Island is one of Hong Kong’s favourite dive sites, and some of the deeper water areas are ideal spots for advanced divers. Most of the time, scuba diving activities take place towards the southeast of Basalt Island, near Po Yue Pai. Large boulders dominate from about 4 – 5 m depth, and on days with high visibility dives beyond 20 m depth are possible. Given the depth, many advanced divers and freedivers choose to hold training activities here.

At Po Yue Pai, a lush anemone garden with many anemonefish is found at about 4 – 9 m – but take caution! These anemonefish are not quite like “Nemo” of the big screen. Particularly during the spawning season, divers will find themselves particularly unwelcome. If you see the anemonefish dancing towards you – and sometimes you’ll hear the sound of their jaws snapping as they do so – quickly back away and keep a distance. They may not be able to draw much blood, but the bites from their tiny mouths can definitely leave a mark!

Over 100 reef fish species have already been documented at Basalt Island! Look around when you dive here. The corals and anemone are highly diverse, and after about 10 m depth a variety of marine life can be spotted at the sandy, muddy bottoms, including leopard anemone, tube corals, and black corals. You can also see gorgonians, sea apples, Tozeuma shrimps, decorator crabs, Xeno crabs, nudibranchs and other invertebrates. The sandy, muddy bottom can extend to past 20 m depth, so please check on your own and your buddy’s pressure gauge frequently when diving here, and use a torch even if it’s a day dive. Control your buoyancy and avoid kicking up the mud, which may affect visibility. Do not enter decompression diving mode, and bring your SMB. If you do not have enough oxygen to return to shallow water for your ascent, remember to use your SMB to signal to boats at the surface that divers are present.

On the southernmost tip of Basalt Island, there is a small channel connecting to Lung Shuen Pai, located towards the east. Divers are not advised to swim through this channel. It is also not advisable to dive around the outer side of the island where currents are stronger and where divers will be hidden from view of the dive boat, making them difficult to spot in case of emergencies or should accidents occur.

There are also several sea caves bordering the coast of the island. It is not advisable to enter these caves, as there is always the danger of becoming trapped or parts of the cave collapsing.

A little-known fact: in 1948, a commercial aeroplane came against bad weather and fell at Basalt Island. Among the fatalities were Paul Yung, elder brother of Rong Yiren who went on to become Vice President of the People’s Republic of China, and Quentin Roosevelt, grandson of the US President Theodore Roosevelt. Today, a memorial plaque for the incident can still be found on the island.

More recently, in 2016 archaeologists removed a canon from the adjacent waters, which was thought to date back to the Qing Dynasty.

Basalt Island is a geosite of the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark. Weathering at the shores by the waves have over time created cliffs, caves and other spectacular landforms.

Soft Coral & Gorgonian: Yes

AFCD Coral Area Anchor: No

Marine Protected Area: No

Sandy / Rubble Habitat: Yes

Rock / Boulder Habitat: Yes

Anemone Garden: Yes

Deep water areas (> 18m): 20+

Surface Traffic: Not too bad

Mobile Signal: Fair

Muddy / Silty Habitat: Yes (below 10 meters)

AFCD HK Artificial Reef Project: No

Beach: No

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1 = Simple, 5 = Difficult

Total Cumulative Species Count: 163

Suggested Boarding pier: Sai Kung Pier or Pak Sha Wan

Distance from Suggested Boarding Pier: 13 km from Sai Kung Pier / 13 km from Pak Sha Wan Pier

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