So the time had come I take the plunge and complete my Advanced Divers Course. Now as I was certified with PADI for my Open water I would now undertake the advanced course in SSI with La Bombona Diving. To clear things up this does not change anything as they are essentially the same just with different labels and a few different ways of doing certain things underwater. You can switch from PADI to SSI and visa versa.
I arrived at La Bombona Diving early one morning to complete some paperwork and commence the training. Now the breakdown of the course is actually quite simple in that you watch a short water safety video then plan out your 5 dives and the skills in which you are interested in further developing. This should not at all be daunting for anyone as you should be fairly confident with your diving. Now there are several options for the skills you can complete however with the assistance of our instructor Tom we chose skills that would be beneficial in assisting us to be the best divers we could be.
The skills we chose included:
- Navigation (how to correctly set a bearing to begin your dive then understand how to set a bearing to find the boat at the completion of your dive).
- Perfect Buoyancy (Always the hardest however the most fun in finding that point where you hover in the water with every breathe in and out. For those who are talented upside down perfect buoyancy)
- Night Dive & Limited Visibility (This is basically a night dive with your instructor to say that you are confident swimming with a small torch underwater)
NOTE: If you complete your advanced course with La Bombona in Koh Tao you may be lucky enough to see the ‘Bioluminescence’)
- Deep Diving (A dive to 30 meters where you complete a few different tests which shows you how coordination and thinking can be slowed down drastically)
- Underwater Naturalist (This is learning to understand the underworld and having the ability to come back aboard and tell others about what you saw and didn’t see)
There are many other options in which you can choose for example ‘Fish Identification’ where essentially you learn more about marine life and certain fish and corals above land. Then on your dive you are challenged to discover and make note of your findings. For example, the fish that you saw and how these can be categorized into small, medium and large sizes and different coral formations. All of these skills are there to better your confidence under water and attain a greater knowledge and understanding of the underwater world.
Fast forward to our stride entry into the water for our first of five dives at location one Mango Bay. Now this was personally my longest dive ever being 57 minutes all thanks to some wise words from our instructor Tom. He simply told me to imagine I was breathing in and out through a straw and really concentrate on 4 seconds of breathing in and 6 seconds of breathing out. Trust me there is nothing worse than coming up from a dive on reserve and your buddy has half a tank. After completing our navigation and perfect buoyancy requirements we had time to adventure the underworld and slowly rise to the surface.
Dive number two took place at Twins where we completed our navigation tests and the correct use of our computers underwater. I can confidently say I now am able to use a compass as I was never a boy scout or had the use for a compass but now I have this down pack. Dive number three was soon to take place as the sun lowered below the horizon we endeavored on our night dive and my god I was excited. Call me crazy but I love night diving as the little fish are now all hidden and the big boys are out to play. I will pat myself on the back for discovering an enormous spotted stingray within two minutes of entering the water, however that was about it for me.
The next morning we were back in the water to complete our fourth dive at Hin Won Pinnacle. This would be time to complete our 30 meter deep dive and partake in the colour, pressure and narcosis tests. The deep dive was truly something special after slowly coming up to the surface we stumbled upon several gigantic grouper! Our fifth and final dive was at the beautiful Lighthouse point where we partook in a combination of underwater naturalist and fish identification. The lighting here was perfection like looking into a glass of clear water. We surfaced and gave each other a high five as we knew we were now Advanced SSI Divers.
After completeing the course we reassembled at La Bombona’s Diving Café where we finished our paperwork, logged all of our dives, drank a beer and were awarded with our new SCUBA Diving licenses and La Bombona shirts.
Why you should choose La Bombona Diving – The instructors are what I deem as over qualified in the sense they are SO good at what they do. They posses the ability to stay so calm and keep you calm underwater. You never seem rushed at any point to go down the buoy line and the dive is all about having fun while staying safe. Personally from diving with La Bombona my confidence has grown ten fold and I was so lucky to have the ability to dive with such an awesome instructor whose second home is literally 15 meters below the ocean.
What I have taken away from the course is the ability to now travel anywhere in the world and dive to 30 meters confidently and in a way I feel is safe. The team at La Bombona go beyond the normal training and throw in so many extras to help you in turn become over qualified as well.
Now you might be saying to yourself this must cost a few dollars. In all honesty completing your Advanced Diving or any other course with La Bombona Diving in Koh Tao is extremely affordable and doesn’t at all burn a hole in your pocket. La Bombona keep the groups small with the instructors and work with you so you can get the most out of the course.
Here are the costs for completion of your diving courses with La Bombona Diving and feel free to access their website and make bookings online at:
Open Water Course: 7500 baht ($220 USD)
Advanced Course: 7000 baht ($200 USD)
Refresher Course: 1500 baht ($42 USD)
EFR Course: 3000 baht ($84 USD)
Rescue Course: 8000 baht ($235 USD)
Follow La Bombona on Social Media:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/labombonadiving
Twitter – https://twitter.com/labombonadiving
Instagram – https://instagram.com/labombonadivingkohtao/
Disclaimer: I was a guest of La Bombona, Koh Tao in exchange for this review. As always, I would never endorse or recommend a service or product that I didn’t honestly enjoy!