Friday, February 9, 2018

Diving improves your well being

How often do you feel stressed from work, or from time to time have low self-esteem or just feel minor aches & pains?

There are very few places where you can feel weightlessness, peace, happiness, joy and awesome encounters up close with nature; all in one experience. Scuba diving is a great way to travel and immerse yourself in different cultures, meeting new people and trying new things and whilst doing so, gives you that feel good factor and sense of well being.

Dropping below the surface takes us away from talking, noise, technology, stresses and problems. We just have to breath, relax and blow bubbles! Whilst watching everything that passes us by. Diving can give you time to think or just switch off. We are in the moment, just tuned in to ourselves and the environment. It is like a therapy.

If you're learning to dive for the first time, there is a sense of achievement in accomplishing something special, boosting confidence and self esteem at the same time. Or you may already be a diver and are having a 'fat' day or just an off day and once underwater, the sense of freedom and fun just takes those feelings away.

So what more reasons do you need to get wet and come diving???

Monday, January 29, 2018

To Pee or not to Pee

As divers, you may have heard of the expression "there are 2 types of diver, those who pee in their wetsuit and those who lie about it"!! So what should you do??

Drinking a lot of water before and after diving will help keep you hydrated and is also important to reduce any possible risks of DCS. On Midnight Blue, we are always offering water and drinks to customers to encourage hydration. However the downside is obviously the need to pee. When you are then in or under water there is a physiological response from the cooler temperature and increased pressure that causes your body to think it needs to pee.

Sooooo, should you pee when you're diving or snorkeling then YES! Just when you get up to the surface undo your wetsuit and let some salt water inside to sluice around or rinse off with a fresh water shower. It's nothing to be ashamed about and you definitely shouldn't hold on to it! Drinking lots of water will help to dilute the urine and reduce any smell anyway, so when you're with The Dive Academy just keep asking for more drinks and its a win situation for everyone!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Great deals on flights to Thailand

Right now is a beautiful time to come to Koh Samui, Thailand. Here on the east coast we are out of our monsoon season and into blue skies, calm seas and lots of great marine life to see. For those in Northern Europe there are some airlines who are offering special deals on flights to Thailand right now, so why not have a look and get away from the cold and dreary weather and come and divesnorkel and freedive with us or enjoy the wonders of Angthong Marine Park! Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa and Emirates all currently have special offers available and Emirates even have a partnership with Bangkok Airways to make your connection to Samui seamless. Come and see The Dive Academy soon!

Angthong Marine Park

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Weather and diving

As is normal on a tropical island throughout the year, we can experience tropical storms and showers. Generally this doesn't affect us and a rain shower or thunderstorm is short lived. However particularly around our Monsoon season (November-December) we can experience more severe weather patterns which normally includes strong wind and consequently rough seas. This can then mean that we have to cancel a tour.

We always advise our customers that our decision to cancel any tour is based on safety as that has to be our priority. We follow various maritime websites as well as the Thai Meterological Department. If the TMD issue a weather warning, then we follow it. The same as in any other country in the world, if you ignore this warning then you are risking your customer's safety and your insurance will be invalidated. 

Often we hear comments like "what if we go to a different location to dive", "we had a dive booked with another dive centre and they have cancelled our tour - can we go with you instead", "a snorkel company went out today, so why didn't we". Sometimes, even once explanations are given we still do have customers desperately pleading with us!  

We really understand a cancelled tour can be disappointing for you but hopefully knowing your safety and enjoyment is our priority gives you some perspective. No company wants to turn down business and if we could take you diving and snorkeling we would!! We are being only honest with you and letting you know about conditions that are completely outside of anyone's control. Not being honest with you or indeed not telling you what to expect only leads to upset, frustration and lack of enjoyment. There will always be another company who wants to take the risk and is only concerned about money and not your safety - but that is not The Dive Academy, which is why we have a 100% safety record and many happy customers!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Q1 2017 at The Dive Academy

So it's been a crazy first few months of the year here at The Dive Academy, with several weeks in January and the beginning of April with heavy monsoonal rain and severe flooding around the island. Naturally this was devastating for tourism on the island, not just for us but for all the hotels, restaurants and various other small businesses. Fortunately, the flooding receded and eventually we were back to business as usual! Sometimes you just have to ride it out, after all you can't change the weather no matter how frustrating. But don't believe everything you read in the international papers, it's always best to ask locals or people actually living here for the up to date situation!

Since then we have gone from no boats being able to go out at all to both Midnight's in full operation every day. From trips to the usual places around Koh Tao and to the fabulous Sail Rock, to many Angthong Marine Park tours, private charters and also venturing out to Koh Phangan as well. So a great variety of different tours are available depending on what you are interested in doing and how much time you would like to spend out on the water. Have a look at our tour options and drop us a line if you need more information.

Throughout most of March and pretty much all of April we have had awesome diving conditions, with generally calm seas, great visibility, little current and loads to see. All the juvenile fish are around during these months so you can be diving through schools of what looks like rainfall - it's very pretty! Then we have the baby black tip reef sharks, around 1m in length in schools of around 6-8. They are very shy but relaxed and if you're quiet and don't make too much movement you can spend a long time watching them swim around. The best way to see these is to join one of our VIP snorkel tours, in a small, personalised group with 1 of our Instructors who can show these and other wonderful things.

Now, the big topic of conversation is definitely the Whale Shark action we have been experiencing lately. We generally get sightings all year round across all of our dive sites but this is normally sporadic where we maybe get 1 or 2 sightings in a week and nothing for a few weeks. 2017 has been very different, with many, many sightings and often 2 at a time at a variety of dive sites. Sail Rock so far has had the big fish(s) there every day for the last 3 weeks which is amazing! We must all remember good etiquette around them: NO touching, NO chasing or crowding the fish, NO deliberately stopping it's natural path and NO flash on your camera. These basic things will help everyone enjoy the experience all the more.

If you are one of our customers who had the pleasure of a Whale Shark during your Discover Scuba dive or Open Water course dives, you are VERY lucky!!! Sometimes people clock up hundreds of dives over years and still don't get to see a Whale Shark!

We have also had some rare sightings including Dolphins, large Bumphead Parrotfish and some pseudo 'Orcas'! So lots of activity going on right now in the Gulf of Thailand and a great time to come diving as a beginner or an experienced diver.

At the end of March, we saw Heath one of our long term Senior Instructors leave us. He decided that he wanted to focus on himself a bit more and take some time to enjoy things around the island that we often don't get a chance too because we are all so busy! 1 month after saying goodbye to Heath, he is now back doing some part time work with us as he missed us so much!! We also had a new addition to the team in the form of Marc. Marc was a repeat customer of The Dive Academy for many years and after completing his Open Water and Advanced Open Water courses with us, decided to turn Pro. After becoming an Instructor last year, he has subsequently worked on a part time basis with us and is now a full time employee. So look out for the Scot on the team!

You may have seen our exciting news about the launch of The Freediving Academy. A new addition and service offering, this is a new sport that is really taking off around the world and our Instructor Sophie, who can offer both PADI & AIDA courses is really looking to show our customers something new. Already, we have had some snorkelers keen to give it a try and Scuba Divers wanting to see what the differences are and whether they could be as successful at this sport. Have a look at our new Facebook page to see what all the fuss is about:

When we talk about our team, we generally refer to our Instructors, however we mustn’t forget that we have 2 boat crews and Thai office based staff. So after our boat crew all getting to experience recent Whale Shark sightings (normally whilst cleaning the boat!), Sak our driver was feeling a little left out. So after a pool session to introduce him to Scuba and get him comfortable breathing underwater, out he went for a Discover Scuba Diving experience to Sail Rock! He did a great job and we are all really proud of him as he was a little scared!!

Also this year, saw us move away from the Bandara resort as our secondary location to Peace Resort just a little along the beach. The Dive Academy is now working together with Peace resort to establish combined hotel & diving packages. So watch this space!

The latest news on the IDC front is that Paul has been helping out another dive centre in Bali and has so far completed 2 there this year. Our next IDC's at The Dive Academy are scheduled for June and September, if you are thinking of becoming an Instructor and would also like to get 5 free Specialites!

Lastly, we were awarded another Certificate of Excellence by Trip Advisor last year, so a big thank you to everyone who has written a fab review about us or told their friends or who come back many times to dive with us! May you continue to enjoy diving and snorkeling with us!!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Dive Academy on Tour - Bali March 2017

Recently our Course Director Paul was asked to conduct an IDC in Bali and once the course was finished Claire joined him for a short trip to rejuvenate after their wedding celebrations. While they were in Bali they managed to take in some of the great dive sites.

During the first part of the trip Paul managed to dive at the beautiful wreck of the USAT Liberty in Tulumben. The fantastic World War I wreck begins in the shallows at around 5m and is suitable for all levels of diver with lots of marine life to see from 5m down to 25m.

Both Paul and Claire also managed to dive at Manta Point which is a great dive site where there is a Manta Ray cleaning station located on the nearby island of Nusa Penida . Although the visibility wasn't great it was well worth going there for the chance to dive with 7 Manta Rays.

Another great dive spot Paul managed to visit - Claire was unwell with "Bali Belly" - was Padang Bai, which is a small bay where you take a 5 minute journey in one of the small local boats. First dive at Blue Lagoon was really interesting but particularly nice was the second dive underneath a jetty where there were lots of different and interesting things to see.