Archive for the ‘Diving’ Category

MV Scuba Adventure Liveaboard March 2012

Posted on April 2nd, 2012 by admin-scubacat-dw  |  Comments Off on MV Scuba Adventure Liveaboard March 2012

Northern Cruise to Similan Islands and Richilieu Rock

This trip left from Tap Lamu with Peter and Bente from Denmark, Emil and Patrick from Sweden and Urs from Switzerland. We sailed for a few hours to Koh Bon where we slept for the night. The first morning we had a check dive on Koh Bon Reef. Urs, who was doing his Advanced Open water course on board completed his deep adventure dive. The reef was active with beautiful schools of yellow snappers, the 2 resident golden trevellies made their appearance. The resident Napolean also made a visit.

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Liveaboard

After breakfast Patrick did the skills for the Discover Scuba. He was very confident and managed the skills with ease. The second dive had octopus, cuttle fish, banded sea snake and a manta!!!! We decided to move to Koh Tachai where we attempted to do the Pinnacle. Unfortunately, the current was so strong that Kath couldn’t make it to the mooring line… Another time!! All was not lost as we headed to the reef where we had a gentle easy dive. The night dive was also on the Reef. Fred, the resident barracuda accompanied us throughout the dive trying to hunt by torchlight. For a predator, he is not good at catching his prey (maybe he needs glasses!!)

On day 2 we went to Richelieu Rock where we did 3 dives. Each dive was completely different. The school of barracuda were hanging around the crescent as usual. They are a magnificent sight. One of the first things we saw was a Devil Scorpion fish moving along the bottom. This dive site is an incredible place and offers so much diversity from large schools of fish to macro. Each diver really enjoyed looking into cracks and crevices to see what could be found…pipefish, shrimps, moray eels, mantis shrimps and so much more. A Devil Ray was seen at the surface during lunch. A rare sight!!! Our final dive was at Koh Tachai. Emil, Peter, Bente and Kath went onto the pinnacle with zero current. A vast change from the day before. Peter and Bente had to abort the dive. A pity, as it was truly amazing. A huge school of barracuda with hundreds of fish appeared and stayed for a while. The batfish were hanging around one of the boulders and the trevellies were menacing the snappers and fusiliers. Elaine, the Dive Master on the boat took Urs and Patrik onto the reef where they saw a turtle.

MV Scuba Adventure Sea Fan

The first dive on day 3 was on Koh Tachai. A good dive with some current. The soft corals and gorgonion sea fans are stunning. This dive site always has so much activity on it that it is difficult to put into words. You just have to experience it first hand. Our second dive of the day was on Koh Bon Reef heading towards the West Ridge. A manta made it’s appearance towards the end of the dive. Albeit a brief encounter it way still lovely to see this majestic creature. After dive 2 we headed to the Similan Islands and into Donald Duck Bay, where some of the customers went onto the beach to take photos from the view point. Urs completed his navigation dive as part of his advanced course. The natural navigation part of the dive was a dream with us finding a Green turtle sitting quietly under a rock. Our third dive on Three Trees was enjoyed by all on the boat. The reef is a sloping running reef on Island 9. There were several turtles in the shallows. We saw a Napolean Wrasse as we dropped in. Three Trees has an abundance of aquatic life. Our final dive of the day was a night dive on West of Eden. This site with the rocky formations and coral blocks is an ideal environment for many nocturnal creatures. There were plenty of lobsters, various crabs and shrimps. A free swimming giant moray was actively hunting. Always a great sight.

Day 4 and our final dives were on Shark Fin Reef. The South side has the most incredible rock formations. The enormity of the boulders is very imposing. During this dive we saw garden eels and numerous blue spot rays in the sand. We were lucky enough to see a huge bump head parrot fish hiding in a crack in one of the rocks. To see this fish so close was breath taking. The surgeon fish always look as if they are kissing the rock as they feed on the algae growing. Shark Fin also has the large boxfish, something that isn’t seen often on other sites in the Similans. Our final dive of the trip was on the north side of Shark Fin. Once again we saw the bump head parrotfish. The north side has rocks in the shallows and slopes gently to the bottom. A relaxing dive for the end of the trip.

MV Scuba Adventure Bump Head Parrot fish

Congratulations to Urs for completing his Advanced Open Water on the trip and to Patrik who had several dives on the Discover Scuba program. He is now bitten by the diving bug and will at some point in the future do the Open Water Course, so he can dive with his brother Emil.

Whats New at Scuba Cat Diving?

Posted on April 1st, 2012 by admin-scubacat-dw  |  Comments Off on Whats New at Scuba Cat Diving?

Scuba Cat Diving was been based on the beach road of Patong for the past 18 years, but this year, things changed.

Scuba Cat Diving  5 * CDC Phuket Thailand

New Locations

A move away from the tuk tuks, tailors, massage parlours and Muay Thai advertisements (yes those of you who have already been to see us will recall “Monday Night, Monday Night……….” )to a new location inside the Kee Plaza, a fantastic hotel and shopping facility 200m off of the Beach Road. This has enabled us to have a larger retail selection, much more selection for our customers to choose from Scubapro, Aqualung and many more.

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Kee Plaza Patong

Kee Plaza

We have  kept our classrooms in Soi Watanna but opened a second shop putting retail and booking’s on the ground floor, this has allowed us to have our dive centre at both ends of Patong so is more convenient for you all. Our fun pub has moved to the roof top terrace we created this year.

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Soi Watanna Patong

Meet the team

It has been a different 6 months but things are progressing well.

Scuba Cat Diving, 5 * CDC is still under British ownership and management and they have the only female Course Director, Sarah Kench, conducting monthly IDC’s on Phuket. Along side this we are the only DDI (Disabled Diver International) Instructor Trainer Centre in Asia.

Scuba Cat has a long history of being eco aware, from laying artificial reefs, becoming the first National Geographic Centre in Phuket, bi-annual underwater clean ups and winning awards from Project AWARE. This is consolidated with our 5 year commitment to monitor reefs at a local island in conjunction with reef check trainers from China on a yearly basis as we are the only reef check centre on Phuket. Recently we won the Green Star Award, the first dive centre to achieve this on Phuket and quickly followed it up by becoming the first Dive Centre in Phuket to go 100% Aware.

Following the changes we made on the retail side of the business this year Scuba Cat has also made changes in the type diving we are offering.

As always we conduct our courses to the highest standards, with emphasis on quality rather time. IDC’s are available every month along with DSAT Tech diving up to Instructor level.

We are  running 3 Diving boats this year, all of which will have Nitrox available and limited numbers of divers on them, this will enable us to have 3 different schedules which will suit all divers and snorkelers.  Whether you are a snorkeller, brand new to diving or looking to change your life by joining us working in Paradise, no problem, we have a program to suit you and your whole family.

Daytrips to the local islands around Phuket on board MV Scuba Fun will run 3 dives per day at different locations. New for this year there will be freshly cooked meals from our own kitchen cooked by the awesome Chef from Lair Le Tong Restaurant.

Half day trips to the local reefs of Phuket on MV Scuba Sport, new for this year allowing boat diving on mornings, afternoons and night dives. Sightings on the reefs have been beyond our expectations, with things we have not seen around Phuket in many years, the most recent being a free Swimming Ribbon Eel.

Our liveaboard MV Scuba Adventure will run trips to both the North Andaman and South Andaman this season, allowing for 3, 4 or 7 day trips offering the best diving Thailand has to offer. As always she offers un-crowded conditions, by having reduced numbers on the boat and is run by our own Tour leader Kath Ridley and the best Captain and Crew on Phuket. A brand new schedule is being launched for the summer and next high season to give you even more variety.

A new IDC website created by our website designers dedicated to professional level courses and Internships will be launched very shortly.

News – Project Aware 2011

Posted on August 26th, 2011 by admin-scubacat-dw  |  Comments Off on News – Project Aware 2011

Project Aware is a non-profit worldwide organization that was established in 1995 by in response to divers concerns about the potential damage of coral reefs through recreational and commercial water activities. The diving community has become aware that the man’s activities and natural disasters have led to a reduction in the natural reef systems worldwide.

We're protecting the ocean with Project Aware

Project Aware advocates, “Conserving underwater environments through education, advocacy and action”

Project Aware has several regional offices in USA (the Head Quarters), Asia Pacific, Europe, Japan and International.  These offices have been responsible for issuing grants to worthy causes. Over a 20 year period the Foundation has awarded grants ranging from $500 to $3000. The areas of funding have included:

Coral Reef Conservation

Shark Protection

Sustainable Fisheries

Ecotourism related to underwater activities

Aquatic education especially children

Direct conservation of underwater resources, for example, mooring buoys

In 2009 the Foundation expenditure for grants was a staggering $275,000 worldwide for 116 projects.

The Foundation is presently reworking the grant-giving program in order to align with Project Aware’s new mission and action plans for the future. It is hoped that details will be available from September 2011.

Education is paramount and Project Aware has many educational resources available including posters, publications, activity and learning kits, exhibits and lectures to mention a few. Education is a critical component in the protection of our oceans.  The oceans have been put under pressure due to the Earth’s expanding population and the ever-increasing use of disposable goods, which become discarded and can eventually make their way to the ocean, for example, plastic bags.  The Foundation actively encourage the education of children and have devised the AWARE Kids program, which teaches children about the underwater world and encourages activities for them to participate in, for example, beach clean-ups. There is an AWARE Kids Activity Book, which topics include coral reefs, sharks, whales, dolphins, whales, turtles and kelp forests. All the student activities correlate to National science Education standards. Education of children is important, as they are our ambassadors for our future.

Project Aware encourages regular events, for example, beach clean-ups, coral monitoring and donate as you dive campaigns. It is an organization that encourages divers worldwide to participate in activities such as underwater clean-ups, monitoring and reporting the state of the marine environment. Armed with information from divers it is possible to lobby governments for action on preservation and the conservation of the marine environment.

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Clean Up


Project Aware has recently acquired a new logo and has become pro active in two main conservation areas. These campaigns are known as Sharks In Peril and Marine Debris. It is known that less than 1% of the ocean environment is protected. The shark campaign is trying to secure shark protection worldwide. Unfortunately, there are some species of sharks that are on the brink of extinction and without action the shark population will continue to be decimated. There is currently a petition, which will put pressure on Governments, particularly in countries that matter, to enforce policies to protect the shark population. There has been a victory in Europe, which has enforced a shark-finning ban.  The shark petition is in the form of a widget, this being the 21st century online version of door-to-door canvassing. The widget can be uploaded to websites and blogs, so signatures can be acquired online.

The Dive Against Debris campaign enables divers to participate in a year round citizen science project highlighting the negative impact of trash in the marine environment and how to address the issue.  Data that is submitted to Project Aware gives a true picture of the debris issues. Currently, there are 180 countries that are actively collecting and reporting online with the help of a data card the type of underwater rubbish that is found. The data can be used to highlight “hot spots”, thus promoting further action in these areas. The diving community can be pro active and use tools available from Project Aware to connect with other divers who are organizing conservation activities in the area. The Foundation is an inspiration to divers who are the key to addressing debris issues on a global scale.

Project Aware has produced a book, which gives information on issues facing the underwater ecosystems. The environments covered include: coral reefs, temperate and tropical regions, oceans, lakes, rivers, fisheries management and diving aware. It is a comprehensive book that is used as teaching tool for the Project Aware Specialty. This is a worthwhile course and gives the diver a wealth of information.

One way of contributing to Project Aware is to make a donation when you are being certified for any Scuba Diving Course. The donation is 100% and goes to worthwhile causes. In return you will receive a limited edition certification card. This organization has been inspirational to many divers and continual action will make a difference!!

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand  Certification Card

"Limited Edition"

Diver Safety – The importance of the SMB

Posted on August 19th, 2011 by admin-scubacat-dw  |  Comments Off on Diver Safety – The importance of the SMB

A Surface Marker Buoy, also known as an SMB or safety sausage is an essential piece of kit for the safety conscious diver.

There are several types of surface marker buoys on the market including the open ended and self-sealing.  Scuba Cat has for several years, stocked a range from the Company “Surface Marker”. Udo Hartig, a diver himself, for optimum visibility, durability and ease of use, has designed this particular range.  It is a range that has proved popular amongst professionals and recreational divers.

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Surface Marker SMB

"Surface marker"

An SMB is highly recommended in areas where there is boat traffic. The deployment signals to the boat Captain that there are divers completing a safety stop (5metres for 3 minutes) and are about to surface.  Deployment will also aid divers as it can be used as a reference to maintain the correct depth whilst on the safety stop.  An SMB is also essential when drift diving as it enables the boat crew to track the divers in a current.  Should the diver surface away from the boat the use of an SMB will minimize the wait on the surface, particularly in poor conditions such as high waves and poor light conditions. After all, it is so much easier to see a brightly coloured SMB at distance as opposed to a small head in a large ocean!!

Surface Marker have produced two open ended SMB’s that are compact and come complete with a carry pouch that can easily be attached to the BCD. The SMB’s are made from very durable 210D Nylon and are dual coloured, orange one side and neon yellow on the other. This is the best colour combination for a recreational diver. The orange is bright in strong sunlight and significant glare, whereas the neon yellow is excellent for diminishing light conditions. They also have “Diver Below” written in bold letters. The open-ended SMB’s come in two sizes 145cm and 175cm. The latter is a deluxe model and also has a reflective strip, which increases the visibility of the diver.

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Diver Safety The SMB

"Surface Marker"

The one component that sets these buoys apart from other products on the market is the innovative Webbing Deployment System in also known as WDS. This system is simple to use and minimizes risk of entanglement, which is common when SMB’s are used with string. The webbing system folds neatly and is secured with a small bungee cord. As the SMB goes to the surface the webbing unravels easily and it can be effortlessly gathered on ascent.  This particular system eliminates the use of a reel, which can be daunting for some divers. It is definitely a simplistic system that is proven to work. The ideal depth to release the SMB is at 5.5m, which is ideal for the safety stop. The diver can easily maintain contact with the webbing by using the stainless steel thumb ring. This can easily be released should the need arise.

The Surface Marker Pro is a self-sealing SMB, which is commonly used by professionals and technical divers. These buoys are designed to be inflated at depth. The self-sealing internal baffle ensures that the SMB remains fully inflated on the surface. Self-sealing SMBs are fitted with an over pressure release valve, which allows expanding air to escape as it ascends. This particular SMB comes in three colour combinations that cover all requirements. Technical divers on ascent and decompression stops normally use the orange. This colour signifies that all is well. However, should a problem arise then a technical diver will deploy neon yellow which indicates to the surface support that a problem has arisen and that maybe immediate assistance is required. It is also possible to attach a diver’s slate to the SMB, so communication with the surface is possible.   Instructors tend to favour the dual coloured SMB, which offers optimum visibility in all surface conditions. The range of self sealing SMBs are also furnished with the highly visible SOLAS tape and an attachment for strobes or a cyalume stick.

It is possible to encounter problems when deploying an SMB.  One problem that may arise is a jamming reel when using a self-sealing SMB, which does not have the WDS system.  It helps to have a simple reel or use a finger reel that will not jam.  Surface Marker has finger reels available that will fit snugly into the carry pouch of the SMB, which reduces the bulk of equipment.  The finger reels come complete with 30m of line, a stainless steel double ended snap hook and a thermoplastic spool for durability. When using any reel system be mindful of the possibility of entanglement and do not attach the reel to diver. If the SMB is dragged for any reason and you are attached then a rapid ascent may result.

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand  5 * CDC

"Finger Spool"

When inflating the SMB it is recommended to keep your regulator in your mouth at all times. If you use the primary air source and problems enfold then it is difficult to resolve them. It is important to remain calm and in control. When inflating the SMB it is advisable to use one of two methods. Firstly, the alternative air source can be held under the open end of the buoy and air can be purged inside. However, be mindful that in cold conditions this may result in a free flow. The second method of inflation is open the buoy above the primary demand valve and exhale allowing the air to enter the SMB.

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Surface marker Life Bag

"Thank you"

Surface Marker also supply 25kg and 65kg lift bags. Scuba Cat has been loaned several by Surface Marker for use on the clean-up events that are held at least bi-annually. The main events are Earth Day and International Clean-Up. The latter event is a extended to a weekend accommodating participants on one of the two liveaboards, MV Scuba Cat and MV Scuba Adventure.  The loan of the lift bags has proved invaluable over the years for lifting various objects varying in size. They are also ideal for marking objects that need lifting on subsequent dives. The lift bags are available in orange and neon yellow and are made from the very durable 210D Nylon, the same material as the SMB’s. The bags are furnished with a top handle and dump valve, which allows the diver to make a controlled ascent rate when surfacing. They also have a strong stainless steel ring for attaching rope. The self-sealing system ensures that the lift bag will remain inflated on the surface.

One of the latest products is the signal mirror. This is compact and can easily be slipped into a BCD pocket. Should you find yourself in the daunting position of not being seen by a boat the mirror comes into it’s own. The unique feature of the mirror is that it can be directed at a specific target and can be visible for 32km!!!!! You could even signal to a passing aircraft…

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand Surface Marker Signal Mirror

"Signal Mirror"

Signalling devices are a must. If you would like to become more confident deploying an SMB then why not do the Distinctive SMB Deployment Speciality or The Drift Diver Speciality.

Search and Recovery is the ideal Speciality if you would like to learn how to use lift bags.

News – Your Certification Card

Posted on August 18th, 2011 by admin-scubacat-dw  |  Comments Off on News – Your Certification Card

Congratulations…… you have just completed your Advanced Open Water Course.

So how do you show this to Dive Centres around the world?

Your certification card is proof that you’ve successfully completed your training. This will arrive through the Post system to your home address. Once you have the card you are ready to start diving.

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand  Certification Card


If you’re like most divers, you never miss an opportunity to go scuba diving.

If you loose the card, what can you do?

You may also want to replace your card if:

  • You damage it .
  • You changed your name. (You’ll need a copy of legal documentation of name change.)
  • You are upgrading from any Junior Diver certification.
  • You would like to replace your existing card with a new Project AWARE Edition Certification Card.
Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand  Certification Card
  • You want to collect fun limited edition certification cards!

You can easy replace your card online at .com. It will be with you in about 3 weeks. You can also print a temporary card if you cant wait that long.

It’s a little bit harder to change your name, contact first and let them have an email showing the legal documentation. They will change your name on their system; you can then order the new card online. Sound like too much admin? Again why not take the next course?

The future is coming….

As with everything else this small card is going electronic.

Scuba Cat Diving Phuket Thailand  Certification Card

"the future....."

The eCard uses the power of the smartphone (initially available for Apple, and Android smartphones) and will be hosted, managed and displayed using the Application.

The eCard will be proof of certification.
Security of the eCard was one of s primary concerns, so QR coding (a specific, two-dimensional code) is integrated to make authentication straightforward and easy.

The eCard will be available for new certifications and replacement cards starting in fourth quarter 2011.

Divers will have the options of a eCard, plastic certification card or both.