At Scuba Junction Diving we love diving and we especially love marine life! Before every one of your dives you will have a dive briefing that will cover all the important stuff related to your dive but also all the cool fish that you can spot! So what can you see?!

Colourful angelfish, butterflyfish, bannerfish and stingrays are abundant on the reefs as well as hard corals such as table coral, staghorn coral, mosaic and mushroom corals are predominant within this region of the Gulf of Thailand. Koh Tao provides the perfect opportunity for divers to observe the relationships that make up the marine ecosystem.

So you thought the Big 5 only existed on safari?! Let this big 5 introduce you to the big 5 of Koh Tao?! Its hard to choose as there is just so much to see!

Each week we will count down the big 5 of Koh Tao. Whether you are trying diving for the first time or have more experience. All of these wonderful creatures are right on Koh Tao's doorstep. But there can only be one sure way to see these beautiful creatures and that's to get your self over here and do some diving!

So lets start with our first contender!

The mighty Trigger Fish!

There are 40 species of triggerfish that are scattered throughout the world’s seas, the largest of all is the Stone triggerfish, which reaches up to 3.3 feet long, (thats over a meter!) found in the Eastern Pacific from Mexico to Chile. They are beautiful fish with various colourful markings mainly consisting of lines and spots.

Triggerfish have an oval shaped body, with a large jaw and teeth adapted for their typical diet which consists of bottom dwelling creatures that generally have either spines or shells for protection.
These bottom dwellers dig out prey, such as crabs and worms, by flapping away debris with their fins and sandblasting with water squirted from their mouths. They also use very tough teeth and jaws to take on sea urchins, flipping them over to get at their bellies, which are armed with fewer spines. Triggerfish wreak such havoc on less fortunate reef dwellers that smaller fish often follow them to feast on their leftovers.

Triggerfish tend to be solitary but meet at traditional mating grounds according to timetables governed by moons and tides. The males of many species appear to establish territories on these spawning grounds and prepare sea floor nests that will house tens of thousands of eggs. Females share care of the eggs until they hatch, blowing water on them to keep them well supplied with oxygen. In some species males are known to maintain a harem of female mates.

Triggerfish are attractive animals and some species have become too popular for their own good. They are sought for the aquarium trade, which has prompted fishermen to gather even threatened species from the wild. Researchers are working to raise triggerfish in captivity so that wild populations might more likely be left alone.

Our shallow coastal waters and Coral Reefs make an ideal home for Yellow Margin, Pink Tails and the most common species in Koh Tao - the Titan Triggerfish. trigger

The Titian trigger fish can grow up to 75cm in length and have a reputation for being a little feisty! During mating season they have been known to swim at divers with their “trigger up” with the intention to warn you off the nest they have built in the sand! No worries if this happens, their territory works in a cone shape to the surface so just lie back kick and they will soon enough leave you to enjoy your dive! There is no reason to fear them.

Just sit back, watch and enjoy this majestic fish in its natural habitat. It really is a case of clash of the Titans!

FUN FACT!!
A Trigger fish can rotate each of their eyeballs independently!

 

After becoming a PADI Divemaster I am fortunate enough to be able to explore the ocean almost every day. Even after hundreds of dives each one feels just as amazing as the last.

However, there is one exception to this; whalesharks. On some rare occasions whalesharks seem to make their way to Koh Tao in an almost migratory way. I was lucky enough to see four of the amazing creatures within the span of only 5 days. Usually, encounters with these beautiful creatures are much less common. When diving with these fish, time seems to stand still in awe of the way the massive shark can move so effortlessly through the water. Whaleshark

Like every person has unique finger prints; whalesharks are very much the same. The spots above their pectoral fins never change throughout their lives. Making it possible to track the lives and movements of these creatures over the span of their life. Which is crucial to learning more about such a gentle and elusive animal.

I hope to continue being able to swim with these giants in their natural environment for years to come. Every time I descend I experience something so amazing and unique. Here at Scuba Junction Diving we're lucky enough to have these experiences on a daily basis. So why not come have some of your own?

Nic, Padi Divemaster.

It's a beautiful sunny morning and you're on your way to a local dive site with two of your dive buddies. You're stoked to check out a bay you haven't dived before and can't wait to see what lies below the water. When you arrive it seems like the conditions are great for making a dive off the end of the beach close to a pier. You gear up and do your buddy check and make your way out to deeper water. After about ten minutes you get around the old stone pier and the current picks up quite a lot. You try to signal your buddies that you want to turn around and head back before the current gets too strong. However, one of the buddies is a bit ahead and seems to be caught in the current taking him further away. You try to keep up but unfortunately he suddenly seems to be lost. As prudent divers you search for him for one minute before you return to the surface as agreed in the dive briefing. After several minutes at the surface there is still no sign of him and you need to make a plan for how to deal with this emergency situation.
 
RoarDuring your training towards becoming a rescue diver you will learn how to deal with a scenario like this and many other emergency situations divers can be exposed to. During the PADI Rescue Diver course you will learn about how to search for a missing diver and what to do if you find a diver unresponsive. You will also learn how to deal with distressed and overexerted divers both at the surface and underwater. These are just a few of the rescue exercises we will practice along with other skills and scenarios. In addition to the rescue program, you will also spend a day where we teach you basic first aid training and have you comfortable and competent in providing primary and secondary care. 
 
I try to run my rescue courses in the most realistic way as possible without taking focus away from safety. I expect my students to study and give their best to perform all parts of the program, but I also implement my own twists to make it both a fun and informative learning experience. 
 
Being a good diver isn't just about learning how to dive yourself, it also involves learning how to take care of your buddy or other fellow divers. So if you're looking for an opportunity to enhance your skills as a diver and practice a variety of rescue scenarios then the rescue program is the right choice for you! Send us an email and let us know when we can sign you up for our next PADI Rescue Diver course. 
 
Instructor Roar
As new divers maybe you know what you SHOULD be doing, but do you know what you SHOULDN'T be doing after diving? In fact, this is not just for new divers, as some of these facts many don't know. Planning a dive requires a great deal of preparation combined with numerous safety checks that must be completed beforehand. This process is stressed and explained in great detail during open water certification. However, the safety process after diving is not as thorough and new divers may not know what should not be done after a dive. Here is a list of 4 things you should not do right after diving. 
1. Fly
Flying after scuba diving is one of the more widely known risks to divers. This issue comes up frequently in the diving world because divers want to take full advantage of diving trips and get the most amount of diving time in while they can. The main reason for this warning is not the flying itself but the pressure inside the airplane’s cabin.  Air pressure lessens when you fly. If you rode in a plane right after diving the increase in altitude would result in a drop in pressure which is comparable to a fast ascension while diving. The longer the dive and the deeper you go the more nitrogen is absorbed into your blood. Upon returning to the surface the pressure reduces and the nitrogen reverts to gas bubbles. Decompression needs to be done slowly so the nitrogen can pass back out through your lungs. If you ascend too fast the nitrogen can form bubbles in your blood which can be painful and possibly fatal (think of opening a bottle of soda).  Waiting the correct amount of time before flying will reduce the nitrogen in your blood. The general rule that seems to be widely agreed upon is that you should wait 12 hours after a single no-decompression dive, 18 hours after multiple dives or multiple days of diving and at least 24 hours after dives requiring decompression stops. As a general rule it is recommended to wait 24 hours before flying after doing any type of diving. This rule covers all types of dives and adds extra time as a safeguard for peace of mind.
2. Zip-lining
Ziplining usually occurs on a mountain or elevated area and should be avoided for 24 hours after a dive due to the altitude. With ziplining,  going to a higher altitude may trigger decompression sickness. Many ziplining companies will clearly state they will not allow people to zipline if they have been scuba diving with the past 24 hours. Sounds strange, but makes sense.
3. Heavy Drinking
I know this may be a controversial subject for many but It is no secret that many divers enjoy drinks after a day of diving. Drinking alcohol immediately after a dive is not recommended because alcohol may affect the way that our body eliminates that excess nitrogen. Dehydration is one of the main causes in decompression sickness, and drinking alcohol is one of the most efficient ways to dehydrate ourselves. Another important reason to avoid heavy drinking after a dive is because being heavily intoxicated can mask the true symptoms of decompression sickness and adequate medical care may be sought too late. To avoid any problems, drink plenty of water before and after diving to combat dehydration. Most of all try and wait a few hours before drinking alcohol to prevent any mishaps.
4. Mountain Climbing
Mountain climbing should be avoided in the first 24 hours after a dive. This again is due to the change in altitude when ascending a mountain. As with flying and ziplining,  changes in altitude can cause decompression sickness. If you are planning to also go mountain climbing along with scuba diving, do the mountain climbing first to avoid any potential dangers.  It is perfectly safe to go climbing before a dive and this may be an easy solution to do enjoy your trip while also being safe
 
The bottom line is that altitude exposure is altitude exposure. There are really no exceptions to the rules and ignoring them only increases the dangers of decompression sickness.  Rule of thumb - keep your feet planted on the ground after you dive — if only for a little while.
5. Massage
Getting a massage after a long day of diving may seem like a great way to unwind but massage should MAYBE be avoided after diving. Massage will increase blood flow and this in turn can possibly move smaller nitrogen bubbles into one large bubble, although there have been no known cases of DCS because of massage. Deep tissue massage is strongly advised against because it has the potential to cause soreness in the body which may lead to misdiagnosis of decompression sickness after a dive.
 
DAN quotes " there is no clear sense of what massage might do and this effect would likely vary depending on dive profiles and intensity of the massage. We should note that massage has not been confidently associated with any of the cases of DCS that have come to us, and we are not aware of any study done to address this question. The clearest piece of advice is that deep tissue massage should probably be avoided, so that the potential of post-dive pain and diagnostic confusion are minimized.

Welcome to Koh Tao, the diving mecca of the world. We are famous for our clear, calm waters, beautiful marine life and the cheapest diving in the world. So you sign up for a Discover Scuba Diving, or get the adventure started with your Open Water or even keep the fun going with your Advanced Open Water. But now your course is done and you want to spend some more days on this tropical island paradise. So what else is there to do on Koh Tao other than diving? Well, first of all, we have some phenomenal beaches too shallow to dive but perfect for those looking to do some snorkeling. Find yourself a motorbike (be sure to be very careful when driving), hop in a taxi or rent a taxi boat for the day to take you and your friends to the East coast of the island where you are sure to find the perfect beach to fit any needs. Tanote Bay is a personal favourite, offering calm waters to catch a cool dip, stunning corals right off the beach filled with colourful and particularly curious fish, or a large rock in which the more adventurous can jump off from a maximum height of 12 meters! You can even rent a kayak and paddle your way over to Laem Thian to discover another beautiful bay. Lucy

On your way back into town make a pit stop at Love Koh Tao look out to enjoy a fresh shake or cold beer and snap the perfect Instagram photo of the island from over 300 meters high. Looking to spend some time out of the water? Then pop over to Hacienda to play some mini golf, watch a movie in their cinema or play lifesize pool in which you have to kick the balls into the pockets (this is one you have to see to understand). If you time it so that you arrive on a Sunday then you can gorge yourself on Sunday roast, with all the usual trimmings as good as your mom makes. The yorkshire pudding is a must have! Why not then pamper yourself with a massage? For the cost of a beer back home you get 1 hour of pure indulgence and bliss. Try the classic thai massage or give those sore muscles a warm oil treatment. Just make sure you give yourself at least 6 hours break if you have been diving that day!Once your perfect day is complete be sure to head back to Scuba Junction, share a beer with our staff at beer-o-clock at 5pm every day, and catch one of the most stunning sunsets you will ever have the pleasure to witness. Sairee beach is full of delicious restaurants offering a variety of different cuisines sure to please any palate. Just ask any of our helpful staff member and we'd be happy to point you in the right direction!

Lucy Dive Instructor.