The Sattakut

By , 21 April, 2015, No Comment

The HTMS (His Thai Majesty Ship) Sattakut has everything; history; eerie-ness; marine life in abundance; penetration points with natural daylight; penetration points with no natural daylight; depths up to 30 metres and correct punctuation from us here at Davy Jones Locker.

It was originally a landing craft infantry vessel commissioned by the US Navy in 1944, and was involved in three battles in World War II; the liberation of the Pilau Islands, the battle of Okinawa, and the battle of Iwo Jima.

In 1946 the US Navy decommissioned it, and it was purchase by the Royal Thai Navy. It lived out its service as a patrol boat, until they decommissioned it in 2011. Shortly thereafter, the Thai Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) purchased the ship with the intention of donating it to Koh Tao to act as an artificial reef, in order to promote tourism. The vessel was stripped of it’s engines, furniture, electric cabling and thankfully it’s ammunition! After being cleaned and sent to Koh Tao, it was sunk on the 18th June 2011.

Unfortunately because a storm came in as it was being sunk, it ended up on its side in the middle of a channel; hardly an ideal location. So in July a salvage team was brought in to right the vessel and move it to a more suitable location.

It currently sits upright in around 30 metres of water, with the bow facing roughly North. The location is perfect, as it sits around 10 metres to the South of a dive site called Hin Pee Wee. This has obviously helped to bring marine life to the wreck, which is evident today- all over it! There is currently a huge Jenkins whip ray that lives underneath the hull. There are huge spotted snapper and giant groupers sheltering from the current near the conning tower, and if you have good eyes you will be able to find some Jan’s pipefish in the rusting railings. Moray eels also like to find places to sit and watch the underwater world go by. For those that want to venture inside, apart from disturbing a number of giant groupers from their hiding places, you will see lots and lots of shrimp.

The vessel is perfect for conducting technical training dives on which we provide here at Davy Jones Locker. There are many places on the main deck to practice reeling skills and teach communication in simulated no-visibility. Plus, there are numerous places to penetrate the wreck, and they vary greatly in terms of how quickly and how badly they silt out, so practising exits in zero visibility can be made progressively more challenging. The wreck is also a great place to conduct decompression procedures training dives, as there are plenty of reference points to use when ascending to meet run times, undertaking deep stops, and gas switching.

But it’s not all about training. Let’s not forget that this wreck has an amazing history, and sometimes it’s just great to go for a long deco fun dive around it, or a penetration fun dive inside it! The ship is the closest dive site to Davy Jones Locker on Sairee beach, and we use it a lot!

by James

 

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Turtles…

By , 18 April, 2015, No Comment

This month the diving conditions have again been amazing with 20m+ visibility and a massive variety of sea life. I had the recent pleasure of taking a group of open water students to twins dive site where we came across one of koh tao’s famous turtles, they all came up beaming and its safe to say they are now hooked to diving and have already completed their advanced.

The hawksbill’s appearance is similar to that of other marine turtles. In general it has a flattened body shape, a protective carapace, and flipper – like arms, adapted for swimming in the open ocean. E. imbricata is easily distinguished from other sea turtles by its sharp, curving beak  with prominent tomium, and the saw-like appearance of its shell margins.

Hawksbill shells slightly change colors, depending on water temperature. While this turtle lives part of its life in the open ocean, it spends more time in shallow lagoons and coral reefs.

by Dani

 

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Our famous turtle which one I spotted last week around Koh Tao with my PADI Open Water students.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Harlequin Sweetlips

By , 18 April, 2015, No Comment

The Harlequin Sweetlips is an unusual looking fish. All the way from juvenile to adulthood it is very unique in its colouring and behaviours. We see it at various dive sites here on Koh Tao, White rock, Hin Pee Wee, Laem Thian, Junkyard, and many more.

The sweetlips belongs to the Haemulidae family, which includes other sweetlips and grunts, named for their ability to produce a grunting noise by grinding their teeth. The adult is mostly white covered with black spots and markings with yellowish colouring over its back and head. They are characterised by the huge lips, hence the name sweetlips.

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Their young look completely different from their adult counterparts. The young are oranges and brown with large white spots. They have rounded fan-like fins which help with their very unique movements. The juvenile moves in erratic, jerky and random directions, it constantly looks like it doesnt know where its going or what its doing. The bright colours and these movemets are supposed to be a mimicry of a poisonous flatworm to deter wouldbe predators from eating the young fish so it can then grow up. As this then happens the juveniles colouring starts to get darker and darker with black spots starting to develop within the white spots. Their movements become less erratic and more subdued and they eventually look just like their parents. If you look for it however, you can still see the shadowy clusters on the adults, outlining where their big white spots used to be on their little orange bodies.

by Saisha

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Harlequin Sweetlips which one you can find during your Fish ID dive as part of PADI Advanced Open Water course with Davy Jones Locker on Koh Tao.

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Plonger a White Rock

By , 14 April, 2015, No Comment

White Rock est sans aucun doute le meilleur site de plongée aux alentours immédiats de Koh Tao et de loin mon préféré.

A quelques minutes seulement en bateau depuis Sairee Beach, ce site s’étend sur plusieurs dizaines de mètres carrés autour d’un bloc rocheux central dont on peut apercevoir le sommet à peine 1 mètre sous la surface.

La diversité qu’offre White Rock est époustouflante : des fonds variant de 7/8 mètres à plus de 20 mètres de profondeur, permettant ainsi d’y dispenser tous les cours, qu’il s’agisse de l’Open Water course, de l’Advanced Open Water course, du Rescue Course, mais aussi idéal pour les fun dives ! Diversité de la flore : plusieurs variétés de coraux durs, de coraux mous et d’algues marines… Diversité de la faune : raies à points bleus, murènes, mérous, barracudas, poissons clown, poissons papillon, poissons ange, nudibranches, et si vous êtes chanceux vous pouvez croiser la route d’un serpent de mer ou d’une tortue …

Chez Davy Jones Locker nous plongeons sur ce site plusieurs fois par semaine, pour mon plus grand plaisir mais surtout celui de mes élèves ;) http://www.davyjoneslocker.asia

Virginie

 

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Bluespotted Stingrays

By , 13 April, 2015, No Comment

Here on Koh Tao were used to seeing some strange looking creatures. We also find some unusual looking things under the sea! Bluespotted Stingrays are among them. Docile fish during the day and lively hunters come the sunset.

The bluespotted stingray has a flat disc-like oval body in about 50 centimeters round with a long protruding tail with bright yellow eyes. Their main coloring is a dark green/yellow with bright blue spots and a light white underbelly. The rays’ bright coloration serves as a warning for its venomous barbs located on its long tail!! (Don’t worry they are more scared of us!!)

The rays’ normally live alone feeding off of smaller prey like shrimp, small bony fish, mollusks, crabs and other worms. How they feed is by pinning is prey to the bottom of seafloor with its fins, hence why they are known as bottom feeders, and chomping down with its food-crushing plates on the sides of its mouth.

There are a large number of the rays’ found at the dive site ‘Twins’ during the day where we can find them in cracks along the pinnacle. However, it’s during the night when you really see them at work. Take the boat out to White Rock at sunset and jump into the dark water to find them feeding under the beam of your torch.

You can do this on your Night Adventure Dive or during your Advanced Open Water Course if you want. You can see great barracuda darting around you hunting the smaller fish that pass by. You might also bump into to the resident green turtle that sleeps there at night!

Its always exciting to watch these guys stir up the ocean floor in search of a midnight feast!!!

by Grant

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Beautiful blue spotted stingray on our night dive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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