Posts Tagged ‘Asia’

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….


What IS a Divemaster?

October 30, 2010 Leave a comment

What IS a Divemaster anyway?  As a recreational diver looking to become a professional, what are YOU looking  for? What do you want to achieve or become by the end of your course? What is your personal goal? Other than the fulfillment of the standards given, what do you think you need/want to achieve to be a professional?  PADI‘s simplest definition is that a Divemaster is someone who serves other divers by solving problems, giving advice, lending a hand and making diving more fun!  If that is the case I think I was a Divemaster before even becoming an Adventure Diver..LOL.  We’ll take a look at some of these questions here and we’d love to hear back from you to the question… What IS a Divemaster?

Let’s look at a few of the reasons for people aspiring to reach Divemaster status in the first place.  Becoming a DM is the first stepping stone in becoming a Diving Professional.  It is the course which you spend the most time developing skills and becoming a master of dive theory; leading onwards to Instructor level courses.  There are also divers who do not wish to go on past the level of Divemaster.  They are looking to gain the knowledge and confidence they see in other Divemasters and want to stay at this level.  Whatever the reason you have to become a Divemaster / Dive Professional, you should keep in mind that divers will be looking for a few things from you (which are best explained by PADI’s Divemaster definition).  They expect that you will help them solve their diving problems.  Does this mean the you are there to do everything for them? Well no… they are certified divers and should be able to look after themselves however, maybe they need a little guidance because they’re diving in a new area or they have a question about a different type of equipment or simply for you to be there to supply a little extra confidence in their first dive in a little while.  Does it mean you should be a one-person-show, making everything fun and exciting while out on the dive?  This ones up to you, I do believe that within the Divemaster role it is your responsibility to make things more enjoyable for your divers, I’ll leave it up to you how far you want to take this.  I DO know that if I was to hire you, I’d wanna know that you’d excel in this area.  Having fun with your divers isn’t a must but definately helps to make things more enjoyable.. and you more employable 😉

So what do we have already? A Divemaster is one that is knowledgeable, helpful, fun, has some great advice, what else do we need?… SAFETY!  Yes on most dive trips around the world, you (the Divemaster) or a fellow pro level diver will be the most qualified individual to handle a diving related injury.  You should be up-to-date on your First Aid and safety courses.  A great story, (not at the time… but we look back and smile now)  I was working in the dive shop and a speed boat came racing in, calling ahead saying that they had a diver with some sort of DCI!! We knew it was serious from the tone in the BoatMasters’ voice.  They said they could not help but send this diver back as he insisted he needed to be rushed straight to the hospital!  This diver also happened to be a Medical Doctor, so how could our BoatMaster question that?  At the end of telling us this via cell phone as we waited at the waters’ edge for our speed boat to pull up, the Boat Master told me “I didn’t know what to do but his face looks like hell, it looks like the worst case of mask squeeze I have ever seen”.  As he got off the boat and came up to us he was calm but demanded to be taken directly to the hospital!!  It was the wost (funniest) mask squeeze we have ever seen.  So this is just one instance where at the end of it all everyone was fine and NO I’m not saying that a DM knows more than an MD nor am I saying that a DM is always right.  Just that as a DM you should be able to tell the difference from a mask squeeze from something more serious.

Over all before taking on a Divemaster Course be sure YOU know what you want to get out of it, as there are many avenues to take after you are finished, so make sure you use your time in the program to prepare yourself properly.  We are a BIG school here at Bans and I see tons of Divemasters come through our program every year.  If you are looking to carry on to the Instructor level do your self a favour, 75% IS a pass, but study your notes till your scoring in the 90’s everytime.  Use your time in the IDC to learn how to teach not as a refresher of things you should already know, you’ll be a better diver for it and ultimately a better professional!

Ever Wonder Where Adventure Is?

October 30, 2010 Leave a comment

BAN’S DIVING RESORT Koh Tao or (Turtle Island) THAILAND.  That’s where Adventure is.  I remember coming to Koh Tao for the first time in 2006.  My wife (girl friend at the time) were traveling around the world on a year-long break from Canadian living.  The only way we even discovered Ban’s was by walking down the beach, back pack in hand, and bumped into a guy by the name of Nando (ok didn’t bump into him he hit me right in the head with a volley ball lol).  The rest is history.  But if you can say that you’ve been diving for 24 odd years, all over the planet, traveled 4 times as far on land and choose to hang your hat here for a while… it’s gotta be a pretty special place… right?!

BAN’S has been open since 1993 and has been growing and expanding ever since.  The island as a whole is almost unrecognisable from the time we first arrived here so you could just imagine the changes from the early ninties.

Currently, BAN’S Diving Resort is one of the largest certifying Resorts in the world.  Certifying over 15,000 Open Water and above students a year.  BAN’S is not just a PADI Five-Star Instructor Development Center anymore, it is now also a registered CDC CENTER (Career Development Center) and recognized as a world leader in the diving industry. We are a part of PADI’s Asia-Pacific Region (including Australia) with over 1200 dive centers.  In recent history we have been awarded PADI’s:

Member Award for OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO THE DIVING INDUSTRY 2010 Member Award for OUTSTANDING DIVE CENTRE/RESORT BUSINESS AWARD 2009-2010 Thailand’s Best Dive Center / Resort 2009

Asia Pacific's Outstanding Contribution to the diving industry 2010

Asia Pacific’s Outstanding Business Award 2010


BANS resort is now just over 140 rooms and is growing quickly!  We have a room for every budget and every style.  From fan rooms starting at just a few dollars a night to a full hill-top bungalow to meet the needs of todays travelers.

Our classrooms are structured for both large and small groups outfitted with everything you need to be comfortable while learning.  The resort has a full Dive Shop, carrying all the major Diving brands, able to help you in all your equipment needs, no matter what level of diving you are at.  We have a fleet of six boats, two swimming pools, a 24 hour convenience store, spa and hairdressing room, laundry, Internet, kayak rentals, snorkeling, yoga, island tours and of course DIVING!

Here at Bans Diving Resort our staff has the unique ability to make you feel like a part of a Dive Family from the minute you unpack.  Our job is not just to make you feel comfortable and confidant in your diving ability but in your choice to stay with us!

Looking forward to seeing you soon!