Tuesday, January 29, 2008

First IDC of 2008 about to kick off!

Tomorrow the first IDC of 2008 starts!

Today we completed the prep course.

It shows a fairly crowded classroom, there are 9 IDC candidates and 5 IDCS participating. In this picture we can see Adam, Gideon, Fred, Ulrike, Simon, James and Marcus.

On the back row are 3 IDCS; Paul, Chris and Wahid. Chris and Wahid work in Sharm El Sheik in the Red Sea and are having a work vacation, during which they staff this IDC.

This picture shows everybody sweating it out during one of their exams.
Today, first thing in the morning we went to the pool. The sun was burning so fiercely, we all got sunburned in our faces!
Tomorrow the real IDC starts and I'll try to keep you updated on the progress.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Influences of Marketing Factors on Diving Trip Selection

Help a Thai University student with her project by filling out her questionnaire;

Influences of Marketing Factors on Diving Trip Selection

Browsing the net I found this questionnaire by Ms. Jittima Srivoranart, a student at Kasetsart University in Bangkok. She is studying MBA (International Business) and this questionnaire is for her IS (Independent Study) which is one subject of the course.

"This is a questionnaire which is set for the independent study of Master Degree in International Business Administration at Kasetsart University, done by Ms. Jittima Srivoranart. Its primary objective is to investigate influences of marketing factors toward the selection of scuba diving trip."

The questionnaire comprises of 3 parts. Please help Jittima with her survey, she needs to collect 400 questionnaires.

This is the link to follow to the questionnaire.


Monday, January 14, 2008

The Royal Thai Naval Museum in Samut Prakan.

The Royal Thai Naval Museum in Samut Prakan.

Yesterday my family and myself had a day's trip in Samut Prakan, a province and city next to Bangkok, direction Pattaya.

We visited a few other attractions, like the Erawan Musem and the Ancient City and on the way back to our hotel in Bangkok, we visited this Naval Museum. We were very fortunate since it was actually closed, but after a bit of taking to the guards, they decided to open up for us anyway and we had the whole place to ourselves. The day before it was Children's Day and yesterday was closed therefor.
The guard went really out of his way opening all lights, shutters, windows for ventilation and even opening a couple of ground floor rooms so we could have a look.

Diving wise there wasn't too much to be found, although these items above, torpedo's and mines sure made for something wrecks around the world. For a good Thai wreck web site have a look at Steve Burton's Thaiwreck website based in Pattaya or Jamie's MacLeod's Trident website based on Koh Tao, which is about tech diving but he found some very interesting wrecks in the Gulf.

What was interesting about diving are these three dive helmets on display with some tanks next to them. Just looking at these helmets makes me start to sweat, man, that must've been hard work.

The museum had many ships on scale at display and one of the boats displayed, was the Samui, displayed here.

I looked for the Kram and the Krut, two Thai landing crafts that have been purposefully sunk near Pattaya and on which I'm planning to go for the Instructor Wreck dive Specialty next month after the IDC but to no avail.

One of the very interesting things that the museum had was a display of 18 scaled down in size boats that are part of the King's boats that once a year roam the Chao Praya river. There's a whole order in where all boats are located during their outings and in total 52 boats take part in the procession including about 1000 people who row the various boats.

All in all, a very interesting museum and once you're in Bangkok, definitely worthwhile visiting. The admission was free by the way.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Unexpected sharks in Prachuap Khirikhan.

Unexpected sharks in Prachuap Khirikhan.

On our trip to Isaan, to meet a school friend of my wife, we had our first stop over in Prachuap Khirikhan.

After having checked in to a hotel, we decided for a small tour to see what was up here and we discovered ‘Ao Manao’ or Lemon Bay. Funnily enough, this bay is located smack in the middle of a Thai Air Force base, but it’s accessible for non Navy personal and has a lots of charms inside it’s premises. First of all a couple of beautiful bays but also a lot of green with some pleasant, unexpected attractions like in this case, some old and outdated planes which are on display throughout the whole base.

One of them is a ‘Texan’ like the one displayed on this picture.

The reason I post this in here, is the shark that’s painted on the side of the plane. The Air Base is located directly next to the ocean and that’s probably why the plane has a shark painted on to it’s fuselage. It’s a pretty cool shark in my opinion and very well deserves a posting in here!

At another part of the base, directly on ‘Ao Manao’, there was also this statue of a Dugong and a Dolphin.

All in all a very nice and relaxed place, Prachuap Khirikhan and I can highly recommend stopping by if you happen to be in the hood.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

RIP Amit

Yesterday was a sad day since Amit passed away.

Amit arrived on Koh Samui late 2002 /early 2003 to start his Open Water diver course, all the way up to Instructor! Straight out of Bombay he showed up with no previous diving experience.
That was a tremendous step.

He worked as a Divemaster and in June 2003 he participated in the second IDC I ever taught as a Course Director.

All through to September 2007 when he participated in his IDCS course, he worked on Koh Samui, most of the time for and with Tom and Cecilia at Planet Scuba Samui, the outlet at Central (now called Centara) Beach Resort.

Amit during the September 2007 IE on Koh Tao.

He had to endure hard visa rules but in his own way he found ways around this and managed to smooth out his problems for once and for all, but eventually he wanted to move on and found a job in his native India, at the Nicobar islands.

Last year we celebrated his 40th birthday at the Bamboo bar in Bang Rak, his favorite hang out place just around the corner from where he lived and the place was packed. Everybody involved with diving on Koh Samui was there.

He left Samui not even 3 months ago and now he's gone, after a very short stay at a Bombay hospital, where he was evacuated to, only 5 or 6 days ago.

Amit, I will always remember you for your perpetual smile and your patience. You were also one of the more experienced PADI instructors on Koh Samui and it was always good to see you early mornings at the pier, enjoying your coffee, even if you weren't on the boat.

He was one of the nice guys on this world, always in a good mood. The world will be a lesser place without you!

There's a Facebook group, Friends of Amit, feel free to join.

Amit after passing his IE, June 2003.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Specialty of the month January 2008

Specialty of the month January 2008; Nitrox or Enriched Air.

Nitrox or enriched air is one of PADI's most popular specialties.

Diving with enriched air nitrox lets you safely extend your no stop time beyond the no decompression limits for air. Diving with enriched air means more time underwater – but you need to be certified as an EANx Diver to get enriched air fills.

It's also a prerequisite to become a DSAT Gas Blender.

If you book this Specialty of the Month during January, you'll receive a 10% discount.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

First courses in 2008; Nitrox and Gas Blending

Gideon and Simon kicked off the IDC related courses for 2008.

Yesterday they both completed the Nitrox courses, a prerequisite for the DSAT Gas Blender course, which they completed today.

Gideon, currently a PADI Divemaster who's working as such on the Samui boats and waters, is using the Nitrox tanks for his work out!Gideon is participating in a Rescue Diver to Go Pro CDC package.

He somehow mistook the gas analyzer as a breath analyzer! He was cleared to continue the course however.

Simon, who just got signed off as a brand new PADI Divemaster, is cleaning a piece of equipment as part of the cleaning work shop for the Gas Blender course. He knows a good story or two!

Simon analyzing a Nitrox tank as part of his Gas Blending course. Simon is participating in an Advanced Open Water to Go Pro CDC package.

Both Gideon and Simon will be participating in the IDC starting 28th January. It looks like this will be a bigger one, with 8 confirmed candidates at this moment and both of them will be nearing the end of their respective packages. Well done so far.

Gideon is also keeping track of his adventures and courses in his blog.

Stay tuned!


Thursday, January 3, 2008

Fitness in diving

Happy New year to you all.

Hope you enjoyed my scribblings last year and that you will come back to enjoy this years posts and blogs.

My next IDC doesn't start until the end of January, so I'd like to take the opportunity to discuss some other dive related topics.

One thing I receive many questions about is if working out in combination with diving is possible.
Right now, we have a person who went through Divemaster training and is about to participate in one of my IDC's scheduled in early 2008.
He's also participating in Muay Thai courses, the Thai boxing sport, which is a very physical intensive sport. He, like many others, asked me before signing up for the courses of the diving courses wouldn't interfere with his boxing courses.

A good source of information is DAN Asia Pacific and their members only, quarterly magazine, Alert Diver. This magazine has very interesting articles on a wide variety of topics, ranging from 'pregnancy/women and diving', 'children and diving' and many other very informative topics in relation to diving.

One of the topics they have investigated is also 'fitness and diving', please click on the link for the full article which my friend John Lippmann, executive director of DAN AP, who kindly enough put up the website link provided.

The article, written by Jaime B. Adams, M.S. and Neal W. Pollock, Ph.D. gives samples of what kind of exercise are beneficial for divers (very convenient), like 'Body Squats' and 'Bent-Over Rows'.

Furthermore, you can participate in exercise after diving, providing there's enough time in between the time of your last dive and the start of your exercise, ideally 4 hours or more.

As a side note, if you ever have the chance of visiting one of John Lippmann's lectures or presentations (and he has plenty of dive/medical related topics he can talk about) don't miss out on the opportunity. John gives lectures throughout the South East Asia region and I can highly recommend to visit them. His lectures are very informative and entertaining.

I hope you enjoyed this inkling and I appreciate any feedback.