As more and more divers venture each year to our island, it is vital that we offer more areas to dive at. By offering more areas to dive, we can prevent our sties from becoming too crowded, and also relieve the natural areas of stresses caused by inexperienced divers. That is why we have teamed up with the Save Koh Tao Marine Branch and other local dive schools over the last few years to create new and exciting alternative dive sites around the island.
Through the Marine Branch, local dive schools have funded and built the Hin Fai Biorock, the MV Trident Wreck, and Buoyancy World (plus the Bouyancy World expansion project in 2011). With the help of MINI Thailand we were also able to create the MINI Square site, complete with a MINI Cooper replica. With the help of the DMCR and PTT we now have the HTMS Sattakut Wreck, a 44 meter long battleship. And also from the DMCR we have the Suan Olan Diver training site.
The goal of the Suan Olan site is to create interesting structures that provide for fish and coral habitats, while also being useful in the training of new divers. Training aids at the site include swim throughs, buoyancy rings, and navigation courses. It was hoped that instructors from the island’s dive school would use the site, thus creating better divers and reducing damage to the natural reefs.
We go often to the site for maintenance, coral transplanting, training, and to enjoy the abundance of marine life; but so far have never seen another dive group there. The response we have had from other dive schools is that the site is too spread out, and difficult to navigate. Just the sort of problem the NHRCP loves to solve.
The last few weeks our interns have been working to make 150 small concrete artificial reefs that will provide more habitat for corals and fish, but primarily be used to link the individual structures at the site together to form a more cohesive dive area. Furthermore, we are also creating a string of nurseries that will lead divers between the Suan Olan Diver Training site and the MINI Thailand site.
It is not an easy task on land, creating 150 units out of concrete, hand mixing in the sun. But, under the water we enjoy freediving the pieces down, setting them up, and affixing corals found naturally broken around the reefs onto them.
This is just one of our contributions to the local marine environment and dive industry, and we are proud to be helping the DMCR and the Save Koh Tao group with their efforts. Stay tuned on our website for more pictures and updates!