Weekly Dive Report – June 9th-15th

This week we are so pleased to have yet another amazing weekly dive site video feature by world renowned videograogher Elisabeth Lauwerys from Oceans Below. This weeks report is video only, so none of our fave pics, just the video in its full glory!

Oceans Below was set up in 2005 by Elisabeth herself, and has grown into an award winning underwater video production company. Elisabeth and her team have been recognized at a number of film festivals including the Antibes Underwater Film Festival and the World Shootout, and Oceans Below footage has been used by many international organisations, including PADI and the BBC. You can follow them on instagram @oceans_below

This week, we visited Mango Bay, White Rock, Hin Wong Bay & Chumphon Pinnacle. We’ve had some sunny spells mixed with rain showers and some windy days –  normal for this time of year  from the monsoon that is currently in full force on the West coast of Thailand. Despite this, visibility has remained good, and despite a few more waves than normal, we’ve still had happy divers of all levels aboard our boats.

When the sun is shining, our days are still glorious, so hopefully the rain and pesky rain clouds will be gone soon, and we’ll be back to constant clear skies and calm seas! You can read more about the weather on Koh Tao and monsoon season on Koh Tao in some of our previous blog entries.

We hope you enjoy the video, and until next week, happy viewing!

Master Divers Zero Plastic week

The challenge

Last week (4th-11th June) saw the whole Master Divers team take on the Zero Plastic challenge and it was tough! All of us made a real effort to look at our habits and record how we got on so that we might be able to make changes in our own lives, and try to push for bigger changes that will be driven by traders, producers, supermarkets and governments. I have to offer up a big thanks to the team for getting on board with the challenge and taking the time out of their busy schedules to note and take pictures of their efforts. Everyone agreed that when we really started looking, plastic was everywhere!

 

The things we couldn’t change

There were a couple of areas that came up as ‘repeat offenders’ where we found it difficult to make any habitual changes in order to cut out the plastic. One of these was with dairy products- milk, yoghurt and butter packets in restaurants. There doesn’t seem to be anywhere on the island where you can get milk in a glass bottle! Sadly, I’m old enough to remember the milk delivery days so know that this is definitely how it used to work!

The other was with takeaways. Of course, we could cook at home but it’s not possible for all of us, I have an outdoor kitchen with one gas ring, so when it’s raining I’m pretty limited. Also after a long day diving, eating in a restaurant is a bit much and we want the comfort of our own home and to finally finish that episode of Netflix that we keep falling asleep to! Plastic bags were the big issue, with plastic forks sometimes being ‘hidden’ in card food containers, and sauces being individually put into smaller bags. It takes changes on both sides for us to make sure we are taking Tupperware to the restaurant when we order, or for places like Enjoy in Mae Haad that give you your takeaway in Tupperware and you get your ‘deposit’ back when you take it back.

There is also a massive lack of savoury snacks that aren’t in plastic. There is a no plastic shop where we can get nuts and cereals, but it’s expensive and therefore too easy to reach for a bag of crisps/chips or nuts all wrapped in plastic. Another thing that will need to come from producers and retailers for us to change. The same applies to toiletries and feminine hygiene. There are alternatives out there but they aren’t easily accessible on the island and the cost is higher.

 

Above shows where we struggled to reduce plastic

The things we changed

On the plus side we all made great efforts to change things and had some great successes. Refusing plastic bags and straws was the easiest thing to do, and at Master Divers we have made great efforts to change our local restaurants to switch to reusable straws. Still more work to be done though! We were also able to reduce and for some eradicate plastic water bottles. A real challenge on an island without safe drinking water. We used glass water bottles and water refill stations based around the island to stay hydrated. Although more of each would definitely help!

There was also a massive change in people taking their own containers for takeaways, refusing chopsticks in plastic wrappers, and making different choices at meal times to not use plastic.  Everyone tried really hard and we all saw how tough it was to have a completely plastic free day. This is definitely going to be an ongoing project for us all as we have had our eyes open to how much plastic we are going through on a daily basis.

Water delivery on Koh Tao

 

It doesn’t have to be zero plastic week for you to try it out. Take some time to look at your options and try and go plastic free!

Weekly Dive Report – June 2nd-8th

This week we are lucky to have yet another amazing guest for our weekly dive site video and blog. This time we feature world renowned videograogher Elisabeth Lauwerys from Oceans Below. In a break from the norm this weeks’s report is video only, so none of our fave pics, just the video in its full glory!

Oceans Below was set up in 2005 by Elisabeth herself, and has grown into an award winning underwater video production company. Elisabeth and her team have been recognized at a number of film festivals including the Antibes Underwater Film Festival and the World Shootout, and Oceans Below footage has been used by many international organisations, including PADI and the BBC. You can follow them on instagram @oceans_below

This week, we visited Japanese Gardens, Twins, Mango Bay& the HTMS Sattakut wreck. We’ve experienced some sporadic heavy rains and increased wind – both of which are normal for this time of year when we get some kick backs from the full monsoon that is currently in force on the West coast of Thailand. Despite this, visibility has remained good, and despite a few more waves than normal, we’ve still had happy divers of all levels aboard our boats.

When the sun is shining, our days are still glorious, so hopefully the rain and pesky rain clouds will be gone soon, and we’ll be back to constant clear skies and calm seas! You can read more about the weather on Koh Tao and monsoon season on Koh Tao in some of our previous blog entries.

We hope you enjoy the video, and until next week, happy viewing!

Dive Report with a Difference – Guest Photographer Brad Beadling

 

We have something a little bit different for you in this week’s dive report. Our regular photo guru Rob is away this week, but not to worry – you wont be deprived of your weekly dose of dive photo viewing! We’re happy to introduce former PADI Divemaster Candidate (and as of this week PADI Instructor Development Course Candidate!) Brad Beadling.

 

brad-beadling-photo

 

Brad has been with us since the end of March and started with his Emergency First Response and PADI Rescue Diver before signing up for his Divemaster and IDC courses. Having been into land photography for over 5 years already, underwater photography seemed like a natural progression  – and we think you’ll agree he’s a natural talent!

 

 

Not all of Brad’s shots in this weeks compilation are from the past week, but all are recent and give you a general idea of the conditions and marine life sightings we have been enjoying. For those interested, the weather in the past week has been a little changeable, with wind and some small waves picking up towards the end of the week. We’ve had some rain storms, but mainly overnight, and any daytime downpours were quick to pass. This is usual for this time of year, when the West coast of Thailand is experiencing it’s monsoon season.

Our favourite shots from Brad’s collection include this diver silhouette and a fish munching on a sea urchin.

 

diver-silhouette-koh-tao fish-eating-urchin-koh-tao

 

Some of Brad’s favourite subjects to get his beady lens on are anemone’s. They can be challenging to shoot, as the anemone fish that dwell within can move quickly and are good at hiding. So it takes lots of patience and lots of practice to capture a perfect image.

 

anemones-white-rock-koh-tao fish-chumphon-pinnacle-anemone

 

For those looking for camera specifics, all of Brad’s shots are Canon Rebel SL1. You can see more of Brad’s pics, both land and water based, on instagram. Follow him at @brad_bead_photo

If you’d like to know more about learning to take underwater images, then the PADI Digital Underwater Photographer Course could be for you!

Until next time, safe and happy bubble blowing! 🙂

 

Weekly Dive Report – May 19th – 25th

The weeks are flying by lately – can you believe its nearly June already? How did that happen?!?! We’ve been incredibly spoiled again this week with yet more brilliant dive conditions.

This week, we visited the wreck of the HTMS Sattakut, which you may notice pops up on our dive report very frequently. This is because it is regularly scheduled for Wreck Adventure Dives as part of PADI Advanced Open Water Diver courses, and also on the PADI Wreck Diver course.

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We also visited Southwest Pinnacles, Green Rock & White Rock. Divers at Green Rock were lucky to spot a Hawksbill Turtle.

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Long may these brilliant conditions and marine life sightings continue! Until next week… happy bubble blowing!

 

Master Divers Life Contest – Blog Guidelines

With our Master Divers Life contest drawing to a close for entry forms and video submissions on June the 1st and 2nd respectively, it’s nearly time to announce our finalists – and we couldn’t be more excited! We’ll be reaching out to our top 10 in the first week of June, and we’ll officially announce the line up on June 8th once everyone has confirmed their availability to travel and commence their training – so keep an eye on your emails!

live-on-koh-tao

First of all to those who are lucky enough to make the final cut and be named one of our top 10 contestants, then congratulations! That takes you one big leap closer and just a blog away from perhaps being the lucky winner who gets to join us on Koh Tao and live the dream by becoming a PADI Instructor with us here on Koh Tao – and snag yourself a full set of top of the range Aqua Lung equipment along the way! In case you need a little reminder as to exactly what you win and the value of all the prizes, you can check out a breakdown on our Master Divers Life prizes page.  Excited much?! You should be!

win-padi-career-on-koh-tao

So….how do you make an impression with your blog? As with your video compilation, we are really looking to get a feel for you as a person and get a sense of your passion for the marine environment. As a dive centre so heavily focused on conservation, the only stipulation is that your blog should focus on a conservation topic that you have been involved in, would like to be involved in or that is close to your heart….so plenty scope there I’m sure you’ll agree! From your videos we’ve already seen a whole array of personalities and passions, so we are excited to see what you have to say about your chosen topic in writing!

Master Divers Life

We’ll be publishing the blog of each of the 10 finalists on our facebook page prior to announcing the winner, so if you want to send some pictures and videos to embed in your blog please do feel free to add them as attachments and let us know what you’d like the title/captions to be.

 

BLOG GUIDELINES & RULES

The minimum word count is 700 words, but your blog should be no longer than 3000 words.

All blogs should be original work, with no copied text taken from other sources.

All completed blogs, along with any images or video files should be sent to marketing@master-divers.com by June 15th.

Please do not include any images or videos that you do not own or have permission to share.

Win your Master Divers Life

 

So…it’s time to get your blog on and start writing! The winner will be announced on July the 4th…and IT COULD BE YOU!

We cant wait to read what you all come up with. Good luck to you all!

 

Weekly Dive Report – May 12th – 18th

It’s that time of the week again! It’s been another scorching week with hot conditions on land and excellent visibility underwater. This weeks hit list of dive sites included Chumphon Pinnacle,  HTMS Sattakut, Laem Thien & White Rock. 

dive-chumphon-koh-tao coral-reef-koh-tao

We had mainly calm conditions and beautiful sunny skies, with excellent visibility, although there was a thermocline at some of the deeper sites at around 20metres.

pinnacle-koh-tao lion-fish-chumphon-pinnacle

Our favourite shots included our very own Hayley posing on the wreck, as well as this beautiful turtle.

htms-sattakut-koh-tao hawksbill-turtle-koh-tao

Until next time, safe and happy bubble making! 🙂

 

Weekly Dive Report – May 5th – 11th

Welcome to our round up of what has been another fantastic week of diving on Koh Tao! We’ve had some slight swell and mild currents around the island this week, however visibility is still amazing, and we’ve seen more fantastic marine life yet again!

This week, we visited Chumphon Pinnacle, Southwest Pinnacles, White Rock & Twins.

southwest-pinnacle-koh-tao schooling-fish-chumphon-pinnacle

There was abundant marine life and many and various schools of fish, including some rarer spots such as this Lion Fish at Chumphon Pinnacle, and a beautiful school of Bat Fish at Southwest Pinnacles.

lion-fish-chumphon-pinnacle batfish-southwest-koh-tao

We had several groups of divers on a whole range of activities ranging from Try Dives and Fun Dives, to Rescue Courses and PADI Specialties. Special congratulations to Hyejeong on completing her 100th dive with us!

dive-courses-koh-tao 100th-dive-koh-tao

See you next week for more underwater fun! 🙂

 

How Diving On Koh Tao Can Change Your Life!

If you’d told me 10 years ago that I’d be where I am now, I’d have never believed you! In my head life was already mapped out, and I was definitely one of those ‘go to university, take a gap year, then get a proper job and settle down’ types! So in many ways my eyes were pretty blinkered to the possibilities of a completely different way of life. But then something changed… I’d been to university, I’d taken a gap year (which actually turned into 2 gap years without much active thought or persuasion!), I had a proper job (and a pretty good one at that!). But the settling down bit….well turns out it just wasn’t for me – not in the conventional sense at least!

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Beautiful Scerery in New Zealand

 

So….what to do? Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t unhappy. I had a good job (which on some days I liked, but in all honestly never really loved), a great group of friends, and an active social and sporting life. Somewhere deep down though, I knew I could be happier, and I felt like I was just going through the motions. Constantly working towards the next promotion or pay rise, always on the lookout for new opportunities where I could step up the chain, or even step sideways into another field where I would be happier/more fulfilled. Plus I still had itchy feet from my time overseas. Sound familiar?!…

typical-autralia-backpacker
Classic Gap Year Tourist!

 

The following summer I’d arranged a reunion holiday with my bestie from my gap year who was still living in Australia, and Thailand seemed like a cool equidistant place to meet. At the end of our trip I still had a few extra days whereas my friend had to fly home and get back to work. So while walking down Khao San Road on her last night, we ducked into a travel agency and I booked a package trip to Koh Tao to learn to dive. And the rest, as they say, is history!…

first-tuc-tuc-ride
My First Ever Tuc Tuc Ride!

 

I took my PADI Open Water Course, stayed on for my PADI Advanced Open Water Course, then extended my stay (again!) to take some fun dives. By the end up my trip I was in love with both diving and Koh Tao, and knew for sure that I wanted to become a PADI Instructor here. I was also on particularly good terms with Anastasia in the Quantas office, who was incredibly patient and helpful on every occasion that I called up to delay my return flights for ‘just another couple of days’ while I took my Advanced course and fun dives! But that’s another story…

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My First Koh Tao Sunset

 

And so I did it! I returned home and started planning. I handed in my notice at work, sold my car, and started ebaying furniture, clothes and anything else that would not be required for my new island lifestyle! It was a huge decision and turning point in my life, and not one I took lightly. But I knew deep down it was the right decision. Telling my family and friends was the hardest part, as I really do love and miss so many people back home…just not enough to live there! 😉 Besides, having a friend or relative to visit in a sunny tropical paradise somewhat softened the blow of my leaving for most people!

my-first-whale-shark-koh-tao
My First Whale Shark!

 

The minute my feet set foot on Koh Tao, any lingering reservations just dropped away. I felt like I was firmly in the right place at the right time, and I was excited to begin my training!

A decade later and I still feel the same excitement and passion for both diving and Koh Tao as I did back then. The dive industry is home to such an awesome community of people, and Koh Tao…well Koh Tao just has it all!  And if it worked for me, it can work out for you too!

Considering it? If it helps, here are some answers to the most common questions that are most likely running through your head right now… It it a risk? To an extent, yes. One worth taking? Absolutely! Any regrets? Hell no! Did some of my friends and family think I was crazy? Probably! Are they all super jealous now? To the max! 🙂

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Classic Koh Tao Sunset with Friends

 

So what are you waiting for? Enter our Master Divers Life contest and get planning to live your best life with us here on Koh Tao! Find details and enter at www.master-divers.com/life

 

When environment means community as well

Keeping it local

The environment is really important to us, it’s our job, our life and also our community as well. Here on Koh Tao we are really lucky to have a group of like minded individuals that are all doing their best to make changes in habits to preserve the planet, dive in a safe and environmentally friendly way and also look after wildlife and animals a bit closer to home.

 

We are not alone at Master Divers having a menagerie of animals that we all adore. Anyone that has visited Koh Tao has seen the dive shop pets, the dogs piggy backing scooter drivers and the cats lazing on the spirit houses outside homes.

Meet our crew below!

Fatty, Greedy, Sandy and Sky

 

It’s because we love them so much that we wanted to show our support to the Koh Tao Noistar foundation animal clinic, and this morning went for a visit to donate 5000 baht raised from selling off unused equipment and a variety of eco presentations and evenings. They do such an important job on the island looking after our 4 legged family members. We would be lost without them and wanted to show our appreciation.

 

Donating 5000 Baht to the Koh Tao Animal rescue

 

From everyone at Master Divers past and present, thank you. Thank you for keeping our animals healthy and being such an important part of our Koh Tao community.