Thursday, May 21, 2015

Have You Ever Wanted to Work in Thailand Part II

                             Living the dream.
  Scuba diving instructor in Phuket Thailand .

            One of the Most sort after jobs in Thailand for Overseas Workers is becoming a   Phuket Scuba diving instructor. Phuket Thailand Scuba diving is one of the largest if not the Biggest Centers in Thailand. Being the Biggest Needs it the largest Number of Instructors. Phuket itself is a large island on the west coast of Thailand. Pretty much the whole Island is given over to Tourism in one form or another. From the Big party Town Patong to the Small Villages to the South like Rawai and Nai Harn all Support the Tourist Industry in one Way or another. Other Reason is the Scuba. . . diving in Phuket is so varied and so suitable to teach Every level of course. From Discover Scuba Diving right through to instructor and beyond. The other reason its such a great place to work and dive is that the diving is good all year round. 

               During the "High Season" which Runs from Mid October till normally Second week of May to the North West of Phuket lie the Similan and Surin Marine Parks. The Parks are Closed for 6 Months of the year to Protect the Marine Life and Keep the Islands. . . in top condition. These two island groups offer some of the best diving on the planet. Both have exceptionally clear water even at 40 meters and offer a huge variety of marine life from the huge Whale Shark and Manta Ray to the tiny pygmy Sea horse and almost inviable Sea Moth. The Surin islands also includes the world famous Richelieu rock which is rated in the top 10 sites in the world but to us who work here many rate Koh Tachai even higher. 

            For most new instructors just fresh from their IDC all they want to do is teach NOW. However in Thailand its not as simple as that. You need to get a work visa (non B) and a work permit. The 2 most common ways of obtaining a work permit are 1. setting up your own company which is very easy to do. There are many accountants who can do this for you. it takes anything from 6 weeks to two months to do everything. It does cost money but then you know you are safe and legal. The other way is many accountants have set up companies that can have many overseas staff. Again you still need your non B visa and the accountant will need time to get a work permit for you. In the long run both ways are ok. To set up your own company may be a bit more expensive for the first 2 years as the set up costs are more. But once you are up and running the second year is cheaper as you only have to renew your visa and work permit. Your monthly fees and tax are cheaper. To Work on an Accountants Company is Cheaper to Start with As no SET up costs just Getting a Work Permit and visa, but the Monthly fees and Tax is normally Higher. So if your Plan is a year or Two then ITS better to Work under an. . . accountants company but if you wish to stay longer then its best to get your own company. 

           OK thats the Boring Stuff out the Way. As a Phuket diving instructor from the End of November till Mid March if not Longer You Can Work with no Day off diving Everyday. As all Dive Instructors are freelance they Can Work for many different companies. Once. . . . you have your work permit all you do is give your number to all the dive centers you can find and when they have a customer come in they will call you. You get paid per job not as a fixed salary. After a while you will find you do a few jobs for a dive center and they will call you again and again until you are whats known as fixed freelance. You are freelance but one Company Books You Everyday. The good thing As an instructor one Day You Can have a Discover Scuba diving course and the Day after a Dive Master course then off to do a Live aboard for a week or Two. All the Live. . . Need Aboards Instructors and ITS Too Easy to Get You Call one up for 3 days guiding and Staying You End up for Two or More weeks. As long As You Treat it As the Work and Holiday Work Will not Come Thick and a paid. fast. Word gets round fast if there is a good instructor New About the Same goes but the Other Way. Upset one company and the word will go round before you get back to shore that evening. The full time dive community is very close knit as we all know and work together everyday. People come for high season and move on but the ones who are here all year and they must number in the 100 or more are very close. 

       Season Comes then low. For your First Season ITS low long term Instructors Get Tough As the First Called. However if You have all been Loyal High Season and then got in with one Company Will You be fine. If you have been working all over the place then it will be tougher as every dive center has two or three fixed freelance instructors they will call first. Your Goal in the First High Season is to Get to be a fixed freelance for one Dive Center. Ok Spend the First 2 Months going on Live Aboards and checking Everywhere out but Come End of Feb TRY to Get in with one Dive school / Center to. . . Secure Work for low Season. In low Can You Go Three Season Four or Five days with no Work. Thats normal. You just need to be careful in your first high season when money is plentiful to put some away for low season. So many instructors think all is great and then low season can come with no waning. Busy week one next week then 4 days off. If You are not prepared for this then Find out As many Come June or July they are Finished. 

      Scuba diving instructor in being a Phuket Thailand is a Dream Job for many, it Really is. Blue sky, warm clear seas and living on a tropical island. Whats there not to like ?? Being paid to Go Scuba diving in Phuket . It dies not get much better than that. Just remember there are millions of others who also have the same dream too. Being a Phuket Scuba diving instructor Can be achieved if You Want it. This is long Can Dream Job As You Want to be your diving with Whale sharks or include your Manta. 
Rays on a coral reef under blue skies and dont mind living on a tropical island in the Andaman Ocean.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Strange Fish Arrive in Phuket

Strange Fish Arrive in Phuket

PHUKET: If You have not Figured it out yet, You Might not be at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, but You sure are not Listening well - phuket scuba diving is amazing all year round, and so are the Night Dives when available.

 Of course, it Feels. a little like bragging about going to a underground Rolling Stones' show after the fact, but for those who will be coming to phuket thailand next high season, make sure to save a couple of nights for  diving. With the Southwest Monsoon Season Blowing in fast - much to Surfers' Delight - the Prime West-coast Dive Location Will be Too Rough to Dive Most days and nights. Luckily, it was possible to Sneak in one More full-on dive to see which beautiful, unusual and delightful creatures could be found. "Often, it's easier to find critters and appreciate their wonderful colors in the more 'pure' focused light of the torches, without the overwhelming blue-green of sunlight.
Colorful feather stars, for instance, are amazing to watch at night, whereas you'd often just swim past them on a day dive, 

Reefs come cracking and popping to life at night, so to sit and watch the heightened activity of life underwater can be an amazing experience. "A heightened appreciation is one thing, but some of the animals that actually show up on the dive are the real. Selling points. For unseasoned divers, there are a lot of 'firsts', even outside of the crustacean world, which rule the. Waters at Night. Cuttlefish, Sting rays, octopi, sleeping Parrot Fish and Various species of moray eels are not Too Uncommon. Even for Divers Who have Far surpassed the Triple-Digit Mark, there Can be a few opportunities for First sightings of Robust ghost. pipefish, ghost pipefish Ornate, Frog Fish Squid and bumblebee, nudibranchs and flatworms As well As unusual. Even the Fish that are exiting More You Can not identify (See Photo above).

This long-chinned Fish was camouflaged against a piece of mooring line out in the Sand.  It resembled Some Strange Mix Robust ghost pipefish and between a shrimp fish. However, what next season will bring will remain a mystery, at least for the next few months.

However, what next season will bring will remain a mystery, at least for the next few months.
The Kata Beach dive site of the 2014-2015 season is different than the site of the season we are wrapping up now.

The seahorses, which were being spotted regularly out in the Sand and the Sea Grass Beds, were mostly gone by the MIDDLE of the Season. In their Place a Number of different Sea creatures, including a Variety of Sea cucumbers, crawled in. "I. would expect pollution levels to subside a little during this 'low season' and hope that more seahorses return at least for a while, until '. high season' tourist numbers cause pollution to increase again.

There are annual patterns anyway, warm and cold water cycles and so on ... so I would expect some new critters [compared to the last year or two]. Whatever it brings, a few nights spent away from the bars of phuket thailand. and enjoy phuket scuba diving will be nights well spent with the kinds of creatures of the night that your significant other might approve of.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Similan, Surin and Richelieu Rock Season 2014 / 2015

similan islands, surin and richelieu rock Season 2014 / 2015.


As the Live a Board season comes to a close for the 2014 / 2015 season we can have a look back at some of the great moments. The Live aboard season here in in Phuket starts mid October and runs until the second week in May. 

The Similan islands lie to the north west of Phuket and run in a north south direction. In total there are nine islands with island 1 in the south and nine in the north. The diving here is know as some of the best in the world as the viz here is second to none. its like diving in mineral water. Even down at 30 or 40 meters you can still see off into the distance. The dive sites are easy diving as even if there is current you will just drift along and surface at the other end of the bay. There is  Turtle sanctuary here so many islands have Hawks bill Turtles in abundance. The reef itself is very colorful with a huge variety of fish and other creatures. As well as the turtles there are Black and White tip reef sharks, Ribbon Eels, Napoleon Wrasse, Clown Trigger Fish, Sea Moths, Sea horses, ornate ghost pipe fish and large amounts of Nudi branches. The list is endless.
Just to the north lies the great manta Ray watching island of Koh Bon.  This Island can be reached as a day trip. It is however quite a long day for two dives but it can be two excellent dives as long as the Manta's are in a playful mood.
Just North again lies Koh Tachai, what many instructors and dive guides think is one of the best dive sites on the planet. This offers two great dive sites. Tachai pinnacle and Tachai reef.  The pinnacle site has 2 pinnacles, north and south. The north pinnacle rises to around 18 meters and the southern to around 12 meters in depth. There is a 50 meter swim between them. The site itself is stunning as it has so much color. There are large "gardens" of coral laid out between huge slab like walls one after the other. The only thing to be aware of is the current which is normally quite strong. This is where the experience of the guide will show to dive the site by staying low and in the gardens rather than over the top. here we can see the Manta Rays circling the Pinnacles along with great schools of Barracuda and for the last two years the Whale shark has moved in.

Moving on north we arrive at the Surin islands and the most famous dive site Richelieu Rock. This is listed as one on the top 10 sites of the world. (Even thought many instructors and dive masters rate Tachai over Richelieu rock). One story as to how the site got names was when Jacques Cousteau first went there he said it reminded him of cardinal Richelieu's cape as there is so much purple soft coral. Here again manta rays, Whale sharks, white tips, sea horses and just about very thing else you can want on a tropical dive. You can easily do 4 or 5 dives here and not get bored. here are really several pinnacles here so close they touch and are arranged in a horse shoe shape. The tops vary in depth down to 12 meters with a couple of rocks at both ends of the horseshoe at a depth of 26 meters. The site is so vast it can not be done in one dive and two or three is best to cover the inside and outside of the horseshoe.
To cover the whole area of the Similan and Surin national parks you really need a 5 day 4 night trip. This will mean you leave the boat at the same place as you arrived. Thailand Divers offer something a bit different to most as the boats (2 of them) are doing continual circles for the whole season. Everyday you can join the boat and everyday you can depart. This way you can depart any day you please and return any day you please. You dont need to plan your holiday to fit the live aboard you plan the live aboard to fit your holiday. You can stay for one night or 6 weeks its totally up to you. If you book one night and want to stay another day fine Just pay the tour leader for another night as long as the cabin is free. There are also several fixed date cruises on luxury boats which will be a new offer for the coming season. 

If the next year is anything this year and last year we are in for a great 2015-16 season.  Just hope the pod of Orcas which made a guest appearance very early this year will return again. Along with the several other types of whale spotted this year.  The Similan islands open up again on the 15th October so if you dont want to miss out get in quick as the first few trips are normally awesome as there has been no one there for six months.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Advanced Open Water Certification.

Advanced Open Water Certification.

Like so many people who PADI discover scuba diving and complete their PADI Open water Course with ease is where the next challenge is going to come from. During the PADI Open Water course everything is new and so much to see and do. Then you still want more. You are now a real scuba diver and diving ment new locations and seeing so many new things. However on the dive boat you are hearing stories from all the other people about diving here,  diving there, seeing all the great photos and videos,  diving "deep," diving this wreck or even finding something underwater and the struggle to bring it to the surface.  How do these people do all these great things that you are hearing about? But more importantly what are you interested in, what will you like or dislike, what will make a great dive for YOU ?

The next step for you is the  PADI Advanced Open water course. Dont worry its not nearly as hard as your  PADI Open Water course when everything is new. The Advanced course is about self study and diving. To complete the PADI Advanced course you must complete 5 chapters in the advanced manual then complete the five dives related to those chapters. What chapters you choose depend on the location you choose to do the course in. The Deep dive and Navigation are two that must be done but the other three are your choices. Like I say the location will dictate to some extent. For example in the far east or other tropical waters will rule out Dry Suit diving as will salt water locations will rule out altitude diving. There may be no wreck or night dive options either.

The two dives that have to be done are the Deep dive as the PADI Advanced Open Water license will allow you dive to thirty meters. Although this in itself is not a great challenge there are things to be aware of. The speed of you air consumption, your reduced no decompression time, less light and a few extra concerns on top of what you learned in the Open water Course.

Navigation is the other one that must be done. As an Advanced diver you should really have an idea where you are and where you are going. This is as you learned already done with a compass. In the Open water course you you did a straight line out and back with a 180 degree turn. Now we are going to improve on this by navigating a square. We also will try to gauage distance by "fin Kicks" and time. We will also see how currents will effect this. 

The rest is up to you and your instructor.  There may be a good wreck near you. This will give you a taste of wreck diving. You will learn what to look out for and spot hazards. Also the get to see the great marine life that tends to gather round a wreck.

Do you want to learn how to take great underwater photos or video. Where to place yourself in relation to the subjsct and the position of the sun. Is there much particals in the water and how to avoid getting them in your shot. How to get the color back in the photos so they are not just blue. How to control your breathing to get the camera still. There is so much more than just aim and fire.

Search and recovery will teach you the basics. You will learn which search pattens are best for various situations and locations. How to recover the item from the seabed. Do you need a lift bag and how you use one safely. You do not want the bag to drag you to the surface as well causing you injury. 

Are you interested in what you are looking at down there? The different types of fish and other creatures and their habitats. If so the Underwater Naturalist or Fish identification are for you. If your diving will be done from large boats or small boats then learn the different styles of diving from different types of boat. Do you use a dive computer or need help getting the most out of it. Then Multilevel and Computer diving. Improve your bouyancy, air consumption and general dive style along with  Correct weighting will all improve your diving.  Peak performance bouyancy is the one for you. 

Night diving may be an option if you are planning to do a live aboard trip.  Learn to navigate at night and the dangers to look out for. What different creatures are about and how to communicate as normal hand signals cant be seen.

The other and best reason to do the  padi Advanced course is it keeps you diving and introduces you to other areas of diving that may interest you. As you will now be able to dive to thirty meters it will open up other dive sites to you all over the world. After that who knows what you will discover or go on to. There are so many specialties  to choose from and you may have got your taste fot it from your PADI Advanced course. 

Most dive centers offer the advanced course as a 2 day course and with no pool and classroom sessions makes it a fun 2 days. if you are planning two  or more days diving then it will be worth while doing the  PADI advanced course is diving anyway and the price is roughly the same as three day trips. Going on a Live Aboard ? Then why not do a couple of days diving first as a warm up and get your Advanced as you go. this will make the Live Aboard trip so much more enjoyable. Diving in Phuket Thailand the price is so cheap compared to other countries. Even better as the the course includes a big cooked breakfast,  Huge buffet lunch and afternoon tea along with all equipment, tea, coffee, drinking water and fresh fruit all day. On top of that they will pick you up from your hotel and return you to it at the end of the day.  There is nowhere better to take the PADI Advanced course as Phuket as its great diving at great prices ALL year round.


Saturday, May 2, 2015

Lesser known creatures found in the dive sites around Phuket

Lesser known creatures found in the dive sites around Phuket

Frog Fish at Racha Noi
             When  the majority of people book their diving trip to Phuket they plan the trip that gives them the best chance to see Manta Rays or the Whale Shark. Both of these are most common in the months from December till April. How ever there are so many other amazing things too see here ALL year round. 
Tiger Tail Sea Horse at Shark Point
Pygmy Sea Horse at Shark Point
Ghost Pipe Fish at Racha Yai           There are two pinnacle dive sites very close to each other. These are Shark Point and Anemone Reef. These are situated half way between Phuket and Phi Phi island. Both are very colorful with lots of soft corals, big sea fans and anemones. Both are known for the Leopard Sharks that can be seen most of the year round from depths of 6 meters down to 25. There are also several other pinnacles to the south of Shark Point as well. Due to the huge amounts of corals and sea fans there is such a large variety of marine life if you take the time to explore. Tiger Tail Sea Horses, Ornate Ghost Pipefish are a regular find here but if you have really keen eyes the the Pygmy Sea Horse may just make an appearance to you. These creatures are very small and grow to a maximum of 1 inch and are so well adapted to mimicking their surroundings they are a real find. There (so far) are 9 types and have only been discovered in the last 10 years so there can be many new ones left to find.

Flounder at Racha Yai
Sea Moth at Racha Yai
Crocodile Fish at Racha Noi         On the islands of Racha Noi and Racha Yai to the South of Phuket there are many sandy bays with plenty to see. However when crossing over these sandy areas take some time to look around in the sand as there is plenty there too see that most will miss. There are many Garden Eels who live in holes in the sand in groups and can look like whip coral or plants from a distance as they wave around in the currents. As you approach they slowly sink back into their holes and vanish. Along with these there are flounders, Crocodile fish and the rare Sea Moth. All of these are almost impossible to see unless they move. All are sand colored and dont move until you are on top of them. 

Harliquin Shrimp at Shark PointGobi on whip coral at Phi Phi          On all dive sites you can find a large selection of Nudi Branches and tiny Gobies that live on 1 strand of whip coral for their entire life. Many if not all divers will see the large blue sea stars but look out for odd limbs of these creatures. This is a good sign that there may be Harliquin Shrimps around. Harliquin shrimps will take just one limb off the sea star to eat so as not to kill the sea star. The sea star will then regrow its lost limb and there for the Harliquin Shrimp will have an endless supply of food. 

Anemone crab at Shark point When as many people do they look for and take many photos of  the Clown Anemone fish or Nemo, take some time to look a bit closer. Nemo is not the only creature to live in anemones. Pay close atention to the half closed ones and you may find the very strange colored and very small Anemone crab inside or tiny shrimps.

Garden Eel at Racha YaiHermit Crab at Racha Yai            Phuket has so many varied dive sites that offer great diving ALL year round will always provide memorable dive no matter when you arrive. As long as you book your diving with a Dive Center like Thailand Divers rather than an agent. Agents may be a few baht cheaper but the service will let you down. The Dive Centers offer a day trip on a large comfortable boat, Freshly cooked meals and a western instructor. The Dive Centers have very experienced instructors that dive the waters everyday so they know how and where to get the most of each dive compared to agents who will not know the boat or instructors / Dive Masters. Pick a Dive Center with Western/ English staff as they are there to dive too so will be able to offer you the best and most current information.  Also check out trip advisor 
too to see what other customers are saying and you may even be able to pick your instructor based on their reviews. 
Pygmy Sea Horse at Shark Point
Harliquin Shrimp at Shark Point          Look forward to seeing you all here in Phuket real soon to get some great diving in some beautiful locations ALL year round.