My First Breaths – Instructor Anne

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I remember it well! I was about ten years old on holiday with my parents and my sister in Greece. They offered Scuba Diving at the Resort where we stayed. As a kid I sat on the side of the pool looking at the people that seemed to be breathing underwater. What a glorious idea!

For two days I sat there mesmerised by the possibility. At some point the instructor asked if I wanted to give it a try. YES! OFF COURSE. I ran to my parents’ bungalow to tell my father about this great opportunity I had. We should hurry.

Can you imagine how your child would react? I was exactly that, bouncing off the walls of excitement, and this was only trying Scuba in a pool. I’ve taught many of kids by now, the youngest being eight years old. The excitement you see in their eyes. The awws and ahhs underwater. My latest student named Benjamin, was just like me 25 years ago. Playing with the Christmas tree worms and getting excited from seeing a sea cucumber. We went diving hand in hand, with his father just behind us. He would point out every single fish he saw. At some point during the dive he even started singing!

At Reef Dive Centre we teach people from all ages. We have try dives in the pool as well. So visit us, have that first experience, it’s free of charge. Maybe you or your kids will be the next divers who start singing at the other side of my arm??

Our Top Ten Tips for New Divers

Starting out on a diving holiday can be a little daunting, especially if you have never dived before or are still new to the sport. Here are a few tips to help you get started on your way!

Check the medical form before you go on holiday. If you have to answer YES to any of the questions on the medical form you will need to get checked by a doctor to see if you are fit to dive. It’s easiest to get this sorted at home before you go on holiday. Click here to download the medical form.

Don’t forget that you have to wait 24 hours between your last dive and flying!

Don’t forget to bring your log book and certification cards. If you have lost your certification cards contact your dive center before hand and check if they can find you on an online database. If not, then you have time to contact your agency or the dive centre who certified you.

Do some research and book your dives before you go on holiday. Remember that spaces can be limited if you want to go to the best dive sites or if it is high season, so make sure to secure your dives in advance to avoid disappointment.

Check if your travel insurance covers you for scuba diving. If not, ask your dive centre if they offer any diving insurance or which one they recommend.

Start your diving holiday off with shallow dives or a refresher! If you haven’t dived for 6 months or longer you should do a refresher before you join any diving activities. If you have been diving recently then simply start off with some shallow dives to get used to the equipment and diving conditions.

Sign up for the Advanced course Deepen your knowledge and get more comfortable underwater.

Buy your own equipment. Don’t worry; you don’t have to buy your own full set of equipment, but there is 2 equipment pieces that don’t take up much space when travelling and can make a huge difference for the safety and enjoyment of your dives:

  • Mask & Snorkel
  • Dive computer

If it’s your first time – say it! There is a first for everything: boat diving, shore diving, diving with your camera or in strong currents… Tell your instructor and dive buddies, so they can help you if needed!!

10 Wear sun protection! Either wear a rashguard or use sunscreen. If you use sunscreen make sure you apply it 30-45 min before you enter the water otherwise it will wash off and may cause coral to bleach.

Instructor Damian’s Favourite Dive and Koh Tao Creature

Laem Thian

Since diving in Koh Tao, guiding and teaching, the dive site Laem Thian has become one of my favorite places to practice this amazing sport. Located in the northeast of our island it is not one of the most visited, therefore is a good dive for advanced diver´s and also beginners with some experience.

Laem Thian

It has more than 10 swim-troughs give the opportunity to test the buoyancy of the best divers and on top of this you will find different types of nudibranch laying on the dark areas, Blue Spotted Ribbontail Rays hiding under the rocks and sometimes the majestic Stingray gliding like an eagle in the blue. A perfect place to use your torch during the day to check every nook, to have a meeting with the curious Moray Eel and enjoy the capricious architecture made with huge stones and passageways.

One of the best moments on the dive is when you reach the cave which is close to the surface where  you can fell in your chest the roar of the waves smashing against the rocks.

Bluespotted Sting Ray

The blue spotted ribbontail ray (Taeniura lymma) is a species of stingray. This species is common throughout the coral reef-associated habitats. It is a fairly small ray, not exceeding 35 cm in width, with a mostly smooth, oval pectoral fin disc, large protruding eyes, and a relatively short and thick tail with a deep fin fold underneath.

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Like coming from another planet this unbelievable creature rests during the day hiding under the rocks burying herself in the sand. They wait until the night, and emerge from their hideout to meet in small groups and follow the rising tide onto sandy flats to root for small invertebrates and bony-fish in the sediment. When the tide recedes, the rays separate and withdraw to shelters on the reef.

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Because Its attractive appearance and relatively small size has resulted in its being the most common stingray found in the home aquarium trade. However, it seldom fares well in captivity and very few hobbyists are able to maintain one for long. Many specimens refuse to feed in the aquarium, and even seemingly healthy individuals often inexplicably die or stop feeding.

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Its beautiful and futuristic design and its spirit of liberty make me respect and admire this animal which I see so often in the Koh Tao dive sites.

Reef Cakes – Tasty Treats

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Here at Reef, we are lucky that we have some amazing friends on the island. Instructor Dave’s fiancee, Cat, is the best baker on the island and regularly treats us to tasty cakes.

So for those of you who want to have a go at one of Cat’s awesome recipes, here is her guide to chocolate brownie cupcakes with chocolate ganache!

Ingredients

The Cake Batter

  • 75g Unsalted Butter
  • 125g Sugar (50/50 mix of caster and light brown sugar if possible)
  • 35g Cocoa Powder
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Half a teaspoon of Vanilla Essence
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 35g Plain Flour
  • 35g Chocolate chips
  • 50g Frozen Raspberries, cooked with 2 tablespoons of caster sugar

The Ganache

  • 100g chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

Directions

In a heavy base pan, gently heat the raspberries and sugar together until they become a thicker syrup – if you just add the raspberries, they melt unevenly and release too much water. Leave to cool. In a heat proof bowl mix together the butter, sugar and cocoa and either microwave in short bursts of 10 seconds, or melt over a pan of simmering water. Add the pinch of salt, vanilla essence, egg and cooled raspberry mixture. Fold in the flour and chocolate chips – making sure the mixture has cooled enough to not melt the chocolate chips. Cook for around 20 mins at 180 degrees Celsius, the tops should have a slight crisp on the top, but try to keep the inside soft like you would regular brownies. This makes 24 mini cupcakes. One of the easiest and tastiest icing you can make is a ganache topping – this is usually melted chocolate and cream, but on these I used Dark chocolate, milk and brown sugar. The brown sugar helps to solidify the ganache and compliments the fudge brownie flavour. The best way to avoid the ganache splitting is to heat the milk and brown sugar, then add the chocolate. I use a small whisk to ensure there are no lumps left, and remember that it will thicken as it sets/cools.

Finally get hold of some jazzy icing pens – preferably glittery to make it extra special.

Introducing – The Reef Collection

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Here at Reef, we have worked hard over the last few months to bring you a collection of classic souvenirs and merchandise you can purchase as a gift for the folks back home, or as a reminder of the good times you had with us. Visit our stunning dive retail outlet in the Haad Tien Beach Club, to see what is available as well as our latest editions.

Below are a few examples of our current range of Reef Merchandise:

Deluxe Reef Logbook Binder

XPORT

 

Reef Neoprene Mask Strap – Available as a Cover or Complete with Velcro Straps

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Reef Lycra Rash-Guard – UV Protection Factor 50

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Reef Adjustable Baseball Cap – Available in 3 Colours

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Reef Woven Satin Lanyard with Clip

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Reef T-Shirts

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crew   reef logo_black

reef logo_white turtle_black

 turtle_white varsity_aqua

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Polo Shirts

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