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I have been scuba diving for more than twenty years and I still have yet to meet any divers that aren't fascinated by almost all of the 3,000 nudibranch species.
This section spotlights the dive site called Nudibranch Heaven at Koh Rong Samloem Island and why it could be in your bucket list.
One of the benefits of scuba diving in Cambodia is having an average water temperature between 26-30° Celsius (78-86 Fahrenheit).
This area of Southeast Asia usually gets the wet season from June to October and the dry season starts in November until May.
Even so, most dive centres in Cambodia offer year round scuba diving and snorkeling activities at the offshore islands.
As a result, Sihanoukville is one of the popular destinations set up for any backpackers and tourists visiting the area.
There are twenty two (22) islands in the province of Sihanoukville, and a few of them have private ownership. Even so, many of the favoured diving locations have not yet been destroyed by any significant foreign investment.
The scenery at Koh Rong Samloem Island is beautiful and an ideal getaway from the chaos of city life. Most visitors will make the short journey from the coastal city of Sihanoukville and enjoy a relaxing day trip (or longer) at one of the sundrenched islands.
This area is a paradise for scuba divers and there are many dive spots to choose from. In general, you should base the destination on which particular sea life creatures you are hoping to encounter.
Note: Nudibranch Heaven dive site is a shallow sloping reef that gradually shelves its way down to a maximum of ten (10) metres. Thus, many of the scuba schools use this location for conducting the PADI Discover Scuba Diving Program (e.g. the introductory dive for beginners).
As you might expect from its name, this is an ideal setting to catch sight of different soft-bodied marine gastropod mollusks - commonly called nudibranchs.
Unless you choose a bad day for local storms, you should expect to experience underwater visibility around six (6) metres (20 feet). But, you could get thirty metres (100 feet) of clarity if you time the visit for the best time of year for scuba diving (e.g. December to March).
There are several different nudibranch species to see here, and this is an ideal shallow-water venue for snorkeling trips and for novice divers to gain some hands-on experience.
So, besides lots of multi coloured sea slugs (scientific name Nudibranchia), some of the other aquatic animals you may see at Koh Rong Samloem's Nudibranch Heaven dive site include:
Divers heading out to the Cobia Point wall dive are likely to see barracuda and black kingfish (cobias). Venturing out to deeper waters is where you may catch sightings of orbicular batfish, scorpion fish, and whale sharks.
The nudibranch facts and information section contains more details about the behaviour, characteristics, and reproduction of sea slugs. But, here are a few snippets!
Some nudibranch species are solar-powered. They can absorb chloroplasts into their tissues and live off stored sugars produced by photosynthesizing algae.
Nudibranchs are carnivorous and they get the impressive bright colours from the food that they eat. They eat using a radula with tiny teeth.
These squishy, bottom-dwelling, marine mollusks inhabit most of the world's shallow sea beds in warm and cold water oceans.
There is no shortage of dive sites for divers of all certification levels to explore when scuba diving Koh Rong Samloem. The popular spots for adventure seekers include:
Note: Another section explains more about passive interaction with marine animals and the importance of diving safely around hazardous sea life.