AWARE Shark Conservation Specialty

The Project AWARE Shark Conservation course is now being taught at Go Pro In Paradise – both at diver level and at instructor level.  Julie completed her IDC with me earlier this year, and now she has also completed her MSDT Prep – taking five Specialty Instructor Training Courses with me.  Along with Deep, Digital Underwater Photography, Emergency Oxygen Provider, Wreck and Nitrox, Julie also wished to help spread the word about the issues facing the world’s shark population…

PADI IDC Thailand Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta, Krabi, Sharks
Leopard shark at Shark Point

 

The AWARE Shark Conservation course is an excellent way for us to help educate divers about the plight of sharks.  Being an AWARE Shark Conservation Diver Instructor gives us an idea platform from which to educate our students.  The AWARE Shark Conservation specialty can also be taught with the Advanced Open Water course, as an elective Adventure Dive during that course.

During the course students learn why sharks are so important to the marine ecosystems, what the threats are to them, and what we can do to help…

PADI IDC Thailand, MSDT, AWARE Shark Conservation Spoecialty
Julie noting the shark’s size and species…

 

As an instructor, this is a very versatile Specialty that we can teach in a variety of ways.  We can teach the course as a standard two-dive PADI Specialty, with Knowledge Development.  We can just teach the Knowledge Development side of this course, to raise awareness too.  When we teach Knowledge Development only, we can issue a wall certificate to acknowledge the students participation and understanding.  We also have the option of including AWARE Shark Conservation as an optional dive towards the Advanced Open Water or Adventure Diver certifications…

PADI IDC Thailand, Project AWARE, Shark Conservation Specialty
The certificate for Knowledge Development participants…

 

During our AWARE Shark Conservation Specialty Instructor training course, we had a great day out on the boat.  For this course, we completed a memorable dive at Shark Point, a stunning dive site situated between Koh Phi Phi and Phuket.

The dive started better than we could have imagined.  Before we even started our descent, we had spotted our first shark.  Looking down from the surface we spotted a leopard shark nestled on the bottom, relaxing at 6m.  We made a nice, controlled descent, to avoid spooking it, and then went about our business of identifying the shark to species and gender.  We also estimated its size, and had a look for any signs of ‘non-natural injuries’ to the shark.

PADI IDC thailand, Shark Conservation, Specialty Instructor
Injuries to the leopard shark’s tail…

 

As the dive progressed, we managed to find another two leopard sharks on the dive site.  One of which we were lucky enough to see free-swimming about the reef.  With its elongated caudal fin, a free-swimming leopard shark is a beautiful sight…

After such a fantastic day out on the boat, upon return to the dive centre we chatted about our findings, and then after a little bit of paperwork it was time to celebrate finishing the course.  Congratulations Julie, on becoming an AWARE Shark Conservation Specialty Instructor, and here’s hoping you go on to spread the word and help the sharks of the world in your diving future…

If the AWARE Shark Conservation course, or any other, interest you, then drop me an e-mail or use our contact form for further information…

PADI IDC Thailand
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The Beauty Of Koh Phi Phi

Koh Phi Phi, in the Krabi region of Thailand, is a stunningly beautiful island – both above and below the surface.  There’s no coincidence that travellers and Hollywood directors with film crews alike have chosen to spend time basking in its sun-drenched glory.  Whilst in this tropical location, there are many activities to engage in to pass the time.  Of course SCUBA diving is one, but not the only one…

PADI IDC Thailand, Koh Phi Phi
Ton Sai Bay, Koh Phi Phi

 

Koh Phi Phi boasts great accessibility to its local dive sites, all year round.  With the dive sites so close, it’s also ideal for people who like to do half-day trips (two dives) and still have the rest of the day free to enjoy the other delights that Phi Phi can offer – including hitting the beach, rock-climbing, and walking to the view points for stunning vistas of Koh Phi Phi Don’s twin bays.

PADI IDC Thailand, Koh Phi Phi
The reward for walking up to the viewpoint…

 

The local dive sites offer spectacular underwater scenery too.  My favourites, The Bidas (Bida Nok and Bida Nai), are two small islands just off the end of Koh Phi Phi Ley.  Both are stunning sites.  The coral is stunning – a rainbow of soft corals, large intact sea fans and great hard coral cover too.  The beauty of these sites is that they are great for all levels of training, from Discover Scuba Diving students, Open Water students, and also more advanced training (I often conduct IDC training out there) and are also awesome for certified ‘fun divers’ too.

PADI IDC Thailand
PADI IDC action from Bida Nok, Koh Phi Phi…

 

Bida Nok has a nice bay at one end which offers good protected, sandy areas for conducting DSDs and skills for Open Water courses.  If you follow the reef that extends from this bay you can easily reach 30m too.  Coming out from the bay, one side of the island is also more sheltered and shallower than the other, and is ideal for less experienced divers, while the more experienced can check out the delights of the deeper water on the opposite side.

PADI IDC Thailand, Koh Phi Phi
A leopard shark at Koh Phi Phi, Thailand…

 

All the local sites offer varied marine life too.  Turtles (mainly hawksbill, but also green) are very common.  Also very common are the leopard sharks (or zebra sharks depending on your preferred common name), and black-tipped reef sharks too.  We get many of the usual suspects in and around the reef (moray eels, octopus, cuttlefish, scorpionfish, Kuhl’s stingrays in the sand etc), but are also very lucky to have seahorses as a relatively common sight.  We can also spot harlequin shrimp and frogfish from time to time.  Not something that I’d lead people to expect, but when lucky we can also see passing whale sharks on the reefs too.

IDC Thailand Koh Phi Phi Harlequin Shrimp
The beautiful Harlequin Shrimp (courtesy of Neutral Buoyancy images)

 

We are also lucky to have large schools of yellow snapper, barracuda and fusiliers dancing around the reefs, often being hunted by jacks…

The diving on Phi Phi offers relatively easy and gentle conditions.  Currents are mild, visibility averages 20m, and the water temperature hovers close to 30ºC year round.  The best time of year to visit is from October through to May, but the weather is fine year round – maybe evening showers more during the rest of the year.  With the 30ºC water temperature, many people opt to dive with just a rashtop and board shorts.  Phi Phi Barakuda offer 3mm shorties as standard, but we also have longer suits available for people who feel the cold more.

When not diving, there is also plenty to do to keep the visitor occupied.  Thai food is awesome and there are plenty of restaurants to try.  There are also walks to the viewpoints to overlook the bays (very nice for sunset/sunrise).  Traditional Thai massages are readily available too.  The beaches are also stunning and a great place to spend an afternoon after two morning dives.  Phi Phi is also a good place for rock-climbing.

Also another water activity is to snorkel with black-tipped reef sharks on Long Beach.  This is best early in the morning, but possible throughout the day.

PADI IDC Thailand, Koh Phi Phi
Black-tipped reef shark cruising its reef… (photo courtesy of Neutral Buoyancy Images)

 

There are also many boat/snorkelling trips on offer, including the famous Maya Bay, where Leonardo DiCaprio and friends filmed the movie ‘The Beach’.  Maya Bay is also where we often eat our lunch during surface intervals on our dive trips.

Koh Phi Phi is relatively easy to get to.  There are many options to suit all budgets.  From Bangkok you can either fly to Krabi or Phuket airports or you can take overnight buses down too.  From Krabi or Phuket you then jump on the ferry across to Phi Phi Don.

PADI IDC Thailand, Krabi, Koh Phi Phi, Phuket
Map of the region.

 

Phi Phi locals are very friendly and welcoming to all foreign visitors.  Visitors should be aware of local traditions/customs on Phi Phi as much as anywhere else in Thailand.  Thai New Year (Songkran) is an especially good time to visit, as basically the day (April 13th) involves a huge water-fight and is a great experience.

So, what are you waiting for ?  Book your flight now and come see for yourself the myriad of pleasures that await you on Koh Phi Phi…

PADI IDC Thailand
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Upcoming PADI IDC Courses in Thailand

The end of 2013 is already edging nearer.  And high season on the west coast of Thailand is even closer.  So this is the perfect time to come and take your PADI IDC in Thailand with Platinum PADI Course Director Richard Reardon.

PADI IDC Thailand Koh Phi Phi Koh Lanta

The next IDC is only a few days away, but we have another three IDCs scheduled after this one on Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi.  With high season just around the corner too, it is a great time to take your IDC as employment opportunities are very good.  Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi both have a high season running from November through to May and there will be large numbers of students passing through just waiting to explore the beauty hidden beneath the Andaman Sea.

PADI IDC Thailand Koh Lanta Koh Phi Phi
Five happy new PADI instructors

 

The diving from these two beautiful islands is ideal for the novice diver, and a great place to begin teaching.  Water temperatures hover close to 30° year round, visibility averages 20m, the currents are mild and the marine life exquisite.

PADI IDC Thailand Koh Phi Phi Koh Lanta Phuket Krabi
Leopard shark at Shark Point

 

So, if you’re looking to ‘Go Pro In Paradise‘ and change your lifestyle to become a PADI diving instructor, use our contact form or send us an e-mail for further information on how you can exchange your office for the ocean…

 

PADI IDC Thailand
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The Beauty Of Koh Phi Phi

Koh Phi Phi, in the Krabi region of Thailand, is a stunningly beautiful island – both above and below the surface.  There’s no coincidence that travellers and Hollywood directors with film crews alike have chosen to spend time basking in its sun-drenched glory.  Whilst in this tropical location, there are many activities to engage in to pass the time.  Of course SCUBA diving is one, but not the only one…

PADI IDC Thailand, Koh Phi Phi
Ton Sai Bay, Koh Phi Phi

 

Koh Phi Phi boasts great accessibility to its local dive sites, all year round.  With the dive sites so close, it’s also ideal for people who like to do half-day trips (two dives) and still have the rest of the day free to enjoy the other delights that Phi Phi can offer – including hitting the beach, rock-climbing, and walking to the view points for stunning vistas of Koh Phi Phi Don’s twin bays.

PADI IDC Thailand, Koh Phi Phi
The reward for walking up to the viewpoint…

 

The local dive sites offer spectacular underwater scenery too.  My favourites, The Bidas (Bida Nok and Bida Nai), are two small islands just off the end of Koh Phi Phi Ley.  Both are stunning sites.  The coral is stunning – a rainbow of soft corals, large intact sea fans and great hard coral cover too.  The beauty of these sites is that they are great for all levels of training, from Discover Scuba Diving students, Open Water students, and also more advanced training (I often conduct IDC training out there) and are also awesome for certified ‘fun divers’ too.

PADI IDC Thailand
PADI IDC action from Bida Nok, Koh Phi Phi…

 

Bida Nok has a nice bay at one end which offers good protected, sandy areas for conducting DSDs and skills for Open Water courses.  If you follow the reef that extends from this bay you can easily reach 30m too.  Coming out from the bay, one side of the island is also more sheltered and shallower than the other, and is ideal for less experienced divers, while the more experienced can check out the delights of the deeper water on the opposite side.

PADI IDC Thailand, Koh Phi Phi
A leopard shark at Koh Phi Phi, Thailand…

 

All the local sites offer varied marine life too.  Turtles (mainly hawksbill, but also green) are very common.  Also very common are the leopard sharks (or zebra sharks depending on your preferred common name), and black-tipped reef sharks too.  We get many of the usual suspects in and around the reef (moray eels, octopus, cuttlefish, scorpionfish, Kuhl’s stingrays in the sand etc), but are also very lucky to have seahorses as a relatively common sight.  We can also spot harlequin shrimp and frogfish from time to time.  Not something that I’d lead people to expect, but when lucky we can also see passing whale sharks on the reefs too.

IDC Thailand Koh Phi Phi Harlequin Shrimp
The beautiful Harlequin Shrimp (courtesy of Neutral Buoyancy images)

 

We are also lucky to have large schools of yellow snapper, barracuda and fusiliers dancing around the reefs, often being hunted by jacks…

The diving on Phi Phi offers relatively easy and gentle conditions.  Currents are mild, visibility averages 20m, and the water temperature hovers close to 30ºC year round.  The best time of year to visit is from October through to May, but the weather is fine year round – maybe evening showers more during the rest of the year.  With the 30ºC water temperature, many people opt to dive with just a rashtop and board shorts.  Phi Phi Barakuda offer 3mm shorties as standard, but we also have longer suits available for people who feel the cold more.

When not diving, there is also plenty to do to keep the visitor occupied.  Thai food is awesome and there are plenty of restaurants to try.  There are also walks to the viewpoints to overlook the bays (very nice for sunset/sunrise).  Traditional Thai massages are readily available too.  The beaches are also stunning and a great place to spend an afternoon after two morning dives.  Phi Phi is also a good place for rock-climbing.

Also another water activity is to snorkel with black-tipped reef sharks on Long Beach.  This is best early in the morning, but possible throughout the day.

PADI IDC Thailand, Koh Phi Phi
Black-tipped reef shark cruising its reef… (photo courtesy of Neutral Buoyancy Images)

 

There are also many boat/snorkelling trips on offer, including the famous Maya Bay, where Leonardo DiCaprio and friends filmed the movie ‘The Beach’.  Maya Bay is also where we often eat our lunch during surface intervals on our dive trips.

Koh Phi Phi is relatively easy to get to.  There are many options to suit all budgets.  From Bangkok you can either fly to Krabi or Phuket airports or you can take overnight buses down too.  From Krabi or Phuket you then jump on the ferry across to Phi Phi Don.

PADI IDC Thailand, Krabi, Koh Phi Phi, Phuket
Map of the region.

 

Phi Phi locals are very friendly and welcoming to all foreign visitors.  Visitors should be aware of local traditions/customs on Phi Phi as much as anywhere else in Thailand.  Thai New Year (Songkran) is an especially good time to visit, as basically the day (April 13th) involves a huge water-fight and is a great experience.

So, what are you waiting for ?  Book your flight now and come see for yourself the myriad of pleasures that await you on Koh Phi Phi…

 

PADI IDC Thailand
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AWARE Shark Conservation Specialty

The Project AWARE Shark Conservation course is now being taught at Phi Phi Barakuda – both at diver level and at instructor.  Julie completed her IDC with me earlier this year, and now she has also completed her MSDT Prep – taking five Specialty Instructor Training Courses with me.  Along with Deep, Digital Underwater Photography, Emergency Oxygen Provider, Wreck and Nitrox, Julie also wished to help spread the word about the issues facing the world’s shark population…

PADI IDC Thailand
Leopard shark at Shark Point

 

The AWARE Shark Conservation course is an excellent way for us to help educate divers about the plight of sharks.  Being an AWARE Shark Conservation Diver Instructor gives us an idea platform from which to educate our students.  The AWARE Shark Conservation specialty can also be taught with the Advanced Open Water course, as an elective Adventure Dive during that course.

During the course students learn why sharks are so important to the marine ecosystems, what the threats are to them, and what we can do to help…

PADI IDC Thailand
Julie noting the shark’s size and species…

 

As an instructor, this is a very versatile specialty that we can teach in a variety of ways.  We can teach the course as a standard two-dive PADI Specialty, with Knowledge Development.  We can just teach the Knowledge Development side of this course, to raise awareness too.  When we teach Knowledge Development only, we can issue a wall certificate to acknowledge the students participation and understanding.  We also have the option of including AWARE Shark Conservation as an optional dive towards the Advanced Open Water or Adventure Diver certifications…

PADI IDC Thailand
The certificate for Knowledge Development participants…

 

During our AWARE Shark Conservation Specialty Instructor training course, we had a great day out on the boat.  For this course, we completed a memorable dive at Shark Point, a stunning dive site situated between Koh Phi Phi and Phuket.

The dive started better than we could have imagined.  Before we even started our descent, we had spotted our first shark.  Looking down from the surface we spotted a leopard shark nestled on the bottom, relaxing at 6m.  We made a nice, controlled descent, to avoid spooking it, and then went about our business of identifying the shark to species and gender.  We also estimated its size, and had a look for any signs of ‘non-natural injuries’ to the shark.

PADI IDC Thailand - Koh Lanta & Koh Phi Phi
Injuries to the leopard shark’s tail…

 

As the dive progressed, we managed to find another two leopard sharks on the dive site.  One of which we were lucky enough to see free-swimming about the reef.  With its elongated caudal fin, a free-swimming leopard shark is a beautiful sight…

After such a fantastic day out on the boat, upon return to the dive centre we chatted about our findings, and then after a little bit of paperwork it was time to celebrate finishing the course.  Congratulations Julie, on becoming Phi Phi Barakuda’s first AWARE Shark Conservation Specialty Instructor student, and here’s hoping you go on to spread the word and help the sharks of the world in your diving future…

If the AWARE Shark Conservation course, or any other, interest you, then drop me an e-mail or use our contact form for further information…

PADI IDC Thailand
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‘End Of Season’ Special !!!

Diving instructor courses Thailand
Special ‘end of season’ offer – FREE MSDT Prep !

 

To celebrate a great high season, we will be running a special offer for the next PADI IDC on Koh Phi Phi, Thailand.  The next course will be starting on June 3rd in conjunction with PADI 5 Star IDC Centre Phi Phi Barakuda.  For this course only, all candidates will receive free MSDT Prep training (usually 20,000 Thai Baht) in five Specialty areas for FREE ! (PADI application fees still apply though)

The MSDT Prep involves in-water training with Platinum PADI Course Director Richard Reardon for five PADI Specialty courses.  When you complete PADI Specialty Instructor training with a Course Director, you can start teaching these courses as soon as you have teaching status following the IE.

PADI IDC Thailand
Wreck Specialty Instructor Training in Koh Phi Phi

 

You can choose which Specialty Instructor ratings you’d like to be able to teach from the list below:

  • Enriched Air Instructor
  • Emergency Oxygen Provider Instructor
  • Deep Diver Instructor
  • AWARE Shark Conservation Distinctive Instructor
  • AWARE Fish ID Instructor
  • Drift Diver Instructor
  • Wreck Specialist Instructor
  • Digital Underwater Photography Instructor
  • Search & Recovery Instructor
  • Underwater Navigator Instructor
  • Underwater Naturalist Instructor
  • Night Diver Instructor
  • Boat Diver Instructor
  • Multilevel Diver Instructor
  • Reef Shark Awareness Distinctive Instructor
  • SMB Diver Instructor

To take advantage of this special offer, please get in touch with us stating that you heard about this offer here.  You can e-mail or use our contact form

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The Sharks Of Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

The idyllic islands of Koh Phi Phi, close to Koh Lanta on the west coast of Thailand is famous for once, briefly, being home to Leonardo DiCaprio and friends during the filming of the hit movie ‘The Beach‘.  Koh Phi Phi’s surrounding waters are also home to some amazing sea creatures.  The diving here is exceptional, with great biodiversity, good macro critters, plenty of turtles and stunning corals, but for me, the big draw is the sharks…

PADI IDC Thailand
The stunning tail of a swimming leopard shark…

The sharks around Koh Phi Phi present no problem for anyone who wishes to enjoy these beautiful, warm waters.  The main sightings are of leopard sharks and black-tipped reef sharks, with occasional bamboo sharks and from time to time whale sharks pass through too…

The Leopard Shark

PADI DC Thailand
A leopard shark resting on the seabed at Pileh Wall, Koh Phi Phi

Common Names: Leopard shark, Zebra shark.

Latin Name: Stegostoma fasciatum.

Family: Stegostomatidae

Identification: Body scalloped with two distinct ridges running from behind head along each flank into caudal fin (tail). The immense caudal fin is almost as long as the body. First and second dorsal fins low and long with a free rear margin. Pectorals well-developed. Body colouration cream, yellow, or greenish-yellow, with dense black spots. Juveniles have vertical lines of black on cream. Hence the two common names of leopard or zebra shark.

Size: Maximum length 3.5m. 25cm at birth. Colouration changes at around 90cm.

Habitat: Inshore and offshore adjacent to reefs.

Abundance and distribution: Red Sea south to South Africa, west to Indonesia and Samoa and from Japan to Australia.  

PADI IDC Thailand
Distribution of leopard sharks…

 

Behaviour: Usually seen resting on the sand or rubble adjacent to reefs during the day. Hunts in same area nocturnally. Feeds on molluscs, crustaceans, and occasionally on bony fishes.  The leopard shark is quite approachable, and it’s possible to get nice and close for a photograph.

Reproduction: Oviparous. Up to four purple to brown egg cases are laid at a time. During mating the male bites on to the pectoral fin of the female. Juveniles are rarely seen and probably inhabit waters deeper than recreational scuba allows.

The Black-tipped Reef Shark

PADI IDC Thailand
A male black-tipped reef shark in the shallows…

Common Names: Black-tipped reef shark, Indo-Pacific black-tip shark, black-tip shark.

Latin Name: Carcharhinus melanopterus

Family: Carcharhinidae

Identification: Well defined black tips on all fins. Dorsal fin tip black/white demarcation line extremely distinct and unique. Dorsal colouration grey/tan. Ventrum (underside) is white. Snout is short and bluntly rounded.

Size: Maximum length 2m. Size at birth 45-75cm.

Habitat: Very shallow coral reef flats and slopes. Occasionally on deeper reefs and in brackish water.

PADI IDC Thailand
Black-tipped reef shark (photo Neutral Buoyancy Images)

Distribution: Indo-west Pacific Red Sea to southern East Africa including Madagascar. Present along much of the shallow coastline of the Indian Ocean and throughout South East Asia from Southern Japan to northern Australia. Abundant in many South Pacific Island chains including much of French Polynesia. Also present in the Mediterranean (via the Suez Canal).

Behaviour:  Swims constantly either alone or in small groups. Does not school.  Black-tipped reef sharks are a very shy shark, and it can be difficult to get close enough for a photograph.

Reproduction: Viviparous (live young). Litter number 2-4.

Most likely if you do come and dive at Koh Phi Phi the sharks you would encounter would be either the leopard shark or the black-tipped reef shark.  But occasionally we are lucky enough to be graced with the presence of the world’s biggest fish…

PADI IDC Thailand
Me snorkelling with a whale shark…

If you’d like to come to dive with the sharks of Koh Phi Phi, then join us at Lanta Diver for a trip…  Email for further info – scuba@lantadiver.com

Or you could consider taking the AWARE Shark Conservation Diver course or the PADI Reef Shark Awareness course.  These courses will teach you all about shark biology and behaviour and help you to learn to identify sharks not only to species, but also how to tell males from females.  You will also learn about the current threats to sharks from man, and what you can do to help…

PADI IDC Thailand, scuba diving thailand, koh lanta, phi phi, tao, phuket, lanta diver
PADI Reef Shark Awareness Specialty

If you are a PADI Instructor, you can also complete the corresponding PADI Specialty Instructor Training courses with me and become qualified to help spread the word about the plight of the world’s sharks too. For further details, send me an e-mail, and I’ll be happy to answer any questions…

PADI IDC Thailand
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