Advanced Open Water Spotlight
Written by Ernesto Soriano III, PADI Divemaster Candidate
Go deep. Get Wrecked. Find your way. Spotlight on: PADI Advanced Open Water Course
You’ve taken your first breath underwater, and experienced the pure magic of diving in Koh Tao.
You’ve learned to manage your buoyancy, manage your air, and look after your buddy. And you you’re wondering when you can get back underwater as soon as possible.
The PADI Advanced Open Water Course is a natural progression for PADI Open Water divers, and a great way to hone your skills and master new ones. Don’t be put off by the name - you don’t have to be an advanced diver to start. But you do should have a willingness to advance your personal skills! For many, taking the Advanced Open Water Course enables new levels of awesome experiences in the ocean.
The PADI Advanced Open Water Course consists of five adventure dives, two of which are mandatory, and three which may be selected by the student.
The Deep Adventure Dive is one of the required dives in the PADI Advanced Open Water Course. As a PADI Open Water Diver you are certified up to 18 meters around the world; the Deep Adventure Dive will take you deeper underwater where you’ll learn about the effects and challenges of diving at depth. Here at Coral Grand Divers, one of our favourite dive sites for the Deep Adventure Dive is Chumphon Pinnacle. Advanced Open Water students will descend to depths around 26-30 meters before exploring the Pinnacle where we often see schools of barracuda, giant grouper fish, lionfish, and on lucky occasions...even a whale shark or two!
The Underwater Navigation Adventure Dive is the second required dive. Students will refine compass skills, learn to navigate using natural references and kick-cycles, and gain a better sense of spatial awareness under the sea. There are several dive sites around Koh Tao perfect for Underwater Navigation. One popular spot for is White Rock, with numerous rock and coral formations to use as natural references as divers navigate around the site. Junkyard Reef is another site where many Advanced Open Water students complete their navigation dive. With all sorts of ‘junk’ placed around the site, students enjoy seeing marine life in relatively un-natural environments like a sunken gym, motorbike, and even a replica of the Sydney Harbor Bridge!
Students may select the final three adventure dives, however one we strongly recommend and include in most Advanced Open Water Courses is the Peak Performance Buoyancy Dive. Buoyancy World is the perfect site for this dive. With swim throughs and special equipment placed especially for practicing buoyancy, divers will hone and master the all important power of weightlessness under the sea.
Koh Tao is also home to the HTMS Sattakut, a 40m long An ex Thai Navy boat, which has been sunk specifically for diving. Advanced Open Water students may elect to complete the Wreck Adventure Dive here, descending to depths around 18-24 meters. As an Advanced Open Water Diver you’ll be able to explore the exterior of the Wreck, including the Captain’s Cabin and two cannon guns. For those wishing to enter the interior of the wreck, you may consider the Wreck Specialty.
The Night Adventure Dive is a whole new experience for many with many different species of fish coming out to hunt and explore. Some students may also select the Fish Identification Dive, where you will learn more about the underwater marine life on Koh Tao.
Each adventure dive is designed to give students a taste of the many skills available as part of the PADI specialty program. Whatever you choose for your Advanced Open Water Course, you will no doubt come out of the water a more confident and capable diver than before. Divers who complete the Advanced Open Water course will be certified to dive up to 30 meters around the world, and will be on their way to a lifetime of amazing underwater experiences.