Sunday, March 30, 2008

IDCS course started for the April 2008 IDC

IDCS course started for the April 2008 IDC

Marcus who just completed his IDC in February this year, has come back to complete his IDCS course during the April '08 IDC.

He completed more than 15 Instructor Specialties with me after the last IDC, including the Wreck diver Specialty during the February Pattaya trip and back in Hainan, he managed to get 25 divers certified at various PADI levels, so he's all set for his MSDT level, a prerequisite for the IDCS course.

Here's Marcus in action during his 5 Theory exams, a part of his IDCS course. Marcus sailed through all parts of today's training, including a hand full of presentations, presented by me and an evaluation learning test.
Tomorrow the IDC prep course will start, so stay focused and Marcus will compete more parts of his IDCS course, like a Confined Water presentation and a Knowledge Development presentation.
The interesting part is that he needs to score higher scores than during his actual IDC.
Stay posted for more updates on the upcoming IDC!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

International Year of the Reef, 2008

International Year of the Reef, 2008

It's happening right now and if you're a diver, you should be part of it.

The ICRI International Year of the Reef 2008 is a worldwide campaign to raise awareness about the value and importance of coral reefs and threats to their sustainability, and to motivate people to take action to protect them. All individuals, corporations, schools, governments, and organizations are welcome and actively encouraged to participate in IYOR 2008.

The International Year of the Reef or IYOR has a good and informative website which I hope you will visit.

The slogan "strong reefs, strong islands" embodies two significant messages of the campaign; the need for future marine and coral reef projects as well as deriving lessons from the past.

There are tips what you can do to preserve the reefs and educational materials amongst others.

PADI's own Project Aware is involved as well.

Have a look at their website, spread the word and get involved!


Friday, March 28, 2008

PADI Members Forum Koh Samui 2008

Just got back from the PADI Members Forum Koh Samui 2008

Held at the Centara Beach Resort at Chaweng, presented by the Regional Manager for Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar; Hans Ullrich.

Koh Samui's was one of the last ones in line for Thailand but nonetheless, it was an interesting one.

Hans showed videos from some winners of last year's 'Go Pro Challenge' with the announcement that the Challenge has been extended to this year, 2008 and that the winner receives a 10.000,-USD price in cash!

We than went on for a questions/answer quiz which had some trick questions in it and gave some good attention to the E-Learning program that PADI has in place.

Last but not least we looked into some Risk Management scenarios which had a Rescue scenario in it. I an highly recommend visiting a PADI Risk Seminar if you get the chance.

All in all an interesting evening which I can highly recommend to visit when your PADI Regional Manager comes to your town!

If you can't make it in person, PADI offers to take the Members Forum 2008 online at their PADI Members website.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Children thoughts on diving and water sports in general

Children thoughts on diving and water sports in general

As we all know, children have a different perspective on life than us adults. The quotes below were send to me by email, hope you enjoy them;

1) This is a picture of an octopus. It has eight testicles. (Kelly age 6)

2) Oysters' balls are called pearls. (James age 6)

3) If you are surrounded by sea you are an island. If you don't have sea all around you, you are incontinent. ( Wayne age 7)

4) Sharks are ugly and mean, and have big teeth, just like Emily Richardson. She's not my friend no more. (Kylie age 6)

5) A dolphin breaths through an arsehole on the top of its head. (Billy age 8)

6) My uncle goes out in his boat with pots, and comes back with crabs. (Millie age 6)

7) When ships had sails, they used to use the trade winds to cross the ocean. Sometimes, when the wind didn't blow, the sailors would whistle to make the wind come. My brother said they would be better off eating beans. (William age 7)

8) I like mermaids. They are beautiful, and I like their shiny tails. How do mermaid! s get pregnant? (Helen age 6)

9) I'm not going to write about the sea. My baby brother is always screaming and being sick, my dad keeps shouting at my mum, and my big sister has just got pregnant, so I can't think what to write. (Amy age 6)

10) Some fish are dangerous. Jellyfish can sting. Electric eels can give you a shock. They have ! to live in caves under the sea where I think they have to plug themselves into chargers. (Christopher age 7)

11) When you go swimming in the sea, it is very cold, and it make my willy small. (Kevin age 6)

12) Divers have to be safe whey they go under the water. Two divers can't go down alone, so they have to go down on each other. (Becky age 8)

13) On holiday my mum went water skiing. She fell off when she was going very fast. She says she won't do it again because water shot up her fanny. (Julie age 7)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Completing MSDT training

Yesterday Gideon and Simon's Instructor Specialty training was completed,

With Search & Recovery and Night diving. I we over to Koh Tao where I met them.

We had two very enjoyable dives for the Search & Recovery Specialty at Chumpon Pinnacle and Twins followed by a Night dive at a new site for me, the Pottery. There's a first for everything!

We saw this interesting crab during the night dive.

And more bizarrely shaped shell housings for crabs.

Gideon on the left and Simon at the right hand side a the end of the night dive. They both are now finished with their Instructor Specialty training and are currently in the middle of their MSDT training, although Gideon is taking a break for a few months to travel Australia, and coming back after this trip to complete his internship.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Stop diving after 50 years of age?

This question is raised after reading a newspaper article that involved Hollywood star Donald Sutherland.

The 72-year-old star was taken ill after returning to Los Angeles, where he lives, during a break in shooting Fool's Gold – a sunken treasure adventure starring Matthew McConaughey, Kate Hudson and Ewen Bremner.

Consequently, Donald Sutherland, age 72, claimed that scuba diving almost killed him.

The specialist that treated him, told Mr. Sutherland that he shouldn't have been scuba diving beyond the age of 50.

This statement is completely unfounded and rather typical for a physician who is not familiar with diving.

The article, which is posted below, got a lot of interest on the Scubaboard forum, the biggest Dive on line dive Forum that I know. There are two threads discussing this article and although one is rather long, with currently more than 80 posts, they are well worthwhile reading up on and get a better insight on diving at 'older' age. The threads can be found here and here.

Here is a link to the original article and the original article from the London based Evening Standard.

Donald Sutherland tells how scuba-diving on the Great Barrier Reef at 72 almost killed him
Last updated at 07:57am on 04.02.08

Veteran Hollywood actor Donald Sutherland has revealed how he was struck by crippling chest pains – and feared he was going to die – after filming underwater scenes for his latest movie on the Great Barrier Reef.

The 72-year-old star was taken ill after returning to Los Angeles, where he lives, during a break in shooting Fool's Gold – a sunken treasure adventure starring Matthew McConaughey, Kate Hudson and Ewen Bremner.

"I was out at lunch with my wife, Francine, and I had a pain in my chest that you could not believe," said Canadian-born Sutherland, who gave up smoking and heavy drinking 40 years ago.

"Every time I took a breath, I would scream. It was awful.
"My wife drove me straight to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
"The policeman who took me in – because I couldn't walk – shouted out that I was having a heart attack."

Doctors examined the actor immediately, giving him an MRI and CAT scan and an electrocardiogram test, but could find nothing wrong – despite the intense pain remaining.
Sutherland's own physician and his movie-star son Kiefer rushed to the hospital as the family feared the worst.
But the pain abated after Sutherland was given morphine, and he was allowed home.

But the following day, the actor, who learned to scuba-dive for his role in Fool's Gold, began coughing uncontrollably.

"Finally, I coughed something up," he said.
"I initially thought it was chocolate. But when I looked closer, it was blood. I was pretty scared.
"I called my doctor immediately and went back into the hospital.
"They did a nuclear scan of my lungs and found what looked like a tumour.
"I asked my doctor, 'What does this mean? Is it lung cancer?'
"He said, 'Well, yes, it probably is'."

Sutherland informed the doctor he had to return to Australia to finish filming Fool's Gold – but was told that was impossible.

The actor, however, had other ideas and said to medical staff: "No way. If I've got lung cancer, there's no point staying - and if I don't have lung cancer, there's no point in staying."
Finally he was persuaded to have a bronchoscopy, which diagnoses conditions of the airways.

"So the next day at 8am, they wheeled me into surgery and they were going to give me a general anaesthetic," Sutherland continued.
"I said to them, 'I don't want a general anaesthetic because, at my age, it tears apart pieces of your brain that will never come back'.
"But they insisted they had to dig around in my lungs, so I allowed them to put me under.
"When I came round, the doctor was standing above me.
"The first thing that he said was, 'You haven't been scuba-diving, have you?'
"I said I had and asked him why. He said, 'Because you have a broken blood vessel in your lung. What we thought was maybe a tumour is, in fact, the clotted blood surrounding a broken bronchial blood vessel'.
"It was a big relief, but then the specialist told me I shouldn't have been scuba-diving beyond the age of 50.
"When I went back to Australia a few days later, I told the diving master on the film what had happened and he said, 'Oh God'.
"Then I told him, 'Apparently I'm not supposed to dive after 50 and I'm 72!'"

The actor says the diving master then confessed: "I know, I know, but I'm diving and my doctor told me I had to stop at 50 – and I'm nearly 60." Sutherland went on: "So my wife, who is there with me, says I can't dive any more. And then the other guy says, 'Yeah. I know. A guy near where we live went in. He was 72 and had an embolism and died'.

"I was not happy."

Please read the Scuba board threads which have plenty of information in them that counters this unfounded statement that you shouldn't be diving after the age of 50.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Box jelly fish warning for Thailand waters

This post is about a new warning for Thai waters; box jelly fish

Recently the waters surrounding Thailand have a new guest, the box jelly fish. Please follow this link to an article I wrote about box jelly fish in 2012 on my Koh Samui info and weather blog.

Previously it was thought that the box jelly fish only was around in Australian waters but unfortunately more and more proof shows up that the box jelly fish are on the migration path around various parts of the Asia pacific region.
My post is not about creating panic but more to raise the awareness levels of people visiting Thailand and simply to carry a bottle of vinegar when visiting the Thai beaches, since this is your first line of defense.

Asia Pacific's Diver Alert Network (aka DAN) John Lippmann, the CEO for the Asia Pacific region has been warning and talking about their presence for at least 5 or more years already and he even had footage of a box jelly fish being filmed around Koh Tao during a "First Aid for Hazardous Marine Life Injuries" presentation he gave in Koh Samui around 5 years ago. If this topic has your interest, it is also a course provided by DAN.

During one of my IDC's, back in 2003, an unfortunate incident happened during an the Open Water part of the IDC, off Chaweng Beach when one of my students got stung by a box jelly fish.

The student in question was escorted out of the water and brought to a local Chaweng hospital. It wasn't until a few months later, when both the diver in question and myself had a talk with John Lippmann, who was visiting Samui at that occasion for a lecture, that we could come close to an answer of what had stung my student. John asked to see the scars and asked permission to take some pictures for identification by experts. A few weeks later proof came back and the experts confirmed the scars as being caused by box jelly fish. His scars look very similar to the scars on the pictures below.

The main reason for writing this specific post however, is a story that happened to a very young boy, aged 4, who was stung by a box jelly fish in Thai waters, Koh Mak, south of Koh Chang in December 2007.

His father wrote an article at the Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree forum with a direct link to the article here. I strongly suggest you read the article since it shows how lucky the boy is in actually having survived the attack.

He spend 3 days in Trat hospital and while fine now will have permanent scarring over his legs.

This picture shows the effects the day after the attack. His leg is clearly swollen

This is a picture 3 weeks later. The scars shown in the picture will most likely be life long.

(Please note that the pics are copyrighted and can not be reused, republished or otherwise used in the public or private domain without the boy's father permission as I’m sure you can appreciate. Please contact me if you want to use the pictures.)

The article in question has reactions from other participants in the Thorn Tree forum and more articles dealing with the same issue can be found here and here.

Other very useful information regarding box jelly fish can be found in this article on Thailandguru.

Immediate solutions for protecting yourself are simple and basic, you can wear a full body suit, they come in 1 mm thin versions and always have vinegar with you if you visit a beach.

Thanks to Andrew Jones for helping out with this article.

To complete this article, you may consider visiting the link on the picture below, the link will lead you to children sized stinger suits;


Thursday, March 6, 2008

PADI Specialty of the month March; Diver Propulsion Vehicle (DPV) or Underwater Scooter

PADI Specialty of the month for March 2008; Diver Propulsion Vehicle (DPV) or Underwater Scooter

These things are a blast to ride!

DPV's offer a thrilling way to see a lot of underwater territory in a brief amount of time. They scoot you through the water without kicking. Want to visit that offshore reef from the beach? A DPV may be the way to go.
Here's a picture of one my students participating in the PADI DPV Specialty.
This shows a DPV as we use them in our dive centre, a SeaDoo sea scooter.
The specialty is a lot of fun and gives you the opportunity to discover larger areas or get somewhere faster.