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Big Blue Tech - Koh Tao - Thailand                                                             Facebook  Twitter  GooglePlus

Chumphon Marine Park

Located off the coast of Chumphon province, the marine park covers 320 square kilometres. It was formed in 1989 in an effort to preserve the marine environment, and the more than 40 Islands that sit in its waters. It has clearly worked as the entire area is rarely dived! Big Blue is the only dive school on Koh Tao that is able to take divers to this pristine place, because it is quite far away from Koh Tao, but one of our boats is pretty damn fast so we can make it there and back in one day.

Big Blue Tech has it's own boat, and we run occasional overnight trips to the park so that our customers will get as much diving as possible out of the trips. Customers stay in a hotel in Chumphon town on the mainland for one or two nights. The trips themselves are aimed at recreational divers, to dive the incredible dive sites that have been found so far. All the dive sites are very shallow, so there is no opportunity for technical diving.

However, there is a wreck called the HTMS Prab that was sunk at the same time as the HTMS Sattakut was on Koh Tao. The Prab has a phenomenal amount of marine life growing on it, and it sits in shallower water than the Sattakut. So technical penetration dives are available.

If you want to find out more about our trips to the park, join the Big Blue Dive Club on facebook for regular updates.

Shallow Training Sites

Twins

As well as being a beautiful dive site, Twins has a large area of sand to the North of the dive site, which is perfect for practising skills. It's ideal for intro to tech and sidemount, and is used for the first couple of dives of advanced nitrox, decompression procedures, extended range and advanced wreck. Do you remember when your instructor told you to look for the small things? Twins is the ideal place to take that advice. Intro to tech students can get to grips with their buoyancy and trim, practice skills such as reg recovery, valve drills, and the S-drill, and also calculate a pretty accurate SAC rate. Advanced nitrox  students can practice staging and retrieving, gas switching, and minimum deco. Advanced wreck students can also practice reeling techniques, as there are a number of artificial objects in the sand that they can tie off on.
If there's any time left after all that, there is a huge amount of marine life all over the rocks to see, from puffer fish, barracuda, crocodile fish, to the small stuff such as nudibranche. There's even the odd turtle!

Mango Bay

Another perfect place to practise skills. Mango bay is usually sheltered from the wind and currents, allowing for uninterrupted training dives. This is a popular dive site for recreational divers undertaking dives one and two of their open water course, but we usually find a patch of sand a little further out of the bay- out of their reach. 

 

 

 

Deeper Training Sites

Chumphon Pinnacle

A fantastic dive site to take students on all courses except for Intro to tech. Chumphon has it all; One large granite pinnacle covered in marine life begins at 14 metres, with schools of fish everywhere you look. Descend off the pinnacle to 35 metres and if you head North you can easily get 45 metres, with a pea soup-like thermocline waiting to meet you. It's perfect for decompression procedures, extended range and trimix courses because the sea bed acts as a good reference point on the deepest part of the dive. A nice steady ascent is possible as you make your way back to the pinnacle, then you can use the rock as you undertake your deep stops. 
There are ocassionally moderate currents, but they are also utilised during training to teach about deco stop procedures. If you're really lucky, you may encounter a whaleshark on your deco hang too!

Sail Rock

As with Chumphon pinnacle, this is a fantastic dive site for conducting deeper training on decompression procedures, extended range or trimix. Sail rock itself juts out of the sea, and drops all the way to 30-35m. There is a chimney on one side that you can descend through, which requires good control so that you don't touch the rocks, as it can get fairly narrow, especially in a twinset. If you swim off the pinnacle at the sea bed you can achieve 40-45 metres, and you're likely to encounter lionfish and cuttlefish along the way. The pinnacle acts as a great reference point for deep stops and gas switches, but it can be subjected to moderate currents. One of the biggest challenges students face is knowing that they are being monitored on their ability to follow depths and run times, and suddenty finding themselves going into fun diver mode because of all the incredible marine life all around them. That's for when you're qualified!

 

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