Advanced Open Water Spotlight
Go deep. Get Wrecked. Find your way. Spotlight on: PADI Advanced Open Water Course
Have you taken your first breath underwater and experienced the pure magic of diving in Koh Tao?
You have learned to manage your buoyancy, manage your air, and look after your buddy. You may want to know 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 should have the willingness to advance your skills! For many, taking the Advanced Open Water Course enables new levels of extraordinary experiences in the ocean.
The PADI Advanced Open Water Course consists of five adventure dives, two of which are mandatory and three which the student may select.
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 worldwide. The Deep Adventure Dive will take you deeper underwater, where you'll learn about the effects and challenges of diving at depth. At Coral Grand Divers, Chumphon Pinnacle is one of our favorite dive sites for the Deep Adventure Dive. Advanced Open Water students will descend to depths around 26-30 meters before exploring the Pinnacle. 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, navigate using natural references and kick-cycles, and gain better spatial awareness under the sea. Several dive sites around Koh Tao are perfect for Underwater Navigation. One popular spot is White Rock, with numerous rock and coral formations to use as natural references as divers navigate the dive site. Junkyard Reef is another site where many Advanced Open Water students complete their navigation dive. With all sorts of 'junk' around the area, students enjoy seeing marine life in relatively unnatural environments like an open gym, motorbike, and even a replica of the Sydney Harbor Bridge!
Students may select the final three adventure dives. However, the Peak Performance Buoyancy Dive is one we strongly recommend and include in most Advanced Open Water Courses. 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. Buoyancy World is the perfect site for this dive.
Koh Tao is also home to the HTMS Sattakut Wreck, a 40m-long ex-Thai Navy boat that has been explicitly sunk for diving. As an Advanced Open Water Diver, you can explore the Wreck's exterior, including the Captain's Cabin and two cannon guns. For those wishing to enter the Wreck's interior, you may consider the Wreck Specialty. Advanced Open Water students may elect to complete the Wreck Adventure Dive here, descending to depths around 18-24 meters.
The Night Adventure Dive is a new experience for many, with many different fish species 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 undoubtedly 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 worldwide and be on their way to a lifetime of unique underwater experiences.
Posted by Ernesto Soriano III, PADI Divemaster Candidate