Crystal Dive Center on Koh Tao has a well established reputation and has always offered good value dive courses and fun diving for passers through looking to capture a glimpse of sea life in this hot spot dive location in Southern Thailand.
Bob Murphy, Course Director and friend responded to my request to dive at this Center and was hugely helpful with my booking process. An old hat at diving and a man with vast experience and knowledge in the industry automatically attracted me to this dive shop. Sometimes individual reputations are the most inviting and this was absolutely the case here. Resident personalities contribute hugely to dive shops and Bob’s is central here.
After Bob introduced me to the Crystal team I got booked in with complete ease and set off with my dive guide Nina. She was absolutely wonderful, enthusiastic, friendly, passionate about diving and cutely excitable about the dives ahead. Nina was professional in every sense of the word and I felt very comfortable with her and well looked after. She was the sort of personality you would hope to meet and be lead by.
The boat was huge with ample space to kit up. Hussel and bustle in every sense of the word is descriptive of this vessel, with various things going on from fun dives to a range of courses all managed and co ordinated by Jordan Walden, Dive Master, Who on this particular day was working as surface cover. An extremely vibrant and comic character who set everyone up to dive and ensured people knew what they were doing and how to move around the boat safely and comfortably, explaining clearly all areas of the boat and its facilities.
One of my most treasured aspects of this trip was that we dived Sail Rock which was by complete chance. One of the deeper sites which lies slightly off Koh Tao. I hadn’t dived here in ten years and I was relived and warmed by the sites health as I submerged and saw that it was still beautiful and booming with marine life and looking as special as it did all that time ago. I have returned to many a dive site over the years and been devastated by its degradation but this was by no means the case.
Huge schools of barracuda swirled around us and anenemies sprouted up everywhere in huge clumps. The chimney was still as wonderful to swim through with light guiding me from 18 meters up to an exit of 5 whilst surrounding me by bright corals. A giant grouper here, a tiny nudi branch there, I was never short of something to find and observe. It was a great dive with exceptional visibility.
I suppose the worry with busy dive locations like Koh Tao is that the human impact of over diving creates excessive marine damage but I can honestly say that this dive Center were aware as a crew and dived responsibly and it was very clear to see that in their students and their trainee staff on board. Again this stood out on an island that is saturated by dive schools and is an extremely big positive.
A very well oiled process to get customers on and off the boat and in and out of the water with impressive fluidity. It is hard on big boats to establish intimacy and I would still say that this is only achieved with smaller groups and that it gets lost on boats as busy as this, however in mecca spots like this the demand to head out to sea and dive is high and I think crystal manage that requirement well.
It is always a good sign when you listen in to others conversations and only hear positive comments on board and I would absolutely say that they deliver what they advertise and seemingly had very happy customers.
I would recommend this dive Center without hesitation and think that it is Center that has the customers best interest at heart and only aims to offer a high level of service. Diving with my own kit makes it hard to comment on the quality of the hire equipment but after a scout about everything looked well kept and the kit room was very well organised.
I crave feeling like an individual when I go into a dive Center as opposed to a name on a list in a factory type setting and I felt welcome and looked after here. It’s a big thumbs up to Crystal from us here at The Scuba News.
Learn more at: http://www.crystaldive.com