Diving In Krabi With Aqua Vision Dive Center
When we were first planning our trip to Krabi we realized that it would be the perfect opportunity for my first dive trip and it didn’t take long for us to realize that there are well over a dozen different dive centers around Krabi Town and Ao Nang. It seemed that they all offered similar diving classes and prices and traveled to similar diving sites.
Then we happened across Aqua Vision Dive Center in Ao Nang. Their clean-cut website described how they feature small group diving using speedboats to arrive at dive sites much earlier than the large day boats that most other dive centers use. With less time on a boat and fewer underwater crowds, this was starting to sound like the best option for me.
We contacted Aqua Vision Dive Center via e-mail about their Open Water Diver certification class and within 24 hours we received a friendly response with available dates and information about the course. After some back and forth we realized that the course would take four days and we only had three full days in Ao Nang. They also offered a three day open water diver course with the classroom portion taken online through PADI eLearning prior to the beginning of the course. This option worked perfectly for our schedule so we confirmed the class with Aqua Vision Dive Center and I started on the online PADI eLearning a week before our trip to Krabi.
The eLearning portion of the course was cloud based and could be accessed with a password from any computer with a steady internet connection. The class took about 12 hours total and included dozens of detailed chapters outlining safety procedures, SCUBA skills, and equipment descriptions and instructions. Each chapter had a combination of instructional videos, text, quizzes and end of chapter exams. I was able to work on the course anywhere we had a wifi connection.
When we arrived in Ao Nang we had to go by the Aqua Vision Dive Center office to fill out my course paperwork and I had to turn in the printed results of my eLearning class. Also, because I had asthma as a child, I had to go up the street to get a quick doctor consultation to ensure I was in good health to dive. The whole process took about an hour and the doctor consultation was just 200 Baht (less than 7 USD).
The next day was the first day of the course so I arrived at the office early in the morning and drove off to the pool to begin my equipment and skills training. There was only one other student in my class and our dive master and his assistant, so the lessons were very personal. In the pool we practiced setting up our equipment, clearing our masks, controlling buoyancy and we went over emergency procedures. I also had to pass basic swimming tests and prove I could tread water for more that ten minutes. The training was a little exhausting, but my divemaster did a wonderful job of making sure I was confident in using my equipment and that I was using it properly. The pool training lasted until 1 p.m. which gave us plenty of time to explore Ao Nang for the rest of the day.
The second day of the course started around 8 a.m. with Aqua Vision picking us up from our hotel and driving us out to meet the speedboats at the nearby Ao Nang pier. From there we were off to our first dive site of the day. There was a small group of 8 other divers on the boat with us. The first dive site was on the reef of a local island and the speedboat took just a few minutes to zip out there. There was no skills training on this dive and I spent the majority of the time underwater practicing my mobility and buoyancy on my own. Evanne was the official photographer for the trip so she swam easily around me taking photos. The visibility was good and we were able to see a lot of fish and even a large sea snake.
My first dive in open water was not as scary as I had built it up to be in my head and after just a few minutes underwater I felt very comfortable breathing and moving around.
During the second dive of the day, we worked on more skills training, including clearing our masks at depth, buoyancy control and how to use our alternate air source. After our practice with the divemaster, we swam off around the reef.
Lunch was tasty and fresh fruit and cold water were available after both dives.
On the third day we traveled out to the Phi Phi islands by speedboat for the last two dives of the course. The journey out to the islands only took about 40 minutes, much shorter than traveling on a big boat, and there were no other boats to be seen around the first dive site. The visibility was not as great as the day before, but the reefs were larger and more colorful. After more skills training and review of the day before, we set out to explore the reefs.
We were again the first boat to arrive to our final dive site, but as we geared up a few big boats lumbered in for their first dive of the day. These boats were at least four times the size of our speedboat and would dump dozens of divers. I was glad that we had not gone on a big boat from another dive center–way too crowded for me. The visibility at the final site was better than earlier in the day and allowed for some pretty cool fish sightings, including a large barracuda.
I am glad that I chose Aqua Vision Dive Center for my Open Water Diver certification. The dive masters were friendly, professional and had a fun sense of humor. It was great to get to the dive sites quickly and be the only ones in the area. The divemasters were very thorough in their instruction and calmed any nervousness with humor and calm reassurance. Evanne was able to come along on all my certification dives, and she had an enjoyable time.
- If you have certain medical conditions or are taking prescription medication, you will need a physician to sign a form stating you are fit enough to dive. Ask the dive shop to print you a copy and then take it to the doctor. When you leave Aqua Vision, turn left and head up the hill. The first clinic on your left charges 200 baht for a quick consultation.
- Aqua Vision offers hotel pickup for most hotels and resorts in the area
- Visit Aqua Vision’s website for more information and to book a dive
- More information on getting your PADI Open Water certification here
Poplar Travels took part in this activity as a guest of Aqua Vision. Our opinion is always our own.