If Thailand is on your vacation list and you are already an open water diver, Koh Tao is a great place to take your Advanced open water course. Its calm bays are perfect for the navigation, buoyancy, and night adventure dives, while its sunken WW2 warship is perfect for the wreck dive and not to mention the 30m dive sites that are ideal to get you diving deeper.
When you dive you want to be safe and confident. The Advanced course makes you a much better diver. After the open water course you'll know how to dive, that's for sure, but how good are you after that course? Let's be honest the 4 dives you do in your beginner course are not going to make you into a scuba diving superstar. That's what the advanced course is for. During this diving course, you'll complete 5 dives over 2 days. The first dive will be a buoyancy workshop ensuring you can practice this essential skill during your subsequent dives. This will be followed by a navigation dive that will show you how to properly navigate a dive site. The night dive is next and this is the one that most people enjoy the most, look out for hunting groupers and barracuda, hermit crabs, and even sleeping turtles.
Meet your instructor at 10am to work on some very short and enjoyable theory related to the navigation adventure dive. You'll learn how to use a compass and become aware of how to use natural landmarks to navigate the reef. You'll also prepare for the buoyancy workshop by discussing the skills you'll learn to become more controlled and avoid damaging the reef. Your instructor will also fit you out for diving with a wing BC, an introduction to technical diving that you won't find at many dive schools. La Bombona like to be different.
In the afternoon you'll go on the boat to a shallow dive site to complete the practical section of your buoyancy workshop. The second dive will give you a chance to lead your first dive and see if you can make it back to the boat. Your instructor will be with you at all times of course.
Later in the evening you'll head out on your first night dive and see the waters of Koh Tao in a different light. Torch light. Night dives are a people's favourite and are often the highlight of the course.
There is not much theory involved in the Deep and Wreck dives, so you'll go straight to the boat. The boat will make its way to some of Koh Tao's deeper dive sites and you'll get a briefing from your instructor on the way. On the deep dive you'll go down to 30m and experience nitrogen narcosis for the first time, you'll also see significant colour changes and see the effects of pressure and you'll see what decompression sickness looks like when the pressure is released from a bottle.
Our current schedule has a night dive every second day, so we normally start the course every other day. That said, if you are on a tight schedule then we can often accommodate your scuba diving needs.
We always recommend you spend a little more time on Koh Tao anyway as its a beautiful island and not only a place to go scuba diving. Sure it's known as the dive island, but it has so much more to offer.
Koh Tao has some great hikes, viewpoints, rock climbing, and paddleboarding. It even has one of the only full-size trapeze swings in Thailand. Not only that, Koh Tao has some great restaurant options, so you'll never be short of things to do.
We already discussed the dives that are most common in the advanced open water course, but you probably didn't know that there are other adventure dives you can do if you so choose. The deep, navigation, and buoyancy dives are mandatory, but you can skip the night dive and wreck dive and choose dives like underwater naturalist which discusses the reef and fish in much greater detail. Another adventure dive you can choose can be the search and recovery dive. La Bombona Diving is the only dive school on Koh Tao that uses underwater metal detectors as part of our search and recovery course.
The scuba sites in Koh Tao range from shallow sandy bays where you can find coral restoration projects which are perfect for the buoyancy and navigation dives you'll take during your advanced course, to the deep pinnacles like Chumphon and South West that are great for the deep dive. there is also a great wreck dive in the HTMS Sattakut, an old world war 2 warship donated to the Thai navy after the war, then subsequently sunk on purpose as an artificial reef. It is still in great condition and sports two huge guns on the front, perfect for some underwater dive photos.
In order to take part in the advanced open water course you must first complete the open water course. On the open water course you'll learn all the skills you need to be an independent diver, while the advenced course will make you a more confident diver and all-round better at diving. The dives you make on the open water course are focused on introducing you to buoyancy where the advanced course will hone these skills and make you much more controlled. During the open water course you become a diver. During the advanced open water course you become better divers.
The definition of an open water dive is that you must always have a clear ascent to the surface. That means that you cannot swim through any caves or extended swim through features on a dive site. Koh Tao, with its rocky shoreline, has many of these interesting underwater features on its dive sites, so not having the advanced course can limit where you can visit and you certainly don't want to miss these.
In a word no. The Explorer 30 course is just another name for the second stage in your scuba diving journey. All of the dive schools on Koh Tao are governed by the WRSTC so they must follow that framework. The Open Water course is also known as Open Water 20 and likewise the advanced open water course is also known as the advanced adverturer or explorer 30 course.
It's more a question of what courses you cannot take in Koh Tao. It's easier to explain what courses are unavailable than the ones that are. Koh Tao has one of the biggest variety of courses available in fact some of the most experienced dive professionals in the world. The only courses you cannot take are the likes of Ice diving and dry suit diving for obvious reasons. Koh Tao is tropical, so courses like this are redundant here. As a scuba diver you should take a certification that will complement the area of scuba diving you are most interested in. That could be going deep, going into caves or other areas like wreck penetration dives.
Once you become a scuba diver by doing the open water certification and then you take the next step by taking the advanced certification and become a better scuba diver you can then look to take the next step and become a rescue diver. The rescue diver course is where you learn to look after other people when you dive. Becoming a rescue diver is not only fun, it sets you well on your way to becoming a divemaster. The rescue certification takes you through emergency scenarios to help should something happen on a real dive. If you want to find out more about this diver course click here.
This is the first certification you receive as a dive professional. You are able to lead anyone who is an open water diver or above on a fun dive. The divemaster course lasts for around 6 or 7 weeks and it's the first step if you want to advance your diving career. It's. a great course to take if you want to spend more time on Koh Tao diving. You'll complete around 70 or 80 dives during your stay. Being a divemaster will open doors for you around the world. Dive businesses are always on the lookout for a divemaster to take fun dives, so at the very least you might get to dive for free. The divemaster is the dive course Koh Tao is most famous for.
You don't need to take the advanced open water course as the next step after the open water certification. You can choose specialties. These include the advanced wreck diver certification or the advanced cave specialty. The choice is inevitably your own, but it's good to know you have options.
If you are aiming to become a divemaster or instructor then the traditional route of doing the advanced open water after your open water diver is the best option as it's the quickest route. however, if that's not what you are looking for then you might want to consider going down the specialty diver course route. Think about what you want after becoming an open water diver before you take the decision because you'll likely waste some money if you don't. the best thing to do is chat to your instructor or dive shop manager to see what's available in that specific dive location. the Koh Tao advanced open water course is great fun, so if that's your choice you won't be disappointed.
The advanced open water course will see you dive at some of Koh tao's best dive sites, so the marine life is a plenty. Expect to see things like giant grouper and huge barracuda. If you are really lucky you might even spot one of the resident Whalesharks, but you have to be a lucky diver.
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