After doing my Open Water and Advanced diving course a few years back in Australia I’ve slacked a bit on my diving endeavours. Last year I headed to Koh Tao and indulge a bit whilst reviewing Davy Jones Locker and loved the water temperature and dive sites that that part of Thailand had to offer.
This time around I wanted to check out the waters of the Phi Phi Islands, which are even more famed for its variety of sites and abundant sea life.
Luckily fellow blogger Alley Toullec is now working on the island as a Dive Instructor at Barakuda – so joined by my brother and his friend (who are completely new to the dive experience) we hit the water…
It’s only a short walk from the Barakuda Dive shop to the wharf – and along the way Ally explained the dive site we were heading too and what to expect.
On board we hit the sun deck on the top of the boat and had a bit of time to relax and take in the beautiful surroundings as we left the harbour and headed north to our first dive site.
Being already qualified I was left to top up my tan whilst Ally ran through the basics with my brother and Tom. Even though they can be quite a handful she remained professional and friendly – a credit to her patience!
After they were briefed she ran through the kind of marine life we could expect to find at the first site, a good mixture of everything!
Hitting the Water
At our first dive site Ally ran through the standard DSD tests – clearing your reg, flushing your mask and what not so they were safe to go explore underwater.
The dive site itself was beautiful – the visibility was easily in the 20m range and the water temperature? Well put it this way I was 18m underwater wearing just boardies, tropical dive paradise!
Guided around the site we managed a solid 30minute dive – pretty good going on the newbies who were good on air.
The major thing I noticed underwater on the first site at least was the lack of other divers around. On places like Tao it’s like a the M1 at rush hour on some dive sites, but here we were seemingly with the ocean to ourselves. I’m pretty sure this is a combo of the sheer variety of dive site son Phi Phi (thus reducing traffic at each spot) and the fact Ally obviously knew the place like the back of her hand.
She was also a dab hand at showing us around the marine life – from finding Nemo, through to moray eels, cuttlefish and shoals of fish. It reignited my love for the world of diving.
Stoked with the quality of marine life and diving of the first site we were amazed that the second dive site looked better from the off. Crystal clear waters running along a rock cliff face with an abundance of coral.
We weren’t disappointed once we got under the water either – with coral shelves, huge shoals of fish and a good mix of everything you’d want to see on a dive.
Although my brother didn’t get to fulfill his bucket list item of seeing a turtle we did get to witness a moray eel chow down on a baby squid – which was crazy to watch!
Once again Allys skills as a dive instructor meant we made the most of our time and oxygen – clocking up a 40 minute dive with air to spare!
The Bottom Line
My experience with Barakuda was nothing short of great fun and amazing! Yes I was lucky enough to be taken out by Ally who I know through the world of blogging but she’s super friendly and all the other dive instructors were equally bubbly and fun – both with myself but you could also tell during the briefings to their groups that the same level of service is afforded to everyone.
Onboard the boat itself is comfortable and spacious – with all the facilities you’d expect from a busy dive island including lunch, coffee, soft drinks and plenty of room to chill out and get your briefings done.
The dive shop is always heaps busy with customers and divers – and a busy dive shop is always a good dive shop!
Cost wise Phi Phi isn’t as cheap as it’s east coast island cousin Koh Tao – but Phi Phi offers a huge range of dive sites within a fairly small area – meaning less travel time and more time in the water!
From shallow bay dives full of Nemos and bright coral through to epic wreck diving and night dives full of luminescent plankton – you really are spoilt for choice!
Dives on Phi Phi are also the same price throughout the island – meaning the only deciding factor is which shop you prefer, and Barakuda Dive is top of my recommendations!
Images courtesy of Ally Toullec and Barakuda Diving