Thursday, February 28, 2008

Night dive in Pattaya

A night dive in Pattaya with an unexpected creature.

Besides the wreck diving an wreck dive specialties conducted in Pattaya, Marcus and me also made a Night dive for his Instructor Specialty rating.

During the dive we encountered this beautiful cone shell, a first time for me to witness a cone shell on the sprawl. I was very excited about this and was very glad that Marcus brought his camera, so the cone shell in full exposure can be shown on my blog!
Thanks to Marcus Han for the picture.
They can be very dangerous if they inject humans, so we stayed well out of distance of the shell.
It was a nice dive overall during which we saw various other fish and critters during the dive.

Some wreck dive and Pattaya pix

Here are some pix of the wrecks and Pattaya made during of our recent trip.

Got all pix together at last, from both Jamie and Marcus, so thanks guys for letting me have them pix. Unfortunately I forgot to bring my underwater housing! DUH!!

This is a shot of Seaduction, the shop we used for our trips. I can only highly recommend, they're experienced and small enough to being able to cater to small groups like ours so we had two dives per day on three consecutive days on a different wreck each day! They also own their very own boat which makes it fairly easy to dictate where they want to go and who they want to take along. They're also very friendly and laid back, which makes live so much easier!

This is Danny, he's the guy you have to deal with if you want to go diving with Seaduction, you have been warned!

He's also very knowledgeable about the dive sites and the wrecks in particular. If you ask him nicely, he may take you on for his Advanced Wreck diving course, where you get to explore all the crooks and crannies of the wrecks visited.

A picture of the HTMS Khram. The Khram has been sunk by the Thai Navy about 5 years ago (around 2003), so there's a lot of marine life growing on the wreck, very different than the drawing as shown in the link to The Khram.

This also makes part of the attraction to wrecks, the abundant marine life as they become habitats for plants and coral as well as various fish. This photo was taken by Jamie St. John.

A shot from the Hardeep. Not as recognisable at all as a wreck but a very interesting wreck, from World War II. I bought a DVD about the ships history and that is very interesting indeed. If you have the chance, try to have a look at it. The ship is originally called the Suddhadib and an unexploded bomb of the original attack lies within a 30 meters range of the wreck. This photo has been made by Marcus Han.

Here's me and Steve high fiving each other after he completed his wreck diving specialty.

Hope you enjoyed the pix and let me know if you're interested in organising a wreck dive trip in Pattaya with me.

For more information about Thailand's wrecks, please visit Steve Burton's Thai Wreck diver website, a vast source of information about the various wrecks that are scattered around Thailand.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wreck diving in Pattaya completed

Today we completed the Wreck diving in Pattaya.

Yesterday we dived the HTMS Koot, a sister ship of the HTMS Khram and today we dived the Hardeep, a World War II wreck, located near the Thai Naval harbour of Sattahip.

It's a nice wreck to dive but you need to check the tidal charts since there can be some strong currents.
Steve completed his Wreck diving specialty today, congratulations!
Last night Marcus and me went on a night dive in order to complete his Instructor level Specialty rating for the specialty.
My next post will hopefully contain some pix of the wrecks. Stay tuned!

Monday, February 18, 2008

First day of Wreck diving in Pattaya

Today the HTMS Khraam was on the list.

We gathered at 8 am at Seaduction's dive shop, opposite the Bali Hai Pier, at the end of Walking Street in Pattaya.

It was all very relaxed and Danny who runs the shop together with Andy are nice folks.
We loaded our Nitrox tanks on the boat and were off to the HTMS Khraam.

Above is a great picture of the Khraam and she's a lovely wreck, sunk about 5 years by the Thai Navy for recreational divers. She's got a nice crust of plants and anemones and assorted other sea life on it's hulls and there are plenty of penetration points all over the wreck. We did two very nice and relaxed dives on the wreck, with Steve R. completing his wreck dive specialty and Marcus and Jamie completing their wreck dive Instructor Specialty.
Visibility was fairly good between 7 and 10 meters and there was only a mild current during both dives. All in all a very relaxed day with some good diving!
Tomorrow we're off to dive the HTMS Koot, a sister ship of the Khraam and sunk about a year ago.
If you're interested in Thailand's wrecks, visit the Thai wreck diver webpages which has plenty of information about wrecks in Thailand on it.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

DAN Provider and DAN Instructor course February 08

DAN Provider and DAN Instructor course February 08

Today Gideon, Simon, Marcus and Steve completed their DAN O2 Provider course. Steve is currently a PADI Divemaster who's completing an PADI Open Water to Instructor career program and this course is part of his training.

Pictured from left to right are Gideon, Simon, Steve, Camille and Marcus.
Gideon, Simon and Marcus will continue with their DAN Instructor course.

Dive Specialties completed for the moment being

The dive Specialties are completed for the moment being,

But there's more coming up soon, so keep reading!

Over the last three days we've been twice on the boat and for one dive on the beach, completing Instructor level Specialty training as Deep diving, Digital Underwater Photography (DUP), Multilevel, Boat diving, Under Water Navigation and Diving Propulsion Vehicle (DPV) or Under Water Scooter for Gideon, Simon, Marcus and Satoshi so they can become Master Scuba Diver Trainers or MSDT's.

During the DUP dive we saw this sea snake. It was a while ago I saw one and it was nice to see one again. During this dove we also encountered a very bog solitary barracuda which was at least one meters and a whole school of squid.

This is how one of the Diving Propulsion Vehicle (DPV) or Under Water Scooter's looks like. They're a lot of fun underwater and get you somewhere real fast!

We'll be off to Pattaya for more Instructor Specialties this Sunday and Wreck diving is on the schedule amongst others. Stay tuned for our adventures in Pattaya.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

EFRI Course completed today

EFR Instructor Course completed today

James, Simon, Fred and Adam participated in the EFR Instructor course, Gideon participated already last year in this course with me and Marcus was already an EFR Instructor before he joined the IDC, only Ulrike didn't participate.

At 9.15 this morning we kicked off!

James in action on the mannekin 'Little Annie', much to the amusement of Simon, Fred and Adam.

Adam showing off his baby eating skills!

All of us combined in front of the control panel of the local chamber, where the course was held in the upstairs classroom, from left to right, Simon, Fred, Adam, James and Camille.


Specialty training has started, today Gas Blending was on the menu

Specialty training has started, today Gas Blending was on the menu

Marcus put his first steps in to the world of Gas Blending and he also did the Equipment repair course.

Today I'm conducting the EFR Instructor course, to be followed by a few days on the boat, the DAN O2 Instructor course and a trip to Pattaya that will include the Wreck Dive specialty.
Stay tuned for updates over the next few days.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The February 2008 PADI IE has been successfully completed

The February 2008 PADI IE has been successfully completed

By all 9 of my candidates, after an action packed and for the participants, a nerve wrecking weekend.

Under the skillful guidance of George Wegmann, the PADI examiner, who's send over by PADI HQ to evaluate the candidates, all 4 segments of the PADI IE were absolved and completed. Here's George giving a briefing for the Confined Water part of the IE. Simon, James, Marcus, Fred and IDCS Paul are listening in.

All 9 of them and George together in the pool for their Confined Water skill circuit.

After having completed all 4 segments of the IE, Theory (5 Theory Exams and a General Standards exam), Confined Water, Open Water and Knowledge Development, the tension is gone and their listening to George's debriefing at the end of the IE.

The official picture!

From left to right Chris and Wahid Azab (IDCS), Nobuhiko Abe (IDCS), Adam Tomaszweski (OWSI), James Donald (OWSI), Gideon Rybier (OWSI), Simon Brindley (OWSI), Satoshi Kajiyama (OWSI), Paul Meredith (IDCS), Camille Lemmens (CD), Atsushi Imanishi (OWSI), Fred Wynn (OWSI), Ulrike Dennacher (OWSI), George Wegmann (PADI Examiner) and Marcus Han (OWSI). Akira Sakuyawa (IDCS) is missing in the picture.

Gideon has more info on his blog.

Well done and good luck to you all!


Saturday, February 9, 2008

The February IDC finished yesterday and the PADI IE started today!

The February IDC finished yesterday and the PADI IE started today!

Yesterday everybody completed the IDC program successfully. However, there's no rest for the wicked and today the PADI IE started.

This morning at 8 am all 9 candidates gathered at World Resort, where today and tomorrow they will be evaluated by George Wegmann, PADI's examiner on this occasion. The weather is great, it's nice and sunny, for more info on the Samui weather situation, please visit my Samui weather blog.

The Introduction is in full swing with George, PADI's examiner, during which George explains what will be waiting for them during the next two days and in the meantime he's also trying (successfully) to relax the candidates a bit.

This morning, after the Orientation, they sat their 5 theory exams, followed in the afternoon by the Open Water dive presentation and Rescue skill. The 5 Theory exams were completed without any hitch by all 9 of them, well done! That was a good start.

Tomorrow they will have to start in Confined water, for their presentation and in the afternoon they will sit their General Standards & Procedures exam, followed by their Knowledge Development Presentation.

Satoshi during his Open Water briefing, Atzumi, Gideon and Adam are also pictured.

Ulrike and Fred on their way to the beach, for their Open Water presentation.

James, Marcus, Simon and Fred amongst their equipment, waiting to get wet for their Open Water presentation/dive.

More info and updates tomorrow, so stay tuned!


Sunday, February 3, 2008

AI course of the February 2008 IDC completed

Yesterday we completed the AI part of the current IDC.

Last night James threw a BBQ at his house where all attended, thanks James, it was great, despite the fact that you created a new meaning for the word blackened! The Chili and salads were excellent though! Whatever happened to the fireworks, by the way?

During the Assistant Instructor (AI) part of the IDC, the candidates get to present their first Knowledge Development presentations and this picture shows Gideon in action, with Ulrike and Adam listening in, rather fascinated.

As always, the lunches at World Resort are excellent. With so many people involved, the tables are filled up nicely!

The other part that they get introduced to, is their Confined Water presentations, here are James and Fred preparing, with Gideon in the background.

Adam and Simon having fun before they go into the pool.

Part of the Confined water training is the Rescue Exercise # 7 of the Rescue diver course, for which they get evaluated during the Open Water segment of the Instructor Exam (IE).

This picture shows Marcus giving ventilation's by means of a pocket mask to James.

Fred is at the beginning of his rescue scenario in this picture, with Ulrike as victim and Wahid as the equipment handler and evaluator, Chris can be seen looking on in the background.

Yesterday we went to Chaweng beach for the Open water dives, but it was a bit windy and it turned out to be a bit of a challenge with fairly big waves and underwater surge towards the end. For the Samui weather updates, have a look at my Samui weather blog.

Today we all enjoy a nice day off and tomorrow we continue with the OWSI course.

Stay tuned,