Jason Sylvester's Blog

Hong Kong
Jason’s love and respect for the Earth’s water resources began as a child while enjoying Canada’s pristine lakes, and his love of watersports led to him becoming a passionate marine environmentalist. Jason became a certified PADI scuba instructor in 2004 and joined the Sustainable Development committee of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong to help find solutions to the environmental degradation common in local waters, such as marine debris, shark-finning and unsustainable fishing practices. Jason loves to travel to regional diving spots and will blog about his dive trips to eco-friendly resorts and locations, in addition to covering the issues surrounding the declining quality of the marine environment.

Koh Samui/Koh Tao

Regional Scuba Diving Locations
November 16, 2012

Welcome to the first of my blogs to deal with scuba diving locations in the Southeast Asia region. The first location I will feature is Koh Samui, simply because I lived and taught scuba there for 6 months and I am familiar with the dive sites.

Samui itself does not have any dive sites, as the water is shallow and visibility is poor. However, the airport is there—there are daily direct flights from Hong Kong on Bangkok Airways—with a number of hotels and beaches around the island to suit all budgets.

Most of the diving is done either at Sail Rock, an outcropping on the way to Koh Tao, or in and around the island of Koh Tao itself. The dive boats all leave from the north end of the island, either from Bangrak or Bophut. Shops get divers to the dive sites by speed boat in about 45 minutes, or about 2 hours in slower moving vessels which tend to provide more comfort and getting up and walking room.

Sail Rock is a great dive, and sadly, one I did not get to do more than once or twice. It is also a much shorter journey to/from Samui. Currents can be strong there at times, as it is in the middle of open water, but I remember seeing some massive grouper there along with a wide variety of other fish species.

My favourite site was Chumporn Pinnacle, the only deep dive available off Koh Tao. Chumporn is for advanced divers only, as the pinnacles starts at 14m and descends to over 30m. Chumporn features a fantastic array of corals and sea life, including sharks if you are lucky.

Koh Tao itself and neighbouring Koh Nangyuan have a variety of great dive sites. One of my favourites, and of my students as well, was Japanese Garden. Japanese Garden is shallow, so there is a lot of light to bring out the colours in the corals and fishes. Especially memorable were the large schools of barracuda often seen hanging out there.

Green Rock, which if I remember correctly, was where I was attacked by a trigger fish protecting its young; and I have the teeth marks in my fins to prove it.

There are a number of dive shops scattered around the island. So, depending on where your hotel is, it might be convenient to find one close by. Easy Divers have a few offices in different beaches around the island and Thai Scuba Divers, one of the shops I used to work with, is based in Lamai. If you go see Pang, tell him Jason in Hong Kong says hello.

Have fun and dive safe. (Spend the extra money to rent a car over a scooter. Trust me, you will be much safer)

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