MSD 1

Congratulations to Assava Dive Resort on winning the PADI World-Wide Master Scuba Diver Challenge 2018. Several of our student divers who held their EFR and Rescue Diver certification along with the required 50 logged dives, took on the challenge and learned 5 PADI Specialty Courses to achieve the MSD Rating.

PADI Specialty courses that we offered through Assava Dive Resort included the Underwater Navigator, Peak Performance Bouyancy, Deep Diver, Wreck Diver, Night Diver, Search & Recovery Diver, Self-Reliant Diver, DSMB Specialty Diver, Enriched Air Nitrox Diver and Sidemount Specialty Diver, are just a few options that were chosen by our guests.

Here is a Testimonial from one of our Master Scuba Diver Candidates – Ellie Jo Woods

 

Elie JoDuring my DMT I had the pleasure of meeting some inspirational people and making some incredible friends. As I was working full time, Platinum Course Directors Natalie Hunt and Minni Vansgaard, helped to design a programme of study that kept me on track but accommodated my teaching job at Koh Tao International Primary. This meant that the majority of my diving was done on weekends, with meetings and theory during weekday evenings.


While this meant I was always busy (something that anyone here will agree with!) I was busy doing something that I’d fallen in love with and found truly inspiring. Working with a range of MSDTs and Instructors (Kelly Ann Nickel, Jack Van Geel, Simon Bard, Devon Whittam and Marcus Pinewald) allowed me to learn so much from people that had developed their own teaching style and had different levels of experience.


I was able to conquer my own fears (mask exchange in the stress test being the main one) through their patient guidance, advice, and utilise different tips they gave the students I assisted. The team at Assava all have different interests and specialisms and have inspired me to teach my class about marine conservation and they role we all to play in it. I have been able to use my burgeoning passion to make contacts with a variety of dive shops and establish workshops and eco weeks to educate the children on the island about ecology. Often finding any DMT, customer or instructor at the Assava Dive Centre with a special skill or interest to come to school and run workshops and presentations with the kids.

Assava Team


Adding to the Assava family experience, were the other DMTs I’ve met and the friends I’ve made. Working with a huge range of people, from gap year students Jamie Philips, Ivy Stein and Philip Wurst who I started my DMT with to legends Trevor Hodgson, Leigh White and Megan Pearce, travelling the world in between jobs, who helped me complete it. I have reached some amazing diving and personal milestones with these people and shared experiences that I will remember forever – including the classic 100th dive challenge. Once I started my DMT and developed confidence in my abilities as a diver, I set myself the challenge of completing both my Dive Master and Master Scuba Diver within 13 months of my DSD.


To achieve my MSD I only needed to complete 5 specialties, as I had racked up my dive numbers during my DMT. The Assava team’s passion for the ocean and what they do motivated me to complete my Wreck, Nitrox, Deep, Coral Conservation and Shark Conservation specialties with MSDT Kelly Ann Nickel in September – 13 months after my DSD experience. Her passion for her job and her knowledge as a Marine Biologist ensured that I learnt as much as possible during my specialties and she was able to help me deepen the knowledge and understanding I had gained during my DMT.

Kelley HoughtonI was able to work with Connor Yamamoto, Kelley Houghton and Leigh White to achieve my MSD rating and help Assava Dive Resort win the worldwide MSD challenge!


To celebrate this achievement we cracked out the BBQ and Natalie Hunt presented us with our MSD prizes, to add to my growing PADI swag collection. We were given our very own PADI backpack with two shirts and cap (score!). I can’t thank the people I worked with enough for their time, patience, knowledge and most of all friendship during my first year on Koh Tao. They made my DMT and MSD truly unforgettable experiences, making friends and memories that will last for years. Although I would like to see more than one whale shark next year– but you can’t have it all, even if you’re living the dream.

IMG 6980


Ellie Jo Woods – PADI Divemaster and PADI Master Scuba Diver - 2018 

 

Read more...

It sometimes feels like you're not sure what to do next - possibly figuring out your next goal in life!  This is a natural process especially when you have just completed your school/university and wondering what is to follow... If you are uncertain about your the next step, then you may want to consider becoming a PADI Professional - and the first step is the PADI Divemaster Course.

megan Iggy

So where do you start? Firstly you will need to have the basic diving skills beginning with the PADI Open water , Advanced , EFR and Rescue Diver certifications. Once you have these then it's an easy start...

The PADI Divemaster Course duration is around 4 weeks, but through Assava Dive Resort we offer the Divemaster Internship whereby you have the opportunity to learn and absorb all the information for an even longer period of time. Our divemaster candidates tend to stay from 4 weeks to 3 months on the program, learning to assist and supervise on real life dive courses to further develop their personal skills and knowledge on how to be a PADI Professional. We offer a flexible program to suit your schedule whilst on Koh Tao and on your travels through South East Asia.

The program includes assisting on several courses from the PADI open water course to the Rescue Course, learning how to supervise and schedule courses with an instructor.  You will also learn the skills you will need once you become a Divemaster through the workshops - including Boat Master duties, skin diver and snorkelling programs, skill circuits, rescue assessments, scuba review workshops, discover scuba diving workshops and more. You will need to show your watership skills - your personal abilities with swimming and self rescue techniques. Along with all the practical workshops you will also have lectures on diving physics, physiology, dive skills & environment, decompression theory and use of the recreational dive planner and dive equipment. On completion you will need to sit two final exams as an assessment of your knowledge of these topics.

Ellie Megan

Our current Divemaster Candidates have also become involved in the Koh Tao ecological programs - the Marine Debri underwater clean-ups and landclean ups especially at our "Project Aware - Adopt the Reef sites".  We offer several specialty programs both Eco - AWARE Marine Debri, AWARE Shark Conservation and Project Aware - Coral Reef Conservation specialties and Non-Eco Specialty programs to further develop your Divemaster Skills.

During our PADI Divemaster Program we also offer our Divemaster Candidates the opportunity to gain experience in several other adventure dives and specialties including Wreck Diving, Search and Recovery, Night Diving, Deep Diving and more....Some candidates choose to apply for their PADI Master Scuba Diver rating alongside their Divemaster Professional Level.  

Feel free to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information about our Professional Programs.

Read more...

Congrats to Kelly-Ann Nickel on her recent achievement as PADI Master Scuba Diver! 

Kelly completed her training with a  flexible schedule whilst maintaining her employment as a PADI freelance instructor.  On the odd days availalbe and where possible with her PADI Course Director Natalie Hunt, Kelly was able to achieve her Specialty Instructor ratings for : Enriched Air Nitrox,  Self- Reliant, Deep Diver, Wreck Diver, AWARE Marine Debri and AWARE Shark Conservation.  

As Kelly is a Marine Biologist, her specialty instructor ratings for the Eco programs including Project Aware, Coral Reef Conservation and the Marine Debri and Shark Awareness will compliment her teaching these programs to her student divers taking the PADI Open water course or PADI Advanced Course, introducing them to how to preserve our oceans and marine ecosystems.

With our recent visit from Jack Fishman from Project Aware - Kelly further broadened her knowledge on the Marine Debri Awareness program after conducting the clean up underwater dive at Lighthouse Bay. Data from this dive was then added to the Assava Dive Resort - My Ocean Page. www.projectaware.org 

Apart from participating in the ECO programs, Kelly developed her personal skills with the Self-Reliant course that was conducted in 2 days. Here you learn how to dive using a redundant air source.  Along with having the independent skills of diving solo, she also took on the Wreck Specialty - to have the opportunity to penetrate and explore inside the wrecks that we have on Koh Tao - especially the HTMS Sattakut Wreck. 

If interested in becoming a PADI Professional please contact us at : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

MSDT Kelly

Read more...

The divemaster exchange, a chance for a group of Divemaster Candidates to experience the inner workings of another dive shop, but in reality it was so much more!

Having spent the day two months at Sail Rock Divers on Koh Phangnan, this was a chance to experience something different! On arrival, Kelly-Ann Nickel, the instructor who would be looking after us, gave us a quick orientation of where everything was, pointing out the new renovations being completed to mark Assava Dive Resort's 20th anniversary.

Next, we met Jack, the Dutch instructor whose fun divers we'd be helping out with. He showed us how they organised their equipment, made the crew lists and explained all the logistics of taking a group of people out on a dive. As per expectation, the main structure of it all was the same with its slight uniqueness - "same same, but different".

Following was the part we'd been looking forward to, the diving! With Koh Tao being famous for its diving, boasting 74 dive shops on an island a third of the size of Koh Phangan, we knew we were in for a treat! First was Chumphon Pinnacle. An underwater pinnacle filled with diversity of the Thai Gulf: from the small lionfish to sting-rays and huge schools of fusiliers to reef sharks. This was an amazing introduction to diving on Koh Tao. Crystal clear water and abundance of underwater life.

We then visited the HTMS Sattakut Wreck - A ship from WW2 donated to Koh Tao that was sunk to offer a diversity of dive sites for Koh Tao in 2011. This wreck has now become a habitat to many fish. Being our first wreck dive, we were very much excited. So much so that one of us decided to stay an extra few days to pursue the wreck specialty. This was also a chance to assist on an advanced open-water course. A big shout out to Elred, whose course we were helping out with, and is currently cycling from Singapore to Hong Kong - #cyclefoodfun.

After the wreck dive, it was our chance to help on an Instructor Development Course (IDC). This was an opportunity to see what happens on an IDC should we wish to continue our diving education. Natalie Hunt, the PADI Course Director at Assava Dive Resort, would assign problems that the IDC candidates would have to spot and help us correct. Best of luck to you guys at the IE! Within the space of a few hours we'd already made three dives but there was still one more left today - a night dive. Once again we were helping out with Elred's night dive adventure dive.

As the sunset in the far distance, Kelly made a dive briefing and in darkness we made our descent into the water. This was the last dive for Elred before he would set off on his travels. Congrats on earning your advanced open-water license! The morning after, slightly tired from the jam packed day and night of libations, we had two more dives to enjoy Koh Tao's amazing and plentiful dive sites.

First we visited White rock once again but this time guided by sunlight. I was rather shocked to discover how much I missed the night before. This time it was my chance to have a fun dive with Ellie, a divemaster candidate at Assava. Then we went to dive at a site called Twins. A curious site with some man made structures mainly used for peak performance buoyancy lessons. Attractions like the "rocktapus" and hoops similar to that from a Harry Potter - quidditch game. It almost had a rather eerie feel of a disused amusement park. But alas it gave us a chance to test the expert watermanship skills required from a divemaster.

Then there was one last surprise for me!  A taste of Burmese food! Not something that I expected I'd try on Koh Tao but was I in for a treat. Kelly and I decided to grab a Burmese curry just before I left. Blimey it was spicy! One of those dishes that tries to scare you off with the spices but gets you hooked regardless of the burning tongue. It was a brilliant way to finish off my exchange.

Once again thank you to everyone at Assava Dive Resort for giving us an amazing time and many thanks to David Arnold, our PADI Course Director at Sail Rock Divers who helped organise this divemaster exchange. Special shout out to PADI Course Director Natalie Hunt and instructor Kelly Ann Nickel for organising the best two days!

Cheers from Ollie and Jaeho!!!  (Divemaster Candidates from Sail Rock Divers)

KellyJaeho Ollie

Read more...

Dive Master Exchange With Assava Dive Resort and Sail Rock Divers.

Myself – Kelley and one other dive master candidate Marko, were the lucky ones selected to go from Assava Dive Resort on Koh Tao to Sail Rock Divers on Koh Phangan as part of an exchange program between our two PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centres. Two Divemaster Candidates from each school where chosen to experience how another dive shop is run and gain a different perception of how dive operations run at a new location and dive sites.

I can't say enough good things about the experience it was truly the type of trip that money just can't buy. We arrived first thing in the morning and were picked up by Peter, one of their senor instructors, and shown around the shop. It was really interesting to see how another dive shop was set up and works. After a small tour of the area and a little breakfast at a local restaurant we went for an afternoon dive at one of the local dive sites called Mae Haad.

We did a shore dive, was a fun experience since as this is not something that is common on Koh Tao. In the briefing before the dive we were given some basic tips on navigating the site and at some point during the dive we were both asked to lead the dive for a bit. It was a great experience for navigating a dive site that was not familiar to us.

When we got back to the shop we were shown to our bungalows that we would stay in for the night. Both were just steps from the dive shop itself and very comfortable and spacious having separate bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms and even air-conditioning! After getting settled in to our rooms we were given scooters to borrow so that we could go explore the island of Koh Phangan. We drove for maybe 45 minutes and eventually ended up having lunch on a beautiful beach on the other side of the island. Having stayed on Koh Tao for some time, it was nice to be able to drive around for so long and see what a much larger island has to offer.

On our return to the shop the Sail Rock staff put together a BBQ and social event to welcome us to the shop. Fantastic food and a great way to meet everyone and enjoy the little bar they have on site. Such amazing hospitality and everyone was so great and welcoming, it was a real joy.

The next morning we headed out early to the dive boat - for Sail Rock, possibly one of the best dive sites this area has to offer. On board we had breakfast and lunch provided. When we got to Sail Rock, we had the opportunity to help with the dive site setup by securing buoys in a way that they wouldn't damage the reef and would allow them to do all the training skills that require the use of a line. After we had a great tour of the Sail Rock and all it has to offer. On our second dive we were lead by one of the dive master candidates from Sail Rock Divers for about half the dive then I had the chance to lead that was really fun and a great experience. We ended the dive with three friendly Whale Sharks and were also greeted by an amazing pod of Pilot Whales. Definitely more than we could have ever asked for!

On the way back to the shop everyone's spirits were high from the truly spectacular dives but I couldn't help but feel a little sad that we would be leaving in a few hours. After meeting everyone and having such an amazing time, I would have loved to be able to stay for a few more days and continue to learn from the team there but all good things must come to an end. One thing is for sure, I will definitely be going back to visit Sail Rock Divers to do a few more dives with them and say hello!

33463117 10212546191309258 8244126249350332416 n

Read more...

3 weeks holiday in Ko Tao …. let’s do a few dives but don’t take on too much - we’ve got time!

And go…..

We arrive at Assava Dive Centre, move into our bungalow on the beach and meet the fantastic people who work there.  Two dives later the little voice in Trevor’s head that’s been nagging him to complete his Dive Master Certfication becomes the shout that gets him to sign up.  I can just do some fun dives …. or I can do my Rescue Certification.  Yes, lets’ do that!  Some theory, some pool work, some exams and some fun, challenging dives with great diving buddies and guides and !BOOM!  I’m a Rescue Diver.  Now I can just do some fun dives …. or I can qualify as a Master Scuba Diver and supplement my existing Specialities with 3 more.  Some shots from the final Underwater Digital Photography of the Instructor Dive Candidate skills and Search and Recovery dives. 

Thank you to the Nat, Kelly, Marcus and all the amazing staff and friends at Assava Dive Centre for helping me achieve a pipe dream I didn’t even know I had!  What a rush - I am a MSD.

Leigh MSD

Read more...

At Assava Dive Resort we offer the Project AWARE - Coral Reef Conservation Specialty course which is a one day program and can be only theoretical knowledge or we can include a dive where you have the opportunity to explore the reefs of Koh Tao.  Our marine biologist Kelly-Anne Nickel Recently certified our Assava PADI Divemaster Candidates : Ivy, Kelley, Ellie and Jamie where they discussed the following topics:


* Importance of Coral Reefs
* Understanding Coral
* Complex Nature of Life on the Coral Reef
* Coral reefs in Peril
* Ways to protect the reef as a scuba diver and snorkeler.
* How Project AWARE is working to protect reefs and how you can help out.

Contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are interested in taking this program with us.

Coral Conservation 2

Read more...

Take Action and Join the Project Aware Movement with Assava Dive Resort.

At Assava Dive Resort we offer the AWARE Shark Conservation program which may be conducted in one or two days and includes learning about Sharks and how to we should interact with them, along with 2 open water dives.  Fortunately we are able to offer dives at a few dive sites where we have the opportunity to interact with Whalesharks and Black Tip Reef Sharks.

What you'll learn:

  • How to help our shark friends
  • Why Sharks are in peril and why we should care
  • The conservation status of sharks
  • The life history traits that make sharks vulnerable
  • The importance of Sharks to the marine ecosystems
  • How to manage threats and recognize values
  • The Key Management strategies to help protect sharks
  • The Value of Sharks to our local economies 
  • Removing common misperceptions of sharks that are a barrier to conservation.

Well done to our recently certified students for the AWARE Shark Specialty Conservation - Naglaya, Wouter, Ivy and Phillip with PADI Instructor Marcus Pinewald.

Ivy and Phillip

 

Read more...

Becky, Tom and Leigh all worked hard to achieve their recent PADI Rescue Diver certification.  PADI Instructors Kelly-Anne Nickel and Marcus Pinewald with assisting Divemaster Candidates Kelley and Trevor made the course an intense, challenging, fun and very rewarding course.  

Rescue1


The PADI Rescue Diver course is a 3 day program which includes learning how to develop personal dive skills and to recognize potential problems to either prevent them from occuring or solve the situation. The course is scheduled so that there is time to absorb all the theoretical information that is shown on the PADI Rescue Diver Videos and Knowledge workbook. Of course, there is a final exam and practical assessment.  During the course we begin with a confined pool session of all the rescue skills learning how to help a tired diver, panic diver on the surface and underwater, provide rescue breaths in water resuce and final scenarios including search patterns used to help locate a missing diver.  To take this course you only need to be 12 years old, be an Advanced Diver or Adventure Diver with Navigation training and have a current EFR (Emergency First Response course) or equivalent First Aid, CPR and Secondary Care certificaiton that is valid within a 2 year period.

On completion of the PADI rescue course you will personally feel a sense of achievement in your own abilities to help others in difficult situations whilst diving and broaden your knowledge on how to evacuate divers that experience pressure related injuries or more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more...