Ko Tao – Diving

Underwater

Whoehoew, another post dedicated to one of my passions: Diving!
Since I was a child, I’m like a fish in the water and wanted to do scuba diving.
The first experience with a tank on my back was in Mexico (5 years ago).
Since then, I try to do it as often as possible when I’m travelling.
But this time, I got a really bad scuba fever: The eagerness to dive deeper/further/longer is really high!
Thank you Olivia, soon-to-become-a-Dive-master at Scuba Junction for the motivation talk!

Scuba J all the way

As I mentioned in the previous post, there are more than 60 diving schools on Ko Tao!
Lots of options and combinations to go diving!
Choosing a good diving school, is an important decision when you go diving!
Are you more comfortable with bigger or smaller groups? Do they speak French/Dutch/German…
I stumbled upon this post from Nomadic Matt which tells you more about scuba diving and its schools on Koh Tao
Elizabeth from the Monsoon gym, recommended me to go diving with Scuba Junction.

No regrets! I had an amazing experience with Scuba J!
The staff was really helpful, high-quality equipment, lots of fun and big smiles!
The dives were well organised and within safety measurements: briefing on the boat, buddy check, tune-up dive if necessary…
I already had the Open Water certification in my possession, so it was time for the next step: Advanced Open water.

This course teaches you the techniques of underwater navigation and dive up to 30m deep.
These two dives are mandatory for the course. You can choose the other three dives:

  • Shipwreck dive
  • Night dive
  • Peak buoyancy control (improve your movements underwater)
  • Naturalist dive (fish recognition)
  • Underwater photography
  • Enriched air nitrox dive

I was blessed with the wonderful instructor Nat!

I chose the shipwreck dive, the night dive and peak buoyancy control.
The nightdive is definitely something that has to be on your bucket list!
A really intense experience with lots of interesting fish and other stuff around you.
But the shipwreck dive was the best dive I’ve done so far!
Seeing the wreck appear in front of you, literally takes your breath away.
Because of our good air consumption, we were able to do three different dive sites with one tank.
(And still finish with ∼70 bar)
After these five dives, I was certified as an Advanced Open water diver!
Thank you Jeni, Nat, Olivia, Steve, Hunter and David for the great experience with Scuba J!


Freediving

It was two years ago when I heard the first time about freediving and always wanted to learn it since.
Freediving is diving without the use of any scuba gear and relies on the ability of holding your breath before surfacing.
Freedivers are the ninja’s from the ocean, the cool guys between the scuba divers, jedi guardians from the sea…
(Hey, that’s only the first star wars reference on this blog!)

On Koh Tao, I took the Open Water Freediving course with Apnea.
This two day course teaches you different freediving styles, breathing techniques, do’s and don’ts while freediving, etc.
For one dive it takes about four or five minutes of preparation (inhaling/exhaling properly) before you start.
Knowing that in the beginning you spend about +75 seconds going down and back up.
At the end of the course, you should be able to go down up to 20m deep in one breath.
I went until 21.8m :p

You can’t really compare scuba diving with freediving.
Freediving takes much more mental and physicial preparation right before your dive.
While you’re freediving, you should be relaxed and enjoy your time under water.
Which isn’t easy, because you have to hold your breath.
In the video below, I’m doing a free immersion up to 21.8m deep.
Free immersion = going down with use of a rope.

Penang – Medan

For the next part of my trip, I’m staying a couple of nights in Georgetown, Malaysia.
I’m staying in the same hostel as two years ago: 80’s guest house
I was the cat who got the cream, getting a first hot shower after two weeks of cold showers!
Heavenly!
For those who don’t know Georgetown, it’s famous for its street-art and amazing food!
Tomorrow, I’m travelling south of Medan, Indonesia visit my Indonesian friend Vanthu!


2 Comment

  1. Hey Mats, Nice blog! I’ll keep following all your adventures here 🙂

  2. […] recommended by my Scuba J friends from Koh Tao, I took the ferry from Bali to the Gili islands. It’s an amazing place to do scuba diving! If […]

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