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“Family”
Review of Roctopus Dive

Roctopus Dive
Ranked #3 of 96 Tours in Koh Tao
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Owner description: Roctopus Dive, pioneering the future of scuba dive training ... We also teach FREEDIVING to all skills levels and have an award winning Professional Training centre: Divemaster Internships, Instructor courses and Technical diving! The Roctopus Dive team is a young, friendly and energetic collection of dive instructors from throughout the world. Handpicked because of their passion for the underwater world and first class knowledge and experience teaching people how to dive. We promise small group sizes (max 4) for increased personal instruction, safety and enjoyment. The Thai style Roctopus HQ is situated in quiet, relaxing grounds close to Sairee beach, a short walk from all the shops, restaurants, and bars. We can offer customized courses for couples, groups and families, by arranging a diving package to suit your needs. Also take advantage of our infamous Sail Rock Trips (every Sunday) and see the best dive site in the Gulf of Thailand. Come and join the Roctopus Dive family and become part of the sub culture.
Perth
1 review
“Family”
Reviewed 17 June 2014

Could not have asked for a better crew of people so much fun and very welcoming miss the lot of them! Best dive shop on ko Tao for sure!

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
Thank Thomas G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
JayRoc83, Owner at Roctopus Dive, responded to this review, 2 July 2014
Hey Thomas, thanks for the review. We really are a big dive family! Glad you felt the love.
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Hamburg, Germany
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Lower end dive shop in Koh Tao”
Reviewed 12 June 2014

Roctopus is one of the lower end dive shops in Koh Tao. I wanted to do an Advanced Course with them. They told me that their courses do not consist of „too much homework“ and will be more practical.

The practical learning looked like this: Underwater photography: „Here is your camera, that’s the shutter, that’s the power button. Now go take photos“. Underwater naturalist: Ten minutes before the dive our instructor rushed through some pictures of fish and told us the signs for them. Then she told us that she will ask us about the signs under water. Then we went down. I had instructors that explained to me more about the local marine life before the dive without a „naturalist“ course...
While doing my u/w photography dive, we had two other divers with us who were doing their deep dive. So, five minutes of my photography dive consisted of standing on the ground in 30m and wasting air with almost no visibility. Afterwards we rushed along the reef and did not stop once. Great photos, who can tell…? Ah, best of all: I was not allowed to take the photos with me (DVD oder dropbox). They said, that I could have a look on their Facebook page - maybe they would publish them. Yay...

Besides, our instructor missed the safety stop. As a merely experienced diver at that time I just leveled out with her when ascending. At some point, I looked at my depth gauge and saw „3 meters“. Then she went down to 5 meters and told me to come down to her. No excuse afterwards or any word about her ascending too fast.

I canceled my advanced course after that and told the manager that this would not be the way, I want to learn stuff on my Advanced course and that – with this methods – I would not learn anything. In the end, he charged me the cost of the two dives as fun dives. And accordingly, he charged me 1.200 THB (ca. 30 EUR) for each „course“. Again: 30 EUR for a dive instructor who „teaches“ you stuff only in the last ten minutes before you go in the water. I told the manager that I will not continue my education with SSI but with PADI, so he knew that the SSI certificates are not of any importance to me. Anyway he billed me 30 EUR per course, that‘s 60 EUR in total PLUS the cost for the fun dives = 125 EUR for the two worst dives I have ever done.

Service btw is average. Equipment is okay. You carry, assemble and rinse your own stuff. That’s okay, but there are dive shops on the island who do that for you as well (esp. for that price!).

I did my advanced course in another shop (Siam Scuba) and can fully recommend, what’s going on there. The instructors take care of you, teach you stuff before diving, while diving and in the evening when having a beer. That’s the impression I got from every other dive shop in the world: that instructors are willing to teach and to pass on knowledge. And not just to get it done as soon as possible.

In a nutshell: don’t dive with Roctopus, if you expect anything. Best thing about them is their t-shirts. But sadly, that’s it then.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
7 Thank ExilBadener
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
JayRoc83, Owner at Roctopus Dive, responded to this review, 16 June 2014
Dear Sir, I was horrified to see that we had been awarded our 1st - 1* rating and so i immediately began to gather information regarding your experience/dives at Sail Rock. Firstly, i want to apologise that you had a "terrible" experience. For a customer to leave with such a feeling is absolutely not acceptable and on behalf of the dive shop id again like to apologise. However, to describe Roctopus Dive as a "lower end dive shop" is wrong. This year we were awarded the SSI "Diamond Centre" a prestige that has come from 3 years of hard work and over 3000 certifications. SSI scrutinised every aspect of our student offering from quality of dive equipment to how we conduct and teach dive courses.

Now with regards to the diving day in question. Sail Rock sunday is a fantastic trip, one we have become well-known for and this trip was no exception. The boat ran smoothly, we were ahead of schedule and the photos from the trip which can be viewed on our FB page show that a good time was had all-round.

The SSI Advanced Adventurer course builds on the Open Water course through experience dives. There is no homework but there is a manual and that was offered to you along with the individual specialty dvd's, the day prior to Sail Rock - This was declined and yet in the review, you have scrutinised us for this?! It is within SSI standards to have multiple adventure dives being completed on the same dive. So, whilst divers were completing Deep experience skills, such as the egg test (pressure) you could have been practising white balancing or even static image photography. The rest of the dive (40 minutes) was for you to practise your UW photography skills. The instructor then encouraged you to take the camera on the second dive, Underwater Naturalist but this was again declined. Having spoken with your Instructor, i understand that the course outlines were met and both the briefing and de-briefing was executed to SSI standards.

This leads me to believe that you simply wanted more from the course. Which i can understand but that is why SSI have the Specialty courses. We also teach these but they are multiple day, homework/exam certifiable. The operation manager made you aware of these and even set a schedule for you to complete those of interest but the cost steered you away. This is beyond our control.

Back at the shop after the dives, my business partner spoke to you at length because quite frankly we very rarely have a customer dissatisfied with our service. Your money for the teaching aspect was reimbursed which was the least we could do and still it was not enough.

Ultimately, I feel communication was missing between yourself and us as the dive centre. Had we both been more open at the beginning maybe your disappointment could have been avoided.
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Bengaluru, India
Level 5 Contributor
49 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“First & the best”
Reviewed 10 June 2014

Very professional, safe and fun to be with, never guessed my first dive would be that great, was edgy with so many questions in ma mind ab what all could have happened inside the waters as it was my first dive, but the Trainer(tyron) took all my anxiety off, Josh was friendly too and our CHAI is pending mate :P, visit india sometime, will make you some good chai :P, what I loved the most about them was the respect and love towards the sea life, no matter what happens if we have such diving schools, the sea and its life will never ever get destroyed, Love you all, hope to see ya all soon for my open water certification, thanks for such an wonderful time.

Cheers
Shravan

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
Thank backpackershravan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
JayRoc83, Owner at Roctopus Dive, responded to this review, 16 June 2014
Hey Shravan, thanks for the review. Ty was very impressed with how well you did on your introductory dive. Be safe and come back for the Open Water course anytime!
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Denver, Colorado
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“They are the best!”
Reviewed 9 June 2014

Are you going to Koh Tao? Dive with Roctopus, no question! I did my Open Water and Advanced with them and had the best time - under water, on the boat and just hanging at the shop. Everyone there is extremely nice, knowledgable and knows how to have a good time! Josh did my Open water and he made us all feel really relaxed and confident under water. O J did my advanced and he is just so fun to dive with, makes sure you are comfortable and then plays around with you making sure you're having fun under water and seeing all the cool sea creatures around. Even just hanging out on the boat in between dives is a blast -- there was always a great group of both customers and Rocto guys; eating some pineapple, trying to teach me how to flip off the boat or chatting with everyone. That's why I say any diving you want to do on Koh Tao, do it with Roctopus!

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
Thank Kristin e
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
JayRoc83, Owner at Roctopus Dive, responded to this review, 16 June 2014
Hey Kristin, thanks for the review and thanks for being great fun to have around the shop! Congratualations also for completing both your OW and AA courses. Maybe Divemaster in the future…?
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London, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
47 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“friendly, fun professional environment with good equipment”
Reviewed 9 June 2014

Everybody knows Koh Tao is the go to place in Asia to head for cheap certs, and as such I was a bit reluctant, initially.


I spoke with Westy via email, for several weeks before I had arrived and we discussed everything from dive schedules to courses and even recommended a couple of places for me to stay whilst I was there (I stayed for two weeks, so I wanted somewhere that didn't entirely suck) Quick, responses with the right answers - A good start.

Once I arrived on the island I headed to Roctopus HQ and spoke with Westy, who was welcoming in their shop/office/resto/hang out and gave me a ride back to my digs (spicy hostel, which was also pretty good) five minute walk down the road. Westy also took my broken fin strap to the Mares dealer to get a replacement for me, which was real nice of him,

For the next two weeks I dived most days, with a variety of the staff and most of the main Sights in Koh Tao.

I also completed my stress & rescue course whilst I was here and found it to be well organised - the practical parts were taken by Tyrone , who is both a good instructor and a nice guy to hang out with & Stephen did the first aid and technical things who was also a very knowledgeable teacher.

PROS

Great staff, great organisation & Good, modern well looked after equipment. I find sometimes Asian dive shops can be a bit unorganised and have equipment 'past its best' - not here, Nicole is the front of house reception person and she's on it

The staff (at least when I visited) were all European/Strayan and spoke English as a first language, or some swedes with natural English - no communication problems here.

The boats well equipped (a bit small, when they are fully booked, but that's all dive shops)

The staff I dived with were all good at their job, clearly enjoying their profession and knowledgeable about the seacreatures and usually where to find them (although, no one found me a whale shark which was devastatingly disappointing) Emma, the Scottish DM was awesome, she knew her stuff and where to find it.

Dive briefings were good - signals, expectations and air info was spelled out from the beginning.

Lastly, my favourite thing about Roctopus was that, as a diver who's good on air in a resort where lots of divers are brand new and chugg through the tank in no time at all, I often had around 100bar (or more!) left when others were getting ready to do safety stops - when there was a DMT,or free staff around I got rebuddied and was able to get my moneys worth and stay down longer.

Most nights, especially when an OW class has finished the rocto crew head down to Choppers bar to watch the videos - staff aren't obliged to go, it's just a chance to hang out, have a beer and socialise - it's a nice way to get to know people if you're hanging around for a few days/weeks.

CONS

Koh Tao is hellava busy, there's a lot of traffic underwater, some newbies who can get a bit tunnelvision and cut you up which is annoying.

The coral isn't in great condition, so sometimes it can be swimming around looking at very little (other days it can be excellent though)

Overall, I would absolutely reccomend Roctopus, I felt genuinely welcome to hang out when I had finished my diving for the day, the boat is one of the last to leave in the morning (7am meet, is early enough for me) and I felt that after two weeks I had made genuine friends with some guys, & would be invited out for dinner or drinks in the evenings I also ended up meeting up again in Northern Thailand and travelling around with one of the recently finished DM's for another three weeks.

If/when I go back to Koh Tao would I dive with Rocto again? Absolutely, small groups and less of the factory attitudes of some of the bigger schools on the Island.

So, thanks Westy & Jay - had a great time, hope you like the write up!

Ben

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank btone6seven
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
JayRoc83, Owner at Roctopus Dive, responded to this review, 16 June 2014
Hey Ben, thanks for the review. Its great to hear from more experienced divers like yourself. We all really enjoyed hanging out with you on the boat and at the bar. Thanks for the support! You are always welcome at Roctopus HQ.
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