Choosing PADI Advanced Course Open Water dives
“I need help choosing PADI Advanced Open Water dives” is a question we get asked every week. Consequently we thought we would write down our thoughts on choosing Advanced Open Water dives on Phuket.
The PADI Advanced Open Water Course has 5 Open Water Training Dives. These are actually called “Adventure Dives.” Although 5 dives are required, we offer you 6 dives. The first is a check-out dive with your instructor so you get to know each other a bit. Then the next 5 are the official PADI Open Water Training dives. We will of course give some help choosing PADI Advanced dives.
To be certified as a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver you must complete the Deep Adventure Diver and the Underwater Navigation Dive. The other 3 dives you get to choose yourself. That’s why named this article “Choosing PADI Advanced Course Open Water Dives”
There are 22 PADI Adventure Dives to choose from, which can make choosing PADI Advanced dives which can be a bit daunting. Although sadly we cannot teach them all on Phuket.
- Delayed Surface Marker Buoy ( DSMB)
- Digital Underwater Imaging
- Dive Against Debris (AWARE)
- Dive Propulsion Vehicle (DPV)
- Dry Suit
- Enriched Air Nitrox (EANx)
- Fish ID
- Full Face Mask (FFM)
- Peak Performance Buoyancy (PPB)
- Search and Recovery (S&R)
- Shark Conservation (AWARE)
- Underwater Naturalist
When choosing PADI Adventure Dives which can you not do on Phuket?
When choosing PADI Advanced dive on Phuket, let’s first start by crossing off the PADI Adventure Dives we don’t or can’t teach here in Phuket.
Altitude Adventure Dive – All our dives are at sea level so we can’t do this one.
Dry Suit Adventure Dive – Dry suits are great for diving in cold water. Fortunately the sea temperature on Phuket averages 28-30’C all year round. So we are quite comfortable diving in a 3mm shorty wetsuit all year round thank you very much!
Full Face Mask Adventure Dive – this PADI Adventure Dive can actually be completed on Phuket. The only thing is we do not have any one who can teach it. Why? I guess it’s just something we never got into? Chris has dived using commercial diving Full Faced Masks, such as the famous Kirby Morgan, we just didn’t really like the idea of talking underwater. We prefer the silence of a Poseidon Rebreather or the sound of our bubbles.
Ice Adventure Dive – I don’t think we need to explain this one – although we do have a page for PADI ICE Diver.
Choosing PADI Adventure Dives on Phuket
We can teach most PADI Adventure Dives on Phuket which makes choosing PADI Advanced Course Adventure dives more fun. Everyone, both divers and instructors have their favourite areas of Specialty Diving. Which is what PADI Adventure Dives are. When choosing PADI Advanced dives remember it is exactly the same as the first dive of the corresponding PADI Specialty Diver Course. So when you do a PADI Adventure dive on your PADI Advanced or Adventure Diver Course you are actually doing Specialty Course Dive. More on this later.
Although Deep Adventure Dive IS one of our favourites we will leave this one for now. Since it is a “Core Dive” and you don’t need to think about it choosing PADI Advanced dives. The same goes for the Navigation Adventure dive. Consequently we won’t mention it here about choosing PADI Advanced dives.
Night Adventure Diver – One of the favourite Adventure Dives is sadly seasonal; the PADI Night Adventure Dive. This means we only do Night diving between the months of October until May. There are two reasons for this, the first is that this is the opening times of the Similans National Marine Park. This is some of Thailand’s best diving and perfect for those taking their AOW Course on a Thailand Liveaboard. The second is the Low Season Monsoon from May until October. During these months most of the beaches on the West coast have high surf and strong rip currents. Which not surprisingly prevent us from diving off these beaches. If you are doing a Night dive with us, Kata Beach House Reef is excellent.
You always have a chance to see squid, octopus, sea horses and if you are lucky sleeping turtles. Here is some info about diving the Phuket Low Season.
Which PADI Adventure Dives can be done at any time on Phuket?
Boat Adventure Dive – This Adventure Dive is good for the true Land Lubber, an old term for someone who has never been on a boat before. The dive is designed to teach you all the different areas of boats and what they do. You will look at terminology which you will find useful as things on a boat are called something different to on land. The “head” is what a toilet is called on a Boat. Also the different diving procedures when Boat Diving along with the location of safety equipment. The student can do the PADI Boat Adventure Dive at any of our diving locations any time of the year. You can see a list of our Phuket Scuba Diving Day Trips as almost always dive from boats.
Digital Underwater Imaging Adventure Dive – A good Adventure Dive for the aspiring photographer! This Adventure Dive will teach you about the different features of an underwater camera and how different settings will affect your pictures. It also covers different techniques for shooting images underwater. Please note that a Go-Pro is not an underwater camera, if you bring one along your instructor will show you how to dispose of it in the bin where it belongs. We do however have Digital Underwater Cameras for rent if needed.
Diver Propulsion Vehicle – DPV
Have you seen the earlier James Bond movies? DPVs are almost always used in their underwater scenes. Shaped like a miniature torpedo, not only are DPVs fun to use, they are perfect for diving in strong currents. And even better for lazy divers who don’t want to swim. Using a DPV here in Phuket you can pretty much guarantee that you will see all of the dive site no matter how strong the current is or how large the site is. Also using a DPV is probably about as much fun it’s possible to have with your clothes on.
Drift Adventure Dive
The Andaman Ocean that surrounds Phuket has some pretty strong currents so drift diving is a very popular choice. Who doesn’t want to learn to fly underwater! The Drift Adventure Dive teaches you techniques to safely make drift dive with either a buddy or part of a larger group. We have some great Phuket dive sites for Drift Diving. Ko Dok Mai is a all year favourite. Ko Dok Mai is a wall dive that is perfect for drift diving with plenty of marine life to see. Like the idea of letting the sea do all the work on a dive? Then drift diving is for you and if you take your Drift Adventure Dive you would only have 1 more dive to do to complete your PADI Drift Diver Specialty Diver Course. I have to say it is one of my favourite types of diving.
DSMB, Delayed Surface Marker Buoy Adventure Dive
DMSB use was added into In the 2013 revision of the PADI Open Water Diver Course. Many divers were certified before this skill was added. Thus a lot of you may have been certified before, And consequently may not of had the chance to learn how to use a DSMB under professional supervision. In our opinion this is a “must have” tool for your toolbox. As the waterways get busier with boat traffic the risk of a propeller haircut also increases exponentially. Be a safe diver and use a DSMB.
Enriched Air Nitrox – EANx
Over the past 15 years Nitrox has become more and more popular world wide and has been PADI’s No #1 selling Specialty Diver Course for over a decade. Why? Very simply diving with oxygen enriched air drastically increases your dive time / how long you can stay underwater. Especially in the 15-30m range. The only problem we have doing this adventure dive is that the student must buy the manual separately because it’s not in the AOW manual. This manual is the PADI Enriched Air Nitrox Specialty Diver manual. In fact almost all of our students elect to take the full course rather than just do 1 nitrox Adventure Dive.
Fish Identification Adventure Dive
Feeling fed up of always wondering what the names of the fish your looking at are? The PADI Fish ID Adventure Dive will teach you how to recognise different fish families and in turn, how to find the one you are looking for in an encyclopaedia of fish. Don’t worry you don’t have to memorise every fish in the ocean, there are far too many for that. This PADI Adventure Dive can be done at any location around Phuket anytime of the year. And YES we do have a lot of tropical reefs and fish to choose from! So if you are interested in fish this is another to be thinking about when choosing PADI Advanced dives.
Peak Performance Buoyancy Adventure Dive
If your a diver who has a 30 logged dives already, or a new diver with just a few dives, this PADI Adventure Dive has something for everyone. Basic buoyancy is taught at entry level, however this dive is more about fine tuning your buoyancy. It starts with getting yourself properly weighted. This is the number 1 problem most divers have. This is also a GREAT Adventure dive you are also doing the Digital Underwater Imaging Adventure Dive. As obviously a photographer needs to be able to hover in some weird and wonderful positions to avoid damaging coral whilst taking that perfect photo. You will be amazed how much less air you use and how much longer you have underwater when you are properly weighted. Especially when combined with the correct body positioning etc.
It’s definitely worth considering when choosing PADI Advanced dives, especially if yo are “new” to diving. Actually it’s almost become our 3rd Core / mandatory dive.
Search and Recovery Adventure Dive
A PADI Adventure Dive that shows you some basic techniques to find and then bring to the surface lost objects. You will have a look at some underwater search patterns, to tie different knots as well as giving you practical experience of using a Lift Bag. Next time you drop something overboard you will know how to find it rather than just swimming around aimlessly underwater. Typically we teach this dive in fairly shallow water with a flat sandy bottom so have as much underwater time as possible. There are plenty of Phuket dive sites ideal for this where we can swim a short distance from the main reef to do this.
PLEASE NOTE: this is not going to make you a Treasure Hunter! The PADI Search and Recovery Specialty Diver Course has 4 dives, this is only the first dive. Take the whole Search and Recovery Course to learn more about this exciting underwater activity.
Self Reliant Adventure Dive
Have you ever dived with a buddy that scared you? I think we all have at some point in our diving life. The Self Reliant Adventure Dive is not a solo diving course. What it does is teach you about redundancy so you are better prepared to look after yourself underwater. So the next time you go on holiday and end up diving with the buddy from hell, it won’t be such a daunting experience.
Sidemount Adventure Dive
Sidemount diving was adapted from cave and technical diving and allows the diver to carry 1 or 2 tanks on their sides rather than the traditional back mount. This creates better flexibility for the diver. The Sidemount Adventure Dive teaches you about the new equipment you will be using, which isn’t complicated. You just need to be taught properly how to use it. The dive lets you experience this new freedom underwater. Most people who try this never use back mounted cylinders again because they like it so much. Unless they start Rebreather diving!
Underwater Naturalist Adventure Dive
A little different from the Fish Identification Adventure Dive, as this dive focuses more on what you are looking at underwater. The complex eco systems and symbiotic relationships that exist. For example a Sea Anemone and a Clown Fish (Nemo) and the behaviour that they exhibit. So if you have ever been bitten by a Trigger Fish, this course will teach you why and how to prevent it in the future. The Underwater Naturalist dive also touches on divers impact to the underwater world. And gives some tips and suggestions for maintaining a healthy reef. Because of the abundance of marine life in Thai waters we can do this dive at any of the Phuket dive sites at any time of the year. Worth remembering when choosing PADI Advanced Adventure dives.
Wreck Adventure Dive
This is probably the most asked about Adventure dives from people choosing PADI Advanced Course dives.It’s actually the most popular Adventure Dive (and Specialty Diver Course) in the world. This doesn’t mean more people do this Adventure Dive globally. But that it is the one more divers want to do than any other Advanced Open Water dive. Worth remembering when you are choosing PADI Advanced dives as we DO have quite a few on Phuket.
Shipwrecks are as much a part of the underwater realm as a coral reef is. The goal of this PADI Adventure Dive is to teach you how to navigate your way around a shipwreck and avoid any hazards the wreck holds. It just so happens that Phuket has the perfect wreck for this, the King Cruiser, one of our favorite Phuket dive sites. It is a car ferry that sank around 20 years ago on its way to the Phi Phi Islands. As well as being an awesome wreck the King Cruiser is also home to massive schools of fish that use the ship as protection from the larger ocean predators. This dive site is one of the signature dives of diving Phuket.
When you sign up for your PADI Advanced Open Water course you will be provided with a student manual. After discussing which Adventure Dives you will do with your instructor, you will have the corresponding 5 chapters to study in your manual. As you know from your PADI Open Water Diver Course, at the end of each chapter is a Knowledge Review. You only need to do those 5 chapters you agreed on with your instructor, however there is nothing wrong with reading the other dives. It does make for very interesting reading.