Learn Wreck Diving on Koh Tao[singlepic id=272 w=320 h=240 float=left]Are you already an Advanced Open Water diver? Why not go a step further and become a Wreck Diver? The Wreck Diver Specialty Course not only improves your scuba diving skills, but it will also teach you new techniques that will allow you to penetrate a shipwreck safely.
There are many reasons why shipwrecks intrigue us; almost all ship wrecks have a historical significance, wreck diving is a new challenge or perhaps even, the wreck lies in a particularly challenging dive environment, or simply because of the sheer beauty of these dive sites, where colorful corals, various kinds of tropical fish and all kinds of other sea life have built their new homes. No matter what your diving background is and how long you are diving for, shipwrecks are a special place to dive and they have always, and they will continue, to astound us all!
The Wreck Diver Course here on Koh Tao usually involves a little homework (reading the PADI Wreck Diver Manual and completing Knowledge Review Part I and Part II). Thorough dive briefings will be held by your Wreck Diving Instructor, and four open water dives.
Last week, I conducted a Wreck Diver course with two divers – Anders and Nic. We had an amazing time; they are such characters! We started the course by reviewing and discussing the first half of the knowledge reviews. Luckily for us, we started our course on a Wednesday. Wednesdays at Sairee Cottage are also known as Wreck Diving Wednesdays, which means that we spent the afternoon diving the two wrecks located in Koh Tao – the MV Trident and the HMS Sattakut 742.
Itinerary of a Wreck Diving Course on Koh Tao
For our first open water dive, Anders, Nic, and I dove the MV Trident, which lies near Shark Island in the south of the island. Due to the location of the shipwreck, the MV Trident is known for having strong currents, and the visibility generally hovers around 3-5 meters. We planned our dive to avoid the current, and fortunately, we experienced decent visibility. The main objectives for this dive were to practice our buoyancy and to find and elude any potential hazards.
Our second dive took place on the HMS Sattakut 742, which the Thai Navy sunk in June 2011 and is situated between Sairee Beach and Koh Nang Yuan. The purpose of this dive involved mapping the wreck on our slates, which included noting potential hazards, points of interest, size, and entrances into the wreck. This is one of my favorite dives of the course. I have dived this wreck MANY times, so I always enjoy seeing different perspectives of the wreck. It encourages me to never stop exploring.
The next day, we finished chatting about the knowledge reviews, learned how to implement the reel and line, reviewed useful knots, and discussed our game plan for the final two wreck dives. We spent dive three outside the wreck and practiced using the reel and line, holding onto a dive light, and maintaining our buoyancy. These actions individually are fairly easy to master; however, it does take some practice to piece everything together, especially when you consider that these dives were deep dives.
After an extended surface interval, we returned to the wreck and put our skills and knowledge to the test. Dive four for us meant a penetration dive! Basically, this dive was the culmination of all of our hard work. Our dive brief included planning for a deep dive, preparing our equipment for a penetration dive, and agreeing to a strategy once we entered the wreck.
We penetrated the shipwreck at the stern of the boat through an entrance, which is located below the gun on the top deck, then we began to reel toward the wheel house or the middle of the wreck. Both, Nic and Anders, had their own reel/line and practiced using their reels and appropriate tie-offs. They also practiced their buoyancy in order to avoid a silt-out and kept contact with the line while using a dive light ALL WHILE preserving contact/communication with their buddy. It was an exhilarating dive!!!
Nitrox and Wreck Diving
There are two diving courses to consider taking along with your Wreck Diver course – Nitrox Diving (see below) and the Deep Diver (certifies you to a depth of 40 meters). With these additional diving courses at hand, you will be able to extend your exploration range in the undersea world. These diving courses will also give you more confidence and allow to you to think more like an experienced diver, thus, you will be better equipped to plan and prepare for more challenging dives, for you and your dive buddy, by yourself.[singlepic id=273 w=320 h=240 float=right]Luckily for us, Anders and Nic had already signed up for the PADI Nitrox course, so we could go all the way and fully enjoy our wreck dives. so what’s about that Nitrox now? A Nitrox cylinder contains oxygen and nitrogen just like an air tank does; however, Nitrox consists of a gas blend that contains of more than the normal 21% oxygen, we are used to breathe in our daily life. For example, a popular Nitrox blend is called EANx 32 or Enriched Air 32. EANx 32 is blend consisting of 32% Oxygen and 68% Nitrogen. This is called a Nitrox Blend. The benefit of Nitrox includes longer bottom times and shorter surface intervals. Basically, we had more than enough bottom time to perform the dive objectives for our last two dives on the wreck.
If y’all have any questions about these courses, please send us a comment on our Facebook page, send us an email or contact us here. As always, happy diving!
Wreck Diver Course starts at 7,500 Baht.
See more Diving Courses here.