Koh Lanta, Thailand, PADI Divemaster, IDC, scuba diving Thailand

Koh Lanta – The Weather In ‘Rainy Season’

‘Rainy season’, and ‘monsoon season’ are terms often heard when people talk of visiting Koh Lanta, and other west coast of Thailand destinations, between May and September. However, these terms are a little misleading. While it is true there is more rain at this time of year than during the other months, contrary to popular beliefs, it does not rain all day, every day – far from it…

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Kantiang Bay, Koh Lanta, during ‘rainy season’…

Does it rain all day, every day ?

According to weather app, yes, it does. But in reality, no, it does not.  The most common weather patterns we experience at this time of year are hot, blue-skied days, with possible heavy rain showers late afternoon/early evening. If you look at rainfall charts for this time of year, there will be a large spike in the amount of rain falling, however, this usually falls in one short, heavy downpour as the day is ending – not as a constant drizzle throughout the whole day as in northern Europe. These 30 – 60 minute downpours are quite spectacular, with a lot of rain falling in a short space of time, and they clear the air and cool things down whilst you are getting ready to venture out for dinner. And they don’t fall every evening…

Scuba diving Thailand, Koh Lanta, Weather, Rain season

The wettest months are the months when the seasons are changing – usually June & September. During these months, you are more likely to encounter the odd wet day, when it does rain through the day, but there is still plenty to do on the island at these times of year too. The months of the so-called ‘rainy season’ between these change-over times are usually as described above – short tropical downpours in the evening, and still nice and hot temperature-wise (even the rain is warm water when it does fall).

These downpours are needed too. After the very dry months of January through April, the island needs a good watering. The wells sometimes run low at the end of the driest months, and the vegetation is calling out for water. The effects of the rain are readily seen – everything quickly becomes greener and lusher, hence the locals refer to this time of year as ‘green season’. The cooling effect of the evening rain is also very welcome. The rain helps lower the humidity, and cool things down for the evening, as well as keeping the dust of dry season down to a minimum.

Is everything on the island closed ?

Another misconception about Koh Lanta is that the island shuts down for green season. This is also not quite true. There are a few businesses that will close for a few months, but many restaurants and bars are open as usual. Also hotels are open as usual, and are often great value at this time of year.

Diving-wise, Koh Lanta Marine Park is closed from May 15th, and re-opens on October 15th. However, the Phi Phi dive sites are open all year and dive trips are still running during this time period.

PADI IDC, Koh Lanta, Divemaster, Lanta Diver, SCUBA Diving Thailand
Blue skies and calm seas…

Places to go, and things to do in green season…

The National Park at the southern end of Koh Lanta is open, and in all its glory after a bit of rain. It’s always a nice place to relax with its quiet and beautiful beaches, and the lighthouse is a great photo spot.

Just before the National Park the beach at Klong Jark is also very nice. And either before or after a laze on the beach, the short trek to the Klong Jark Waterfall is also spectacular at this time of year – much better than in the dry season.

Koh Lanta Rainy Season, Thailand, Beach, Blue sky, Divemaster Training, PADI IDC

Lanta Old Town is also a great place for a spot of lunch during a drive around the island. Old Town is on the eastern side of Lanta, and a good spot to see a bit of traditional Thai culture, with views over the islands in the bay towards the mainland.

Scuba diving and snorkel trips are available to Phi Phi all year round too. A short sail out across the Andaman Sea, and you can dive or snorkel at some beautiful spots, with some amazing marine life around. Turtles and sharks can be seen regularly, and if you are lucky, you might even get to see the biggest fish in the ocean – the mesmerising whale shark ! Contact Lanta Diver to see their trip schedule – scuba@lantadiver.com

Whale Shark, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Divemaster, PADI IDC

Another activity that many enjoy is to pay a visit to Lanta Animal Welfare, and to maybe even take a dog or two for a walk along the beach…

Where to stay, what to do, and where to eat ?

During green season it is very easy to find a room for your stay, and most resorts offer great value for money at this time of year. Lanta offers accommodation to suit all budgets and needs, but the prices are a little lower during these months. For accommodation, check these places:

Mook Lanta Eco Resort – beautiful boutique resort at the southern end of Long Beach. Nice rooms in a quiet garden setting, just a short walk to the beach. They do a great breakfast too – check out the Mook Muffins !

Sri Lanta – situated in Klong Nin, Sri Lanta is a nice resort with a beachfront area. Nice for a sunset cocktail…

Kaw Kwang Beach Resort – close to the main town of Saladan in the north of Koh Lanta.

Long Beach Chalet – also on Long Beach.

Lanta Riviera – found in the middle of Klong Kong area, close to the beach.

Lanta Sand – at the northern end of Long Beach, within a short distance of many beachfront restaurants.

And when you’re getting a little hungry after a tough day exploring/relaxing…

The Irish Embassy – Great pub food served in a great pub atmosphere, fantastic music, award-winning cocktails, with all your sporting needs on the multi-screens. There’s always something going on here too – Monday is quiz night, Friday is Name That Tune & Killer Pool, with live music midweek too. Situated in the Long Beach area.

May’s Kitchen – To be found close to the Irish Embassy in Long Beach. May’s Kitchen is a favourite amongst the locals. Amazing Thai food, great bbq and ribs, and good selection of western dishes too.

Sole Mare – Italian pizzeria & restaurant in Klong Dao. They have specials on Tuesdays (Pizza Party) and Thursdays (Pasta Party).

The Fat Pig – Also know by its Thai name of Moo Uan, The Fat Pig is located over the water in Saladan, looking out to Koh Lanta Noi. Good ‘pick ‘n’ mix’ breakfast, and live sports shown too.

Ni Restaurant – Small, family-run restaurant close to Relax Bay, at the southern end of Long Beach. Good Thai & western dishes, and nice prices too.

Happy Veggie – If you fancy a healthy, or vegetarian, option, The Happy Veggie is found between the southern end of Long Beach and the northern end of Klong Kong beach.

To find out more about what’s going on in green season, join the Koh Lanta Info Facebook group…

PADI IDC, Divemaster, Thailand, Koh Lanta, Koh Tao, Phuket, Phi Phi

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PADI IDC No Mask Swim, Instructor Course Thailand, Koh Lanta, Phi Phi, Phuket, Tao, Dive Instructor Training

Teaching Tips: No-Mask Swim…

The no-mask swim skill from Confined Water Dive #4 of the PADI Open Water Course is a skill that often appears during the PADI IDC and the Instructor Exams (IE).  There are a few different ways to teach this skill, and the main differences are regarding the organisation of the skill – how to set it up and conduct it underwater.  The mechanics of the skill are relatively simple, yet students may be a little anxious before attempting this skill for the first time.

PADI IDC & Divemaster training in Koh Lanta, Thailand

The performance requirements for this skill state a certain distance must be covered during the swim to successfully complete the skill.  The first thing to think about when organising this skill then, is to ensure the full 15 metres will be covered.  If you are teaching in a pool, then this is very easy to do once you know the dimensions of the pool.  However, if you are teaching in confined open water, from a beach, then you may need to measure the distance using a reel or tape measure.  A tape measure is obviously already marked out with the distances, but if you are using a reel, you may need to add some distance markers yourself.

PADI IDC & Divemaster Training, Koh Lanta, Thailand

I prefer to use a reel, as it is more convenient because it is already a part of my dive equipment, and is easier to stow when not in use.  Along the length of my 40m line, I have used a permanent marker to add a mark every 5 metres – as below:

nav-1

These markings are not just useful for the no-mask swim skill, but for many other skills and dives within the PADI system (e.g. Navigation Adventure Dive, wreck penetration).

Once we are happy that we have a means of ensuring the full 15 metres will be completed, we can think about the other aspects of the organisation of this skill.  First, let’s see what PADI’s Guide To Teaching suggests:

PADI IDC & Divemaster training in Koh Lanta, Thailand

The final sentence in the above excerpt from the Guide To Teaching is an important factor to consider when deciding how to organise this skill.  I find it more beneficial for the students if they work in buddy teams and take turns guiding each other over the 15 metres, rather than the instructor guiding the students.  This strengthens the understanding of the buddy team, makes the skill more realistic as training for the event of a lost mask during a dive, and is extra practice at swimming whilst neutrally buoyant.

During the briefing for this skill, I will let the students know that I will demonstrate the skill with the Divemaster first, and that the students will then perform the skill as buddy teams, switching roles after one buddy team member has completed the skill satisfactorily.  The student with their mask in place can guide the student without the mask by swimming alongside, and holding the other student’s first stage with one hand, and their wrist out in front of them with the other hand.  Having physical contact with the buddy’s wrist during the skill helps the students stay relaxed, especially if they will close their eyes during the practice. I will also inform them that I will be swimming alongside the buddy team, on the side of the diver without a mask.  If I only have one student, then I would take the role of guide as the student performed the skill.

PADI IDC No Mask Swim, Instructor Course Thailand, Koh Lanta, Phi Phi, Phuket, Tao, Dive Instructor Training

I will also tell the students during the briefing that when they are happy with their neutral buoyancy, they can then flood and remove their mask to perform the skill, and that they should then pass the mask to me.  I then hold onto each student’s mask whilst they swim the distance.  It is not a requirement to take the masks from the students, but I find it helps with the realism and conduct of the skill.  In real life, if they lost a mask, it would not be in their hands.  Also, if the instructor has the mask, the student cannot replace the mask too early, before the full 15 metres has been covered.  This method also removes the issues of students dropping their masks during the exercise.  During an IDC or an IE, this method of teaching has then eliminated two of the problems that a Course Director or PADI Examiner can assign during this skill – your anticipation and actions have prevented problems.

Once I am happy that the student has mastered the skill, and completed the full 15 metres comfortably, then I can signal this to them with a tap on the shoulder, and I can place the mask back in the student’s hand – ready to be replaced and cleared to complete the skill.  The same two students would then switch roles, and complete the skill again…

If you have any questions regarding this skill, or any others, please feel free to email and ask us for our advice.  Also, if you are looking to complete a PADI Divemaster or IDC programme, please email and ask for further information about our courses in beautiful Koh Lanta, Thailand – rich@go-pro-in-paradise.com

PADI IDC, Divemaster, Thailand, Koh Lanta, Koh Tao, Phuket, Phi Phi

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PADI IDC & Divemaster courses, Koh Lanta, Thailand

Teaching Tips: Regulator Recovery…

Most instructors, or PADI IDC candidates, have few worries regarding teaching the regulator recovery skill.  They have performed it many times, and most people would consider it to be one of the ‘easier’ skills to teach.  However, with the shift in teaching methodology more towards neutral buoyancy teaching, we just have to be a little careful of meeting the stated performance requirements for this skill when teaching in confined water:

PADI IDC & Divemaster Courses, Confined water teaching presentations.

To teach this skill correctly in confined water, we must ensure that the regulator has been recovered from ‘behind the shoulder‘.  With the old-style teaching, when the students were on their knees, this was quite easy to achieve with either the sweep  method or the reach method of recovery.  However, nowadays, when teaching the skill in a more horizontal position, we have to be careful that the recovery was deemed to be ‘from behind the shoulder‘.  In a horizontal ‘diving position’, the regulator will naturally fall below the shoulder, and if we just use the sweep method of recovery, our students will not meet the performance requirement.

In this horizontal position – on fin-tips or in mid-water – we must use the reach method of recovery, so that the hand reaches behind the shoulder to recover the regulator.  We can also teach the sweep method, so the students learn more and will know two different techniques for recovering their regulator, but the reach method is needed to meet the course performance requirements in confined water.

PADI IDC & Divemaster courses, Koh Lanta, Thailand

To teach this method in Confined Water Dive #1, we must first help the students attain neutral buoyancy and a horizontal position.  One way of doing this is to add little bits of air to their BCDs as you coax them into the correct breathing pattern for diving (read more about this in a previous blog – here).  Once in this horizontal/neutral state, we then continue with the skills from CW#1, including the regulator recovery skill.

During an Open Water Course, I would still teach the sweep method of recovery first, as it is perhaps a little easier.  With the confidence gained from this, we can then move on to the reach method of recovery too, and then we will meet the confined water performance requirements.  Later on in Confined Water Dive #5, we can then re-practise both methods during the mini-dive, whilst swimming around the pool neutrally buoyant.

PADI IDC & Divemaster Courses in Koh Lanta, Thailand.

When we then move to open water, our students can choose to recover the regulator by either method, as PADI Standards do not stipulate that the regulator must be recovered from behind the shoulder in open water (only in confined water).  Personally, I prefer to have the students complete this skill on Open Water Dive #1 whilst swimming along, as they did in Confined Water Dive #5.

Teaching this skill in this manner will help your students be better, more confident divers.  By employing this teaching technique, we have not only met the PADI performance requirements, but we have also taught two different recovery methods, and focused on maintaining and improving the buoyancy of our entry-level students –  make neutral buoyancy a habit, rather than a skill..

During our PADI IDCs on Koh Lanta, Thailand, we focus on neutral buoyancy teaching, and teaching our students to be good instructors, not just to pass an exam.  If you are looking to become a PADI Instructor soon, send us an email if you have any further questions about teaching neutrally buoyant skills.  Likewise, if you are already a PADI MSDT, you could join us for your PADI IDC Staff Course and also get an insight into joining the ranks of instructors who teach skills whilst neutrally buoyant…

PADI IDC, Divemaster, Thailand, Koh Lanta, Koh Tao, Phuket, Phi Phi

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Manta Ray, Koh Lanta, Thailand, SCUBA Diving, Divemaster, PADI IDC, scuba diving

The Dive Sites of Koh Lanta

The thought of visiting Thailand conjures up images of white-sand beaches, swaying palm trees, delicious food, and fantastic diving.  And the west coast of Thailand offers the best diving in the region, with regular manta ray and whale shark encounters…

Koh Lanta is situated in the middle of Thailand’s west coast – a short drive from the international airport at nearby Krabi Town.  Its warm, clear waters and stunning beaches make it a great choice as a holiday destination, and with such great diving, it’s a top diving destination in the region – arguably Thailand’s best land-based diving.

Scuba diving Thailand, Koh Lanta, Open Water, Advanced, Rescue, Divemaster IDC

Suitable for all diving levels, Koh Lanta offers a nice variety of dive sites, and has something for everyone to enjoy – shallow, colourful reefs; deep drop-offs; small critters; large pelagics; and a couple of wrecks.  Let’s have a look at the dive sites on offer:

Hin Daeng / Hin Muang

Manta Ray, Koh Lanta, Thailand, SCUBA Diving, Divemaster, PADI IDC, scuba diving

The twin-pinnacles situated to the south of Koh Lanta are perhaps the biggest draw for experienced divers.  Famed as Thailand’s best wall dive, Hin Daeng (and neighbouring Hin Muang), provide divers in the area with great chances of watching numerous manta rays circling the cleaning stations on the shallow parts of the reefs. The two dive sites take their names from the abundance of soft corals covering the rocks – ‘hin’ is the Thai word for ‘rock’, ‘daeng’ translates as ‘red’, and ‘muang’ means ‘purple’.

The two sites are just a couple of hundred metres apart, and a dive trip here usually includes one dive at each site.  Hin Muang is a submerged, elongated pinnacle, with the shallowest section just below the surface, and the sea-bed a little deeper than sixty metres.  Hin Daeng resembles an underwater mountain, again rising from around sixty metres, with its summit protruding a few metres above the surface.  The pinnacles offer oases of life in the middle of the open ocean, and can present lucky divers with some great marine life encounters, both big and small.

Marine life: whale sharks, manta rays, ornate ghost pipefish, leopard sharks, seahorses, schooling trevally and barracuda, ribbon eels, spearing mantis shrimp, and octopuses.

Koh Ha

Scuba Diving Thailand, Koh Lanta, Koh Ha, Phi Phi, Krabi, Phuket

The name of this cluster of islands translates to ‘five islands’, and they offer a number of different dive sites at one location with varying topography. Koh Ha #1 is famed for its chimney – a vertical swim-through suitable for experienced divers – that is often teeming with fishes and life.  the chimney is a nice way to end the dive as it takes you up to five or six metres – perfect to start your safety stop.

Koh Ha Lagoon Dive Site Map, Koh Lanta

In the middle of islands #2, #3, and #4 is the lagoon area (as seen in the photo above).  this is great dive site for students and experienced divers a like.  Divers can start in the middle of the lagoon, at a depth of around six metres, and then follow the sandy slopes between the islands down to a maximum of thirty metres.  The outside of the islands are covering with a rainbow of soft corals, and are home to many cool and amazing creatures.

Koh Ha Yai – the biggest island of the group – is another stunning dive with the chance for experienced divers to enter ‘the cathedral’.  A natural hollow within the island that allows divers a unique experience – surfacing inside an island !

Koh Lanta, Thailand, Harlequin Shrimp, IDC, Divemaster

Marine life: whale sharks, black-tipped reef sharks, harlequin shrimp, seahorses, turtles, ornate ghost pipefish, peacock mantis shrimp, spearing mantis shrimp, and nudibranchs.

Koh Bidas

The two Bida islands – Bida Nok & Bida Nai – are two limestone rocks jutting out of the water to the south of the Phi Phi islands.  Both sites are covered in beautiful soft corals, and are home to a myriad of varying species of marine life.  Diving at the Bidas is a great spot for shark enthusiasts, with regular sightings of leopard and black-tipped reef sharks, and also the occasional appearance by the world’s biggest fish – the whale shark.

Whale Shark, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Divemaster, PADI IDC

The Bidas are also a great place for the smaller critters.  A nice relaxed swim along the reef usually allows divers to find nudibranchs, ornate ghost pipefish, seahorses, and cuttlefish hiding beneath the sweeping school of yellow snapper that frequents the reefs.

A trip to the Bidas from Lanta usually involves the first dive at Koh Bida Nok, and the second dive at the slightly shallower Koh Bida Nai.  If you are on a three-dive trip, then the chances are you will do a third dive at the nearby Hin Bida – a submerged dive site on the way back to Koh Lanta, and a favourite resting place for the leopard sharks.

Marine life: leopard sharks, whale sharks, ghost pipefish, nudibranchs, yellow snapper, barracuda, turtles, seahorses, frogfish, black-tipped reef sharks, and bent-stick pipefish.

Kled Kaew Wreck

Wreck diving, Koh Lanta, Phi Phi, Kled Kaew, Divemaster, IDC, Thailand

The HTMS Kled Kaew is a former naval gunship in the Royal Thai Navy.  The Kled Kaew was built in 1948 for the Norwegian Royal Navy, being launched initially as the RnoMS Norfrost. Eight years later it was acquired and renamed by the Royal Thai Navy. In 2014, she was brought to her final resting place near Koh Phi Phi Ley and purposefully sank.  The wreck sits in around 26 metres of water, with the shallowest section of the wreck reaching about 14 metres.  As is so often the case with wrecks, the ex-naval launch provides shelter to many different species of marine life, and has large schools of fish circling just above the structure.

Wreck diving, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Phi Phi, PADI, Divemaster, IDC

The 47-metre long wreck is a nice easy wreck, with some occasional current at certain times.  She’ s a great wreck to dive as part of your PADI Advanced Open Water Course, or a perfect dive for Nitrox, with the reduced nitrogen levels affording a longer bottom time on the decks.

Marine life: barracuda, trevally, lionfish, scorpionfish, frogfish, nudibranchs, moray eels, batfish, and catfish.

Frogfish, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Scuba diving, IDC, Divemaster

All the above dive sites are easily accessible from Koh Lanta.  Lanta Diver offers regular trips to these sites on one of its three dive-boats.  If you would like to know more about the dive sites and the trips from Koh Lanta, please email Lanta Diver – scuba@lantadiver.com.

Photos taken by Narcosis Nick U/W Photography, Richard Reardon, and Steve Branson.

PADI IDC Thailand, Platinum Course Director Richard reardon
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PADI Divemaster Course on Koh Lanta

Always dreamed of living on a tropical island ?  Sunshine everyday ? The commute to work a stroll down the beach ?  Then maybe life as a PADI dive professional is for you…

PADI Divemaster Course, Koh Lanta, Thailand, PADI Pro, IDC

At Lanta Diver we offer PADI Divemaster training in a stunning location, with great diving, at a PADI CDC training facility.  All the professional-level PADI training is run by an experienced Platinum Course Director with a wealth of experience and knowledge to pass on.

Koh Lanta is a small, idyllic tropical island on the west coast of Thailand.  It offers divers the best land-based diving in Thailand, with regular sightings of both whale sharks and manta rays.  The smaller marine life is plentiful too – seahorses, harlequin shrimp, ghost pipefish and nudibranchs are commonly seen on all dive sites too.

Whale Shark, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Divemaster, PADI IDC

Above the surface, Koh Lanta also has a lot to offer – stunning beaches, great restaurants, and sunsets to die for.  Check out some great photos of Lanta here.

Koh Lanta, Thailand, Beach, Divemaster training, PADI IDC, best diving

The PADI Divemaster course is the gateway to a life as a professional scuba diver, and gives you a passport to great diving destinations all over our blue planet.  During the course you will learn how to guide dives and how to function as an assistant to PADI Instructors.  After qualification, you will be able to start working in the dive industry, guiding divers around dive sites, and showing them the rich marine life that Koh Lanta has to offer.

Manta Ray, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Divemaster, PADI IDC

Koh Lanta, Thailand, Harlequin Shrimp, IDC, Divemaster

If you fancy the challenge of becoming a PADI Divemaster in Koh Lanta under the watchful eye of a Platinum PADI Course Director, then send us an email for further information on how you too can live in paradise. For this season, we are also including the Manta Conservation Diver & Dive Against Debris Specialty courses ion all our Divemaster programmes !!

PADI IDC, Divemaster, Thailand, Koh Lanta, Koh Tao, Phuket, Phi Phi

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Top 8 Coolest Creatures To See Diving From Koh Lanta

Koh Lanta, on the west coast of Thailand, has perhaps the best land-based diving in all of Thailand. It boasts easy access to some great dive sites, including Hin Daeng, Hin Muang, Koh Ha, and the dive sites of Koh Phi Phi are also only a short trip away. During your dives on these great dive sites, you are sure to bump into some amazing creatures along the reef. Starting with the smallest, here are my favourite eight reef denizens to spot on your dives…

  1. Harlequin Shrimp

Koh Lanta, Thailand, Harlequin Shrimp, IDC, Divemaster

The colourful harlequin shrimp is perhaps the funkiest and coolest of all shrimp. They are commonly encountered hiding in the reefs around Koh Lanta, often munching on a sea star. Harlequin shrimp don’t stray too far once they have found a nice spot with plentiful supply of food, and when your dive guide knows where they are hiding out, they can be found quite easily…

2. Ornate Ghost Pipefish

Koh Lanta, Thailand, Ornate Ghost Pipefish, Divemaster, IDC

The ornate ghost pipefish is another cool visitor to the reefs surrounding Koh Lanta. They come in a variety of colours, and can be seen in pairs or as solitary individuals. Ornate ghost pipefish can change their colour to suit their chosen home among the branches of gorgonians, in floating weeds, or feather stars. They can be tricky to spot, but again, once found, they often stay in one location for a while…

3. Seahorse

Seahorse, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Divemaster, PADI IDC

Seahorses are another common spot amongst the reefs of Lanta. They can even be spotted very close to shore on Lanta’s beaches, but are also common on dive sites such as Koh Ha. The tiger tail seahorse is the most commonly encountered seahorse on Koh Lanta’s dive sites, and are spotted year round…

4. Frogfish

Frogfish, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Divemaster, PADI IDC

Perhaps a less frequently spotted critter in the area is the frogfish. These cryptic creatures are a master of disguise and can be difficult to spot. The are still seen quite often on the dive sites around Koh Ha and Hin Daeng, as well as on the wrecks around Koh Phi Phi…

5. Turtle

Turtle, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Divemaster, PADI IDC

Hawksbill turtles are a regular sight on all the dive sites around Koh Lanta. They are often encountered munching on bubble coral, or just cruising by in the blue close to the reefs. Green turtles are also occasionally spotted in the area…

6. Leopard Shark

Leopard Shark, Zebra Shark, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Divemaster, PADI IDC

The leopard shark, also known as the zebra shark, is a commonly encountered shark in the waters around Koh Lanta. They like to rest on the sand, and are often seen at dive sites like Hin Bida, Bida Nok, and Bida Nai. When they are resting on the bottom, you can get close enough for a good photograph if you approach them very slowly. They are also a great photo subject when they are swimming, with their distinctive long tails scything through the water…

7. Manta Ray

Manta Ray, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Divemaster, PADI IDC

If you want to dive with the majestic manta ray, then you need to book yourself on a trip to Hin Daeng & Hin Muang – two sea mounts in the open ocean. These two stunning dive sites are home to many cleaner fish, and the mantas come to get preened. You just hang back and watch the spectacular show as the mantas circle the cleaning stations. Mantas are my favourite animal to just hover and watch…

8. Whale Shark

Whale Shark, Koh Lanta, Thailand, Divemaster, PADI IDC

And last, but definitely not least, we have the giant whale shark – the biggest fish in the ocean. Whale sharks are very common, but you still need a little luck to be in the right place at the right time. They are commonly encountered at Hin Daeng, Hin Muang, and at Koh Ha. They are also sometimes seen at Bida Nok, close to Koh Phi Phi. Diving along and then seeing the unmistakable shape of a whale shark emerging from the blue is a truly unforgettable experience…

If you haven’t dived from Koh Lanta yet, maybe it’s time to add it to your bucket-list and come see the amazing creatures of the Andaman Sea. Lanta boasts a nice mixture of dive sites for both beginners and experienced divers alike. It is also a beautiful island to spend your non-diving days relaxing on the beach enjoying delicious Thai food or even a sunset cocktail…

If you would like to dive Koh Lanta, email Lanta Diver – a five-star PADI IDC centre offering day trips to all the sites mentioned above. Lanta Diver also run all recreational courses, as well as professional-level courses such as Divemaster & IDC programmes. And if you are looking for a great hotel on the island, look no further than Mook Lanta Eco Resort. What are you waiting for ?

Photos by Narcosis Nick and Richard Reardon

PADI IDC Thailand, Digital Underwater Photography, DUP, Specialty Instructor Training Course

Teaching Tips: PADI DUP Specialty…

PADI IDC Thailand, Digital Underwater Photography, DUP, Specialty Instructor Training Course

One of my favourite PADI Specialties to teach is the Digital Underwater Photography Specialty.  It can be great fun, but also usually you get to see a big improvement in your students’ photography skills.

The course requires two open water dives, the first of which can be conducted in confined water.  Completing this first dive, and the first knowledge review, would also allow you to certify your students to DUP Level 1.  I prefer to teach the full Specialty – two knowledge reviews and two open water dives – and certify my students as DUP Level 2 Divers. I also conduct a confined water dive. I aim to schedule this course over two full days:

Day 1: Classroom session in the morning and confined water session in the afternoon

Day 2: Two open water dives

PADI DUP, Underwater Photography Specialty, IDC, Dive Instructor Course

On the first day, I spend the morning in the classroom.  We review the students’ knowledge reviews, and get to know the camera they will be using on land first – both in and out of the housing.  During the knowledge development session I make sure my students understand all the main concepts – shutter speed, aperture, white balance, depth of field, ISO, scene modes – and make sure they know how to make these adjustments on their camera both in and out of the housing.

PADI DUP, IDC, Underwater Photography, Specialty Instructor

In the afternoon of the first day we hit the pool and put everything we learned in the classroom into practise in this relaxed setting, where we can take our time and practise changing our camera settings, and getting good shots.  I take a few objects into the pool so the students can practise focus, white balance, and depth of field.  I try to find some everyday objects with a few different colours – including red – too to help practise adjusting white balance, and to see how the different scene modes show the different colours.  Whilst in the pool, I also emphasise, and practise, taking photos with good buoyancy control, and without touching the bottom.

PADI Specialty Instructor Course, Underwater Photography, Thailand

On the second day of the course, we head to open water to put everything in to practise with some cool marine life too.  I also take the coloured objects to the ocean to practise white balance adjustments at different depths  during the first dive too.

PADI IDC, DUP Specialty Instructor, Photography

We also spend time finding some cool creatures that are conducive to practising photography.  I focus on creatures that don’t move very far, or very quickly, like nudibranchs, morays, lionfish, clownfish etc., so the students can practise the PADI S.E.A. method…

PADI Instructor Course, Specialty, Photography, Nudibranch

After two days, my students have normally improved a great deal in their photography abilities, and are happy with the pace and content of the course.  If you would like to know more about becoming a PADI Digital Underwater Photography Specialty Instructor, please send me and email and ask…

 

Go Pro In Paradise PADI IDC Courses You tube Channel, Dive Theory
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