Discover Scuba Diving in Phuket: Encounters With a Whale Shark!

November 14, 2010
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If you’re thinking of trying scuba diving for the first time, then why not experience PADI Discover Scuba Diving in Phuket. Phuket is one of the best places in the world to learn to dive, as the following experience proves. When diving in Phuket you can even have encounters with a Whale Shark!

The PADI Discover Scuba Diving program (DSD) is an introduction to scuba diving which can begin in a pool or in the sea. Normally comprising of two dives from a daytrip boat, the Discover Scuba Diving course can be completed in just one day. The clear warm waters around Phuket are ideal for learning to dive, particularly around Racha Yai which is a short boat trip away from the Phuket. During a typical PADI Discover Scuba Diving course, you’ll receive a thorough briefing from your PADI Instructor on the way to the dive site. You’ll receive a shallow water orientation on the first dive, which will include some basic scuba diving skills and safety practice. These skills include how to clear a flooded mask, and recover a regulator and clear it and continue to breath normally underwater. Once you’ve mastered the skills, it’s off into the blue with your instructor to get a feel for what it is like to be weightless.

Here’s a true story from not long ago, when I took a couple of lads for their PADI Discover Scuba Diving in Phuket…

The Whaleshark That Day!

It was a sunny day at Racha Yai, an island just south of Phuket with some great dive sites. Visibility was forty metres or more, and reminiscent of the clarity of water found in the Similan Islands, dived from liveaboard boat trips as well as day trips from Phuket. The temperature in the water was 30˙C, and there wasn’t even a ripple on the surface of the sea. These are typical conditions for diving around Phuket.

The conditions were perfect for Jason and Ben to try scuba diving for their first time in the form of the PADI Discover Scuba Diving course. Having never tried diving before, it was the ideal way for them to give it a try and get wet. Racha Yai Island provides all the desired requirements for discover scuba diving in Phuket, gentle sloping reefs, warm clear water, and a fascinating wealth of marine biodiversity. Anybody lucky enough to have been diving in Phuket will testify to this.

Starting in shallow water, some basic skills are performed to get the new divers more comfortable in their surroundings. Clearing a partially flooded mask of water and removing and replacing the regulator are a couple of the skills practiced before heading off down the reef to get to grips with buoyancy control and also to see what fish life can be found.

It was just at the point of completing all the necessary orientation skills that Bill and Ben, on their first venture into the blue, turned around with their instructor to be confronted by one of the most awesome sights possible for a diver to behold, the Whale Shark! It was right there in front of them out for a morning cruise, with numerous Cobia and Suckerfish in tow as the undersea giant powered effortlessly past only a few metres away.

The group turned and swam in pursuit to try and keep eyes on the magnificent animal for a few minutes longer, but soon realized they weren’t as well built for swimming as the graceful giant was, as he glided slowly out of sight. The Whale Shark, being the biggest fish in the sea, can grow to more than twelve metres in length, but this particular specimen was estimated to be five metres long. It was a baby relatively, but still big enough to dwarf a scuba diver!

You still have to get lucky to chance upon an encounter with these amazing creatures, but around the waters off Phuket sightings have become increasingly common, particularly at the dives sites Koh Doc Mai and the aptly named Shark Point, which offer some of the best diving in Phuket, dived from daytrip boats.

Upon surfacing at the end of the dive Bill and Ben were predictably, open mouthed with amazement and so excited by their first experience of breathing under water that it didn’t take them long to decide that they wanted to do their PADI Open Water course the next day! Some people have dived for years amassing hundreds of dives along the way but have never encountered a Whale Shark, but as this experience proves, when diving in Phuket anything is possible!

We offer the PADI Discover Scuba Diving program in Phuket 365 days a year. Click here for more information.

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