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Thai Wreck Dive Koh Tao

May 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Save Koh Tao with help from the Thai Navy is working to find the best location for the sinking this decommissioned Navy vessel.  The vessel is currently in Bangkok where is is being prepared for it’s sinking.  This process includes the removal of all pollutants and toxic substances to prevent any contamination of the Koh Tao’s reefs.  Special attention is also be put towards removing entrapment and entanglement hazzards.  The wreck is forecasted to be sunk the 18th of June.

This is going to provide Koh Tao with an alternative dive site to not only take some of the traffic off the main dive sites but also open up new training possibilities.  The PADI Wreck specialty will now be much easier to teach logistically.  Other courses like Advanced Wreck will also be put into place for technical divers wishing to broaden their knowledge, skills and techniques used in complex wreck navigation as well as restriction and guideline use.  Our experienced staff of Technical Instructors, Instructor Trainers, Trimix Instructors, Technical Instructors and Cave Instructors will we working hard to ensure adequate training is received before complex navigation is taken up.  Tech Diving Thailand

It is important that the diving community understand and is accepting to the fact that single tank recreational divers are not adequately equipped to be diving past the light zone in equipment without any redundancy.  Wreck diving can be an extremely satisfying activity so long as safety and training are made a priority.

Through overhead environment training Cave Diving instructors and the NSS/CDS have been building a database of accidents involving death or serious injury in overhead environments.  A simple recall phrase can be used to help remember the 5 rules of accident analysis to assist in preventing accidents in overhead.

Nearly Every Preventable Death in overhead can be contributed to not following these simple rules.

  • Thank = Training – diving outside of training limitations or with no training
  • Goodness = Guideline – Guideline leading to open water, proper complex navigational techniques utilized
  • All = Air: Gas management – Rule of 1/3 or 1/4
  • Divers = Depth – Maintaining appropriate depth limits
  • Lived = Lights: Appropriate and properly maintained equipment (twinset with isolation manifold, redundant life support systems)

Thanks to all of those involved in this project, the benefits of alternate dive sites on Koh Tao have already been seen.  The increasing level of training and experience available is also one of the benefits that every diving professional, technical diver and recreational diver can enjoy safely.

Craig Werger

Ban’s Technical Diving

Koh Tao

Thailand

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Songkran Festival Koh Tao 2011

April 20, 2011 Leave a comment

The Songkran festival is celebrated in Thailand as the traditional New Year’s Day from 13 to 15 April. Songkran has traditionally been celebrated as the New Year for many centuries, and is believed to have been adapted from an Indian festival. It is now observed nationwide, even in the far south. However, the most famous Songkran celebrations are still in the northern city of Chiang Mai, where it continues for six days and even longer. It has also become a party for foreigners and an additional reason for many to visit Thailand for immersion in another culture. Here on Koh Tao there’s no exception as the streets and beaches erupt in an all-day water fight. The festival only lasts one day here on the island but what a day! (Usually taking 2 more days just to recover)

Here at Bans we had one of the best parties on the island as we were visited by many other dive resorts during the day. The biggest group of visitors came from up the beach from Big Blue Diving Resort. A great day had by all. So next year if you don’t mind getting a little wet come for a visit!

Of all the feasts and festivals in Thailand, which are many, the Songkran Festival is the most striking, for it is widely observed not only in this country but also in Burma, Cambodia and the Lao State. Songkran is a Sanskrit word in Thai form which means the entry of the sun into any sign of the Zodiac.

The Songkran is in fact the celebration of the beginning of spring when the sun crosses the equator is now on the 21st of March which is due to the precession of the equinox. The Songkran Festival is in a certain sense like April fool’s Day just wetter.

Set Sail On A New Adventure with Naga and scuba sail

April 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Ang Thong Marine Park

Ang Thong National Marine Park is a protected nature reserve consisting of over 40 islands. Visiting the unspoiled islands and beaches is like stepping back in time as they remain undeveloped and unihabited apart from a small population of sea gypsies.

The islands range in size from mere rocks to tiny paradise islands with pure white beaches and coconut trees. The movie ‘the Beach‘ starring Leonardo Di Caprio was inspired by and partially filmed at this location. Touring the Marine Park gives you the feeling of being an explorer discovering the far ends of the world. The water is clean, calm and inviting, creating the perfect conditions to explore the park’s hidden treasures.

The Naga will take you first to the north of the Marine Park, to Koh Wao. Koh Wao consists of three islands with a shallow, sheltered bay in between, making it well suited for snorkeling. The underwater life is not as abundant as the shores of Koh Tao, but it is refreshing to jump into the water and swim around the beautiful bay. You will spend one hour snorkeling on this site, where you will get a good glimpse of the Park’s marine life.

After that you will land on the beach at Talay Nai and begin an easy but impressive climb through dense rainforest and narrow ravines. This takes you to a spectacular viewpoint which looks out over the surrounding islands. Here you will have some time to enjoy the breathtaking view and take some pictures. A short stroll downhill will take you to the famous Emerald Lake, also known as the Blue Lagoon from the movie ‘the Beach’.

From here, all Ang Thong Marine Park tours go to the Park’s Visitor Center for picnic lunch and kayaking. The visitor center is frequented by many tour operators, making it very crowded. We choose instead to travel a little further on to eat lunch and kayak at Koh Paluay’s sea gypsy village.

On Koh Paluay you will enjoy a sumptuous Thai lunch in the fisherman’s village. After that, the speedboat will take you to the south of the island for an hour and a half of leisurely kayaking along the staggering cliff face interrupted only by the occasional spotless beach.

TRIP DETAILS

Day 1:
6:30 am Departure Sairee Beach
7:30 am Dive 1 Southwest Pinnacle
8:30 am Breakfast
10:30 am Dive 2 Koy Yippon
12:00 am Lunch
14:00 pm Dive 3 Koy Wao
15:00 pm Ang Thong Marine park
20:00 pm Dinner
22:00 pm Overnight Ang Thong Marine park
Day 2:
5:00 am Departure to Sail Rock
7:30 am Dive 4 Sail Rock
8:30 am Breakfast
10:30 am Dive 5 Sail Rock
12:00 am Lunch
14:00 pm Dive 6 Samran Pinnacles
17:00 pm Arrival Sairee Beach

Price: 10.500 thb


Underwater Festival Koh Tao Floods

April 2, 2011 Leave a comment

WOW… What a week here on our little island!! As we got ready for one of the most anticipated events of the year the Koh Tao Underwater Festival..and boy did the water ever come!  Eventhough within the first few hours the event grounds were saturated and the fields became muddy mess, it didn’t really stop anything at all.  As the first night went on everything still happened, the shows were fantastic (Ban’s show included) and everyone after a while seemed to ignore the rain.

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Waking the next morning, from our hill-top bungalow overlooking the Gulf of Thailand, we were noticing that the rain had not stopped all night it started to become a concern and as I tried to make my way to work that morning I was met with a river that only the day before was the road I walked home on.  From then on it rained and rained and RAINED some more.  With no stop in sight we decided to get down to the village and pickup a few supplies. Which was lucky too because unknown to us there was some serious weather still to come.  Keeping in touch with our friends on the island via cell phone we started to hear of power outages and water being cut off to a few places at first and then more and more as the day passed.  Some people’s businesses were destroyed, some people lost the contents of their homes but all in all everyone seemed to be helping each other and if you needed a hand there was a hand near by. We even had the Thai Navy assisting us to rescue what we thought would be a few stranded tourists trying to make their flights in Bangkok, this quickly went from getting a few off the island to finding an aircraft carrier parked off the island with helicopters flying in and out from the island trying to get the 1,000 people who needed off the island back to the main land.

At the end of it all we counted ourselves as some of the lucky ones high enough on the mountain to stay dry, not to mention having our power on almost around the clock.  We have received a lot of calls from friends and family back home wondering if we were all still ok or if we got washed away!  My answer was always you’re talking to me on Facebook… how bad could it be ?!  Anyway there was a lot of questions right up to the end on how we were making out.

It’s all over now and the Gulf is getting back to its’ pristine diving it was before this all started.   Took a look around ‘You-Tube’ and noticed a lot of footage on the action over the last few days so I posted the links here. 

PADI Sea the change

March 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Sea the Change

People like you are doing things large and small to protect the underwater world you care about. That’s why PADI created a conservation contest to let you see and share what fellow ocean lovers are doing to help.  Be part of the change. Submit a video. Vote on your favorite videos and send to your friends. Help ignite a viral conservation effort.

PADI Sea the Change Conservation Contest

Prize Details

Do you love the underwater world? Would you like to see it better protected?

Put your conservation into action and you could be the $5,000 USD grand prize winner, plus PADI will donate an additional $5,000 USD on your behalf to Project AWARE Foundation.

Simply grab your video camera and upload a short clip about what sea life you love and what you’re doing to make a difference. Every little action counts. By sharing what you’re doing, you may inspire others to take action. Be part of the change and help ignite a viral conservation effort. Submit a video. Vote on your favorite videos and send to your friends.

Contest Instructions

Yes, cash is nice and the public will vote for a grand prize winner. But, every video submitted spurs people to help our beloved aquatic life. That’s why you are permitted to upload as many video entries as you want. A beautiful ocean for generations to come is WAY better than cash, right? So, take a few minutes to submit a quick video—it doesn’t have to be a polished, professional looking clip. You’ll feel better knowing you did your part to help. Plus, you might see your video featured on the PADI blog at www.padi.com/blog where interesting conservation messages are shared often.

Contest Starts

March 08, 2011 @ 12:00 am (PST)

Contest Ends

December 15, 2011 @ 11:59 pm (PST)

Need more Details?

Read the Official Rules

About the Company

PADI: Professional Association of Diving Instructors Welcome to the World of Scuba Diving. PADI is the world’s leading scuba diving training organization. With more than forty years experience, over 133,500… [more

What should you make your video about?

We want to wake people up! We all know the ocean (and lakes, rivers, quarries) need our support.  But exactly what type of support?  How can one person affect change and actually see it happen?  You have to combine what you’re passionate about with what you’re good at.   Ask yourself these four questions:

1. What do YOU love about the underwater world?
2. What do YOU do to protect it?
3. How do YOU make a difference locally or otherwise.
4. If you’re a PADI Diver, how has scuba diving changed YOUR view of the environment?

Remember, your message is most important.  A handheld, quick video snippet is extremely compelling to spur people into action…so don’t worry about trying to make a slick, professional video. This is NOT a video contest.  It’s a conservation movement!  You can submit as many video entries as you wish.


Yes, cash is nice and the public will vote for a grand prize winner. But, every video submission spurs people to help our beloved aquatic life.  A beautiful ocean for generations to come is WAY better than cash, right?  So, take a few minutes to share what’s going on in your part of the world and see the change spread globally. Vote for a few videos you like. Share with friends. You’ll feel better knowing you did your part to help. Plus, you might see your video featured on the PADI blog where interesting conservation messages are shared often.

Consider these ideas on how to help:

Have you ever:
– picked up trash while scuba diving?
– participated in a beach cleanup?
– taken part in a marine research project?
– completed a mission trip focused on aquatic conservation or protection?
– started a local conservation initiative in your community, school or business?
– helped a local Boy Scout or Girl Scout troop with caring for aquatic conservation?
– raised awareness with your local news channel about a marine animal initiative?
– launched a petition that successfully impacted underwater conservation?
– raised donations for Project AWARE Foundation or other non-profits affecting change for the sea?
– helped establish a protected marine park or preserve?
– helped run an eco-tour?
– helped clean-up pollution of our ocean, lakes, or rivers?
– published an article, book, website or video raising awareness about protecting aquatic life?
– shared beautiful underwater imagery to wake people up about “what’s down there”
– trained or certified divers who work together on an underwater conservation project?
– ignited a group of people to take action of any kind to better the aquatic world?

What skills are you using to turn your passion into action to help the underwater environment become better protected?  Are you into underwater photography? Are you a strong writer, organizer, influencer, doer or promoter? Of course there many ways you can do your part, so get creative. If you’re 13 years or older, then make a video and submit it.  Anyone around the world can participate (from non-divers to scuba professionals), so start recording, sharing and voting!

Take action and share

Even if you’re not ready to submit a video today…if you just spread the word about this campaign, then you’re doing something good for the environment. Every little action counts towards change.  Wake someone up. Tell them about this conservation effort:

– Share the links from these inspiring videos with your friends
– Comment about your favorite conservation efforts on the
PADI blog
– Share the
PADI blog with your friends on Facebook or Twitter

Enviromental Asia Pacific and Koh Tao

March 19, 2011 1 comment

We seem to be answering a lot of questions in our Emails about dive site closures, not here on Koh Tao, but on the other coast and near the Burmese border.  The closures are due to the severe Bleaching Event which occurred in April and May of last year.  Our region was hit hard, with up to 78% bleacing of corals but has recovered very very well. (Corals pictured below have greatly recovered since these photos were taken)

This Bleaching Event has caused a few closures and of course with the help of the “trusty” media it seems that all of Thailand is closed for diving.  Well here’s my distorted view (cause I’m right here on my little island). Divers can be a threat to the reef, but only if they are learning, have poor abilities, like buoyancy control, or do not use eco-friendly diving pratices.  We can’t discount the amount of damage that is done by boat traffic and improper disposal of waste on marine vehicles which in any case can be linked directly to the diving community.  However, what role do these things play in bleaching the reefs??? At what stage does a diver contribute to the overall warming of the oceans???  So divers are not a real cause of the bleaching and true enough if we keep the divers away from the reefs most affected as they recover, it will help them recover faster… (Maybe, ours are doing quite well and look great!)   But why not point the finger to the real problem.

As we were told not to dive on certain sites (18 sites on the Andaman Coast of Thailand have been closed, (a very small percentage of reef area in MPA) and within weeks of these closures the Thai government holds meetings in Bangkok to allow Salamander Energies to begin a new oil drilling operation just 55km from Koh Tao’s reefs. If you happened to see the news last year about the environmental impacts of drilling in the gulf of Mexico you might want to think about the Gulf of Thailand next.   It is favourable to note that in these meetings held in Bangkok, Koh Tao’s Environmental Group “Save Koh Tao” was favourably mentioned and acknowledged for their activities.

Koh Tao is on the Western gulf side

 

So what is Ban’s Diving Resort doing?  And what is the rest of Koh Tao doing?  This year we are getting involved in projects headed up by the ‘Save Koh Tao’ Group such as monitoring our waters, implementing restoration techniques, conducting visitor surveys, continuing with turtle and whale shark databases, conducting water quality tests around the island, conducting underwater, reef and beach clean ups,  creating artificial reefs like biorock, monitoring, maintaining and installing mooring buoys, creating, monitoring and expanding giant clam nusery programs as well as coral nurseries, tree and grass planting for control erosion issues on the island.. and on and on.

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So to recap, seasoned divers in coastal areas of the world are probably the most informed people in reef management and reef conservation.  Not many divers would be diving if there was nothing to see.  Take a look and ask questions of the real reasons and concerns affecting our reefs these days and how you can help.  And in closing, keep your eyes peeled for PADI’s changes to their Project AWARE Program coming very very soon! (teaser 😉 I know).  AND IF YOU’RE ANYWHERE AROUND KOH TAO MARC H 25th-26th DON’T MISS OUR SAVE KOH TAO UNDER WATER FESTIVAL!  Will cover happenings in future blog.

other articles to check out….

http://www.projectaware.org/content/index.php?pid=79

http://projectaware.wordpress.com/2011/02/03/bans-eco-create-coral-nurseries/

Where can we start to help…. Save Koh Tao Land Branch

February 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Are you wondering what’s being done on the island to combat a growing population and a soaring economy?  Have you just arrived and have questions about the islands’ recycling program?  Spent a few days lying on the Beach and looking for a more rewarding activity tomorrow?  Well you are in luck!  Save Koh Tao’s Land Conservation Branch has a number of activities you can participate in!

This past month alone Save Koh Tao Land Branch has accomplished many important tasks with the help of many capable and enthusiastic volunteers.  Some of these goals and tasks included removing 80 Kilos of Rubbish and 28.5 Kilos of recyclables from Sairee Beach, performing a Waste Mapping Assessment of the island, testing Waste Water Run-Off in Mae Haad and Chalok, building a fence around SKT’s Organic Garden and Grass Nursery, removing 87 bags of Rubbish from Chalok Canal and completing just over 100 surveys for Suhkothai University here in Thailand (this survey aims to put an economic value on our coral reefs and other natural resources).

Thanks to all our volunteers from this past month and from previous projects!!

If you have sometime while here on the island and wish to help out with some of our activities, here is a list of upcoming events and activities.

  • Weekly Beach Clean-Ups of Sairee Beach, Every Thursday at 10:30am, meet outside of Ban’s Dive Shop
  • Weekly Beach Clean-Ups with School Children, Every Friday at 3:00pm, varying locations
  • Monthly Land Clean-Ups, last Saturday of every Month, varying locations
  • Garden Planting & Maintenance, every Tuesday at 9:30am, meet at Koh Tao Info in Mae Haad
  • Waste Water Testing/Mapping every Tuesday at 1:30pm, varying locations

For more information on Save Koh Tao’s Land Branch projects or to find out about meeting points to join up please see www.landconservationkohtao.com or contact us at kohtaovolunteers@gmail.com.