Kon-Tiki Thailand and PADI at the Similan Islands

diving thailand management team technical diving

Kon-Tiki Thailand’s Management team caught a chance for follow up on a PADI Business seminar right at the start off the high season. Members of the Krabi, Koh Lanta & Phuket Branch joined forces to meet with the rest of Thailand’s elite to share business ideas and experiences.

The journey started in different parts of Thailand on Friday afternoon, so when the last email was send, a taxi ride to Khao Lak and we could finally meet up with our other friends from PADI. There was a great turn up from both east and west coast, so soon after greeting everyone, the volume of talking reached 100%.

After a short transfer to Khao Lak Scuba Adventures very own liveaboard Manta Queen we enjoyed a delicious dinner and got our program presented with all the members ready to learn even more.

In the night the boat started its long journey to the Similans and it was announced that we would not only be diving at the Similans, but actually going all the way to Richelieu Rock, which made the whole group extremely happy – Yeah Scuba diving at Richelieu Rock!!!! Thank you Stefan and Mr. Oh for being so generous.

Onboard there was opportunity to try twin set diving, side mount diving and Poseidon’s new Rebreather and with a lot of PADI Diving Instructors onboard wanting to try all the new toys, it is just to get in the line.

Next morning we woke up to clear blue skies and an absolutely calm Andaman Sea, what more can one ask for?! With a couple of twin tanks on our backs we started our descent into the blue blue water with excitement to what this dive would bring. All teams made their way around the site several times shooting away with go pro, video and digital cameras. This dive site is literally covered in beautiful soft corals in all the rainbows colors. You will find groups of fusiliers all over the place and many different species of parrotfish, triggerfish and clownfish hiding. With two dives at Richelieu Rock and the boat just parked above us, made it a perfect day. We finished early afternoon, having time to work on the tan between the dives and fill our stomach with the great food served onboard by the helpful Thai crew. Last dive was a Koh Tachai Pinnacle and we made it back for another snack and a sunset presentation from our favorite PADI Regional Managers Mr. Tony Andrews and Tim Hunt.

diving thailand green turtle similan islands

Next morning at Hin Leuang, right by Koh Bon it was back in the water again and all the divers were waiting with excitement to see the Manta Rays, which this dive site is so famous for. It is quite a deep site and covered in yellow tube corals. We could see as far deep down to the bottom and just saw a leopard shark disappearing even deeper. During the dive a couple of curious green turtles passed us closely, so we could get our cover photo.

diving thailand rebreather similan islands

Next dive was to try out the Poseidon Rebreather. After a presentation, which PADI instructor Kevin Black from Kiwi Divers in Phuket gave, we were ready to get under water and try out the new toys! What a feeling! In the beginning there was a strange approach to the buoyancy, but after a few minutes we got the hang of it. The fish came a lot closer and just dancing in front of our cameras. After a half an hour try out, we had to let others give it a go, but definitely something worth doing again. Curious after what else was to find at this dive site, we strapped on the twins again and made our way down to the mooring line to check it out. Furthermore we got to investigate the dive sites of the north Similan Island and night diving in Donald Duck Bay.

diving thailand padi sidemount similan islands

We also got a chance to try sidemount diving. This way of configuring your cylinders keeping them on your side, gives a whole new experience of freedom. Even as this has been a standard for some cave divers for long, it has a lot of benefits for us recreational divers as well, like passing through small swim throughs!

As diving is the best part of Similans, let us not forget the powder-white beaches and the amazing boulders, which they are famous for. As the 3rd evening approached we got the experience one amazing sunset, where the skies were in all different nuances of pink!!!

With 9 dives in the log book, this concluded the PADI Business Seminar follow up 2012 for Kon-Tiki Thailand’s Management team. We would like thank PADI Asia Pacific Tony Andrews and Tim Hunt for arranging the great event, Khao Lak Scuba Adventure for making it happen, Coral Grand, Sairee Cottage, Buddha View, Bans Diving Resort, Planet Scuba, Sail Rock Divers, Sunrise Divers, Triton, Ocean Geo, Kiwi Divers and all others for making it such a successful weekend.

diving thailand sunset similan islands

Malene Jensen

General Manager, Kon-Tiki Krabi

Advertisements

Biggest cleanup in the world!

If was early up in the morning of 30th September! This day Kon-Tiki Phuket would be a part of the biggest underwater clean up in the world with more than 450 divers just as many non-divers and 16 dive boats cleaning the reefs of Racha Yai, Racha Noi, Coral island and Phi Phi islands. .

Earlier this year, Tony Andrews, PADI regional manager for west Thailand contacted all dive centers with an idea of doing an underwater clean up. At the first meeting around 10 dive centers showed up for support and within the next couple of months the event just got bigger and bigger. But it was not only dive centers participating. All official government offices were there from marine police and the Thai navy to governor office to tourist authorities of Thailand.

Kon-Tiki left for Racha Noi with around 20 divers. Our task was cleaning up Banana Bay south. Onboard our staff Mikael Stenberg, Mikael Nilsson, Michael Mengel and Jim Chance went through the day’s program with all the other divers. We went through how to collect rubbish, what we should take back to the boat or leave, how to separate it and how to protect the ocean in the future.

First dive went good and with the staff guiding the divers and filling the bags. Then we had time for lunch and ready for the second dive. The biggest thing we found was a fishing net weighting around 300 KG and we estimate we had just about 600 kg of rubbish. We found things like ropes, cans, glass bottle, plastic bottle and fishing lines.

Before reaching the pier all boats who participated gather together at Koh Lon for a group photo. But the day didn’t end there. In the evening everyone was invited to party at Kan Eng 2 in Chalong. We had speeches from PADI and government officials, raffles (I won a dry bag), donations to Go Eco Phuket, free food, free beers, live bands and as the big surprise, JOB 2 DO a very famous Thai band.

In total 15 tons was collected, 450 divers and just as many non-divers, more than 100,000 THB donated to Go Eco Phuket underlined that this was a new world record for most people doing an underwater clean up. Will we do it again – Absolutely!

Kon-Tiki Phuket likes to say thank you to all who participated and anyone else who was involved in this event. Without you we couldn’t have done it. If you have pictures or stories you like to share please send an e-mail to Michael Wallentin at manager@kontiki-phuket.com

Assistant Manager Phuket

Mikael Stenberg has been appointed assistant manager in Phuket. Mikael is from Malmoe in Sweden and used to work for Oxygen Diving. A bit more than four years ago, he decided to move to Thailand, working as an instructor. In his first two years at the island, he worked for a couple of phuket dive centers before starting at Kon-Tiki Phuket. Mikael is with 26 years old already a very experience instructor and we at the Kon-Tiki family look forward working with Mikael for many years to come.

Assistant manager Kon-Tiki Phuket