On my 5 month trip I became hooked on scuba diving. I got my PADI at El Nido in the Philippines and went diving at Tioman in Malaysia. But Frank and I wanted to further improve our diving skills and thus we choose to go to Koh Tao, divers paradise in Thailand, to get our Advanced PADI.
Getting your advanced PADI on Koh Tao: practical information
We did our PADI Advanced Dive Course at Impian Divers. The costs for our 2 day course was 9500B per person and included 5 dives.
Peak performance buoyancy dive
We learned how to fine tune our buoyancy by doing several exercises. I love the one where we had to flip over a domino standing in the sand with our nose by using only our way of breathing.
Apologies for not having pictures of us doing exercises underwater, I don’t have my own underwater camera (yet?) so I have very few pictures of me diving.
30 meter deep wreck dive
I’ll tell more about this dive in the post below!
We learned how to navigate our way around a dive site. I loved learning how underwater navigation works, it’s actually quite difficult to determine your exact position. We looked at a dive map of the dive site and drew this on a white board before getting into the water. But to actually find our position on said map when we were underwater wasn’t easy at all!
It’s a skill I would definitely want to improve, I won’t feel confident diving without supervision until I can properly do this myself…
Night diving was very interesting, it was pitch black all around us and we could only see as far as our lanterns shone. My favorite moment was when we turned our lanterns off and waved our arms: the water lit up by the light emitted by plankton, truly magical…
Nevertheless, I still wouldn’t opt to go night diving again, I prefer to see the bright colors of the coral during the day.
Fish ID dive
We learned how to identify the fish and which signals to use to point them out to each other. I loved this dive because it really makes you aware of all the amazing fish swimming around you!
Also included in the price for the dive course were two nights at Jomthong Guesthouse, which was right next to Impian Divers where we did our course.
Exploring The HTMS Sattakut Wreck
I got up early in the morning of the second day of my Advanced PADI Course. I was super excited to go wreck diving! After a good breakfast (I get motion sickness if I have an empty stomach) Frank and I were ready to go.
Together with several other divers and the instructors we hopped on the boat and set course to location of the wreck. There we suited up, checked our own gear, did our buddy checks and listened to the dive briefing.
The HTMS Sattakut, a former US World War II Navy vessel build in 1944, has been sunk in 2011 so it is still a relatively ‘new’ wreck. Visibility isn’t always great at this dive spot, it’s strongly depended on the current, weather and other circumstances.
I love the start of a dive, slowly sinking down to the ocean floor while seeing more and more colorful fish swimming around me. All surface noise fades away until there is no other sound than that of my own breathing. And then… I saw the wreck! We were definitely in luck, because the visibility was extremely good.
We descended all the way to the sandy ocean floor, right next to wreck. An impressive sight and I felt very tiny compared to the 50 meters long and 7 meter high boat. We were below 30 meters of water, I never went this deep before!
That is why we did some tests, like doing a bit of math on our fingers, to check if any of us showed signs of nitrogen narcosis (an intoxicating effect caused by breathing nitrogen under pressure). We all felt okay and did our sums correctly so we could safely continue the dive.
I have to admit I am completely addicted to the feeling of freedom diving gives me. Floating through the water, completely weightless (or so it feels?), while around me swim all kinds of beautifully colored fish like yellow-tail barracudas, groupers, puffer fish and even a Jenkins Whip ray that was hiding below the wreck!
Swimming in that wonderful underwater world, I remembered thinking: I cannot believe that I’ll be sitting in my office again next week… But if there is one thing traveling has taught me, it’s to enjoy the moment so I quickly shook this thought and focused on the terrific dive.
Unfortunately diving deep means you use your air must faster so after 30 minutes we had to go back up. But it was such a cool dive and I can’t wait to go again!