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Ocean Dive - Super Day






Cruising at Full Speed


















This article story is about deep diving in the Andaman Ocean with some of the world's best dive crews. This adventure takes us to Krabi, Thailand - a popular holiday destination and a diving heaven on earth. In this article story, we cover yet another exciting ocean dive adventure. We bring along some truly awesome underwater photos and videos to reflect the true nature of open sea scuba diving.



















Our very first Ocean Dive story was based on memory recollection of an old scuba knife and an old friend. This second Ocean Dive story is about deep adventure dive while revealing the excitement of Super Day thrills offered by one of Krabi's best dive operator.



















There are plenty of dive operators in Krabi offering diving trips and certification courses.  If you are thinking about taking up diving as a hobby, spend a minimum of 5-6 days in order to get your Open Water certification with diving experience.  There're plenty of dive sites to choose from e.g. local islands to faraway island like Phi Phi or Similan. You may go on a traditional long tail boat, dive boat or speed boat. The excitement and fun is out here if you are into scuba diving.

One particular dive operator found here - Aqua Vision is probably the most internationalized PADI Dive Center in the whole of Krabi. They have the most diversified crews in terms of different nationalities (British, Russian, American, Finnish, German, Canadian, Thais, etc.) all working together as a team to serve customers from around the world.



















No matter what is your objective either to have some fun diving or learning to dive,  AV offers high quality and comprehensive scuba diving courses for the new beginners, advanced open water, technical diving courses, and one day scuba discovery even you don't know how to swim.  They got all the facilities and skills to cater to each and everyone depending on each and every individual's requirement. One thing for certain about scuba diving is that you get to choose your own specialization.



















We will take the lead to show what's at the bottom of Andaman Sea in this Super Day adventure story. But before that we shall take you to see another stunningly beautiful underwater wall garden scenery. That's how we do our leisure dives in this part of the world. Enjoy!


A Perfect Getaway to The Andaman 



















Before any dive the most important thing is to have a happy and contented heart surrounded by great friends, food, and sleep. Aonang Beach Krabi may be a tourist destination but unlike Patong Beach Phuket which is much more heavily crowded and polluted. Here in Aonang you will find that life is much more laid back and relaxing - a perfect getaway for an easy holiday trip.

















But hey! Why would I say this is a place where one could get a descent sleep? Well, try imagining if you want to have a good night sleep so that you can wake up early to have a good breakfast before joining a boat tour for snorkeling activity, etc. To simply put it if you want a quality beach holiday with lesser noise pollution and heavily infested night entertainments e.g. Go-go bars, discos, night clubs, etc., this may be the best destination I would recommend after been travelling in Thailand for so many years.

















An evening get together with the dive team like Jason, Tom and his better half, Marc and Nam is enjoyable as these are real passionate people in the diving industry. They surely know how to crack sensible jokes and they are fun loving people coming from different parts of the world to work and live in Krabi for many years. In many ways they can be considered professional divers with a strong passion in diving and with years of teaching experience.
    
















Less crowded and rowdy even during peak season makes this an ideal place for pure relaxation. After 10.00pm, the main shopping street in Aonang will gradually slow down with passing people. Enjoying a cup of coffee is something I always do which is hard to get rid off.

















Krabi is a definite choice for friends, family or couple holidays. Shopping for souvenirs, beach wears, body rejuvenation, elephant trekking, kayaking, island hopping tours, and snorkeling, etc. are just some of the main activities here for tourist.

















The nearby Railay Beach just next to Aonang can be reached by long tail boats with a mere 20 minutes ride. An ideal day trip to get a taste of different beach setting. This isolation from the mainland and complete absence of cars and roads, gives Railay Beach a very island feel. This idyllic beach setting attracts thousands of visitors every year and is famous around the world with rock climbers for its stunning limestone rocks.

















Railay is a romantic spot and fairly quiet if you're looking for this kind of holiday environment since the majority of visitors here are families and younger backpackers which makes for a nice change of pace from other spots.





















Krabi also offers ideal leisure diving environment at nearby local islands with a maximum depth of 18 meters with little surge or current. These local dive sites Koh Ha, Koh Sie, Koh Yawasam, Koh Yawabon, Koh Doh, Koh Talu and Koh Kai provides excellent opportunities for beginners to explore and see the wonders of the underwater world.



















Whether you are learning to dive yourself or with your entire family during a resort vacation, here in Krabi you get a new meaning of island holidays. Not just the usual island hopping, lazing on a beach mat or sun tanning at the poolside. It is completely different to discover scuba diving and to become an underwater naturalist.

























Well, in most cases taking up scuba diving will provide a strong justification to having a fun island vacation anywhere on earth as you has the advantage to explore marine life that others don't. In order to do this, the tip here is to get to a good dive center that has all the necessary facilities and qualified professionals with a long track record and knowledge of the dive sites.




There's plenty of sun, sands, marine life to offer in the many islands hopping excursion. One of those is Poda Island. Snorkelers will love taking beautiful photos. It's time for some real action and get my wet suit ready for a serious dive expedition in the Andaman Ocean.  


Going Deep Sea Diving



















After a good night sleep and rest, the first thing in the morning before anything else is to take a seasick tablet. Well, some people still get seasick after being many times on the boat and throw up on the boat. Vomiting during out at sea is pretty nasty. This is what I would definitely avoid doing or risk an uncomfortable dive day.



















Certainly we wanna try to avoid the poor boat captain to clean up your mess if you should throw up. Thanks to our camera shy Andy for reminding me about September Rain? It's one of the most unfavorable sea conditions for diving but we went ahead and some vomited real bad.  Andy who manages the daily dive operations back on dry land will be very pleased if you would take those tablets Ha! Ha! Ha!.  Hey Andy, put on your mask and join in the fun next time. If not sooner or later you will need reading glasses instead for a mask for sitting too long in the office looking at just computers (weather forecast, replying customers e-mails, reservations, etc.). Anyway, none of us can go out to the sea without his thumbs up for safety reason. Carry on the good work Andy.

A small complimentary gift if you request
Anyhow, boats being fast and furious are light weights and they can be very unstable when there're strong currents at sea especially during stationary. These magical wonder sea sick pills (without any known side effect) will compensate for the speed boat rides during a day out on scuba diving adventure.


The thing we love about AV's service is their fast and furious twin engines speed boats consisting 3 major elements which it brings; The First To Arrive, The First to Dive, and The First to Get Home.  With this advantage, divers can make it back to the shore by 1.30pm to spend the rest of the afternoon sleeping, relaxing at the hotel pool or shopping. Good luck if you were to take a long-tail single engine boat out and you be back by 5pm. Worst still if the single engine fails you could be stranded at sea for hours before rescue come your way.


After taking 1 tablet then comes a hearty breakfast and before the next thing as always, my favorite  pick-up crew is already waiting at my door step. Once getting into the truck, hey you got a Diver On Board heading toward the jetty to regroup with other divers staying at different hotels.

Ain't going deeper without the Best Dive Crews



















There's no real reason why anybody would want to go deeper into the ocean unless there's something to go after. Well, deeper means not going more than PADI's recommended depth of 30 meters and no deeper than 40 meters for recreational divers. Going beyond those depth level is simply asking for trouble as nitrogen narcosis will start to take its effect on a diver and the standard scuba apparatus are not conditioned for this kind of deeper dive. Risk factors are there and simply plunging into deep water without any regard for appropriate training is neither reasonable nor prudent.



One may ask what is there to see in such depth at 30 meters. Ship Wrecks!  Deep diving gives access to dive sites that lie deeper below to observe aquatic life that doesn't live on shallower water, visit wrecks that rest in deeper waters, recover objects that were lost in greater depths, as well as to shoot photographs and videos. Of course I wouldn't go deep diving without a very experienced dive instructor or dive crew and some protective talismans. Ah, not forgetting my companion camera for capturing the underwater scenery and aquatic life.


Heading out for Wall Diving

The first part of this sea journey takes us to Phi Phi Ley for wall diving. The formation of limestone extending down below the sea level is a beautiful garden that will surely mesmerize anyone only if you dive down.  This vertical wall garden has plenty of aquatic life and corals to offer visitors. Those pictures that we managed to capture here could not portray enough the real beauty of this wall. You will have to see it for yourself in order to experience these natural wonders.


Ryan and Proha



















With this speed boat, it take only 40 minutes to reach the dive site. During this sea journey just relax and enjoy the windy sea breeze because there's nothing much anyone could do except to wait until we reach the destination.
First timers venturing to Phi Phi Ley dive site

















Once we cruised along the main Phi Phi Island (known as Phi Phi Don), we should be arriving at Phi Phi Ley (the smaller island) at anytime soon.  That's where the underwater jewels lies at the bottom for us to discover.

Next to my air tank is Jason's Angry Bird

Fins and wet suit


Getting Ready to Jump Down




























































On this day is a group of multinational scuba divers (Thais, American, Finnish, Russian, and Malaysian) conducting a buddy check procedure and ready to enter the water. The dive crews will make a final check on everyone before giving the green light to jump. Mask on, 1st stage check, 2nd stage check, BC check, weights, fins, okay everybody go.

















Ryan is now a fully certified PADI Dive Master ready to take scuba divers down for Phi Ley Wall Diving excursion tour. It takes a lot of hard works and sheer adrenalin to gain the experience and professionalism to be a good dive master.



Everyday is a working day and you go to work in your "office" which is down at the bottom of the ocean. Plenty of floor space to work unlike the corporate office where you take a lift to go up or down.


Underwater Photography

Camouflaged under the sands

Blue spot stingray


Dive Computer; max depth 28.1m, current depth displayed 26.6m, temperature 30 Celcius, dive time 12 minutes, no decompression time 16 minutes.








The vertical wall garden







Thailand is one of the country that enforced this safety diving rule where it's mandatory to inflate a Surface Marker or 'sausage' buoy before any divers are allowed to resurface after a dive. This safety procedure may have saved many lives by preventing passing boats to accidentally hit any divers when they're ascending to the open surface.  Each time the marker is being released at 5 meters depth (which is a safe distance to stay away from passing boats propellers), a dive master will have to recoil back the line once getting on board the dive boat which is a very cumbersome task. But this is a best practice for safety reason.

Sometimes a new boat skipper can be pretty ignorant recalled Jason. There's once a boat full of snorkelers came near to the surface marker while divers are still waiting at the bottom before surfacing. The boat skipper tied a rope on the marker to his boat. When Jason surfaced up he was speechless to find his surface marker was used to anchor a boat.          


After completing the wall diving we head for another shallower dive nearby where the water is much more calmer.  Here you can see plenty of snorkelers and tour boats.  Calmer water is always a good place for resting and have our packed lunch on board.  


The Captain

Meat or Vegetarian anyone?
Jokingly a little bit on the grouse side. If you get sea-sick (without taking the prescribed pills) more than likely the lunch you just ate will become fish food and here is why. You will most likely throw up and vomit at the side of the boat. There goes your lunch serving those happy fishes down there HaHaHa!

White Rice

Sergey is very happy


After finishing our lunch we cruise around the surrounding island heading back to shore. Temperature is rising due to the tropical heat. Enjoy the cooling natural air-con generated by the blowing wind as our Captain throttled up his twin-engine boat to full speed.   



SUPER DAY - An Ocean Safari


Some of us maybe curious to know what exactly is a Super Day. Well, I would say this Super Day is alike an ocean safari consisted of 3 marvelous dive sites.  In Super Day we get to dive at all those 3 dive sites namely King Cruiser Wreck, Shark Point and Anemone Reef all in a single day. In my own opinion what really make it super is the open sea environment where we have to deal with strong undercurrents. But at the end each one of us will be well rewarded with terrific pictures, beautiful memories and the experience. A lovely day to begin this dive adventure.

Thanks to Jason for making this Super Day possible by getting the support from Andy at the dive center. We don't get to go on a Super Day very often as these 3 dive sites is a challenge with deeper depth.  Participants need to have a certain level of skills or diving experience beyond the standard 18 meters in order to be allowed on this Super Day ocean safari.

If you are already a diver and have an OW diver's license and intend to get your AOW license in Krabi, you may be lucky to get your training on these challenging dive sites just like I've done mine with the best AV's team. Should you not get to do this ocean safari do not be dismay as there're a lot of factors to be considered e.g. weather condition, high or low tides, visibility, and other divers' competency before a Super Day could be launched.  


A great day to kick-off this Super Day with 2 most senior IDC Staff Instructors joining in today, Magnus and Jason. You would be glad if you're going diving with these professionals as they know exactly what to do when anyone of us is in real serious trouble during a dive.

What are the preparations for a Super Day like this? Eat, Sleep and Scuba is the right answer. After everybody got on board, AV's boat captain worked hard in getting us to the dive sites.  The speed boat would take about 40 minutes to the middle of nowhere in the open ocean faraway from land.  That's where we begin our first safari dive.

The Captain at Work

Fully Loaded Scuba Equipment
Every time before we enter the water, there will be a short debrief by the dive crews. These are the safety rules, do's and don't while in the waters. Listening attentively is a must as these guys have been into this ship wreck for hundreds of times. So, listening is part of the skill. 


King Cruiser Wreck

From the stories being told, King Cruiser was a big car ferry that ply between Phuket and the Phi Phi Islands. During one of its regular crossing this ferry sank within 2.5 hours after hitting the Anemone Reef on this West Coast of Southern Thailand back in 1997.


















At this dive site, the only visible clue is the huge orange color buoy floating on the sea surface. We all had to jump into the water and get to the rope that was tied to the buoy.  Holding onto the rope as our guiding line to get to the bottom equalizing our air passage every meter. That's how we get to this wreck without being strayed off course by the strong undercurrents.  


Area:           Andaman Sea, Thailand
Max Depth:  32 m
Visibility:      5m - 32m
Currents:      Mild to Strong
Type:           Wreck
Difficulty:     Advanced

 

Once we reached the 18 meters mark, we head straight for the deck and stabilize ourselves before venturing further. Jason is keeping a watchful eye so that we don't get into any serious trouble by accidentally poisoned by those well camouflaged scorpion fish and there's a nurse shark known to be living around this ship wreck.   


o





Proka and Dimitry - our cool Russian friends with just T-shirt and short. 

Max depth reached 22.4 meters; Current depth was 21.7 meters. Dive time was already 6 minutes.  








Exploring the partially collapsed roof structure

Jason looking around the roof edges for hidden jewels (perhaps Scorpion fish)




Coming out from the hull

Magnus is always a very happy man.

Searching for treasures maybe?



At the end of the dive (with some reserve air in the tank around 50 psi), all of us will get ready to do a safety stop by hanging onto the line before going up to the surface. Jason was seen blowing bubbles here while doing nothing at this safety stop. It's rather difficult to blow huge beautiful bubbles with this kind of turbulent current. 



Playing with bubbles 


































If you're thinking about the movie Titanic, you might just get a feel of it from this King Cruiser ship wreck. Lying 30 meters at the seabed is within reach for divers where the atmospheric setting is somewhat look alike the Titanic. From the videos and photographs shots you can imagine the thrill in underwater wreck exploration and treasure hunting. For that reason some divers actually chose to specialize on this skill set that's offered by PADI.  By the way, the fabled story in Titanic's Blue Diamond that was lost at sea is not found here either if you're thinking about it. All I could see are fishes at each and every corner where we went though the wreck.  
     
Just looking and waiting for decompression time limit to end before surfacing 

Safety Stop - All hanging on the line. "Hang on tight buddies you don't wanna be swept away by the current".


Right after the safety stop waiting period was over, all of us got to the surface one-by-one and swam toward our boat. Climbing on board the boat with full scuba gear can be an exhausting process if the water is choppy. A big relief my camera is still dangling on my BCD that captured many of those scenery pictures here.    
Wrist Takrut from Wat Bangphra - Removing my camera latch from the BCD.

Tired but happy divers taking a rest after the King Cruiser dive. 

















Many of us were dehydrated. Plenty of mineral waters and fresh fruits are supplied to replenish our strength before going for the next dive in this Super Day. 


Shark Point ^



















Our next Super Day dive site is Shark Point. As the name says it "Shark" do expect to encounter with some sharks in this part of the water since this is an open sea. Anyway, the meaning of Shark Point was due to the shape of rock formation at the light house which looks like the shape of a shark fin. Hey, we all love Sharks if not we won't be diving here as part of this Super Day.  


Sitting at the side of the boat counting 1,2,3 and off you jump. If you haven't get a taste of a back roll jump before, this is where you get to do it. Additionally, if you intend to take your Advanced OW course, this site presents the opportunity to complete one of the five dives.
  
Back roll jump. That's how we all get into the water.


The first marine life  that we saw upon descending at Shark Point was a pair of giant cuttlefish at 5 meters depth. Took a moment to photograph them playing on the rocks. As the name suggests, there is likelihood we may come across sharks because of the rich marine life that surrounds this site and because of this all shark species tend to flock here.  


Here we went through rocks after rocks. Nothing but rocks. This seemed like a favorite shark haunt as there're flat surfaces and the water is bright turquoise blue apart from the rich food source. This kinda landscape reminds me of those shark nestling place I've once encountered together with Marc during a dive trip in Phi Phi previously. Very chilling and a bit of eerie.  Normally leopard sharks, black-tip reef sharks and nurse sharks are found in this area. However, there is not a single shark on this day. 
   

This is the point where I hit a problem with blocked ear. It's like a sharp needle poking into my left ear drum. It was excruciating painful and I couldn't equalize my ear at all due to the residue flu that I had a few days ago. This is a painful lesson learned to avoid flu or cold before any dive. 

Luckily Jason recognized my circumstance and took me up to shallower water to get my ear equalize. It worked and my dive continue again back to the deeper water. Hooray, the safari continues albeit wasting a lot of air supply in my tank while treating my ear problem.   




See picture below to find out the clue!

Jason with his pointer



The underwater currents can be unpredictable at any moment. Seen in the above video capture was a scene of free video rolling after letting go my video cam from my hands during turbulent current. Swim hard and stay with the rest of the group until we reach calmer waters.  

Big Puffer Fish
Was hoping that puffer fish was a shark. Our adventure to see sharks here have to end due to air supply particularly my tank due to wastage in treating my blocked ear at the beginning of the dive. Slowly we ascended to shallower water and got to find some rocks to hold onto while doing a safety stop procedure.  


Got to be extra vigilant as to where we put our hands to cling onto the rocks during this safety stop procedure that usually last 3-5 minutes. Painful lesson learned before I ain't wanna get poked by sea urchins or any poisonous camouflaged aquatic creatures Ha Ha Ha.






   


"I'm hungry. Where's my lunch?"
After surfacing from this dive site, I was quickly administered by Magnus with medication on board the boat to subdue my sinus and blocked ear passage. The treatment had indeed worked and the pain on my left ear drum got subdued and I can start to hear better. Nothing serious. All of us had lunch and catch our breath before going for the next dive site at Anemone Reef which is a short distance away. 



Anemone Reef



















Anemone Reef was once hit by the now sunken King Cruiser. The lively corals and sea living beings here is simply astonishing. You got to see it with your own eyes no matter how many photographs can be produced here for viewing. There may be mild to strong undercurrents here but with the objective of taking beautiful photography is definitely worthwhile. After all this is a great experience for any OW diver as average depth is around 18 meters. If you are planning to visit this reef don't forget to bring along your camera down together with you.

Do you need a big fan in the sea? 


















This barely submerged reef is a well-known shipping hazard and is located less than a mile from Shark Point. This dive site is famous for its vast fields of sea anemones that cling to every conceivable surface and swing and sway with the current creating an illusion of a large living rock.

Clown Fish (Nemo)

















The profusion of sea anemones and the nutrient-rich water is a magnet to a constant parade of reef fish seeking food and shelter. Enormous schools of tropical fish, snappers, groupers, and colorful clown fish, lion fish, along with larger game fish e.g. tuna and barracuda. Occasionally leopard sharks can also be seen passing by these reef.



Moray Eel "King of The Reef" 

Moray Eel

















Moray eel is king of the reef. Apart from being a ferocious hunter they are also reef gangsters that could terrorize preys with their razor sharp teeth. The video capture below is about a captivating real life story where a moray eel bites off a diver's thumb during a feeding session. Hence, the rule of thumb is never touch anything at all times.

Who says life is boring at the bottom of the sea? Each and every life form here has a unique way of survival and a reproductive system. In my own opinion it is interesting to see and learn about life in the aquatic world. The morale of the story is never interfere with the eco-system or alter the food chain of those marine creatures. Preserving their natural habitat as they are is the best option.

Max Depth: 20.7 meter; Current Depth displayed: 18.2 meter 

Exploring the seabed for hidden aquatic life











































In underwater photography specialization, the instructor will search for various subjects suitable for students to learn how to handle underwater photography.  In underwater photography lesson, buoyancy skills is very important in order to handle a steady camera to get that perfect photo shot.



















Colors are vivid and lively here as seen by the eyes and camera especially when there's good lighting from the sky above. Darker areas are expected at deeper water where a camera flash with f.2 aperture is really useful in bringing out the picture composition. You will get to learn all these camera techniques if you choose to specialize in this field of interest.























This is the last reef sight we saw before surfacing. It's time to end the dive and relate the story tales of this ocean safari to others who are keen to explore this Anemone Reef.  It's time to dry up those wet suits while we each bring home our memories. There's nothing more satisfactory than seeing a beautiful day when you get to the surface. A contended heart in each of us who got to experience this marvelous Super Day ourselves is the end result.

















Special thanks to the AV guys for organizing this diving adventure and also to Than Plen for his assurance that the Mai Tao will work in scuba diving the ocean.  Not forgetting LP Thuad that served as our guardian protection in this vast open sea.

















The adrenalin rush and fun is all that we had truly enjoyed to the fullest at these dive sites. There's nothing that can beat all these mesmeric photographs here than to discover it yourself at the Andaman Sea.  Thanks for reading and may you too take this diving experience to the next level by taking the first step to plunge into the pool and then toward the open sea.

Simply Better Scuba Diving
The First To Reach,
The First To Dive, 
The First To Get Home. 
...with the best dive team.
















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