The Artificial Reef at Phi Phi Ley Island has been extended with 300 more concrete blocks. The original reef constructed in 2006 consists of 100 blocks so this new addition has increased it’s size considerably.
The project is been managed by the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources and on the 18 February 2015 a huge barge delivered the blocks to their new home at Phi Phi Ley island.
To commemorate the operation, partners in the local community were invited to visit the barge and inspect the work taking place. Over 200 people attended, many from dive centers from Phi Phi Island, but also from Krabi and Koh Lanta. Also attended were children from the local Phi Phi Island School.
Unlike the original construction which was done manually through the use of lift bags and took 3 months, this new project was completed in two days, and was facilitated by using a crane to lower all of the blocks into position. The new addition now extends northwards from the old artificial reef.
There are 12 new ‘condos’. Each unit consists of 27 blocks that were lowered ready-assembled by crane. Underwater, a team of two Thai divers positioned the blocks carefully with the use communication commands to the team at the surface by pulling the hose, 1 pull – left, 2 pulls right and so forth and although through only basic techniques and equipment, the work was completed very efficiently.
The divers equipment consisted of a compressor that passed air through a common household gas cylinder and fed air to the divers through hoses connected from the surface to an attachment on their mask. The divers inhaled through their noses, wore no BCD or fins: a image that would make any PADI pro cringe, but hat’s off to them for completing the work without a hitch.
It will take a while for new corals to grow on this reef but it should only be a matter of days for fish to habitat it and a few weeks for the first organisms such as mollusks to settle there. Soon to follow should be the nudibranchs attracted to the new food source. Within 2-3 years, with a trained eye, one will be able to notice new coral colonies.
The Artificial reef is ready to dive so come along and enjoy this amazing new dive site and watch it grow.
Click on an image to enlarge: