We have been supporting The Manta Trust for some time, and we have now become involved with a project specifically designed to monitor manta ray sightings around the coast of Thailand.
So, we were delighted to host Jamie from The Thailand Manta Project on our trip to Hin Daeng this week. As you can imagine, we were a little nervous about whether we would get to see any rays, but we were very lucky and encountered two beautiful rays, including one who had been sighted previously, named Paw Paw.
As can be expected, everyone on the trip was very excited to dive with these amazing creatures, especially as they stayed around for a whole hour.
We are obviously now more committed than ever to continue our support of the Thailand Manta Project and The Manta Trust. Keep up the good work guys!
If you are visiting Koh Lanta and wish to freedive, then you need the very best equipment. Cressi offers some of the most innovative and technically advanced products to complement your freediving experience.
We stock a range of fins that are specifically designed with freedivers in mind. Each item has been designed to suit the needs of the freediver, and allows for longer and more comfortable diving.
Gara Professional LD
Gara 3000 LD
Gara 2000 HF
So, come and talk to us at Hidden Depths Diving about all your freediving equipment needs.
Koh Lanta has a mix of different cultures, and at this time of year the Buddhist traditions on the island become obvious as locals celebrate Chinese New Year.
The owners and staff at Costa Lanta Resort welcomed us to their celebrations on Thursday 30th January, which is the equivalent of New Years Eve in the Buddhist calender. A table was laid out as an alter and a meal was prepared to honour the ancestors. The table had three different kinds of meat, desserts that had to be round and pink, as well as glasses of alcohol and water.
Each individual member of the group offered prayers to the ancestors for prosperity and the well being of loved ones. Incense was lit while the prayers took place. Following the prayers, the glasses of alcohol and wine from the table were poured out on to the ground. After this, firecrackers were lit as a celebration.
It was fascinating to hear about the rituals and practices surrounding this ceremony and it was wonderful to be part of such a beautiful event .
Our latest blog is a guest blog from our last Divemaster trainee, Sarah Wood. Here, she tells about her experiences becoming a PADI professional.
My Dive master training started with a lovely warm welcome from Rich and Ali at Krabi airport. From there we drove and ferried our way to what would be my home for the next three months on Koh Lanta. The first night was spent at the restaurant May’s Kitchen, meeting the people who would become my work colleagues, mentors and friends during my stay and all of them were lovely!
During my first few days of training I started to learn the theory behind scuba diving and also learning to navigate my way around the local dive sites with Rich who was to guide me through my DM training. Nicole and Steve were also doing their course at the same time and it was lovely to have people in the same situation who I could ask questions of and who knew exactly what I was going through.
I started to shadow Rich when he was working with customers on Open water and Advanced courses and also some very funny DSD’s. I had five practical tests to complete which saw me navigate myself out to sea on the snorkel test and also realize you should never wear a 5mm wetsuit when performing a tired diver tow as it gets very hot! As well as working with Rich I also shadowed Cynthia, our French Canadian instructor, George, an English instructor and Gary who owns the business with Rich. It was great to see how other instructors taught courses and to pick up some new ideas.
Over the course of seven weeks I learned how to inflate an surface marker buoy without going to the surface with it, how not to panic when you sometimes feel a bit lost underwater, how fast to fin when guiding customers underwater and a whole host of other practical skills. My training also included how to deal with customers and how to sell a dive trip.
Eventually it all had to come to an end and I finally finished the course in the middle of March. The final part was my snorkel test which I did on the beach at Koala bar with a DMT from another dive centre, Blue Planet Divers. Our mini beach Olympics was good fun and I had a great night.
My training at Hidden Depths was fantastic from start to finish. Everyone who works at the company is lovely and I have made some great friends during my training. The other staff are always willing to help and to answer questions when things don’t make sense or you just don’t know the answer. Koh Lanta is a perfect island to live on with all of the locals being very friendly and the other dive shop staff always ready to join in a night out. I would recommend to anyone wanting to do their PADI Divemaster training to get in touch with the staff at Hidden Depths Diving and find out when they can start!
Here at Hidden Depths Diving, we are not just interested in diving – surprisingly! We also concern ourselves with the community on Koh Lanta.
I am particularly interested in Lanta Animal Welfare, as I volunteered there for 4 months when I first arrived on the island, in October 2009. Back then, the organization was based at Time for Lime, the cookery school, restaurant, bar and bungalows owned and run by founder Junie Kovacs. As well as running all these very successful businesses, she also found the time to set up Lanta Animal Welfare.
She has been on Lanta since 2002, and had become concerned by the mistreatment of animals that she saw on the island. Dogs are the victims of abuse here, although traditionally, there hasn’t been a large canine population. That changed after the tsunami in 2004. There was a lot of rebuilding work carried out afterwards, and dogs were brought on to the island to act as guard dogs. When the building work ended, the dogs were left behind. They were left to run wild and started to become a nuisance. There was an increase in the numbers of attacks on dogs. It was not uncommon to find dogs being shot, drowned, poisoned or having boiling oil poured over them.
Junie felt that the problem was population control, and started a sterilization program, which is still running now. The idea is that the stray dogs are collected, sterilized, given a health check, tattooed for future reference, and then returned to the street. The sterilization acts to reduce the numbers of dogs in the future. The program also includes cats, although it has to be said that there are many fewer attacks on cats.
The charity now runs out of it’s own purpose built centre on Pra-Ae, and now has large numbers of volunteers helping to care for it’s resident dogs,cats and the occasional monkey. It provides care for animals on the island and has a clinic where owners can bring there pets.
You can help by logging on to their website at www.lantaanimalwelfare.com and donating money. You can help while you are on the island by walking a dog or by a longer term commitment of volunteering at the centre. Or you can go to Time for Lime and have a meal, take part in the cookery school, or just by having a drink and watching the sun go down. All the profits from Time for Lime go towards the upkeep of the shelter.