Thursday, December 27, 2007

The last courses of 2007

The last courses of 2007 have been completed.

On the 24th I completed a night dive with Ivo and Joakim, which was the last diving Instructor Specialty for both of them and with Ivo now being completely finished for his CDC program.

Joakim went on to complete his EFR Instructor course yesterday, together with Gideon who is a PADI Divemaster now and who will participate in the February 2008 IDC.

Today Joakim completed his DAN O2 provider course. Which was literally the last course I taught this year!

Here are myself, Joakim and Gideon, from left to right, after having completed the EFR Instructor course in front of the panel of the local recompression chamber.

It's been a busy year, with 10 IDC's, over a hundred Specialty Instructor courses, well over 20 EFR Instructor courses and various other courses along the way, like DSAT Gas Blender and DSAT Gas Blender Instructor courses, Nitrox courses and DAN Oxygen courses.

Thanks for following my blog this year, I most certainly hope to see you back again next year.


Monday, December 24, 2007

DUP and various other specialties

The last 3 days where dedicated for more Specialty training.
Marcus who lives in Singapore came to see me for Specialty training and he wanted to take the Digital Underwater Photography Instructor course, the only course a PADI Divemaster can participate at Instructor level.
Besides this course at Instructor, he also participated in the Underwater Naturalist Specialty and the Diver Propulsion Vehicle or DPV Specialty, aka under water scooter.
Late January Marcus will return to Samui to participate in my February 2008 IDC.
Here are some pictures that I took during the last three days whilst diving with Marcus. This picture shows a massive school of fish at Chumpon Pinnacle. The school consisted of a couple of hundred fish and it is fasciniating to see the school move as one body. All change direction at the same time.

Here's a picture of a very common stingray in these waters, the Blue Spotted Sting ray

Red Sea Fan

Reef live, with a sea urchin, various Christmas Trees and a shell.

At Japanese Garden on Koh Tao I saw two groups of squid and managed to get some shots in.

Last but not least, some shots of anemone which can be seen on almost all dive sites in the Gulf of Thailand.

A red sea star or starfish.

More anemone.

It was fun Marcus, hope to see you soon again!


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Specialty Training in Progress

We're in the midst of Instructor Specialty Training.

Having just completed the boat dives of the current Instructor Specialty training, we're going to have a look at the beach today to complete the Underwater Navigation and Search & Recovery Specialties, with Night Diving to follow tomorrow.

First things first though, Saturday and yesterday (Monday), we completed the boat dives. Two morning dives at Chumpon Pinnacles for the Deep Dive Specialty, which were just stunning.

Saturday we had great visibility up to 20 meters depth, which had fish everywhere including a massive school of big barracuda's hanging in the current. Below 20 meters was a thermocline, where the visibility went down and the temperature dropped. We went down to 29 meters and I almost descended on top of a shark, without noticing it, I was told after the dive!

During the safety stop at 5 meters we saw another shark cruising around, either a blacktip or young bull sharks, the two types of shark that prevail at this dive site, although it looked like a blacktip.

Yesterday it turned out to be even better. The thermocline had dropped to 32 meters and upon descending, we saw a blacktip cruising the bottom in an 8 shaped pattern. Upon closing in, we saw a dead fish in the bottom which the shark tried to scoop up. Just upon our touchdown, the shark managed to scoop up the fish and he took off chewing the fish just in front of us, a very unusual sight and we were all excited having witnessed this. Another blacktip came around to see if there were any spills left for him.

We were planning to go to around 35 meters and upon cruising down to that depth, a third blacktip came nosing around into our path down, which was very exciting.

Upon ascent, we saw one of the biggest great barracuda's I've ever seen up to date. At around 22 meters he was in a big crack of the rock being cleaned by some cleaner fish and he seemed to be at least a meter long and had the biggest (beer) belly I've ever seen on a barracuda, he was just massive.

During both dives there were plenty of other fish around, it was like swimming in fish soup. Highlights were big schools of bat fish, numbering up to 30 or more bat fish.

During the other dives we completed Multi-level, Underwater Naturalist and Digital Underwater Photography training, of which I can show some pix, taken by Sophia and Joakim;

A blue ringed Angelfish

Moon Wrasse

Scribbled Filefish

Reef life

Sophia caught in a nice pose.

Hope you enjoyed the pix and report, till next time,


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Successfull December PADI IE!

The December PADI IE has been successfully completed!

Will, Sophia, Rob and Joakim have one thing in common today, they're no longer PADI Divemasters but as of today, they're PADI Instructors! Congrats! This morning they completed the last part of the PADI IE, their Confined Water presentation and their skill circuit. Later on today we will take the ferry back over to Samui and have a nice party and buffet at Aux Amis and than move on to Chaweng to celebrate their new status. Starting Saturday, we will continue with Instructor Specialties and after that Joakim's EFRI course.

Time to relax a bit after yesterday's presentations, the Knowledge Development and Open Water presentations. Paul, myself, Sophia, Will and Rob having a break.

This morning in the pool, Thomas, their PADI examiner, Rob, Sophia and Will with another IE candidate in their group. Joakim was underwater being a Certified Assistant.

Here it is, the big sign of relief group picture of brand new PADI Instructors. From left to right; Paul who completed his IDCS, Sophia, Will, Rob, Joakim, Camille and Thomas the PADI Examiner. Unfortunately Miro who also completed his IDCS just like Paul had to leave early to catch a plane back to Sweden, so he's not in the picture.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

December IDC finished and the PADI IE has started

The December IDC finished and the PADI IE has started today on Koh Tao.

All four IDC candidates, Will, Sophia, Rob and Joakim have successfully completed their IDC course and Paul and Miro both succeeded in their IDCS courses.

Here are Joakim and Will after their Open Water dive of the OWSI program. It was a lot sunnier than during the last IDC and temperatures in general were very nice. For more Samui weather information, please visit my Samui weather blog.

Miro, Rob and Sophia are in this picture putting their dive equipment apart, after their Open Water dive during the IDC.

Today the PADI IE started, the examination! Here are Will and Sophia looking at their assignments for their IE program. Thomas Knedlik on the left will be their examiner.

Joakim and Rob checking out their assignments. Before the IE, there was a lot of nervousness and anxiety floating around, which probably won't finish until they complete the program on Thursday!

Here's a picture of me and Bob Murphy, our brand new PADI Course Director of our Koh Tao dive center, Planet Scuba. He did send his candidates to this IE as well.

Keep tuned until Thursday to see how they did!


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Specialty of the month December 2007

This month' Specialty of the Month; Project AWARE.

The Project AWARE Specialty is where you learn about the plight of worldwide aquatic ecosystems and how you can protect them.

It's inspired by Project AWARE, a non profit organisation run by PADI and you can discuss various projects that currently are run by Project AWARE or register for Coral Watch, where you can help monitor coral reefs.

Since the Specialty doesn't have an age limit, you can get AWARE Kids involved for the young ones who like to take up this specialty.

If you're interested in preserving and taking care of the underwater world, this specialty is for you!

Participants who sign up for this Specialty during December receive a 10% discount on the course fee.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

December 2007 AI completed

The first part of the December 2007 IDC has been completed today.

After two days Prep course and 4 days AI course, we're all ready for a nice day off.

All candidates had to sit through a few presentations by me and there's more coming up in the OWSI program, starting on Thursday!

There was also plenty of water work and here are Will and Sophia concentrating on what to do during one of their confined water presentations.

Joakim and Rob during the same confined water presentation, getting ready to enter the water.

As usual we had our share of nice lunches at World Resort. From left to right Miro, Rob, Joakim, Will, Sophia and Paul.
Today we completed the Open Water training part of the AI course and after some counseling we were on our way home to meet later tonight at the pub and have a beer and some chit chat!