While on our honeymoon, my husband and I stayed at Santhiya resort on the other side of the rocks from Thong Nai Pan Noi, during our first walk over the rocks we stood in awe taking in the view and some pictures. Along comes a lovely woman with a smile larger then life and asks if we want her to take our picture, which we do, thank her and get on our way.
We had planned to get our Padi open water licence while on Phangan, and decided to browse the local diving shops to find a good alternative to the one we had researched before arrival (which just turned out to awkward to get to), after checking out another one, we popped by H2O's hut on the beach, and who other then the woman with the great smile (also known as Alis) staffed the beach-hut.
From the first moment we were impressed by the knowledge and set-up, so before even checking tripadvisor, we booked our padi course to start two days later.
Our first day we were greeted by the very lovely (hobbit) Helen, a lovely New Zealand'er who had just relocated to Thailand. Our group consisted of my husband and I, and a jolly irishman called Alan (which had just learnt to swim, kudos to you Alan) - great size!
The "classroom hours" (in a hut on Pan Yai beach - love it) flew away before we moved on to our pool sessions. I had a bit of trouble with my full mask clearance (being used to pinch my nose while going underwater), Helen was the best instructor possible, instead of being a pushy kind of "you can do it" gal, she used the "take your time, this happens to a lot of people" approach, which relaxed me. After abit try and fail (and a land-break with a couple of cigarettes) i got it, and it stuck, the rest of the pool exercises went like a charm for us all.
Helen is calm, very good at her job and a joy to be around, we could not have gotten a better instructor!
Day 2 and 3 were spent on the diving boat with the rest of the great group of H2O staff (a very good mix of personalites, great fun to be around)and at Sail Rock for our open water dives. Everything felt very professional from start to beginning, equipment well looked after, and an amazing spot to learn to dive, we had such an amazing time, and Helen carried on being her amazing self, we all LOVED it.
Helen also worked as our under-water photographer when we used our super-muscles lifting up the dive boat, and during my husband & mine under-water kiss at the student ledge, 13-14 meters under water, incredibly cool.
The camera used was the go pro one H2O uses, which was used free of charge as a special honeymoon suprise (thank you, thank you, thank you).
We met up the following day to do our written exams, and all passed with flying colors.
We will definately recommend H2O to anyone looking for a superb diving experience, and already have, as a friend of ours is going to Santhiya with his girlfriend in the middle/end of November, so if/when Magnus the policeman from Norway comes over anytime soon, give him some H2O love :)
Helene & Chris
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.