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February 19th 2014

18 Feb 2014 ="post-tag" > Written by  ="post-tag" >

Planning ahead
SSI-advanced-wreck-diveI finished an SSI open water course yesterday with a lovely group of people- A pair of Englandonians, two Chileeeeans, and a brace of Netherlandarians. I made a point that, for their first two open water dives they would see some marine life, but they would be diving over sand and needed to concentrate on what they were doing in order to get to grips with buoyancy control and moving efficiently through the water. However for their last two open water dives we took them to some really nice dive sites- white rock and twins, to take in the huge variety of different marine animals pretty much everywhere they looked. By dives three and four they knew what they were doing and were comfortable enough in their abilities to be able to relax and take in the dive site. This was the reason they wanted to learn to dive in the first place.
Unfortunately they all had to leave Koh Tao straight after the course, and it prompted me to advise any would-be Big Blue divers out there of two potentially important things to consider before travelling to Koh Tao.
First, if you want to come and dive with Big Blue, BOOK ONLINE BEFORE YOU ARRIVE.. I cannot emphasise this enough. At the height of busy season, i.e. now, the Island gets pretty crazy, especially after the full moon party on Koh Panghan. If you want to be sure that we can provide you with accommodation whilst you are diving with us, ensure that you go on our website, decide the type of course you want to do, and then use the online booking form to reserve your room. People do end up sleeping on the beach when the entire Island is full; don't be one of them.
The second bit of advice would be to not come to Koh Tao at the end of your trip. Make it the first place on your travel itinerary. The reason for this is that 99.9999999999% of people that learn to dive with us fall in love with diving and just want to do more and more. The next natural step for anyone who has completed their open water course is to do the advanced course. It's an absolute no-brainer. After five more dives in only two days, you'll be a much more confident diver and you'll really know what you're doing. It's great fun and is easily the cheapest place in the world to do it. You'll be certified to dive to 30 metres instead of 18, you'll be able to night dive, your buoyancy will be much better, you'll know how to use a dive computer and compass and we'll even throw in a world war two wreck dive. Oh yeah and we'll take you to one of the best dive sites in the Gulf of Thailand- Chumphon pinnacle. Surely you don't need any more convincing than that!!
All you need to do is allow an additional two days after completing your three-day open water course to complete the advanced course. So, five days altogether. But remember that you cannot fly within 24 hours after diving, so factor this in as well.
Unfortunately, there is no such organisation as divers anonymous to help you control your newly found addiction, so until then I guess you'll just have to keep diving!

It's a gas
I've heard that the police have been clamping down on bars that sell laughing gas over the last few weeks here on Koh Tao, which sounds immensely sensible to me. Laughing gas is illegal in Thailand, but on Koh Tao it has become the latest money spinner for bars to sell to those customers that fancy a quick high. Laughing gas is nitrous oxide, and in the olden days it was used as an anaesthetic, and is still used to some degree in conjunction with other anaesthetics. The reason it is particularly bad on Koh Tao is that it’s really not a gas you want to be breathing after you’ve been scuba diving. During a dive your body accumulates nitrogen in your tissue. When you get back to the surface you circulatory system will be working hard to get rid of this nitrogen. If you then decide to do a laughing gas balloon, you are loading more nitrogen into your body. Whilst laughing gas has a very short half- life, it is much more soluble in your tissue than nitrogen or oxygen in isolation. Therefore it can put you at risk of developing symptoms of decompression sickness, even if you didn’t have any before. Furthermore, laughing gas is pretty bad for you if you have a little bit of trapped air in your ears or sinuses, which can be commonplace after diving- the gas will usually work its way out in its own time. Laughing gas can cause the trapped gas to expand, which will cause more pain and potentially damage the ears.
So the sooner it’s eliminated from Koh Tao, the better.


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