Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Things that go bump in the Night......

My Dad looking a bit scared in the dark and the beautiful anenome.
Starfish running across the sand Mama crab and baby
My Dad recently completed his Night Dive Specialty by completing 3 dives off Chaweng Beach, over 2 nights. For the first dive we were joined by our friend Vanessa and we all had a slow, relaxed 68 minute dive across the sand. Along the way we saw Stingrays, Starfish, Crabs, many tiny Shrimps, and a few strange looking fish that I have no idea about.
On the second night we were joined by one of our Instructors, Tasha. We decided that rather than go to the reef and have a look around, we would again swim out over the sand and see what we could find. This time we were armed with cameras so we could try to photograph the fantastic things we came across. Unfortunately we didn't see any of the Rays we saw the previous night but we did see many other interesting things: a few beautiful anenomes that I haven't seen anywhere else in the area; again we saw Starfish running across the sand before burying itself to hide; we saw many small fish laying still in the sand, including a baby Flounder that was about 4 inches long; and the highlight was a beautiful crab that was carrying it's baby around trying to escape the attentions of the big bad divers. It scuttled across the sand before settling, giving a massive shimmer of it's body and burying itself in the sand with only it's eyes on show - fascinating to watch.
Congratulations to my Dad for not only completing the Night Dive Specialty, but also for completing the DPV Specialty Course earlier in the day at Koh Tao. That makes 3 Specialty Courses he has completed this trip, having taken the Digital Underwater Photography Course a week or so ago.
Just goes to show, your'e never too old to learn something new!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Another successful IDC at The Dive Academy

Mark & Marc celebrate with CD Camille
The Dive Acdademy would like to congratulate Mark and Marc for successfully completing the PADI IE recently conducted on Koh Tao and would like to welcome them to the Instructor Club.
Marc will contine to enjoy learning by completing his Specialty Instructor training with Camille over the next few days, before returning to Holland.
Good luck to you both in whatever you decide to do as new Instructors and well done Camille for another 2 successful candidates.
The next IDC at The Dive Academy will be held in September, and for details about this and other upcoming IDC's contact us at [email protected].

Your'e never too old to dive......

Instructor Tom & Gerry (honestly!!)

The Dive Academy recently had the plelasure of introducing Gerry Weeden to the underwater world for the first time. Nothing too amazing about taking somebody diving for the first time, except the fact that Gerry will be celebrating his 80th Birthday this year, proving that if you are fit enough you are never too old to Discover What Lies Beneath.........
Congratulations Gerry and thank you for the pleasure of taking you under.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Some like it hot.... some don't

As a tourist destination Koh Samui relies on having great weather for the tourists to enjoy. For the first half of this year nobody has been disappointed as the weather has been unusually good, with temperatures reaching as high as 48 degrees, which is high enough for even the most hardcore sun worshippers.

A downside of the fantastic weather we have enjoyed is the effect the high temperatures have had on the marine life in the seas around Koh Samui and the surrounding islands of Koh Tao and Koh Phangnan. The constantly high air temperatures have caused the sea temperature to rise to 32 degrees for most of the year, compared to the normal temperature of 28-30 degrees. The increase in the temperature for such a long period of time has caused many of the corals on some of the main Scuba Diving Sites in the region to suffer from Coral Bleaching, causing the usually healthy, brown corals to turn pure white or even pale blue – sometimes making the corals even more attractive than they usually look.

What many people don’t know is that Corals are actually animals, related to anemones and jellyfish. Corals consist of a limestone structure filled with thousands of small animals called polyps. Each polyp has a skeleton cup, tentacles with stinging cells, a mouth and a stomach. The tiny tentacles snatch at passing plankton for food, but for their main course, reef-building corals have devised a much more ingenious method to get fed.

Algae called zooxanthellae live within each coral. In return for a safe sunny home, the zooxanthellae eat the nitrogen waste that the coral produces (nitrogen is very good for algal growth) and, like all plants, algae turn sunlight into sugars by the process of photosynthesis. The sugars produced by the zooxanthellae make up 98 per cent of the coral's food. So, without having to do any work at all, the coral is kept clean and well fed, and the zooxanthellae with their brilliant reds, oranges and browns give corals their colour.

Rising water temperatures blocks the process that converts carbon dioxide into sugar. This results in a build-up of products that poison the zooxanthellae. To save itself, the coral spits out the zooxanthellae and some of its own tissue, leaving the coral a bleached white. The bleached coral can recover, but only if cooler water temperatures return and the algae are able to grow again. Without the zooxanthellae, the coral slowly starves to death.

The recent bad weather and dropping of temperatures has led to the water temperature dropping to 29-30 degrees and have started to have an immediate impact on the coral, with many already starting to go back to their original brown colour. Lets hope for more hot weather, but not too hot.