Learning to Scuba Dive

Since June 2014, Sunshine Divers has implemented the NEW-REVISED PADI Open Water Course. Not much has changed with the course structure, yet only a few additional skills have been added to the program to ensure student divers learn further about the importance of diving within a buddy team, focus on their air consumption and breathing methods underwater, along with extra practice on buoyancy techniques on the surface and underwater.

Our PADI Open Water course schedule is conducted over a 4 day period although we are very flexible with the program times to cater to individual student needs. Our group sizes are small with a maximum of 4 student divers to instructor to ensure this is possible. The general program schedule we offer starts Daily at 4pm with an orientation where you will meet your instructor and watch the first initial videos to give you some insight on what you will be learning over the next few days.  Day 2 is where you will head into a confined pool environment and practice all the skills you will need to know to go diving in the open water. Before heading to the ocean - you will still need to complete a few quizzes. Day 3 we start with your first 2 open water dives - here you have the opportunity to experience diving to a depth maximum of 12m. It's pretty cool!  You are on the boat for the full morning and back in time to have some lunch after all that energy use underwater. That afternoon you will need to complete your final theory and exams. Finally Day 4 we head out again on the morning boat and complete your last 2 open water training dives to 18m.  Yes and then you will be certified!

Recently certified PADI Open water divers include : John Flynn, Srihari Gowri Shankar, and Giarav Shah who enjoyed several dive sites around Koh Tao for their training dives with Instructor Kael Grant-King.  The Group size was a total of 3 students with instructor and a Divemaster Candidate Matt Dempsey who was there for additional support.

Congrats Guys - PADI Open water Divers 

NEW PADI Discover Scuba Diving Experience....

Want to know how it feels to breathe, move and see underwater?

Come join in on the PADI Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) program with us at Sunshine Divers and receive benefits upon completion.

You will have the opportunity to practice a few basic skills in shallow water such as, clearing a mask and breathing from a regulator.

Let's Learn: Titan Trigger fish

The trigger fish on Koh Tao come in two breeds, the slightly more passive yellow margin and the 'angrier' titan.

Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.But why are they angry? Like most species, they are protecting their territory. Acting in a similar way to the damsel fish, they chase away what they perceive to be a threat to their zone, which is a cone shape above it, along with the odd bite if they are really angry. During mating season, they get angrier than normal. Moody sods! Some of them, however, are simply attacking because they are morons!

lf anyone/thing becomes an annoyance, it will flick up it's hidden trigger fin locked down in its spine. That's your first warning. If you get a second warning, it may tilt on its side to get a better look at the problem. Most times, it will swim away but, if not, it will swim at speed to try and chase the threat away. As a diver, it will actually bite your fins if they are a bright colour as that is what they think the threat is, another fish-like looking thing. It's the one piece of equipment where choosing a colour is actually important!

They mainly feed on coral, using their powerful jaws and teeth to break it apart, they stir up the sand which draws in smaller fish looking to feast on whatever it unearths. Often, they can be seen swimming off with a huge piece of coral in their mouths. The theives of the ocean!

But let's not be afraid of them. The clue is in the name, it's a FISH! A fish that looks awesome and can kick arse.

Let's Learn: Cleaner Wrasse

It's all in the name; the cleaner wrasse has one job and one job only, to clean. All species of fish need to be cleaned, or, to be more precise, for someone to remove its dead skin cells and parasites that attach themselves to the fish as they sleep at night, hidden amongst the rocks and coral.

This is where the cleaner wrasse comes in. Its job is to remove all this grime by eating it off. Basically, it works for food and gains diplomatic immunity from all species, even the predators.

Fish of all sizes will arrive at a cleaning station which is actually advertied by the wrasse doing an inviting dance. Once the fish has chosen its station, the team of wrasse get to work. Usually led by a male with a team of female workers, he manages his employees, even admonishing them if they get a bit greedy and bite their customers followed by apologising to his client by giving them a fin massage. Fish can watch the cleaners in action and, if they don't like the look of it, they move on to another station just down the coral. However, if you are a diver they are very annoying if you have some open wounds or scabs as they will see that as something that need a good cleaning and, before you know it, MUNCH! They have gobbled up your scab.

Let's learn: Harlequin Sweetlips

The juvenile in its party clothesThe sweetlips is a fast grower. In its juvenile stages, it is about 2.5cm in length but then will quickly grow to about 60cm. Along with this vast change in size, it also changes its entire colour scheme. It starts as a reddish/brown base with black-ringed white spots which then change to brown spots, which increase in number depending on age, over a white base

However, its most distinguishing feature is its swimming style while still a juvenile. Best described as a drunk partygoer wearing clothes that are much too big, it 'flaps' about using its dorsal fins with an undulated body. This style is meant to mimic flatworms which are noxious and unpalatable to predators. Another unique talent of some members of this species is its ability to 'grunt' by grinding its teeth, the sound is them amplified by its swimbladder.

An adult

Arguably the cutest fish in the ocean in its juvenile form, other fish watch and wish they could party as hard!

Let's learn: Yellow boxfish

The yellow boxfish is quite a hard one to spot despite its unique shape and bright colour. This is because of their size being about the same as a pea at its smallest. Certain types can, however, grow as big as a football.

Like most other brightly coloured animals, its colour scheme is meant to warn off other animals as this little critter is highly poisonous and can release toxic proteins from its skin if threatened. This protein is so poisonous that it has the potential to kill all animals around it and wipe out an entire aquarium should it find itself unlucky enough to be in one. So don't buy them!

Its habitat is always amongst rocks and coral and its diet mainly consists of algae, worms and small fish. They also enjoy shrimp and crab too!

]Kiss me quick!    Plenty of room in the boot

Odd fact:  Mercedes-Benz designed a concept car based on the boxfish due to its aerodynamic design and skeletal strength - Plenty of room in the boot

Let's learn: Phytoplankton

These teeny-tiny little critters are, in a nutshell, the foundation of the food chain for the ocean world. Without them, there would not be much to see in the ocean even though you can't see them yourself.

They are more than just food though, they also are huge carbon dioxide absorbers accounting for about a third of all produced by us dirty humans. Pretty impressive. They live in the upper layers of the ocean where they produce organic compounds via photosynthesis. They actually account for half of all photosynthesis done on the planet. Even more impressive!

Their name comes from the Greek words meaning python (plant) and planktos (drifter/wanderer). Depending on which particular strand of phytoplankton is present, it changes the colour of the water. Here in Koh tao we get a green tint. If there is enough of them, you can even see them from space! Super impresive!!

 

These guys were captured off the coast of ireland by NASA's Terra satellite

These guys were captured off the coast of ireland by NASA's Terra satellite 

Breathtaking view at Chalok Baan Kao

Sunshine Divers is located at the Southern part of Koh Tao, the more relaxed, chilled and beautiful area which is called Chalok Baan Kao. The direct access to the beach, the chilled atmosphere, the beautiful rock formation "Buddha rock" and off course the relaxed atmosphere at Sunshine Divers is what most people attract to this location.

chalok baan kao

Chalok Baan Kao is far away from the busy and touristic Sairee Beach, but close enough to go there in about a 5 minute drive by either taxi or motorbike. Even better, you don't actually have to leave because in the last few years nice little restaurants found their way to this side of the island like healthy food boutique restaurants, luxury dining, lounge bar etc.. The famous Buddha Rock at the left end side of the bay is close to one of the more 'private' beaches of Chalok Baan called Freedom Beach and is one of the most picture taken shots.

buddha rock

If you scuba dive at Sunshine Divers we have a beach classroom directly on the beach which allows you to enjoy the view but also enjoy the cool stories about diving from your Instructor!

Hope to see you soon!

 

PADI Bubblemaker Program!!!

The PADI Bubblemaker program has been developed to offer anyone over the age of 8 years to participate in blowing bubbles using SCUBA underwater to a maximum depth of 2m.  This program can be conducted in either a pool or confined open water environment where conditions are calm.

Recently young 8 year old Vincent participated in the PADI Bubblemaker program, where he was instructed by Thomas Pommerin. Starting off at the beautiful dive site around Koh Nang Yuan called Japanese Gardens, Vincent observed several types of tropical fish including Butterfly fish, Angelfish, Sargent Majors and the infamous Triggerfish.  Vincent's father Stephan joined in with his Son to share the amazing experience.


"Vincent with Instructor Thomas"

"Vincent with Instructor Thomas"

"Father and Son enjoy the experience of the Bubblemaker" "Father and Son enjoy the experience of the Bubblemaker"

To add further fun and games to this program Thomas introduced the Underwater Fizbee, which added value to the training especially for bouyancy control.

r"Vincent receives his Bubblemaker Certificate""Vincent receives his Bubblemaker Certificate"

 

Small Groups - Fun Learning Experiences!!!

Anna, Yase and Pedro were drawn to Koh Tao to enjoy the beautiful beaches and explore the underwater world through Scuba Diving.

Anna & Yase were recommended by friends to come to Sunshine Divers and learn to take their PADI Open Water Diver course course. Pedro was walking by the dive shop - stopped and enquired about the program and decided to sign up and learn to dive. During the course, they learned the fundamentals of diving from getting geared up and buddy checking, the physiology and physics of diving along with planning their dives using the RDP and simply just having fun!!!

We look forward to your return to continue your diving with us at Sunshine or during your further travels worldwide - explore the many underwater environments.

PADI open water dive courseJumping on the beach - Congratulations Anna, Yase and PedroAnna & Yase Buddy Checks

 

 

 

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