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Diving In Koh Tao



Koh Tao

Koh Tao (meaning Turtle Island) is not only my favourite island in Thailand but it is one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Most people in the dive world know or have at least heard about Koh Tao, because of its competitive dive scene (it has the highest number of annual dive certifications a year second to Cairns, Australia) and of course, its beautiful beaches and irresistible laid back vibe. I spent seven months here back in ’08-’09 and I hadn’t been back since, so I was excited to return six years later.

A Little Bit About My Trip

I was lucky enough to spend six weeks away in total – escaping the winter cold in the UK! I spent the first two weeks in Thailand travelling to Bangkok, Koh Phangan, Koh Yao Yai and Koh Tao, where I intended to start my Stress & Rescue Course. However, I sprained my ankle on New Years Eve and unfortunately couldn’t do any of the practical work in the water. Luckily as I had booked a one-way ticket to Thailand I could return 3 weeks later and complete the course.

Koh Tao

Sunset on Koh Tao

Choosing A Dive School

Choosing a dive school on Koh Tao can be hard – there are, quite frankly, a lot. Especially on the main beach – Sairee beach – where competition is at its highest. I did some research into several of the larger schools in the area and decided I wanted to dive with Big Blue Diving.

Big Blue Diving’s prime location on the beach, in addition to their new hostel rooms and free accommodation for divers, makes it one of the most popular dive schools on the island.

They are also heavily involved in their marine conservation work – working to ensure that the island remains as undisturbed as possible by the growing tourism in Koh Tao – which was another factor which drew me to them.

Koh Tao

At Big Blue… with my sprained ankle!

My Rescue Course

I have to admit, I was a little nervous about starting my Stress & Rescue Course. It’s one of those courses that I’d heard a lot about, yet at the same time I wasn’t entirely sure what the course involved! However, after meeting my Rescue Team I felt confident to get started. There were three other students taking the course, with a Dive Master Trainee per student as well as the instructor. This was another reason for me choosing to dive with Big Blue – they keep their groups small which is essential for learning.

The Stress & Rescue course was three days in total – I spent one day doing my first aid qualification, followed by two days in the classroom and in the water going through any potential scenarios that could take place on a dive. The course prepares divers on how to recognise, avoid and deal with any problems that occur on the surface or underwater, and in my opinion, is one of the most useful qualifications to have as a diver.

I loved doing my Stress & Rescue Course, and loved being back on Koh Tao. After all these years it still feels like a second home to me. Maybe… just maybe… I will return to the island soon to do my Dive Master Training…

Sarah Winterbottom is currently the title holder of Miss Scuba United Kingdom. She won the title in October, and since then has gone on to compete in the international finals of Miss Scuba International in Malaysia, placing in the top 5. Since winning Miss Scuba United Kingdom has completed her PADI advanced open water and dry suit qualification and is currently doing her rescue course in Thailand. Sarah also dived in Egypt, Cyprus, Malaysia and the UK for the first time since entering the pageant, and hopes to continue diving this year and to learn more about marine conservation. Sarah is from London and when she isn't diving - or doing all things Miss Scuba - works in PR. Sarah loves to workout and train at bootcamp several times a week. She also loves taking part in high intensity obstacle courses and took part in Tough Mudder last year in order to raise money for Deptherapy. Sarah is multi-lingual, having studied Spanish and Portuguese at The University of Manchester, and was lucky enough to live in South America as part of her degree. Travelling is a huge passion of Sarah's and she will be going on to dive in Vietnam after Thailand.

Marine Life & Conservation

Jeff chats to… Veronica Cowley, a contestant in the See You at the Sea Festival Film Competition (Watch Video)



In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-large, chats to Veronica Cowley, a contestant in the See You at the Sea Festival Film Competition. The See you at the Sea Festival was an online film festival created by young people, for young people.

Veronica’s film – Worse things Happen at Sea – can be seen here:

Sixth and final in a series of six videos about the competition. Watch the first video HERE with Jenn Sandiford – Youth Engagement Officer with the Your Shore Beach Rangers Project and the Cornwall Wildlife Trust – to find out more about the Competition. Each day this week will be sharing one video in which Jeff talks with the young contestants about their films and what inspired them.

For more information please visit:

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Peli proud to support COVID-19 vaccine distribution



We know Peli from its popular camera cases, but from discovery to distribution, Peli’s temperature-controlled packaging is now delivering COVID-19 vaccines all over Europe and the Middle East

With the pandemic recovery just underway, COVID-19 vaccines and therapies are rapidly becoming available for use and they must be safely distributed worldwide, within their required temperature range. Peli’s BioThermal™ division is providing temperature-controlled packaging to meet this critical moment, protecting these crucial payloads.

Peli’s innovative cold chain packaging has been trusted for nearly 20 years by pharmaceutical manufacturers to safely ship their life-saving products around the world. To meet the current challenge, they have adapted their existing products to provide deep frozen temperatures when required for the newly developed life sciences materials. Current and new offerings will ensure the cold chain is maintained throughout the vaccine or therapy’s journey, maximising efficacy and patient health.

“We know that pharmaceutical companies are in all phases of the development process for vaccines and therapeutics and working tirelessly to bring safe and effective drug products to market quickly,” said Greg Wheatley, Vice President of Worldwide New Product Development and Engineering at Peli BioThermal. “Our engineering team matched this urgency to ensure they have the correct temperature-controlled packaging to meet them where they’re at in drug development for the pandemic recovery, from discovery to distribution.”

Peli BioThermal’s deep frozen products use phase change material (PCM) and dry ice systems to provide frozen payload protection with durations from 72 hours to 144+ hours. Payload capacities range from 1 to 96 litres for parcel shippers and 140 to 1,686 litres for pallet shippers.

New deep-frozen solutions are ideal for short-term vaccine storage, redirect courier transport of vaccines from freezer farm hubs to immunisation locations and daily vaccine replenishment to remote and rural areas.

Peli BioThermal temperature-controlled packaging is currently being used to distribute COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics, either directly or through global transportation providers, in Denmark, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Sweden, and the UK as well as in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East, with more countries set to join the list as the pandemic recovery process rolls out.

To learn more about the wide range of deep frozen Peli BioThermal shippers, visit and for more information.

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This is the perfect start to your 2021 diving season… and at an incredible lead-in price of just £885 per person.

Jump on board the latest addition to the Emperor fleet and enjoy diving the famous sites of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer. This itinerary takes in the wonderful South & St Johns from 26 February – 05 March 2021.  

Subject to availability – limited flight seats at this price so don't delay!

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email to book your spot!

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