Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Diving On Koh Tao In Thailand

Diving On Koh Tao In Thailand by: Andy Perrin

Scuba diving is by far the biggest attraction on Ko Tao, and it is easy, fun, and you will see a lot of fish, perhaps even turtles, stingrays, barracuda, reef sharks, and even a whale shark if you get lucky You will get good diving weather on Koh Tao apart from November, when the sea is choppy, and visibility is poorer than normal. The visibility can be over 40 metres during the rest of the year. You will find a lot of dive operators on the island, and some of them offer accommodation. Just beware that when you read the accommodation is free, it’s not really, because they will offer discounts if you stay somewhere else. In 2006 you will pay in the region of 10,000 bht for a PADI open water certificate, and this should include the new PADI training manual, proper professional instruction, rental equipment, boat dives etc. This may include insurance and basic accommodation, but shop around, and remember the methods of instruction may differ enormously. A few hints include avoiding shops that use swimming pools to teach you in. You’ll find it cold, boring, and unhygienic, bearing in mind this is a very popular diving island, and they will have literally hundreds of students . Choose one that will take you to a private beach so you will see fish and coral right away, it is a lot more interesting, and you will probably get more dives!! It’s also a good idea to find a dive shop that has its own private pier, so you won’t have to climb over other boats at the pier, although you won’t be carrying your dive gear, that should be carried by a Dive Master Trainee. In addition you ought to ask how many students there will be in your group, because there should not be more than a small handful, if they tell you there will be more than ten then look elsewhere. You want personal tuition for something as important as this, and you want your course to be really enjoyable. If you are looking for specific dive shops, this list whilst by no means exhaustive, is at least a starting point. 1. Coral Grand . Located in a much quieter area than the other dive shops, at the far end of the beach, the hotel is more upmarket than most on the island although the 'free' rooms are still basic. Operates 2 dive boats plus a speed boat. 2. Divepoint . Located in Mae Haad on the waterfront. Divepoint has probably the nicest dive boat on the island, big enough that you won't have to carry your gear to and from it. PADI and SSI. 3. Easy Divers. Fantastic Dive Shop with really experienced instructors. Professional and fun with great accommodation. Based right in the heart of Ko Tao. 4. IDC Ko Tao. Instructor development courses (IDC's) run every month by English PADI Course Director Matt Bolton. 5. Phoenix Divers. Right on Sairee Beach, has good boats, new gear and multilingual often western staff. 6. Stingray Divers. Very modern dive resort overlooking Chalok Ban Khao Bay. Hope this information helps you to have great diving experience on Koh Tao.
About The Author
Andy Perrin feels you don't need five star to have a great vacation, and if you want to check out what he means try

the Five Reasons that Make Koh Phangan the Perfect Choice

Thailand islands - the Five Reasons that Make Koh Phangan the Perfect Choice by Ella Evans

The islands of southern Thailand are widely known as "Island Paradise". Their picturesque beaches, moderate tropical climate and unique, extremely relaxing lifestyle account for this reputation. Travelers from all over the world come to these southern Thailand islands to experience the famous transition to another dimension, as they gradually absorb the overwhelming serenity and ephemeral separation from the dynamic and straining modern life style.
In the eyes of the inexperienced traveler at the very first stages of planning his or her trip to Thailand, all "paradise islands" may look exactly the same: all the islands are tropical (in the classic sense and climate wise), picturesque and serene. But in fact, a more thorough perspective would reveal that each island, just like every individual traveler, has its own set of unique qualities. The cost of stay in some islands can turn out to be a surprisingly expensive experience, while visiting other islands can be quite a bargain; some islands are dramatically peaceful while others are loaded with exciting nightlife activities; some islands provide the perfect conditions for divers while others are ideal for backpackers.
After years of intensive research, and after exploring every dark corner on every island in southern Thailand, my final conclusion is that Koh Phangan is no doubt and by far the perfect choice for the perfect vacation. Koh Phangan is the perfect choice because it has this unique ability to adopt itself to the likes and needs of every individual traveler in the limits of being an island (except from providing the ultimate urban environment. But nobody visits the Thai islands to relive his urban daily lifestyle). Here are the five elements that make Koh Phangan the ultimate vacation choice:
1. The best value for your money. Until recently, Koh Phangan had a strong reputation of a backpackers' island. As a result, the island's costs of living had been adjusted to the target audience. Food and accommodation on the island cost surprisingly low, so that even a backpacker with a budget of 30$ per day can provide himself or herself with a reasonable, almost western life standard on the island, which includes air conditioned rooms and delicious cuisine. During the last several years, when more spoiled tourists discovered this island, local entrepreneurs began to invest in luxury accommodation. Nevertheless, the best quality accommodation in Koh Phangan is still cheaper, on average, compared to the same standard accommodation offered on other islands. 2. The rare opportunity to experience the "old school" island paradise. Even the sworn lovers of Thailand will agree, that the days when the "paradise islands" were the place in which one can sit on a lonely beach and share his or her thoughts with a single coconut tree, are a thing of the past. Still, in Koh Phangan one can find some "reservations" of remote picturesque beaches with only a limited choice of accommodation, such as Haad Thong Reng, Haad Yao and Haad Sadet. Some of these forgotten venues feature about three dozens bungalows hidden in the midst of the jungle. These "old school" beaches make you fell like merging with a "real" paradise, created by true nature and not by wise and experienced tourism industry entrepreneurs. 3. Breathtaking diving sites. The Gulf of Thailand is considered to be an excellent diving area, due to its clear lucid water and the huge variety of underwater life. Until recently, the consensual opinion stated that the only place for "real" scuba divers in the Gulf of Thailand is Koh Tao Island, next to Koh Phangan. Nowadays, more and more divers are choosing Koh Phangan as a launching ground for their preferable diving sites: a small island Koh Ma, connected to Koh Phangan by a sand bar; the neighboring beaches Haad Salad, Haad Yao & Haad Chaophao, offering a hugevariety of tropical fish and coral reefs; and Ang Thong National Marine Park - a group of 42 islands, protected as a National Park. 4. The Full Moon Party. The full moon party, held in Koh Phangan since 1989, attracts thousands of travelers every month coming from all corners of the globe. Even if you are not the classic partygoer - the full moon party could be a unique and unforgettable opportunity to join thousands of joyful, exhilarated people dancing together in the most beautiful place in the world to the sounds of the best music.5. To experience radically unique travel activities. Koh Phangan is quite a small sized island (about 170 km2), but it offers a widest variety of activities. You can come on a Sunday, as a backpacker to Sunrise Beach, become a professional diver on Monday in Koh Ma and turn into a seasoned partygoer on Tuesday as you take part in the exhilarating full moon party. If you're able to wake up on Wednesday morning, you can meet local people in the fishermen's village Chaloklum learn and experience their traditional way of life. Additionally, you can join forces with your sportsperson alter ego and go trekking on Thursday; and on Friday you'll have the unique opportunity to pretend being a Mowgli riding an elephant's back in Phangan Safari. On Saturday, you can try living as a sheikh in a luxury resort with a spa...and maybe get the chance to write a novel on the seven most unforgettable days of your life.
About the Author
Independent researcher, MA in anthropology, and travel enthusiast Ella Evans has spend more than a decade exploring Thailand focusing on the Southern Islands. The fruits of her labor can be found in the Koh Phangan Experience Website: a comprehensive travel guide to Koh Phangan, Thailand, which includes information articles, tips, advice and a message board. Visit Koh Phangan Experience Guide.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Thailand Live board diving Andaman Sea.

Thailand Live board diving Andaman Sea. by PJ Widestrand

A wonderful sunrise welcomed us to the Similans. We did the first dive at our new, secret dive site, and enjoyed the 40 meter visibility and the social, to say the least, Hawksbill Turtle we usually meet here!
As always Island #9 had great conditions, with a gentle Leopard Shark, 4 Turtles and plenty of schooling fish. Afternoon dive at the Three Trees, with lots of tiny colorful fish.
Plenty of schooling fish and several Leopard Sharks in crystal clear water met us at Koh Bon.
Further up north is Koh Tachai, with the normal, healthy current bringing in lots of life. The Batfish cleaning station is amusing to observe! More Turtles... Sunset dive with an inquisitive Eagle Ray!
The turnaround point of the trip was Richelieu Rock. Big swarm of Chevron Barracudas in the shallows, lots of {Big-eye Trevallies, Snappers, Nudibranches, a Cuttlefish, Ghost Shrimps and a rare Zebra Moray EelSnappers, Nudibranches, a Cuttlefish, Ghost Shrimps, Big-eye Trevallies, and also a rare Zebra Moray Eel! And yet another Turtle
A very atmospheric afternoon dive at Koh Bon, with a Devil Ray and a school of young Batfish ended the third day.
Fourth, and unfortunately the last, day of the trip started with a dive at island #9 in the Similans. Whitetip Shark, schools of fish and a very scenic dive indeed. Grand Finale at Sharkfin Reef, with 3 Blue Ribbon Eels, Mantis Shrimps, Jawfish, Nudibranchs and big Moray Eels.
Nice conditions all the way back to Patong.
About the Author
PJ Widestrand is a Tourleader and Video - Pro. He has been diving all over the world including Cocos Islands, Galapagos, Komodo and for the last 6 years he has been working in Thailand. Learn more about Similan Liveaboards

Monday, January 29, 2007

Taking Great Photos Underwater

Taking Great Photos Underwater
By: Rob Daniels

Copyright 2006 Rob DanielsThe Nikonos, manufactured by Nikon, was the first true underwater camera and to this day remains the industry standard. Nikon has discontinued their first-rate Nikonos line of underwater cameras and lenses, although you may still find the Nikonos on the used market or eBay.Underwater photography is a great way to record your experience with non-divers of the wonderful world below the waves.If you simply want an underwater camera for a day, you might want to consider either a Kodak or a Fuji single-use disposable camera. For those beginning in the field of underwater photography, an inexpensive waterproof disposable camera can be a good way to get started. Some of the disposable underwater cameras are equipped with an integrated flash unit.One of the difficulties casual snorkelers and divers who are attempting underwater photography struggle with is the lack of visibility in the view finder on underwater cameras. Too many commercially built underwater cameras cases merely depend on lining up dots, which isn't sufficient for proper composition of underwater pictures. Very few underwater cameras have a finder large enough to be used accurately underwater.Serious enthusiasts who want the advantages of a single-lens reflex auto-focus camera may prefer a land camera in an underwater housing. Some of the more advanced and specialized cameras have an underwater mode that change the features, operation, or interface of the camera for underwater use. Imagine having an underwater camera that takes 220 shots at 12 million pixels that you can see and delete underwater. When most people think about shooting digital pictures underwater, they think of large underwater camera housings, intricate flash strobes and a very large budget. But that is not always the case Canon is making an entire line of underwater housings for many of its digital point-and-shoot cameras in the PowerShot line. While serious underwater photography still requires higher-end equipment, these cameras and housings can produce some very good results. Digital cameras can also afford more shooting time underwater with a larger 1-gig compact flash card.Another important item to consider before taking any underwater shots is the proper camera lens. The basic camera systems available for underwater photography have a thirty-five millimeter lens.There are some real disadvantages to underwater photography. One particular challenge in underwater photography is the use of a flash. Flash photography underwater is limited in range to about 8 ft at the extreme, 4-6 ft commonly.Browse through any collection of (good) underwater photography, and you will see that every image is either macro or wide-angle, without exception. For this reason alone, many divers new to underwater photography start by concentrating on macro subjects. Doing macro underwater shares many of the same concepts as shooting on dry land. The trick is to shoot close with a wide angle with an auto-focus camera because depth of field underwater is very unforgiving. If you're a new to underwater photography, four feet should be the maximum distance from which to photograph your subject. When you are estimating the camera-to-subject distance underwater you are estimating the apparent distance, the actual distance is 25 percent further away.Remember Underwater Photography starts as skill development, then composition followed by technique and finely artistic realization. Many of the rules of land photography still apply underwater but they must be used with some thought. The irony of underwater photography is that for all its beauty, the biggest enemy is the water itself. Unlike taking photos topside, when reloading is a simple process, cameras cannot be reloaded underwater.Even if you are not using it for underwater use, sand and sea air can damage the delicate mechanisms within the camera. To take effective pictures underwater you need to be able to concentrate on your subject and the operation of your camera equipment. Underwater photography is great fun, but getting good results is extremely tricky and the equipment is very expensive.
Article Source:
Rob Daniels is an avid snorkeler and outdoor enthusiasts more at Snorkeling Shop and Future Photo

Sunday, January 28, 2007

2006 Dec 27 Similan - mating cuttle fish (fr Shirley's DC)

From sygw01
cuttle fish

Turtle in Similan Islands

From oenogeek
Turtle eats a banana hanging out

Similan 3 - Thailand

From etll
Manta ray sighted

Thailand scuba diving

Scuba diving is Thailand’s most popular water sport and the country boosts some of the most beautiful dive sites in the world – the water is clear, sea life plentiful, transport and accommodation readily available and instruction to a very high standard. Diving in Thailand is comparatively cheap, and once you have achieved your certification in Thailand, you can use it to go scuba-diving all over the world.
Diving is available at all times of the year, although visibility changes according to the season. In the Andaman Sea, the best time to dive is from October to April, and in the Gulf of Thailand from May to September. At recommended dive sites in Thailand the water is so clear that the under-water world is visible from the surface: whale sharks, manta rays, marlin, flying fish, dolphins and coral reefs.
All reputable dive shops are affiliated with PADI or other international dive bodies, and most hold courses in multiple languages. All over Thailand, you can expect modern amenities, international standard boats and professional facilities.
For group or family travelers, all good live aboard operations will take non-divers along at a substantially reduced fee. Friends and family can relax, swim, sunbathe, snorkel and still enjoy the food, trip, scenery and experience of sailing in some of the world’s most beautiful waters.
Underwater experience
Day 1 : Transfer from Phuket Airport to Chalong Bay. Board night boat from the bay to Similan islands.
Day 2 : Arrive Similan. Rest of the day at dive sites around island exploring the reefs of the Similan Archipelago and myriad colours exhibited by countless fish and corals. There are three dive spots scheduled, and one night dive.
Day 3 : Continue your diving odyssey at three locations. Three daytime dives are scheduled at Ko Bon island and Ko Tachai, home to manta rays, whale sharks and colourful coral. There is one dive at Surin Island.
Day 4 : Three dives scheduled at Richelieu Rock, playground of the whale shark.
Day 5 : Dive at three more Similan locations before taking the night boat to Phuket.
Andaman adventure
Day 1 : From Patong Beach, Phuket, sail overnight to the Similan Islands.
Day 2 – 3 : Wake up at a Similan dive site and after breakfast, explore the area. Surroundings Range from delicate sloping reefs to giant boulder drop-offs The variety of marine life here is exceptional, with diverse corals and an enormous huge range of fish. Set sail For the Myanmar Banks in the evening.
Day 4 – 5 : Two days are spent on the Myanmar Banks exploring marine life including many different varieties of shark The area is subject to strong currents and changing underwater visibility visibility so it is strictly for experienced dives.
Day 6 : Dive at Richelieu Rock and Ko Ta-chai. Return to Similan in the evening
Day 7 : The last full day of diving around Similan, visiting several important reefs such as Shark's fin and Elephant's Head. Evening departure for the return passage to Phuket.
Day 8 : Early morning arrival at Patong. Participating divers should be certificated, but there is plenty of action on these tours for non-divers and various entertainments on board the mother ship, plus the chance to explore ashore.Divers' paradise
Day 1 : Arrive Samui and continue by boat to Ko Tao (Turtle Island). After lunch, enjoy swimming and snorkeling around this tiny island considered to be the best dive site in the Gulf. The marine ecology of Ko Tao is the habitat of several rare species, including spotted rays, giant trigger fish and the occa-sional and harmless whale shark.
Day 2 – 7 : Enjoy diving lessons offered by international-standard diving schools or discovering the beautiful under-water world with experienced divers.
Day 8 : Leave Ko Tao for Chumphon. City tour and visit to the many caves and beautiful beaches. Overnight in Chumpon.
Dive sites
ANDAMAN SEA : Dive sites are found off the coast of Phuket with prime spots such as Shark Point, Red Rock, Ko Yao, Ko Yai, and the twin islands of Ko Racha, extending to the Similan and Surin islands to the west, Krabi and Trang to the east.
GULF OF THAILAND : Sites are around Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, Ko Tao, Ko Nang Yuan, Mu Ko Ang Thong Marine National Park, and Ko Chang in Trat Province near the Combodian border.
EAST COAST : On the east coast of the Gulf, Pattaya offers dive trips out to Ko Larn, Ko Sak, Ko Krok, Ko Rin, Ko Pai and Ko Marn Vichai. There are dozens of dive shops offering courses and tours to any level and in any language.
Misconceptions about learning
IT IS DANGEROUS.v Not true. All the recommended dive companies listed here are PADI certified and have well qualified, experienced staff. As long as divers follow instructions and are prepared, there is less danger than swimming in the sea.IT TAKES A LONG TIME TO LEARN AND IS EXPENSIVEv Not true. All PADI centres offer beginner’s courses in a swimming pool for a half or full day. Becoming PADI certified will take four days in Thailand. Anyone over eight years can do a “Bubble Blowers” course in a pool for free. A Discover Scuba Diving course will cost around 4,000 baht and take one day. A full Open Water PADI course will take four days and cost around 10,000 bahtIT’S DIFFICULT AND YOU HAVE TO BE VERY FIT.v Not true. Anyone over the age of 12 can do a PADI certified course. As long as they are in good medical condition and have no history of asthma, heart or breathing problems, a severe cold or problems with your ears, then they are ready to dive.Precautions & preparations
There are some precautions and preparations that should be taken before diving, whether you are experienced or a beginner.
v Never go diving too soon after or before flying. The change in atmospheric pressure can cause “The Bends” either underwater or in the air, so divers should always consult an instructor to time diving and training to flight schedules.
v Never dive after a heavy meal. The blood flows to the stomach to aid digestion and may cause cramp.
v Never consume alcohol before diving (including the night before). The underwater effect of alcohol is multiplied many times, leading to disorientation and lack of judgment.
v If a heavy smoker, cut down before beginning to dive.
v Always follow safety procedures as advised by the instructor.
v Never go diving alone.
v If a diver has experience but has not been diving for a while (six months or more), they should tell the instructor and ask for a quick refresher course on procedures, safety and practices.
v Look for PADI certified dive shops only. Ask around at the resort to see who is recommended. Don’t take the first option or the cheapest (necessarily).
v If sure to dive before leaving on a trip, access the official PADI site at and look for PADI certified dive shops at the destination.
v Read as much as possible about the destination. If experienced, a diver should know about the best dive sites before they even get to a resort.

Information from

Friday, January 26, 2007

Five Minutes in Thailand scuba

From simonspear

The Thai island of Koh Phi Phi was very badly hit during the 2004 Tsunami. This film shows how the underwater world had recovered 8 months later. The good news is that there was very little damage to the reefs or coral, and the marine life looked very healthy. The resident Leopard Sharks were out in full force and when we visited the Gulf of Thailand around Koh Tao, we were even graced with the appearance of a wonderful Whale Shark. However our stay was slap bang in the middle of the diving 'offseason', so the visibility was low (normally under 10m), apart from on a couple of notable occasions. This film hopefully shows that the diving can still be very good in the offseason and just how truly spectacular it can be in peak season.The island above ground was recovering well, but our thoughts go out to anyone who lost loved ones during the terrible catastrophe on that fateful Boxing Day. ... (more)

Lunla Diving Club: See whale shark and manta Ray

From wannapong22

We are so happy to meet a new friend. We are a diving group from Thailand

Whale Shark of Thailand

From oenogeek

Here's a 10 meter whale shark from video diving in the Andaman Sea off the coast of Thailand

scuba - Google News