Create Amazing Portraits While SCUBA Diving Koh Tao

When we’re not teaching PADI SCUBA courses to new divers, Chris and I enjoy fun diving to our favorite sites together. Recently, we managed to coordinate our schedules to fit in a fun diving trip to our favorite sites, Chumphon Pinnacle and the HTMS Sattakut. Luck was with us, and we lucked out to bring a photographer, Jacky Yeung and his friend Vanessa Chang, along to get some portraits.

We hoped to get some great photographs for family presents. Our goal? Pose surrounded by a school of fusilier and get a few wreck shots. But Chumphon Pinnacle had some serious surprises in store for us, and the HTMS Sattakut did not disappoint!

Portraits with Fusilier at Barracuda Rock

Portraits at Chumphon Pinnacle & HTMS Sattakut

Chris & I enjoy a beautiful school of fusilier.

Dropping down to 20 meters off of the mooring line, we immediately headed to Barracuda Rock, swimming together to the underwater pinnacle. A school of fusilier often surrounds this area of the dive site, and divers often spot barracuda out in the blue. Barracuda Rock was the location of our first portraits of the day.

First things first, we enjoyed taking a few minutes to look for box shrimp in the cracks. SCUBA divers who take a moment to shine torches within the deep crevice facing the main pinnacle may discover the forelegs and pinchers of these large shrimp. We were happy to share this with Jacky and Vanessa who hadn’t yet discovered them hiding inside the hole. The portrait session could wait a few minutes because diving itself and the life enthralls us.

Once satisfied, we swam only a short distance to a large school of fish. Soon a large school of fusilier enveloped us. Nothing in life exhilarates us more than the flashes of silver and gold swirling around us in large circular plumes.

Posing while Jacky shot a few portraits of us hovering inside this gorgeous school of fusilier made me feel like a real life mermaid. Chris, of course, laid back with his arms behind his head, obviously in his element. Serious portrait session score (see photo above).

Kissing Turtles for Portraits? Maybe . . .

Portraits at Chumphon Pinnacle & HTMS Sattakut

A beautiful green sea turtle swims lazily towards Chris at Chumphon Pinnacle.

As we headed back to the main pinnacle, off in the blue hovered a large school of longfin batfish. Batfish must be among the two most elegant fish on Koh Tao dive sites, second to angel fish. Getting portraits with them was highly desirable. Within a moment, Chris swam off to attempt a quick pose in front of them, while I came face to face with a moray eel for a few minutes. Somehow, Jacky managed to capture us both in two different locations!

Then, as if out of a dream, a green sea turtle floated slowly over the top of the pinnacle towards me. I pinched myself to see if it was really happening. Could I really come face to face with this beautiful turtle? Positioning myself for a lovely view, I waited, and Chris also came near to me. The turtle kept coming, and I had to back fin to create space for it to pass. What a lovely moment for us that we’ll never forget! (See Chris with the turtle above. See mine on our Instagram.)

The portrait session at Chumphon Pinnacle was so rich with opportunity that the day felt so complete. But we still had one more dive to the HTMS Sattakut. Back on the boat, we swapped our used tank for new, tested our gear, and prepared for a second dive.

Portraits at the HTMS Sattakut

Portraits at Chumphon Pinnacle & HTMS Sattakut

Chris & Halie at HTMS Sattakut forward gun.

Diving on the HTMS Sattakut provides travelers an amazing opportunity. Every dive feels like a new experience on this historic war ship. Any change in visibility creates an entirely new dive with changing moods and sea life.

I enjoy taking my students to the HTMS Sattakut whenever I can, and teaching the Wreck Specialty is a favorite of mine. But getting to fun dive on the wreck myself just to look for tiny sea creatures beats everything.

This time around to the wreck, Chris and I took the time to pour over the passageways at about 24 meters deep for scorpion fish before posing for a few fun portraits. Jacky caught me completely upside down, looking carefully over the corroding metals with my torch for fish. Soon, I’d given up and headed to the pilot house for a quick portrait in the door (below). It’s just a small swim through space, so divers need good buoyancy inside.

Of course, Chris and I needed a shot at the forward gun deck above for prosperity. So lovely!

Portraits at Chumphon Pinnacle & HTMS Sattakut

Halie poses for a portrait in the pilot house of the HTMS Sattakut.

Still on our hunt for tiny scorpion fish, we shallowed up to finish our dive at a nearby pinnacle, Hin Peewee. At last, we finally spotted that tiny scorpion fish. At only a couple of inches in size and completely camouflaged, this little fish blends very well in its environment. Chris was off the hook with joy that I found it. Sometimes I do good. Can you spot it in the image here?

Portraits session

Can you see the scorpion fish? Hint, the tail is pointing towards the top left.

Fabulous Day of Fun Diving for Portraits

Overall, we had a couple of amazing dives! Our fun dive day to Chumphon Pinnacle and the HTMS Sattakut for dive portraits with Jacky Yeung produced some great shots with the incredible marine life on these sites. We’re so glad to have had the opportunity to capture this amazing experience in our lives for our family and for you, our blog readers. Want to learn more about us? Visit our About Us page.

Portraits at Chumphon Pinnacle & HTMS Sattakut

Halie feels like a mermaid surrounded by a school of fusilier.

If you find yourself on Koh Tao getting your Open Water SCUBA diver certification or beyond, please ask us about the opportunity to capture your dives in video or portrait photography. You’ll want to remember these epic moments SCUBA diving on Koh Tao forever, and we can arrange a professional photographer to join you on your dives.

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2 Comments on “Create Amazing Portraits While SCUBA Diving Koh Tao”

  1. Fascinating stuff!! Wonderful pictures!! Gifts? Does that mean you’ll be in the states for Christmas?????