Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The PADI Divemaster course

The PADI Divemaster course

This course is the first step in becoming a dive professional in the PADI system. Have a look here http://www.idcthailand.net/divemaster.html in my website.

In general this we conduct this course over 6 weeks and it's part of an internship where you get assigned to one of our Instructors and he/she will be your mentor for those 6 weeks.

It's a very comprehensive course and you'll learn a lot about diving in general but also about how to organise and lead dives with certified divers, how to assist Instructor in confined- and open water, how to perform skills so the people you demonstrate for can clearly see what you're doing, how to make underwater maps, how to deal with stress, you need to pass 4 waterskills and stamina parts, you need to perform another rescue assessment and last but not least, you need to pass 8 Divemaster exams out of which 5 will come back later if you decide to participate in an IDC/IE (Instructor Development Course http://www.idcthailand.net/idccourse.html and a PADI Instructor Exam http://www.idcthailand.net/inexam.html).

You need 20 logged dives in order to be able to start the PADI Divemaster course and before you can apply to PADI for your Divemaster status, you need at least 60 logged dives.
If you participate in our 6 week internship, we guarantee that you will finish with 60 logged dives.

You also will be assessed on professionalism with topics like your level of active, positive participation during training sessions or Assessment of the candidate's general understanding of the role of a Divemaster.

All this may sound like a lot and it is! That's why we schedule 6 weeks where you get to work with real students and accompany your instructor out on the boat(s) or in the pool.
If you have a good instructor, you'll learn more than is just in the books or the manuals. He/she can teach you how to tie certain knots (bowline, sheet bend and two half hitches) or he may go a bit deeper into certain aspects of diving, like underwater navigation. This brings up a good point, that it would help you during your Divemaster training if you take up some specialty training, for a Divemaster courses like Underwater Navigation http://www.idcthailand.net/navigation.html, AWARE Fish Identification http://www.idcthailand.net/fishid.html and Peak Performance Buoyancy http://www.idcthailand.net/ppb.html come to mind. These Specialty courses will help you to become more proficient in said fields.

Furthermore it's a lot of fun being involved in and seeing how a dive operation is run and functions. It's also great to be on the water, the days that you go out diving are unforgettable. I still remember a lot of details of my Divemaster course almost 10 years ago by now which I did on Koh Phi Phi. The movie "The Beach", starring Leonardo DiCaprio was just being shot when I did my course!

The Divemaster course is also a portal and first step for becoming a PADI Instructor http://www.idcthailand.net/idccourse.html and a lot of our Divemaster Trainees actually are completing a package where they start at any level, from Open Water Diver http://www.idcthailand.net/openwater.html, Advanced Open Water Diver http://www.idcthailand.net/advancedopenwater.html and Rescue Diver http://www.idcthailand.net/rescuediver.html and their Divemaster course is just a step towards becoming a PADI Instructor.

For some people with a lot of dive experience and lots of logged dives, the 6 week option may be a bit too much and time consuming. For them the Practical Training exercise option may be the way to go. In this case, the Divemaster course can be conducted in as little as 10 days or two weeks. It takes a lot of preparation and the right mind set to complete the course in such a short time frame though.

As a Divemaster you're required to own some PADI manuals, amongst others you will need the Divemaster manual and answer 12 Knowledge reviews which you can find inside this Manual.
There are the Divemaster slates, very useful assets that will help you to get through your dive briefings.
The PADI Encyclopedia of Diving, a beautiful reference book on many subjects related to diving and to the Divemaster and IDC courses.
The Diving Knowledge Workbook, this book will help you with your 5 exams, it covers the Physics, Physiology, RDP, General Skills & Environment and Equipment topics.
Furthermore you will need all three versions of the PADI RDP's, the Table, the Wheel and the eRDP and you will need to know how they work, all three of them!

Once you're a Divemaster, the real fun starts and once you find a job, you'll find yourself diving almost every day! At least, this is how the job works out in Thailand, most of the time. You'll be leading certified divers and have to put in place all the things that you learned during your course!

Right, this is a general overview of the Divemaster course, but I sure can understand if some of you out there may have some questions about this or if you're interested in becoming a Divemaster let me know as well.

Let me know about it, you can leave a comment and I'll answer your question(s) or start a new topic about your question(s).

That's all for now folks, stay tuned,

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Unexpected artifacts in a Southern Thai Museum

Hi all to this short report about some very unexpected artifacts I found in a Southern Thai museum on the premises of Wat Pra Mahathat, Nakhon Si Thammarat's claim to fame. For a complete article about my trip here, please read more here http://samui-weather.blogspot.com/2007/06/trip-to-nakhon-si-thammarat.html

The most amazing artifact they had, was a 12 meter long whale skeleton, which is shown on the two pictures below.

This particular picture, shows the whale from the back. Although there's a sign (in Thai) that clearly states that it's not allowed to write on the bones, the bones are covered from top to toe in graffiti.

This is the whale photographed from the front. The bones of the head of the whale are at least two meters long, if not more!

I thought this a pretty astonishing find in a most unexpected place, namely inside the temple grounds of one of Thailand's largest temple complexes.

Besides the whale skeleton, there are also these turtle shields, a grand total of 6 massive turtle shields and a smaller turtle, in full original size, above them in the same cabinet, together with dozens of other shells.

On the same temple ground were also some ocean related artifacts, as you can see in this picture, two bronze statues in front of a boat.

Here's another picture of the rather large scale boat in a small pond.

Besides the big surprise of finding a whale skeleton here, there are also some ancient canons on the premises, some of Arabic origin, as shown in this picture.

To my big surprise however, there's also a canon of the VOC, a Dutch company formed in 1602.

It shows Nakhon Si Thammarat's importance as an ancient city with a rich history due to it's harbor.

Thought these unexpected artifacts interesting enough to share with you, although they're only remotely related to diving.


Sunday, June 10, 2007

A successful Instructor Exam on Koh Samui, June 2007

The PADI Instructor Exam on Koh Samui, June 2007

was a very successful one. All my six candidates passed with flying colours! Hats off to them!
It was three days of hard work and nerve control for all of them but in the end it was all worth it after the PADI Examiner, Thomas Knedlik, congratulated them. A collective sigh of relief was heard all along the beach.

Here's Thomas during his briefing to all the participants of the IE.

This is the moment they've all been waiting for and worked so hard for during the last two weeks, the group photo of the IE!

Standing from left to right; Nobuhiko Abe, my Japanese Staff Instructor who did a great job with the Japanese candidates, Thomas Knedlik, the PADI examiner, myself, Sean McNamee and Naoki Igarashi.

Sitting from left to right; Toshihiro Minowa, Atsushi Sasaki, Maki Nakagawa and Matsubara Yoshimichi.

Good luck to all of them in their respective PADI Instructor careers.

Here's a shot of Chaweng Beach at 8 am, showing off it's pristine beauty.

Tonight the party is on!

Friday, June 8, 2007

PADI IE starts today

Today the PADI IE starts for my 6 IDC candidates, 1 English and 5 Japanese candidates.
There'll be 3 other candidates from Marita Fassbender, another Course Director on Koh Samui.

Today they will have to sit 5 theory exams with 12 questions each and to pass, they need at least a 75% passing grade, or 9 questions answered right! The topics they'll be tested in are Physics, Physiology, RDP, General Skills and Equipment.

They will also be tested on a General Standards and Procedures exam, 50 questions with a 75% passing grade. Since this is an open book exam, there will be no remake.

They can fail one Theory exam, which will give them the opportunity to have a remake tomorrow. In the unlikely event they fail two exams, they won't get certified as Instructors this time around, but will have to wait 5 days before they take this segment (the 5 exams and the Generals Standards exam!) of the IE again.

Tomorrow they will have a Confined Water presentation, they present one dive skill in confined water and they have a remake.
They also need to complete a skill circuit of 5 skills and score at least a 3 (out of 5) for all skills but need 17 points in order to pass, so 3's only won't cut the cake.

In the afternoon they have a Knowledge Development presentation. They have an assigned topic about which they need to talk in front of their fellow IE candidates. This segment also allows for a make up in case they fail their initial presentation.

On Sunday morning the IE will be completed with an Open Water presentation consisting of 2 integrated Open Water skills from either the Open Water-, Advanced Open Water- or Rescue diver courses and a rescue scenario. The Open Water presentation does not have a remake but the Rescue scenario does have a remake.

I'll keep you updated on the progress but I'm confident that all of my candidates will pass successfully unless they encounter a complete brain fart!

Stay tuned for more,

Sunday, June 3, 2007

PADI Specialties


One of the interesting things to learn in the PADI system, are according to me the PADI Specialties. I love teaching them at student level but as a PADI Course Director I also get to teach a lot of them at Instructor level.

If you’re participating in one of these courses as a student, you’re bound to have a lot of fun and you learn some interesting facts about your favorite field or aspect of diving.

For an instructor it's great to be able to teach something that you really enjoy teaching. Most likely you chose a certain Specialty to teach, since you're interested in that field within diving.

As a diver you can choose currently out of 25 PADI Specialties to get certified in, and there's an unlimited amount of so called Distinctive Specialties, more on these later.

Currently the most popular specialty is Enriched Air diver http://www.idcthailand.net/enriched.html and the one that is up and coming is the Digital Underwater Photography specialty http://www.idcthailand.net/dup.html

Most of these Specialties only require 2 dives, like Naturalist http://www.idcthailand.net/nat.html, AWARE Fish Identification http://www.idcthailand.net/fishid.html or Boat diver http://www.idcthailand.net/boatdiver.html.
A lot of fun is also the DPV (Diver Propulsion Vehicle) Specialty or aka underwater scooter specialty http://www.idcthailand.net/dpv.html.

Other Specialties require 3 dives, likes Underwater Navigation http://www.idcthailand.net/navigation.html where you learn a lot more on how to use your compass.

Specialties with 4 dives include Deep http://www.idcthailand.net/deep.html and Search and Recovery http://www.idcthailand.net/searchandrec.html. Here you learn respectively how to execute safe Deep dives in a recreational setting with a max depth of 40 meters and in the Search and Recovery Specialty you learn how to use various search patterns and how to safely use a lift bag. The latter can be loads of fun since during your training dives I always go on the hunt for garbage in the water and bring it out.

The good thing about all these Specialty dives is that they also count as Adventure Dives http://www.idcthailand.net/advancedopenwater.html and you can get credit towards your PADI Adventure diver or PADI Advanced Open Water rating.

Let’s move on to a bit more information about the Distinctive Specialties.

These are Specialties that a PADI Instructor wrote and send in to PADI for approval. Once approved by PADI, he or she is the only one who can teach this specific Distinctive Specialty.

There are loads of Distinctive Specialties out and about that cover various aspects of Shark species, shark identification, Whale sharks and so on.
There are also Distinctive Specialties that deal with such diverse aspects as ‘muck’ diving, surf entry, Yoga and breathing related specialties (to have longer dives due to better breathing control) and golf ball recovery. Just to name a few.

I’d love to hear from you guys out there what you considered to be the funniest Distinctive Specialty you ever heard of, Golf ball recovery comes in pretty high!

You choose what you find most interesting, as long as you can find the instructor that goes along with the Distinctive Specialty who’s allowed to teach it.

That’s it for today, I’m still warming up to posting in my own blog, so feel free to comment and make suggestions about future topics.

Later this week my current IDC will finish and I'll post some information about this course.

Keep wet,