Tuesday, October 30, 2007

EFR Instructor Course October 2007

After the day off, recovering from the IE party, it was back to work today with the EFRI course!

Ivo, Andy, Elliott and Stuart all showed up this morning at the local Recompression chamber where we spend all day in the classroom, for the theoretical part and the practical, hands on part of the EFRI course.

Here are four of them sweating it out during the theory part of the course.

Andy and Stuart during a more hands on part of the course, although I'm not sure in which part of the Instructor Guide this can be found back. We had a very entertaining afternoon were some complete new versions of First Aid were demonstrated but in the end we did get the job done.

The official group photo in front of the recompression chamber (The Pot) itself, left to right, Elliott, myself, Ivo, Andy and Stuart.

Tomorrow we'll continue with some diving days to complete the Instructor Specialties and some more Gas Blending and DAN Courses, so stay tuned in the coming days.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

October PADI IE succesfully completed

This edition of the PADI IE has been succesfully completed by all my candidates.

Well done and congratulations to all of you for passing the PADI IE. During the IDC we had some pretty bad weather (see my Samui weather blog) but this IE was completed today under a blue sky, which made for a very well spirited day!

The official PADI examiner on this occasion was Rob Scammell, who had to deal with 7 candidates. The IE started 26th October with an Orientation and the 5 Theory exams and a General Standards Exam. All my five candidates passed with good scores.

The morning of the 27th started out in the classroom, where again, all my five candidates passed with high scores.

On the 27th in the afternoon, confined water started, here's Rob with some candidates during confined water.

Elliott after his Confined Water presentation, his grin tells it all, 3 down, one to go!

Today saw the last part of this PADI IE, with the Open Water part. Here are all candidates for a briefing by Rob.

After Rob completed his general briefing, it was down to each individual candidate to do his/her briefing of the two Open Water skills, assigned to them. Here's Kana-san during her briefing for rigging and lifting a lift bag.

Here's a picture of a bunch of PADI Course Directors, from left to right, myself, Marita Fassbinder, who had two candidates during this IE and Heinrich Gerhard who lives on Samui but teaches IDC's on Phuket who came by to say hello.

After Rob completed their Open Water de-briefings, the happy part started. The pressure's off, looks of relief all around by Ivo, Stuart, Jeff (who succeeded today on his 3rd Open Water IE), Elliott and Kana.

Here's the official group photo, from left to right Rob Scammell (PADI Examiner), Jeff George (OWSI), Ivo Juric (OWSI), Elliott Jessup (OWSI), Kana Sawada (OWSI), Stuart Hurley (OWSI), Akira Sakugawa (IDCS), Camille Lemmens (PADI Course Director), Andy Poulter (OWSI) and Nobuhiko Abe (IDCS). Missing in the picture is Nazem Youssef (IDCS), he's already back in Dubai, where he lives.

For all it's a well deserved day off tomorrow, after tonight's party and than on Tuesday the EFRI course and after that for Ivo and Elliott the Dan O2 and Instructor course and the MSDT specialties.

Once more, congratulations to all.


Friday, October 26, 2007

DSAT Gas Blender Instructor Course

Naz wanted to get the most of his stay on Samui.

That's why he went to the Full Moon party on Koh Phangan tonight, but before he did that, he completed the DSAT Gas Blender course and the Gas Blender Instructor course with me, after already having successfully completed the IDCS course yesterday with the completion of the current IDC course.

During the tank filling he did fall in love with one the tanks and we had to painfully separate him from the tanks.

Part of the course is also Oxygen cleaning, where you clean equipment parts so they become oxygen compatible. This is Naz in front of the ultrasonic bath, the little white box next to him. This bath is used to clean equipment parts in vinegar/water solutions or Simple Green (hi Dave!) solutions by shaking the dirt loose.

A filled Nitrox tank, by the master Naz himself! Congrats Naz, hope to see you back soon, it was fun!


October 2007 IDC finished

The current IDC running in October 2007 has been completed.

Yesterday we went on the boat to Koh Tao to complete the Open Water section of the OWSI program of this IDC and that was the last segment of this IDC.

It didn't start all that exciting with boat trips and such, first we started with more classroom presentations by both me and the candidates. Here we can see Ivo marching through one of his presentations.

The OWSI program has 12 presentations by me and here Ivo, Andy and Stuart are writing something down in their respective PADI IDC Candidate Workbook.

Elliott at full attention during one of the classroom presentations by one of his fellow IDC candidates.

It wasn't only classroom that we completed, we had some action packed Confined Water Training as well. Here's Andy demonstrating how to clear a mask underwater, whilst Stuart and Elliott are his 'students'.

During this IDC or rather the OWSI program, we experienced some extreme weather conditions for this time of the year, see my Samui weather blog for more information, and we ended up wearing 5 or 7 mm wetsuits in the pool.

Due to the already mentioned weather conditions I had to cancel the scheduled Open Water dive on Chaweng Beach on 24th October and we rescheduled the Open Water dive on Koh Tao, where we went by Seatran ferry and transferred over to the companies own boat on Koh Tao, the MV Waverunner. Here are Stuart and Andy (with in the right background Akira-san, Japanese IDCS Instructor) on the way over to Koh Tao on the Seatran.

Kana-san is the only Japanese candidate during this IDC and the only female. She's having a good time though!

Besides an Open Water presentation where each candidate had to present two skills and a Rescue Diver course workshop they also had to complete an Adventure in Diving workshop, for which I chose the Naturalist dive. For the second dive that day, they had to go and look for a symbiotic relationship on the White Rock dive site.

At the end of this intensive but also fun program, called the IDC, you may end up looking like Andy and return to your 'gada goodoo' days and the only thing you want is to have the PADI IE starting asap, so you can get rid of all that information gathered during the last two weeks.

The IE started today and they all passed their exams already, so keep an eye out on updates of the IE.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Update on the current IDC, the AI part

Tomorrow the AI (Assistant Instructor) part of the current IDC will be completed.

Up till now we have consequently been busy during this IDC. All 4 candidates have completed 2 classroom presentations and 2 confined water presentations each and they sat through a good hand full of classroom presentations presented by me. On top of that they also completed and passed a skill circuit consisting of 20 skills in confined water.

Besides an Open Water presentation, a General Standards exam and 5 dive related exams, which will be conducted tomorrow, they will be Assistant Instructors. Although, they only have one day off to enjoy their new status before they continue on with their OWSI program, so they eventually can pass the PADI IE.

Here am I in action, trying to explain something to them, during one of my 7 classroom presentations. From left to right, Elliott, Ivo, myself, Stuart and Andy.

This shows Andy during his first Knowledge Development presentation, in which, somehow he managed to relate a Jedi sword to diving!

In this picture we see Stuart in action during Rescue Exercise # 7, Unconscious Diver at the Surface, whilst he's trying to kiss a guy!This skill will be part of the IE and is practiced amongst others in the pool.

Part of a Confined Water presentation is the briefing and this sees Andy presenting his Confined Water Presentation (CFW) briefing.

Another part of the CFW presentation is a demonstration and here we can see Stuart during his demonstration of Mask removal, replacement and clearance.

Controlling your students during their skill is another part of CFW and Andy is controlling Elliott during his Partially Flooded Mask skill.

After your briefing and underwater work, it's time for a debrief and here we see Elliott and Ivo during a debrief.

As usual, we're fully enjoying our lunch breaks at World Resort, a time to relax and kick back for a moment and enjoy the lovely view over the bay and Koh Phangang in the background. On this picture from left to right; Elliott, Andy, Naz, Camille, Ivo and Stuart.

Tomorrow they'll be completing their 5 exams (Physics, Physiology, RDP, General Skills and Equipment), than lunch and after that, off to Chaweng beach for the Open Water presentation and after that, a well deserved day off!


Monday, October 15, 2007

New IDCS and IDC prep courses started

The last 3 days I've been busy conducting a new IDCS and IDC prep course.

It's been a busy 3 days where we got to know each other a little bit better, 4 IDC candidates; Andy, Ivo, Stuart and Elliott and Naz who's participating in his IDCS course.

Naz hard at work, well, hard............. ;-)

Three days ago Naz and me started with the IDCS course. Naz completed various exams, sat through some presentations, presented by me and watched various Evaluation Video's so he got acquainted with grading classroom-, confined water- and open water presentations by IDC cnadidates.
Remember Amit from last month's IDC? I wrote a post about his IDCS course as well. Amit started a new job in his native India, at the Nicobar Islands and I got an email from him stating that he was very happy there and the diving is good!

Two days ago I started with the IDC Prep course and we completed all 5 exams, Physics, Physiology, RDP, Equipment and General Skills. Here are from left to right Andy, Stuart, Naz, Elliott and Ivo, during an explanation of exam questions.

In the afternoon during the last two days, we completed and practiced a Skill circuit consisting of 20 skills and practiced Rescue Scenario # 7 from the Rescue Diver course, "Unconscious diver at the surface".

Tomorrow the actual IDC will start. More to follow!


Friday, October 12, 2007

Divemaster training; the beginning and the end!

Today saw the beginning and the end of some Divemaster courses!

First of all congratulations to Sophia and Will for completing their Divemaster courses. They're off now for a well deserved holiday dive trip, disguised as a visa run to the Philippines. Good on ya!
They'll be back at the end of the month though, just in time to participate in and enjoy the IDC party after the upcoming IDC and PADI IE. In December they're planning to participate in their own IDC, after they started with their Advanced Open Water course a couple of months ago, as part of their Advanced Open water through to Platinum IDC package.

At the other side of the spectrum, Jan-Willem and Gideon just started their respective Divemaster course with me today (congrats to both for completing their EFR and Rescue diver courses!). We completed the introduction of the Divemaster course and now they're ready to take it all on.

Here are from left to right; Jan-Willem, Sophia, Will and Gideon.

Tomorrow IDC live starts again for me, with Naz's IDCS course and the day after the Prep IDC course starts. There are 4 IDC candidates this IDC and Naz is participating in his IDCS course.


Monday, October 8, 2007

Stay updated

Staying updated about my blog is now a lot easier!

Today I installed a lot of buttons, on the bottom left side of the page that you are viewing.
If you like to stay updated on my new posts, it now very easy to receive all updates, once pr day, by email.

As an example, you can click on this button; Subscribe to PADI, diving and Instructor Development (IDC) and there will appear prompts, which you have to follow. Choose the medium that you like to get updates from and that's pretty much it.

It's also highly appreciated if you click on the "Add this Blog to my Technorati Favorites" button, especially if you have a blog of your own!

Thanks and please leave comments!


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A busy month ahead

A busy month is looming ahead.

A lot of people will be arriving this month to participate in various courses and I'm starting another IDC on September 13 with an IDCS course and the 14th the prep IDC will start. It looks like I'll be having 3 candidates and one IDCS with still an option of getting a 4th candidate in.

On 27th September I welcomed Jan-Willem at Samui airport who's participating in the Advanced Open Water to Divemaster package. Yesterday Jan-Willem completed his Advanced course. Congrats!

Today in the early afternoon, I'll be picking up Gideon, also from the Netherlands, just like Jan-Willem, Nienke (who just left for to Koh Tao to complete her MSDT internship) and Bas.

Gideon is participating in the Rescue diver course to the Go Pro CDC package.

Late last month, Rob arrived, who is doing the same package as Gideon, but on top of that, he's participating in some dive trips and the Master Scuba Diver course before starting his package.

Next week Andy is coming back again, he completed various courses with us already, including the Divemaster course and will now participate in the IDC. He's in the RAF and participating in a scheme where the army pays part of his courses.

Nazem will be arriving as well, he'll be participating in the IDCS course. He's from the United Arab Emirates, where he works at the Jumeirah hotel's dive center in Dubai. He's working with my good friend Ernst van der Poll, who is now a PADI Course Director but before he got that far, staffed during a couple of my IDC's, to gain experience. Whenever in the Emirates and you're up for diving, visit Ernst and Nazem.

Around the 10th I'll be meeting with Stu, who will decide than if he participates in this month's IDC.

Later, towards the end of this months IDC, Simon will arrive and he's participating in the Advanced Open Water to Go Pro CDC package.

Steve is also due late this month/early next month, he's participating in the Open Water to Go Pro CDC package.

Will, Ryszard and Geoff (one of our Instructors) during the last IDC party at Aux Amis.

We also have Ryszard right now on Samui, who is participating in the Rescue diver to Divemaster package, Joe who's participating in the Rescue diver to Platinum package and Will and Sophia who are both participating in the Advanced Open Water to Go Pro CDC package.
All four of them are currently in various stages of their respective Divemaster courses.

Sophia and Will during the last IDC party at Aux Amis.

Last but not least, Jamie is completing his MSDT internship as well right now. He just certified Jan-Willem for his Advanced Open Water course.

A busy month ahead indeed and I'm looking forward to it!


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Hyperbaric Chambers on Koh Samui

Hyperbaric Chambers on Koh Samui.

You may be surprised to hear that there is actually more than one Hyperbaric Chamber on Koh Samui.

The best known one is probably the SSS Hyperbaric Chamber, located in Bang Rak, conveniently close to all the piers on Samui. However, before you're admitted to hyperbaric treatment (recompression rather than decompression, you're most likely decompressed when admitted!) you'll first have to visit one of the hospitals on Samui that have a dive medical trained physician on staff, who will determine if you need treatment.
The SSS chamber has a multi person chamber, that can hold up to 2 patients and one tender at a time.

Bangkok Samui Hospital also has a hyperbaric chamber. They have a so called mono chamber, where the patient is located alone in a see through container. See the picture on the link.

The Chamber in Samui is fairly busy at the moment, in a way unfortunately, but on the other hand, it's a great thing that there actually is a chamber, that can treat dive injuries.
A couple of years ago I participated in the second ever tender/operator course that was held at the Chamber and I ended up being a tender for a few patients during their treatment.

A look at the controls of the Bang Rak chamber
A tender is in the Chamber with the patient(s) to make sure that the patient is convenient during treatment and he or she can make sure that in case of complications, somebody is at hand to deal with the complications. Such complications can be an Oxygen Toxicity hit amongst others.
During the last two weeks I've been asked twice by the Chamber to tend again, since they were so busy and most likely were running out of available tenders!
The first treatment was with a diver who developed DCS 1 (Decompression Sickness) symptoms, a red rash on her stomach. She was treated with a US Navy table 6, the most common used treatment table for dive injuries. This treatment lasts almost 6 hours. Here's the official US Navy explanation of their Tables.
The second treatment was for a diver who had middle ear problems and consequently experienced balance problems, he was treated with a US Navy Table 5. This treatment lasted 2 and a half hours.

During the treatment the patients can choose to watch DVD's, to shorten the time.
Hyperbaric treatment is well known for its use in underwater diving accidents, but it also has beneficial healing effects in other conditions:
-Carbon monoxide poisoning
-Gas gangrene
-Bone infection
-Non-healing wounds
When I teach one of my Emergency First Response Instructor or DAN Oxygen courses, I use the upstairs classroom at the Chamber facility in Bang Rak and we normally end the day with a short tour of the Chamber.
This short tour of the Chamber is very much appreciated by the participants of my courses and in my opinion it's a great tool to make divers better aware of what the Chamber actually does or can do for you in case that you need it, thus lowering the 'fear' factor of divers towards Chambers in general.
If you're in Samui, feel free to contact the Chamber for a free tour, after you make an appointment.

Treatment is rather expensive, at 800,- USD per hour. Considering that a US Navy Table 6 lasts almost 6 hours (5 hours and 45 minutes to be precise), it adds up quickly.
Therefor I can only highly recommend Divers Alert Network insurance packages for all divers. They cover Hyperbaric treatment.

There's a lot of good and interesting literature out and about about Hyperbaric treatment, I can strongly suggest to Google this word combination and you may be surprised what comes up.
During my diving career that spans 13 years this coming 19th October, I've seen a few dive accidents happen which made me reconsider my own dive profiles and become a conservative diver. The amazing fact is that almost 80% of divers that suffer any form of Decompression Sickness or Decompression Illness dive well within established Dive Table limits!
Here's a very interesting DCS quiz with other very useful DCS related links.
Hope you enjoyed the article.