Posts Tagged ‘Koh Tao’

Zero to dive master

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

On Monday I completed my Dive Control Specialist (it’s so much easier just to say Dive Master) course. All the paperwork went in on Tuesday and yesterday I got the “Hello Mr Dive Professional” email from SSI. My certification card arrived this morning. Hurrah!

When I arrived here two months ago I had never dived and had no idea it would be so addictive. It probably helped that Koh Tao is a really nice place to be. It’s not perfect though. Here’s a short list of some of the best and worst aspects of the island.


  • Pretty scenery – places like Mango Bay are just beautiful. It was the turquoise water, white sand, bungalows, palm trees and jungle backdrop that persuaded me to extend my stay here and do more diving.
  • Pretty scenery – I’m a bloke; if girls walk down the beach in their bikinis I’m going to look.
  • Diving on the Sattakut wreck the day after it was moved and seeing a turtle there.
  • One particular dive on Chumphon pinnacle; I’ve never seen such variety and abundance of fish.
  • One night dive. Chasing the barracuda around as they chased and chomped on their prey.
  • Great people – my new diving friends.
  • Fried chicken and cashew nuts at Mint Kitchen.


  • Motorbikes, mopeds and quadbikes. And the idiots who ride them. Especially the really noisy ones.
  • Dogs. Running around everywhere, barking.
  • Noisy drunken oafs blundering around.

The pros easily outweigh the cons.

I’ve got one final full day trip to Sail Rock tomorrow; one last chance to see a whale shark before I leave. Fingers crossed.

Five weeks later

Thursday, August 18th, 2011


Five and a half weeks later to be precise. Since my last post I’ve done little except diving. Pretty much every day. My tango friend from Istanbul visited for a couple of weeks and we spent two days doing non-diving things. She went home almost convinced to quit work, buy a round the world ticket and go travelling. But otherwise it has been diving, diving and more diving, and some study/academic stuff. In the next few days I will complete the dive master (strictly speaking Dive Control Specialist) course. It has been lots of fun, but also hard work, and I’ve enjoyed it immensely.

I’ve been debating internally the merits of being a perpetual DMT (Dive Master trainee – generic term applied to anyone on the Dive Master or Dive Control Specialist courses). We get up to five “free” dives every day and have almost no responsibilities. It would be easy to stay here but would be a waste of the money I spent on the round the world ticket. So I will be leaving Koh Tao on August 27 and continuing my journey back to Buenos Aires. I will tango in the milongas again. Beijing will be my next stop after a night or two in Bangkok.

Today I made my one hundredth dive. Tradition has it the century dive is made in the nude. Poor visibility and warm water were very welcome.

DMT week 1

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011
Holstee manifesto

DMT is dive master trainee in case you were wondering.

There is no timetable or schedule for the dive master course. It takes as long as it takes. It can be finished in as little as three weeks. Some of the guys here have been here for as many months. I think that may have something to do with all the dives you do while on the course being “free” (included in the course fee). I’m aiming to be finished in six weeks by which time I expect to have logged about a hundred dives. I’m up to about thirty so far.

So far I’ve spent four days shadowing one of the dive masters, done two or three dives every day except today, and made a start on the book work. I’ll do the first (dive guide) exam tomorrow and start assisting instructors on courses the day after.

I haven’t taken any photos since starting the dive master course so had nothing topical to head this post with. But I came across the Holstee manifesto today and it sums up pretty nicely where I’m at. The image is embedded with their permission. Thanks guys 🙂