Phi Phi Island – Marine life guide (Part 2)

Here is the 2nd part of our Guide to the Marine life of Phi Phi Island

If you missed part 1 please Click Here

 

Whale Shark  (Rhincodon typus)Diving with Whale Sharks at Phi Phi IslandTo most Scuba Divers the Whale Shark is considered to be “The Holy Grail” of underwater encounters. The Whale Shark is the world’s largest fish and can reach up to 14 meters in length, despite it’s huge size it is considered harmless to human’s as it is a filter feeder living on a diet of plankton. The Whale Shark date’s back over 60 million years. It is regarded as a pelagic fish species that follows migratory patterns covering thousand’s of miles. Whale sharks are no strangers to Phi Phi Island and can be spotted year round, but the best time is April & May when they can be seen daily with sometimes 4 or 5 different sharks been spotted the same day.Link to Wikipedia page on The Whale SharkLionfish (Pterois)Lionfish on the reef at Phi Phi Island

The Lionfish family consists of 10 sub species and is probably best recognised as a home aquarium favourite. The Lionfish is native to the Indo Pacific region but has spread to other area’s such as the Caribbean where it has become a problem to the native fish life with it’s huge appetite. Found on almost every Dive in the Phi Phi Island’s this member of the Scorpion fish family need’s to be treated with the utmost respect and Divers would be wise to keep a safe distance from it’s toxin loaded spines. The lionfish is often regarded as one of the reef’s most beautiful species and Divers with good buoyancy skills can get up close for stunning photograph’s.

 

Link to Wikipedia page on Lionfish

Yellow Boxfish (Ostracion cubicus)

Cube Yellow Boxfish at Phi Phi islands

The Yellow Boxfish is another Scuba Divers favourite, found on coral reefs throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans. When juvenile, it is bright yellow in colour. As it ages, the brightness fades and very old specimens will have blue-grey colouration with faded yellow. A very popular fish with underwater photographers due to its bright colouring and small size, but always appears to move or turn just in time to spoil that perfect shot. Found on most of the Dive sites around Phi Phi Island but due to its size and ablity to hide in the reef it can easily be missed by Diver’s looking for the big fish.

Link to Wikipedia page on Yellow Boxfish

 

Manta Ray (Manta Birostris)

Scuba Diving with Manta Rays in Thailand

The Manta Ray is the largest of the Eagle Ray family and its wingspan can reach a massive 7 meters. Without doubt Diving with Manta Ray’s is one of the most amazing experiences a Scuba Diver can have. At times they can appear playful and perform a series of stunts right in front of Diver’s leaving you speechless. Manta Rays can be seen at Phi Phi Islands best dive site Hin Daeng and Hin Muang which is an open ocean site with spectacular drop offs to over 70 meters. The Manta’s visit this reef as a cleaning station and can quite often be seen almost completely still hovering above the reef whilst small fish and reef creatures perform a cleaning service for them. Like the giant Whale Shark they are a filter feeder only feeding on plankton.

Link to Wikipedia page on Manta Rays

For more information on Scuba Diving in Phi Phi Island visit http://www.princessdivers.com/

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PADI or SSI

Which is the right choice for me ?

 

PADI or SSI, which one is right for me ?

Excited about Scuba Diving and planning to get your first Scuba Diving licence soon ? But confused about which is the right choice for you ? Here we will try to give some clear insight into one of the most popular questions in today’s Scuba Diving industry. In this blog we are only focusing on the Open Water licence, which is the beginning point for your adventure into the underwater world. Following this most Divers will generally stay with the agency they started with although you can cross between PADI and SSI qualifications at any level.

PADI and SSI are the world’s largest Scuba Diving agencies and depending on which country you come from you may have heard more about one than the other. The most important thing is that both are sanctioned by The World Recreational Scuba Training Council (WRSTC) which is dedicated to the worldwide safety of the recreational diving public. As such, one of the WRSTC’s primary goals is the development of worldwide minimum training standards.

PADI is widely recognised as the worlds largest Scuba Diver training agency, where as SSI has become known as the fastest growing but both provide Scuba Diving licences that will be recognised in every Dive Center worldwide.

Many Dive Centers or Instructors around the world are registered with only one Diver training agency, so it goes without saying that they will “help you” to choose that agency and give you several compelling reasons why it is best for you !! That does not mean it is the best option but simply the only one for them to advise you. Here at Princess Divers we are certified to teach you either PADI or SSI so we really are able to let you choose for yourself.

With both PADI and SSI the open water course is broken into 3 sections and will take between 3 and 4 days depending on the Dive Centers location and logistics.

  • 1. Knowledge development or theory
  • 2. Shallow water training dives
  • 3. Open water or Ocean Dives

1. Diving Theory

Free Online Theory with SSI

The biggest difference between PADI or SSI to you the customer comes at the very beginning of the course, “The Theory section”. Both provide online training that you can complete at home before starting your holiday, this gives you more time to enjoy your holiday rather than been stuck in a classroom. The PADI Elearning will cost you $120 to study online, however the SSI Online Study is provided for free. This saving is very attractive to many of our students and can quite often be the deciding factor in choosing.

If you are planning to do your Diving theory at your chosen Dive Center the costs are very similair, but again SSI can help you save money by allowing the Dive Center to keep a library of books which they can loan to you for the duration of the course, students wishing to purchase their own new SSI manual may do so at anytime. PADI rules say that each student must have their own new Open Water book prior to starting their course this usually results in a $20 to $30 difference in the cost of the course.

2. Shallow Water Training

Scuba Diving Instructor teaching students Open Water Skills

The shallow or confined water training is probably your first time breathing underwater, this can bring about a mixture of feelings from nervous to excited. At this point our opinion is it more about You and the Instructor than PADI or SSI, both training agencies provide a list of similar skills that need to be completed in order to progress to the Open Water Dives. Having trust and feeling comfortable with your Instructor is the key point here. Your Instructor will demonstrate each skill to you, once you start to feel comfortable breathing underwater you will soon build confidence and progress through the skills one by one, depending on time limits this can be broken into to parts or completed in one go, everybody is different and it is better to go slowly and build confidence than to rush the skills.

3. Open Water Dives

A Scuba Diver with a Sea Turtle

So this it !! This is why you battled through the theory and worked hard to complete the basic skills, the open water dives are the most exciting part of the course and now you are feeling comfortable and relaxed. Like the shallow water training there is very little difference between PADI and SSI, with both you will complete 4 dives over 2 days with a maximum depth of 18 mtrs (60 feet) this may sound like a lot but with your new found confidence you will hardly notice, especially with all the new feelings you will be having from being underwater and seeing all the amazing marine life like Sharks and Turtles to name but a few. It is also at this point where SSI give your Instructor a little bit more freedom with the depths of each dive, no 2 days diving are the same and we are often controlled by mother nature and the ocean, this allows SSI Instructors to make changes to the days diving plan to suit the student group and the conditions.

Upon completion of your final Dive you are now ready to be certified as an Open Water Diver, whether you have chosen PADI or SSI will not matter at this point. As both licences are lifelong and will allow you to Scuba Dive anywhere in the world to 18 mtrs. You are now free to travel to the worlds Scuba Diving hotspots and new marine life and experiences will await you each and every time you dive.

About Me : I have been Scuba Diving since 1992, I became a professional Diver in 1999 and have worked in the dive industry to this current day, I have worked as a Divemaster, Underwater Videographer, Instructor and Dive Center Owner / Manager.

For more information on Princess Divers and how to book an Open Water Course with us

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Phi Phi Island Wreck Diving

Wreck Diving in Phi Phi Island

Wreck Diving enthusiasts visiting Phi Phi Island will not be disappointed with 2 excellent and very different options to choose from. Since 1997 Phi Phi Island could only boast a single wreck for divers visiting the Island, this all changed in March 2013 with the Royal Thai Navy sinking the 47 mtr Ked Kreaw close to the Island of Phi Phi Leh.

The King Cruiser

Dive the King Cruiser Wreck with Princess Divers

The King Cruiser ferry was heading back to Phuket from Phi Phi Island on the 4th May 1997, the huge catamaran had mysteriously strayed off course and suddenly struck the submerged Anemone reef, the accident tore a large hole in the hull and she started to take on water, in just over 2 hours she slipped beneath the surface and was lost to all but a privileged few, DIVERS!!!!.

Why she was so far of course on a calm clear day and nobody had noticed has remained a mystery, She now sits upright and proud at a maximum depth of 30 meters with the top of the wreck at 14 meters and has provided the local diving community with an awesome artificial reef covered in marine life. All 561 passengers and crew were rescued safely by fishing boats that were in the area and responded to the Captains call for help.

Wreck Diving in Phi Phi Island at the King Cruiser

As you descend down the buoy line towards the bow of the boat, you get a true feel for the size of this huge catamaran ferry which is over 85 meters in length and 25 meters wide. In the 17 years the King Cruiser has been underwater a huge amount of marine life has moved in and now call’s this home.

The first fish that await Divers descending onto the wreck are massive schools of Yellow Tail Snapper and Barracuda, sometimes so thick in numbers they can block out the light from the surface. Once on the wreck divers need to practice good diving skills to avoid the huge lionfish that patrol the mid decks and camouflaged scorpion fish resting, waiting for their next meal. Entering the wreck safely is now only possible in a few areas due to the collapse of the main super structure.

The King Cruiser is one of the most popular choices for our students making the PADI or SSI Advanced Diver Course. Instructors and Divemaster will brief their divers on the areas that are safe and where is not allowed to enter. A 5 meter safety stop on the way up buoy line above the wreck gives an amazing view of the whole ship and its mass of marine life. The trip to the King Cruiser wreck is normally followed by a 2nd Dive on the nearby set of pinnacles known as Shark Point Phuket, which is regarded as one of the best dives on the West Coast of Thailand.

Link to Wikipedia page on the King Cruiser

 

The Kled Kaeo Wreck

Wreck Diving in Phi Phi Island with Princess Divers

Wreck Diving in Phi Phi Island was handed a massive boost in March 19th 2013 with the planned sinking of the Kled Kaeo just of the Island of Phi Phi Leh, giving divers a great second option for Wreck Diving around the Phi Phi Island’s. The  382 ton 47 meter Kled Kaeo was built in 1948 for the Norwegian Royal Navy, being launched initially as the RnoMS Norfrost. Eight years later it was acquired and renamed by the Royal Thai Navy and used as a transport supply shop.

The sinking was part of the Thai Navy and the Coastal & Marine Resources department plant to sink old Thai Navy ships around Thailand to create artificial reef’s and new Dive site’s to promote tourism.

Diving the Kled Keao Wreck in Phi Phi Island

Sitting at a maximum depth of 26 meters and rising to 14 meters at the shallowest part the Kled Kaeo is a perfect wreck dive for beginners and experienced divers alike. Less than a month had passed and the sunken ship was already covered in marine life with 3 large school’s of fish circling above, Lionfish had quickly moved in and set up home around the main deck, Scorpion fish, a Turtle and an Octopus had also been seen in our first few dives.

Princess Divers Zodiac Dive boat

 

Perfectly located within the Phi Phi national park and only a 5 minutes away in our Zodiac speedboat, the Kled Kaeo is perfect for the Advanced Course Wreck dive With a single tank Dive trip scheduled everyday at 2:30 pm, it is easy for you to add this to your Fun diving trip schedule whilst on the Island.

 

 

For more information on Scuba Diving in Phi Phi Island please visit our website

Wikipedia page on Sinking ships for Wreck Diving

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Phi Phi Island – Marine life guide

A guide to the Marine life of Phi Phi Island by Princess Divers

Part 1

” What sort of marine life can I expect to see in Phi Phi Island ? “

When it comes to marine life Phi Phi Island really has something for everyone.

For those looking for the thrill of Scuba Diving with the bigger fish, Sharks, Turtles, Octopus and Moray Eels are common sights.
Experienced divers looking for small “Macro” marine life will be equally thrilled with what they find hiding among the corals.

In this guide we hope to show you the most popular marine animals we see during a typical day’s Scuba Diving in Phi Phi Island.

Leopard Shark  (Stegostoma fasciatum)

Leopard Shark seen at Phi Phi Island

The Leopard Shark as it is called in Thailand is also known as the Zebra Shark. This is one of the most popular sharks for Divers to see and appreciate as it is normally found resting on the sandy bottom, in shallow depths during the day. This allows Divers that approach with caution a spectacular chance for a close up encounter and great photo opportunities. The Leopard Shark can be found on all our local Marine Park Dive sites, and can grow to over 2 meters in length with its long powerful tail.

Link to Wikipedia page on The Zebra Shark

Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)

Hawksbill Turtle taken at Phi Phi Island by Princess Divers

The Hawksbill Turtle is one of 2 species of Sea Turtle found commonly in Thailand. Diving with Sea Turtle’s is one of the most thrilling experiences for Scuba divers. These magnificent creatures can grow up to 1 meter in length, and weigh over 80 kilos. They can reach 50 years of age. Like most Sea Turtles they spend most of their life alone, only meeting for mating times. Usually found shallow and swimming slowly along the reefs. Divers can spend a few minutes swimming peacefully alongside.

Link to Wikipedia page on Hawksbill Turtle

Anemone Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris)

Dive with Nemo at Phi Phi Island

Without doubt the Clownfish or Nemo as most people now refer to them are one of the reefs most popular inhabitants, Divers visiting Phi Phi will not be dissapointed as they can be found on all our Dive sites. The Clownfish lives in a symbiotic relationship with the Sea Anemone providing protection and food for each other. All Clownfish are born as males with the most dominant becoming a female if the current dominant female dies. There are over 20 recognized species spread worldwide.

Link to Wikipedia page on Clownfish

Giant Moray Eel (Gymnothorax javanicus)

Giant Moray Eel on the reef at Phi Phi Island

One of the reefs more scary looking creatures is the Giant Moray Eel. This is one of several different Moray Eels that can be found in Thai waters. The moray is an apex predator and is therefore at the top of the food chain. Most divers who have had the chance to see Moray eels soon realize that as scary as they look, there is no need to be afraid and as long as the “no touch rule” is adhered to they are quite content to let divers get a really close up look. At up to 3 meters in length and 30 kilos, there power is to be admired.

Link to Wikipedia page on Giant Morays

Blacktip Reef Sharks (Carcharhinus melanopterus)

Scuba Diving with Sharks at Phi Phi Island

The Blacktip reef shark is usually found on Phi Phi dive sites swimming in shallow water up to 10 meters deep. This gives Divers of all levels the chance to see this amazing creature. Quite often seen swimming in groups of 4 or 5 at a time. Easily identified by the black coloring on the tips of the dorsal and caudal fins. Their diet mainly consists of small fish, squid, cuttlefish and shellfish. They can grow to approx 1.8 meters in length. The Blacktip is very easily “spooked” by divers making sudden or quick movements and can disappear from sight in seconds. They pose no threat to divers and are always the highlight of Scuba Diving in Phi Phi.

Link to Wikipedia page on Blacktip Reef Sharks

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