Archive for ‘Other’

Jenkins Whip Ray

By , 22 July, 2015, No Comment

I have seen a few now over my time here on Koh Tao and every time they are always impressive. Last night however was the first time I have ever seen one at night and it was awesome. They seem far more relaxed at night. Where as during the day they seem to be either sleeping or scare easily at night it was far more focused on hunting and therefore we were able to spend far more time with it moving about the bottom. I am talking about the Jenkins whipray, a species of stingray. Not as common here as the Bluespotted Ribbon tail rail it grows to an impressive 1.5m across and has a broad, diamond shaped pectoral fin disc and a whip-like tail without fin folds. What is even more impressive about it is a row of large spear-like thorns along the midline. It is less colourful than the blue spotted being a more gray and brown colour on the top and white on its underbelly. I’ve always loved the way rays move gracefully through the water and the Jenkins is no exception. It made it one of my favourite night dives to date and an extremely good reason to go on more of them! Unfortunately the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) have assessed the species as vulnerable in Southeast Asia, due to intense fishing. To lose such as magnificent creature would be a tragedy and I hope something can be done about this as I hope more can experience diving with these animals.

by Alex

 

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Jenkins Whip Ray

 

 

 

 

 

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Cave Diving

By , 19 July, 2015, No Comment

With a couple of my colleagues off on a cave diving trip at the minute, I am left here on Koh Tao (which they take great pleasure in reminding me every day they are away) to introduce and inspire other people  about the challenging, exciting and dark world of cave diving.

The term “cave diving” itself draws wide eyes. Most rural farmers in Thailand firmly believe dragons and ghosts live in those bottomless pits deep in the jungle, and jumping into one of them resembles suicide rather than stimulation to the explorer’s mind.

It’s no wonder Thailand isn’t synonymous with cave diving like Mexico and Florida seem to be. Few explorers over the last two decades have ventured into the jungle at their own expense to lay lines and teach cave diving. Unfortunately, very little information was shared and when the next generation of cave divers came along, and caves had to be rediscovered all over again. Luckily some GPS data was passed on, and cave instructors have driven days through the jungle to locate one of the hundreds of caves.

Thailand has enormous limestone formations, generating its unique topography. Limestone is the perfect breeding ground for dry caves to be formed. National projects have flooded entire valleys to supply hydro-power and preserve the rain-forests. A lot of the previously dry caves in these national parks are now flooded and dive-able. Besides stunning panoramas resembling Lord of the Rings scenery, the caves now offer the prefect training grounds for shallow cave training with plenty of the decorative stalactites the novice diver expects to see.

Most cave courses or trips will start in the more shallow caverns, before heading to one of the many deep, dark sinkholes and thermal vents located further south.

The limestone ridge, stretching throughout southern Thailand is very old and has acidic water from the rain-forest above which has carved enormous, mostly unexplored tunnels. Because of the limestone, Thailand has over 2000 caves, both wet and dry. Today less than 10% of these are known.

Thermal vents are deep springs, bringing up a variety of minerals and gases. This usually provides a turquoise, slightly milky water. And these vents are deep, very deep. One has even been explored up to 239 meters.

Other sinkholes are enormous with entrances well over 300 feet/100 meters in diameter. Divers can easily enter scootering side by side, as the visibility can be well in excess of 100 feet/30 meters.

Most of the caves being dived now are easy access and have no strong flows in or out. This means the caves are dive-able for everyone year-round, as we are not limited by weather conditions.

The variety in cave diving experiences found in Thailand is unequaled in comparison to any other part of the world.

by Matt (Feeling left out)

 

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Christmas tree worms

By , 4 July, 2015, No Comment

Davy Jones’ Locker is located in the Gulf of Thailand on a paradise island named Koh Tao were here we are fortunate enough to be able to dive all year around in some of the most beautiful waters in the world.

Koh Tao offers scuba divers (beginners to advanced levels) the opportunity to experience diving with a huge variety of marine life as the Christmas tree worms.

Christmas tree worms (Spirobranchus giganteus ) are Christmas tree shaped tube-dwelling worms with twin spirals of plumes used for feeding and respiration. They have a tubular, segmented body lined with chaeta, small appendages that aid the worm’s mobility. Because it does not move outside its tube, this worm does not have any specialized appendages for movement or swimming. These worms are sedentary, meaning that once they find a place they like, they don’t move much.

They come in many colours including red, orange, yellow, blue and white and though they are small with an average 3.8 cm in span, they are easily spotted due to their shape, beauty and colour always makes an eye-catching display.

Christmas tree worms are polychaete ciliary feeders that feed using their radioles, the hair-like appendages or “feathers” that circle outward from the central spine, to catch phytoplankton floating by in the water. The food is then passed down a food groove by ciliary tracts — lines of tiny hair-like extensions on the surface of cells that generate water currents to move food or mucus. The food particles are sorted and larger particles are discarded. Sand grains are directed to storage sacs to be used later for tube building.

There are male and female Christmas tree worms. They reproduce by sending eggs and sperm into the water. The eggs are fertilized in the water then develop into larvae and become part of the zooplankton to be carried by the currents to then settle on coral heads and then burrow into the coral to form their burrows.

As you can see this is just one of the fascinating creatures that we encounter every day here at Davy Jones’ Locker. Feel free to pop in for a visit and we will be happy to share these unforgettable experiences underwater with you.

James

 

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No Need To Be Scared.. Your in Good Hands!

By , 27 June, 2015, No Comment

As a Scuba Dive Instructor there are many reasons I have heard why people are reluctant to get into diving. Most of these are however psychological that have no real bearing against statistics or how people with similar feelings felt after they have given it a try. Here Are some FGRWIDWTD (Frequentky Given Reasons Why I Don’t Want to Dive) and my responses, which hopefully should help allay the fears. At Davy Jones Locker, we cater to all needs to try and make your course feel safe and fun.

 

  1. I don’t think I’ll like it!

 

You don’t have to start paying out money to try diving. Here at Davy Jones Locker if you are feeling nervous or just want to give it a go we can offer you a FREE try dive in the swimming pool. An instructor will set up all your equipment, help you into it and just see if you like the feeling of breathing underwater. This will really help alleviate those initial fears.

 

  1. I don’t like fish

 

I’m not a huge fish eater myself, but they don’t touch you underwater. They may come close, but most of them are smaller than your hand. There are over 20,000 species worldwide in all shapes colours and sizes. The ones around Koh Tao are tropical reef fish, which means they tend to be smaller and more brightly colour, leading to some of the most spectacular visuals you will ever experience. Diving is a passive sport, so we are not there to touch the fish!

 

  1. What about sharks?

 

The chances of shark attacks whilst diving are next to nill. The amount of things you do on a day to day basis that are more dangerous than scuba diving is staggering. There has been one shark attack in Asia 1820 – 2012, which equates to 0.047% of all dives made. (http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/sharks/scuba/All2.htm)

The sharks that are seen around Koh Tao are Black Tip Reef Sharks which are a harmless and actually very beautiful to see, though are only seen at one or two dive sites. Please DO NOT let sharks put you off diving.

 

  1. I’m claustrophobic

 

Diving not not necessarily bring on feeling of claustrophobia. We have numerous ways in which we as instructors can help. You could try doing a PADI Discover Scuba Dive, which will give you a view into the underwater world to see if it is for you. We will stay close, in very small group sizes, and you can end the dive at any point if it isn.t for you (though I’m sure you’ll be hooked). If it is the though of getting to the surface that bothers you, then you’ll be pleased to know that all PADI recreation diving is ‘No Stop’ Diving, which means that at any point you can ascend directly to the surface without stopping.

 

So please come into the shop or email us directly if you have any further questions, and come diving with Davy Jones Locker!

by Chris

 

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Diving is fun!!! So come to DJL and try…you will love it ;)

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A Technical Divers Skills

By , 23 June, 2015, No Comment

Last month I talked about the steps you can take to become a Technical diver here at DJL. This month I want to delve into the skills you learn when you first sign up to the introductory tech course, “Intro to Tech”.

 

Intro to Tech allows you to grasp the basic knowledge and skills needed to pursue a journey into technical diving. You start by building up a deeper understanding of how the body is affected when breathing compressed air, weather you’ll be diving deeper, longer, or both. A more in depth look at why people would want to go deeper then leads us onto why tech divers need to carry extra tanks and a whole host of other equipment you might not see standard recreational divers using.

 

Once some theory has been covered, it’s time to get into the water! On land all the equipment will be shown to you and how it all goes together. It may be quite daunting at first with two tanks, long hoses and a strange looking BCD called a backplate and wing, but you will soon realise all of the equipment has a purpose and you carry nothing you wouldn’t need on the dive. Before jumping into the water you will be taught that you should always check what you’re about to breath. This is a very important safety step that you will need to grasp throughout your technical diving journey. An analyser is used to measure the content of oxygen which is then noted on the actual cylinder along with your name and the maximum depth that mix of gas can be used at.

 

Once you get into the water you soon realise that you need to work as a team with your buddy or buddies, it’s not all macho solo diving where you just go off on your own. Your team mates are there to assist monitor and act as your backup if in the rare occurrence that something may go wrong.

 

The skills you learn in the Intro to Tech course make up the foundations for the rest of your career as a tech diver. Skills such as; kicking styles, buoyancy, planning, emergency skills, teamwork and a number of others. It is important to master these skills so you can progress onto further courses where you will be carrying more tanks, more equipment and deeper depths; you need to learn to walk before you can run.

 

I hope you enjoyed this brief overview of the skills you will learn when taking a introductory tech course with us at Davy Jones, we have a number of fully qualified, passionate and knowledgeable tech instructors who would love to open your eyes to the exciting world of tech diving.

by Matt

 

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