Saturday, March 14, 2015

Lights, Camera, Action...

The Dive Academy recently had the pleasure of hosting famous American conservationist Jeff Corwin during filming of a Thailand themed episode of his Emmy Award winning wildlife adventure series Ocean Mysteries with Jeff Corwin.

On the first day out Jeff and his crew, consisting of his Director, Cameramen, Producer, Sound man and a couple of assistants, wanted to go to our best dive spots to see the best of the marine life in the area. 

For the first spot we went to South West Pinnacle where the visibility was good at about 15m and as expected there was plenty to see for the guys to capture on film. Schools of Barracuda, Snapper, Fusiliers, a couple of very large Grouper, blue spotted stingrays, banded shrimp and the huge bed of anemones were just a few of the things the guys enjoyed filming. 

For the second spot we went to the amazing Sail Rock. The visibility there had dropped to around 7m but as usual there was plenty to see, so much so that Jeff decided he wanted to make two dives there to capture even more footage. Unfortunately there was no Whale Shark but one of the resident Giant Moray's was around and even followed Jeff as he swam away, allowing for some good footage I'm sure, especially as Claire was in charge of the lighting during most of the day!! Again, more Grouper, big schools of Trevally and Snapper and a Yellow Boxfish all gave the crew something to capture on camera.

The second day out was a trip to Koh Tao where the crew were meeting up with Nathan Cook from Eco Koh Tao to look at a couple of the fantastic projects they are running. 
First stop was to the Coral Nursery next to the most popular dive site around Koh Tao, Twins. The crew filmed Nathan and the guys from Eco Koh Tao collecting fragments of broken coral (of which, unfortunately, there is plenty in the area), selecting pieces that are still able to be rejuvenated then planting them in a frame where they will be left to grow. Once the coral has grown to a significant size it will be moved to either one of the many artificial reefs being developed around Koh Tao to ease the burden on the natural sites, or to one of the natural sites to supplement or replace the endangered coral.

After lunch the crew were taken to Junkyard, which is an artificial site built to be used for diver training and various marine projects. Here Eco Koh Tao have developed a Clam Nursery where clams are being cultivated and protected from natural predators, such as Trigger Fish, by mesh cages. Jeff and the crew were shown how the size and growth of the clams is being monitored and once the clams are big enough to be moved they too will be transferred to another site to help restore the failing population. 

And that's a wrap.......

It's not every day you have Emmy Award winners on your dive boat filming and it was a great experience for us to see the program being made and we are looking forward to hopefully seeing the episode when it airs.

An added bonus was that all of the crew were really friendly and  a pleasure to be around which made for two nice, albeit long days out when we were coming back as the sun was setting.

It's not very often I get an Emmy Award winning Director taking my picture!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

February Highlights

So better late than never with last month's blog! It's been another busy month for The Dive Academy and we've been flat out with diving and snorkeling and teaching new students to learn to dive and enhancing existing divers experience through advanced or continuing education courses.

The weather has also improved significantly as we would expect at this time of year with blue skies, very hot sunny days and flatter seas. So the suntans are coming on nicely! We've also had some whale shark sightings this month at Sail Rock which is a good sign that they are coming back around. So we're looking forward to the coming months. 

February saw Chinese New Year came and go and Samui and The Dive Academy had many Chinese visitors. One notable trip was a Private Charter on Midnight Blue for a group of 12 family and friends where the average age was 60 years old! So it just goes to show you that age is no boundary and anyone can try Discover Scuba Diving and experience blowing bubbles underwater! PADI have also now made this simpler by introducing the DSD booklets in Chinese, so even language is no longer a barrier. 

We've also had another DMT commence his training with The Dive Academy. Ekin from the UK completed his Advanced and Rescue courses with us last year and is now back on Samui for a few months to do his Divemaster and hopefully his IDC. You'll be sure to spot Ekin, he is the one who has colour co-ordinated clothing and dive gear and also straps a dive knife to his leg when snorkeling!! 

It was Claire's 40th birthday this month as well, so according to Noi our driver, she will now be getting fat as she is 'old'!!!!

And talking of Noi, his daughter got married last month as well, so he's now well and truly broke! so will be appreciative of any tips from customers who experience his witty conversation on their pickups from their resorts.