Hong Kong :: East Ping Chau Island
About the Dive Site
East Ping Chau Island is a flat island located in the Northeast corner of Mirs Bay. The island is fairly unique since it is made of sedimentary rock, rather than the usual Hong Kong volcanic rock formation. There are several good diving sites with extensive hard coral areas with the occasional soft coral growing amongst the rocks. Turtles also frequent the area during the appropriate season.
Ping Chau Coral Beach North & South
This is a shore dive in the sheltered coral beach on the north-eastern side of the island. The hard coral areas run along almost the entire length of this beach. There are several very pretty coral areas at either end of the beach. The best area, perhaps, is at the base of the path that leads to the helipad at the far end. Depths of up to 10 meter can be expected.
Ping Chau Steps
This dive is either a boat or a shore dive depending on whether or not you want to carry all of your diving gear across the island. This dive is at the strange step like formations on the northwestern side of the island. This area is more exposed and therefore has very little hard coral, instead the area has an extensive population of small sea creatures that populate the cracks and crevices in and around the step formations. This dive is down to about 15 Meter. This area nearly always has a slight tidal current flowing.
This dive is on the southeastern tip of the island. Again this dive can be a shore dive if you are prepared to carry your gear across the island. This dive is also known as the Ping Chau Clowns, since there is an extensive population of anemones and clown fish close into the shore. Depths are to about 5 Meter only. This area is worth exploring especially around the reef like rock formations also found in this area.
Hazards & Warnings
The normal warnings for diving in Hong Kong apply to this area.
The western side of the island nearly always has a slight current flowing. This is not really a problem if you have a boat, but can be a problem if you are shore diving, since the Chinese Mainland is only about 2.5 to 3 Km away. Be careful that you do not get swept into Chinese Waters.
East Ping Chau is a very remote dive site. Dive planning is a must and typhoons need to be considered. Emergency evacuation is also difficult. The island does have a police post with a radio telephone near the jetty, and there is a helipad at the end of the concrete path that leads away from the jetty.
There is quite a lot of boat traffic in this area during the summer time, especially on weekends. You should remember to use a dive marker when diving in areas around East Ping Chau Island.
Getting to Ping Chau Island
The island is perhaps the most remote part of Hong Kong. In fact it is closer to the Chinese Mainland than it is to Hong Kong. Getting to this island is either large private boat or by ferry. There are Kaido ferries that frequent the island but these operate on different schedules depending on the weather and the time of year. You will need to check at Tai Po or Ma Liu Shui pier.
Once on the island everything is on foot. There is no traffic, not even bicycles. There is no real accommodation available or any real restaurants. There is a general store that operates in the small village during the holiday season. Limited food and drink supplies are available. Staying overnight is either under the stars or in tents.
Fresh water is scarce, so it is a good idea to bring some with you.