Thursday, November 10, 2011

An amazing day at Sail Rock

Left hand on the weightbelt, right hand on the mask and regulator, look below to make sure nobody is there - "bloody hell there's a Whale Shark". Just as I was about to execute my role model Giant Stride entry a Whale Shark swam up to the back of the boat, on the surface, and nearly brushed against the boat ladder.

A minute or two of mayhem then ensued with everybody on the boat getting their gear on and conducting the fastest possible Buddy Checks (always safety first!!) to get in the water with the Shark in case it swam off. Fortunately it stayed around long enough for everybody on our boat to see it before it swam away.

After a few minutes of chaos we descended and swam away from the main rock and across to the Secret Pinnacle where again the young female Whale Shark come right up to us to have a look. With nobody around except me and Sarah the Whale Shark just hung around and kept swimming right up to us - Sarah had to close her eyes and duck at one point because the Shark came so close to bumping into her. I have been lucky enough to see many Whale Sharks in the 9 1/2 years diving out here and have been very close to them - one Whale Shark actually bumped into me many years ago - but I've never had the experience of a Whale Shark deliberately swimming up to us so often and so close - at one stage my face was about 30cm from hers. And many times she swam up to us then went above us so our bubbles went on her belly - she must have liked that because she did it quite a few times!!

We just drifted around with the Whale Shark for about 30minutes and thanks to the slight current ended up away from both the rock and the Secret Pinnacle, and to be honest I didn't have a clue where we were - and didn't really care. Fortunately the Whale Shark swam back towards the Pinnacle and we regained our bearings.

Towards the end of our dive the Whale Shark swam underneath the 3 dive boats which had just arrived from Koh Phangnan and started swimming towards them as as it did when we arrived. It actually went so close that I had to pop my head out of the water to warn the guys jumping off the boat that she was there or they might have accidentally jumped on her. They seemed happy to know she was there - I heard one Instructor later telling her DSD how lucky he was to see a Whale Shark on his first ever dive - no kidding!!

On the second dive we actually swam around the rock to keep away from the Whale Shark as by this time she was surrounded by lots of other divers. There was so much great stuff to see such as giant baracuda's, schools of Batfish, Trevally and Fusiliers, as well as lots of small stuff such as moray eels, shrimps and pipefish.

At the end of the dive, just as we were completing our safety stop underneath the boat the Whale Shark come in and again came right up to us and swam around for a minute or two before swimming off. Just came to say goodbye I'd like to think!!

Yesterday was probably my most amazing encounter with a Whale Shark and I feel very lucky to have been where I was when I was and I am grateful that the Whale Shark was comfortable enough to stay around as long as she did. I am happy to say that I didn't see or hear of any divers doing anything stupid like grabbing the Whale Shark or anything else that would have made her uncomfortable and made her swim away which would have spoiled a very special day.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Another Successful IDC and IE

The Dive Academy want to congratulate another 5 IDC Candidates who sucessfully completed the 2 day PADI IE and are now PADI Instructors.
Chris, Callan and Jose completed the 9 day IDC with Course Director Camille and IDC Staff Instructors Paul, Imad, and Christophe and our Japanese Candidates Miwa and Hideki were assisted through the 9 days by Staff Instructors Nobu. Aiko and Ami.
In between finishing the IDC and beginning the IE Chris, Callan and Jose also completed their EFR Instructor Certification, which consisted of manhandling and badly treating Little Annie and even Baby Annie.
Once again we are very happy for all the guys for passing the IE and wish them all the best for the future as PADI Instructors.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Scuba Kids (and mum too!!)

Harry (10), Jacob (11), Jack (12) and Caz (??) yesterday finished the the 2 day PADI Scuba Diver Course by completing their Open Water Dives in Koh Tao.

All four worked until late in the evening the day before to learn the theory, having completed the 3 Confined Water Dives earlier in the day. They were all fantastic during their Open Water dives and made sure they did everything Instructor Claire had taught them. Although sometime's quite difficult, but not on this course, it's always great to teach kids to dive and to see them enjoy what the underwater world has to offer.

Hopefully they will continue with their diving adventures as they get older and help spread the word about what a great time they had learning to dive, and be the new generation of divers to help protect the underwater environment.

As a pat on the back: The father of 2 of the boys commented today on how lucky they felt to have had Claire as their Instructor and how fantastic they thought she was with the kids - great job Claire.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Underwater Proposal

The Dive Academy would like to congratulate Phil & Amanda on their recent engagement and were privileged to be part of the Proposal.
Phil contacted us a couple of weeks before his arrival detailing his romantic plan to propose to Amanda underwater and left us to organise the minor details. We are happy to say everything went according to plan and despite a slight shortage of air at the crucial moment, Phil managed to pop the important question, pre-written on his arm slate. After an emphatic "Yes" from Amanda, as if by magic Phil produced the ring from inside his BCD pocket and the proposal was complete with a very happy outcome.
Congratulations guys and all the best. Hope to see you and dive with you again.
Any thoughts about an Underwater Wedding???

Monday, March 7, 2011

Help Give Sharks a Fighting Chance

Shark populations are devastated by overexploitation, including targeted fishing, bycatch and finning. Join thousands of AWARE divers and shark advocates who are serious about shark protection. Support the goal to reach 100,000 petition signatures from around the world by June 8th 2011, World Ocean Day. Sign the petition and urge your friends and colleagues to do the same.

Together, we’re gaining the attention of policymakers worldwide. We’re closing loopholes in existing global shark management policies and insisting on full protections for Endangered and Critically Endangered sharks.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Sunday, January 9, 2011

How to really teach CPR!!

The Dive Academy's Course Director has recently come across a fantastic new training aid to help all EFR Instructors teach the EFR Course. And being the kind of guy he is Camille was more than happy to share the details of the training video with his fellow professionals - always the perfect role model.

Super Sexy CPR from Super Sexy CPR on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Picture Perfect

The Dive Academy recently had the pleasure of taking a top UK amatuer Underwater Photographer diving during her stay on Koh Samui. Lisa Collins is a former Sport Diver Magazine Amateur Photographer of the year , recent winner of the Bite Back Shark Conservation Underwater Photography Competition and finalist in many more underwater photographic contests. Lisa regularly writes articles about her many amazing diving journey's to some fantastic destinations and she has exhibited photo's at exhibitions in London and US.

During her stay on Samui the conditions weren't at their best but Lisa was more than happy to dive at any of the spots we could take her to - she just wanted to take pictures. We managed to take Lisa for 2 trips to Koh Tao, including Chumporn Pinnacle and Twins and then for 2 trips to Sail Rock. Fortunately, particularly on the second trip, conditions at Sail Rock were really good and provided Lisa with the opportunity to take some great photos, which she very kindly shared with us. You can see the amazing quality of the photos below.

It was a pleasure to spend time with Lisa above and below the water, listening to her stories about places she has been, and we look forward to maybe diving with her again one day.

To see more of Lisa's fantastic images check out her website:

How the other half live......

During the busy Christmas and New Year holiday season The Dive Academy staff have been lucky enough to provide the diving services to customers on some of the biggest and best boats available for private charter on Koh Samui. Although the trips can be fairly hard work and slightly stressful it makes a fantastic change to go on these amazing boats and to experience for a day what some people get used to.....

The Makerana

Minor Affair