Some of you that may of visited Scuba Junction Diving Co Ltd during 2017 and took some dives with us will of met our Thai boat boy Tiem. Always friendly, always helpful always getting you safely in and out of the water and always smiling. Well when Tiem first joined us he was already a PADI Advanced open water diver and it was his dream to become a PADI Divemaster. Boat boy Tiem We are now proudly welcoming Tien to our Divemaster team, thanks to the voluntary help from our dive professionals we put him through his First Aid and PADI Rescue certifications which did take a little longer than normal as Tiem was our boat boy, so the course was split over a week or so but he passed with flying colours. During November Scuba Junction Diving closes its doors so during that month Tiem did his Divemaster course and managed to complete it late December. For the last few weeks he has been shadowing our full time Divemaster, going on many dives to learn how to navigate the dive sites better and helping around the dive centre so he knows what to ask when any new customer comes in to the centre.
Tiem Clara He is now joining our dive professional team and it will be with great pleasure to see his dream come true.
Well done Tiem, see you under the water.

Food on Koh Tao
After a long days diving the first thing on most peoples and particularly my mind is  food well to be honest food is on my mind the moment I wake up, one of the main questions I get asked by customers all day is where is a good place to eat and not very helpfully I give them about 10 different places, but here is two places I love.
If you want local authentic Thai cuisine to really get you into the spirit of being in this beautiful country I suggest a little food shack called Mama Piyawans it can be found on your right about 100 meters up the hill opposite the 7 11 on the main road all of it very affordable for travellers on a budget nothing is over 70 baht, it has amazing Pad Thai the best I’ve had in Thailand, lovely fried rice with fresh herbs and amazing flavour and if you’re in a plain mood their fried chicken on boiled rice is one of my favourites incredibly crispy, juicy chicken which especially in Thailand is sometimes just the thing you need, (I personally like it drenched in soy sauce) and best of all it’s all cooked with love.
I think were all guilty of when were on holiday of getting withdrawal symptoms and craving some good food from home, in my eyes a good bacon, sausage or chicken sandwich for this I suggest a sandwich shop called Da’s which you can find by turning left at asia divers then taking the first left and walking about 100 meters down the row of shops on the left hand side, he makes them all fresh to order very simply but that’s what makes them so delicious, I guarantee your first visit will not be your last.
 
Enjoy !!!!!
 
 
Sharks! The first thought that comes to most people's mind are they are mindless killers, swimming around and eating anything they can catch. Movies such as Jaws have portrayed the shark to be an animal that should be feared, avoided and killed if possible. But in reality they are one of the most important creatures in the sea and actually benefit our very existence. Sharks are apex predators at the top of the food chain in the ocean; this means that they keep in check populations of other fish so that the oceans and reefs stay healthy. For scuba divers they are a creature of beauty and we will travel far and wide to get a chance encounter underwater with these amazing animals. And it is our duty to help them in their fight for survival. sharks
 
 
Dispelling The Myth
 
Sharks kill around on average 5 people worldwide every year, usually mistaking the person for a seal or other form of prey, after biting they will let go and swim away – we don't taste very nice, but unfortunately due to their size the bite can be fatal. In the Gulf of Thailand, in which our little island of Koh Tao sits, there have only been 4 shark attacks recorded in the last 100 years, which all have been on fisherman.
 
To put things into perspective:
 
Coconuts kill 150 people a year
 
Cows kill 20 people a year in the United States alone
 
Hippos kill 2,900 people
 
 
Even Champagne corks kill more people a year apparently, being responsible for 29 deaths on average. So you should be more worried if someone has a bottle of bubbly in their hand!
 
Under Threat
 
Sharks have roamed seas and oceans of Planet Earth for more than 400 million years, yet humans could make them extinct within the next few decades. At the moment sharks are being killed faster than they can repopulate in many area in the world. Sharks and rays are slow to develop and mature meaning they give birth to few young.
 
Sharks are being hunted for their fins so they can be used to make shark fin soup, a tasteless soup with very little nutritional value. They are also often caught accidentally by fisherman as part of by catch and other forms of unsustainable fishing practices.
 
Finning
 
The huge demand for shark fin soup over recent years has made sharks an easy way target for fisherman who can make a better living from this practice. Sharks are hunted for their dorsal and pectoral fins but are not usually used as a food source outright.
 
This means they are often caught, then finned whilst still alive then thrown back into the sea. The shark will then slowly sink to the bottom of the sea where it can take up to 4 hours to slowly drown or bleed to death. Even the majestic Whaleshark is not exempt from this type of cruel treatment.
 
A Life Without Sharks
 
If this trend is not changed or dramatically altered a world without sharks could be a reality in the not too distant future. This would have major ramifications that would reach far and wide. Studies show that the elimination of sharks in a particular region has disasters effects for local fisherman and reef eco systems as the delicate equilibrium is disturbed.
 
Sharks eat very efficiently and generally prey on the sick, weak or old keeping fish populations healthy and not overpopulated. The over population of one particular species will knock the whole eco system out of sync meaning that other species could be wiped out and important jobs on the reef not getting tended to.
 
The Scuba Effect
 
For many areas and countries affect on tourism of having a healthy shark population brings in much needed cash. The value of a live shark far out ways the value of a dead sharks fins (usually around $650 per kilo) meaning for a local tourist based economy it makes more sense focusing on trying to conserve sharks.
 
Currently shark tourism creates around $315 million a year worldwide. This number is only going to increase as scuba diving becomes more and more popular, and for many, much more accessible. As Scuba divers we wish to see the wonders that lie beneath the waves and will travel far and wide to experience time with these amazing creatures.
 
 Project Aware
 
As Scuba Divers we are naturally one of the shark's closest allies. PADI and Project Aware have recognised this and made Shark conservation one of their top priorities with its "sharks in peril" initiative. With nearly 1 out of 4 species of sharks and rays listed on the endangered species list it is time to take a stand and do your bit for shark conservation.
 
 
My first taste of the Koh Tao diving scene was coming here to do my Dive Master, before this I was back in England in the small town of Windsor working everyday thinking I would never leave, doing diving holidays to other parts of Thailand and Egypt every year and all it took was  a single conversation with a Dive Master about the journey to achieving this prestigious position in PADI and at that moment my mind was made up. I was becoming a Dive Master someone mentioned Koh Tao to me and after doing some research I booked my ticket and was on my way over the first few days walking along the beach at night watching the sunset, diving everyday seeing the most amazing fish and beautiful coral anywhere in Thailand, learning to become a leader and gaining a new confidence I didn’t know I had, and making friends for life. Koh Tao really was the place to be and now two years and many visits later to the island I have since become a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, gained a better insight into the island and exploring more of it meaning I can help people who visit even more and I now have my dream job at this brilliant dive school surrounded by amazing divers who I learn from everyday and have a life I wouldn’t change for a thing. If becoming a Dive Master and coming to Koh Tao can do all that for me imagine what it can do for you? Go ahead make your passion your career and live your dream. HAPPY DIVING !!!!!! sam



Koh Tao is home to numerous dive sites offering a wide range of conditions, marine life and challenges. From the easy going Twins and Japanese Gardens, filled with thousands of juvenile tropical fish, to the more advanced and deeper sites like Chumpohn and Sail Rock which offer up larger species like Whale Sharks and schools of barracuda. What you may not know is that Koh Tao also has it’s very own ship wreck, purposely sunk for people like us!

The HTMS Sattakut was built in the United States and launched for the first time on February 27th 1944, originally commissioned into the US Navy as a Landing Craft for Infantry. She was involved in military action numerous times during world war 2, the most famous being the battle of Iwo Jima. After the war she was sold to Thailand and was eventually given as a gift to the Koh Tao dive community. She was purposely sunk In June, 2011 to provide an exciting and suitable training site for wreck divers. gun wreck

It’s hard to forget the first time I saw the Sattakut. It was monsoon and heavy rains had reduced the visibility a little giving the water a slightly eerie atmosphere. As we swum toward the site, her bow ominously materialised before my eyes. With an impressive cannon still mounted at front, she stood impressively in the gloom, a silent guardian standing vigil on the sea floor. Tropical bannerfish and rabbitfish darted about the gun emplacement added a colourful juxtaposition to the ageing hull. As we made our way back along toward the wheelhouse, trevally swooped in and out trying to catch a snack of smaller fish. The wheelhouse loomed large midway down the length of the wreck. Here was the home of larger species; groupers hovering heavy and silent with their grumpy looking faces, large snappers sheltering under metal ledges and big red emperors assuming a kind of comical pantomime of a crew in the wheelhouse looking out. At the stern another large cannon came into focus, the rear guard pointing south and proud.

It was an impressive first visit for me and one that left a lasting impression. But I couldn’t help but feel like there was more to see. On my dive I saw a few people actually entering the wreck. I need to see that. My divemaster at the time told me that because of the different conditions inside a wreck, special training is required to penetrate ship wrecks. Needless to say, I signed up as soon as I could.

The wreck specialty was a fantastic course and included 4 dives on the HTMS Sattakut. The reasons we need specific training to enter a wreck were made very apparent right from the start. Overhead environments create unique situations which we need to be aware of and prepared for. The course begun with a dive on the Sattakut, mapping its structure and noting important features like entry and exit points. Depth and length were important too in planning how long we would have to be inside exploring. Important techniques for using a reel to navigate the corridors and rooms were essential for our final dives where we made our entry into the wreck.
If witnessing the steel beast that is the Sattakut from the outside was an impressionable experience, then entering its ghostly halls and rooms was an encounter bordering on life changing. As we tied off our reel outside our entry point, a giant grouper silently cruised in before us, beckoning us in. Once through the entry door, the gloomy atmosphere surrounded me instantly. Small holes in the structure formed by rust shot vague beams of light into the room. A feeling of an abandoned room overwhelmed me and I suddenly thought of the brave soldiers that once walked these levels, the fear of imminent battle heavy in their hearts. Our dive took us down some stairs and into the engine room at the stern of the ship. Our torches shone brightly about, discovering the old fittings of an engine that must have once hummed with noise. These decks are visited less than some of the others, and the silt was caked thick on every surface. Despite our best efforts not to stir it up, eventually the silt obscured our vision and we made a hasty exit to the above deck. Thanks to our training, the exit using the reel line we’d set was quick, efficient and easy. After that we made our way up a narrow stair case to the wheelhouse. The large groupers and red emperors here were startled to have visitors and eyed us suspiciously as we made our way back down and out. All too soon the experience was over.

That was many moons ago for me and I can still recall those dives with clarity. As an instructor now, I get the distinct pleasure of creating this experience for my students. The thrill and challenge of a new kind of diving experience like this never gets old, and the amount of wreck diving destinations worldwide means there are always new wrecks waiting for you to dive them. Additionally, wreck diving couples well with other specialities such as Deep and Nitrox. Deep, because many wrecks, including the Sattakut, lay in water below 18 metres. And nitrox training will extend your no depth limits allowing you more time at certain depths to explore those ghostly decks and rooms that once were home to the proud sailors who worked them.

If you’re interested in diving the Sattakut, and checking out what secrets she hold within, send us an e-mail or come and see us in the shop. We also offer a bunch of dive packages, allowing you to combine your wreck specialty with others like Deep Diver and Nitrox, saving you money.

Thanks for reading folks, I hope to see you sometime soon, maybe underwater in the halls of the HTMS Sattakut!

Instructor Jase