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If you are an inquisitive diver, peer inside giant barrel sponges (Xestospongia muta) and you are likely to see small crabs, different shrimp species, and menacing scorpion fish.
This section outlines the underwater environment at the dive site called Sponge Garden Koh Rong Samloem Island and why it's popular with novice divers.
One valid justification to go scuba diving in Cambodia is for year round water temperatures between 26-30° Celsius (78-86 Fahrenheit).
This area in Southeast Asia usually gets their wet season from June to October and the dry season arrives in November until May.
Nonetheless, most dive schools in Sihanoukville offer year round scuba diving and snorkeling activities at the offshore islands.
As a result, Sihanoukville is one of the popular destinations that caters well for backpackers and tourists making a visit to 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.
The underwater topography that stretches out from Lazy Beach is a paradise for scuba divers and there are many other dive spots close by. In general, you should base the destination on which particular sea life creatures you are hoping to encounter.
Note: The Sponge Garden dive site is not deep (maximum depth around fifteen metres) and it is not prone to any strong water currents. Hence, the local scuba centres usually use this colourful spot to conduct introductory dives for learners and the PADI® Open Water Diver course.
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 water clarity if you schedule your 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 could see around Koh Rong Samloem's Sponge Garden dive site include:
Head out to Cobia Point dive site and you are more likely to see barracuda and cobias (black kingfish). Venturing out to deeper waters is where you may catch sightings of orbicular batfish and the mighty whale shark.
As a matter of fact, giant barrel sponges (Xestospongia muta) have the honour of being among some of the oldest marine creatures that still exist on planet earth.
Sea sponges are not plants - they are animals. They share the most basic processes of all aquatic animals and you can find them in most warm water environments.
Most sponges are filter feeders. In general, they feed on certain types of detritus (organic matter produced by the decomposition of organisms), zooplankton, bacteria, and some underwater viruses.
Divers can find gigantic specimens of sea sponge (more than one metre high) thriving in certain areas of the world, such as growing on the coral reefs around the Carribean islands.
There is no shortage of dive sites for divers of all certification levels to explore when scuba diving Koh Rong Samloem. Some of the popular dive sites nearby include:
Note: Another section explains more about the importance of diving safely around hazardous sea life and how to have a positive experience with marine animals.