Diving on the Great Barrier Reef: Taka Range

Blue and green soft coral at Taka Range

Blue and green soft coral at Taka Range

I’ve had these photos ready to post for weeks and have been so busy working I haven’t had a chance! These were taken at the Taka Range dive site on the northern end of the Great Barrier Reef. It had only been scouted a few weeks before my trip and visited by a handful of dive groups. The corals – both hard and soft – at this site are abundant and pristine. The colors are mostly soft pastels unlike what I’ve seen at other sites. There are also loads of nudibranchs and other small critters.

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Diving on the Great Barrier Reef: Pixie’s Reef

A juvenile GBR lionfish seen at Pixie's Reef at night

A juvenile GBR lionfish seen at Pixie’s Reef at night

During the Taka trip there were 3 night dives. I’d only done one night dive before, in Thailand as part of my AOW course, so I’m still a bit freaked out by the experience. The first night I did a flouro dive, which is night diving with a special torch and mask filter to illuminate the fluorescent colors of the corals and some of the fish. I didn’t bother trying to take photos and simply enjoyed the experience.

The second night we dived on Pixie’s Reef and I did bring my camera to try to take some pictures. I found it difficult to juggle my torch and the camera, so didn’t get many good shots. Here are the few decent ones.

The third night I had an amazing night dive on Princess Bommie, where I saw a stonefish, a gigantic hermit crab, and lots of beautiful rainbow fish. However, as it was my last dive of the trip and I didn’t think I’d get good pictures anyway, I didn’t bring the camera for that dive.

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Diving in Maya Bay, Koh Phi Phi Leh

A seal faced pufferfish in Mango Bay

A seal faced pufferfish in Maya Bay

I spent a week in Ao Nang and went on several dive trips with Local Diving. The diving here was much better than in Koh Tao, but a bit pricier.

My camera, which broke when I used it in Koh Tao, suddenly starting working again about two weeks later. Needless to say, I was pretty hesitant to bring it out diving again, but gave it a shot since it’s still under warranty. Luckily, this time it held out! I didn’t, unfortunately, bring my camera on the dives where I saw turtles and sharks, nor could I bring it on the very impressive wreck dive because we went too deep.

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Scuba Diving in Koh Tao

The Yank without a Chain scuba diving in Koh Tao, Thailand

The Yank without a Chain scuba diving in Koh Tao, Thailand

I got my PADI open water diving certification in Turks and Caicos in 2005 and had grand plans to dive all over the world. Unfortunately, for various reasons it didn’t quite work out that way and I only went on a handful of dives before focusing my interests elsewhere. So when I came to Thailand and heard that there is beautiful, cheap diving on Koh Tao, I knew I had to take full advantage of it.

I got a recommendation from a German friend for Crystal Dive Resort, so I booked a few nights there without doing much research about other places. It definitely turned out to be a good choice. The afternoon I arrived I took a refresher PADI course in the pool to review scuba basics like buoyancy, removing your equipment in the water, clearing your mask, etc. Afterward I felt confident to start fun diving.

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