Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Specialty Instructor training completed for July

Specialty Instructor training completed for July

Richard and me have completed the diving part of the Specialty Instructor training for July. We did a night dive, Sear & Recovery dives, one out of two Deep dives, so there's one more Deep dive to come, a Digital Underwater Photography (DUP) dive and a Navigation dive. During some dives we were also joined by Steve, who completed the June IDC.

This is all part of Richard's and Steve's MSDT training.



This is a reef crab, taken during the Night dive.



Chaweng Beach has some fantastic underwater life to offer, like this nudibranch.


This anemone shrimp was also spotted on Chaweng Beach.



During the DUP dive I took plenty of pictures of Christmas Tree worms, like the one above.

Early next month, my next IDC will be kicking, so keep your eyes posted!

Camille

Friday, July 25, 2008

Equipment and Gas Blender Instructor Specialties

Equipment and Gas Blender Instructor Specialties


Since I've been in the sick bay for a while, a nose/throat infection, which isn't beneficial to diving, Richard and me haven't done much training recently, but we did complete the Equipment and DSAT Gasblender Instructor Specialty courses.



These two pictures, above and below, show all the parts for a Mares R2 regulator first stage. The second stage is the assembled part in the middle of the picture.




Above shows the parts that are cleaned in a water/vinegar solution in the ultra sonic bath.

Below is a picture of an assembled Mares R 2 first and second stage.



This is Richard's way of repairing things, with good ol' faithful! Be warned!

In the next couple of days we should be out again for some diving, keep your eyes posted!

Camille

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Marine ecosystems threatened by Acidic oceans

Marine ecosystems threatened by Acidic oceans

By Pennapa Hongthong, The Nation, Published on May 13, 2008

As a follow up to my blog post from 19th July, 2008 and once more tying in with the International Year of the Reef 2008 Campaign;

Sea level rise and coral bleaching are known impacts of climate change on the oceans, but scientists worldwide are increasingly concerned about acidification of seawater, a subtler effect, but one that is much more damaging to the marine ecosystem and the human food chain.

"The current level of carbon dioxide [CO2] equivalent accumulation in the atmosphere is 430 parts per million [ppm]. If we allow business as usual at the current rate of CO2 emission over the next eight to ten years, we will exceed 500 ppm of CO2 by 2050 and coral reef
ecosystems will be extensively and irreversibly damaged, while carbonate reefs will largely disappear," World Bank marine biologist Marea Hatziolos said.

In an attempt to understand ocean acidification and its impact on the marine ecology in Thailand, a team of scientists from Phuket is set to study the problem in preparation to address its effects on the ocean ecology and the human food chain.

"We have observed the death of hard corals for some time and suspect this might be the result of the increase in ocean acidification, which causes the calcium-component coral reefs to disintegrate," Somkiat Khorwongkiat, of Phuket's Coastal and Marine Resources Research and Development Institute, said.

"Our research, funded by the European Union, will be the first of its kind to study the direct impact of climate change on the coral reefs in Thailand," he said.

As the ocean absorbs much of the global CO2, the increase of the gas in the atmosphere from human economic activities means more of it is dissolved in the ocean. As a result, the pH balance of the seawater is disturbed.

"Studies found that the pH in the sea has decreased from 8.1 to 7.8 to 7.9," Thailand's renowned marine biologist Thon Thamrongnawasawat said.

"If the trend continues, the pH is likely to reach 7.6 in the next five decades. This means the sea is increasingly acidic."

Thon said ocean acidification is a subtle and silent danger that may disrupt 400 million years of evolution of marine life.

Coral reefs and many other marine species, which slowly evolved to adapt to gradual changes in the environment, may not be able to cope with the sudden alteration of their surroundings by climate change, he said.

He said studies elsewhere discovered that in acidic areas, even species without a calcium component, such as sea worms, are found to have weaker sperm, causing a decline in their population.

Somkiat said the institute has earlier studied the impact of ocean temperature changes on soft coral.

The study found that the differences between the temperature at the ocean surface and that at deeper levels have caused a phenomenon called "internal waves", which have lead to the death of colourful soft corals.

But he could not conclude that it was the result of climate change because ocean temperatures variations are caused by many factors, including El Nino and La Nina, or the dry and wet cycles.
"Ocean acidification is an obvious impact of climate change," he said. "I hope our studies will help Thailand formulate the right policy to address the problem."

Sunday, July 20, 2008

EFRI and DAN Oxygen Provider and PADI O2 Instructor courses

EFRI and DAN Oxygen Provider and PADI O2 Instructor courses

The last couple of days Specialty Training has started again. A recurring event after the PADI IE.



Steve and Richard kicked off with the EFRI course. Richard is working on Little Annie, the manikin, with an AED or Automated External Defibrillator.



Steve is trying to blow up Baby Annie during the Care for Children part of the course.


Group photo in front of the pot in the local recompression chamber. Richard, Steve and myself after the EFRI course.


Richard continued with his DAN Oxygen Provider course and the PADI Emergency Oxygen Instructor Course. Assembling and disassembling the equipment is part of the course.



After the hard work, in front of the local pot again!

Stay tuned, more specialty training is coming up over the coming days.

Camille

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Samui coral reefs heavily damaged

Samui coral reefs heavily damaged

An article by Baupan Annada, originally published by Samuiexpress 04.07.08, it ties in with the International Year of the Reef 2008 Campaign.

THE coral colonies surrounding Koh Samui are seriously damaged, an academic researcher has pointed out.

While Dr. Thorn Thamrongnavasawat, deputy dean of Faculty of Fisheries, Kasetsart University (or view Wikipedia's bit on the Uni), cited global warming as a major cause, he also blamed the influx of tourists for the past 10 years for the extensive damage inflicted on the island’s coral reefs.

Samui’s coral reefs constitute what is considered as the largest coral colony in Thailand, encompassing 65 square kilometers.

“The first time I went to explore the coral reefs around Samui, I found a great number of coral species, including the Porites lutea and Acropora spp, as well as a huge variety of fishes. Ten years after tourism was promoted and raceway ditching was started to allow boats to pick up tourists, the coral reefs and fishes have decreased,” Thorn said.

He recounted that last April he did an observation trip and that he found that raceway ditching had been undertaken in two additional areas and that he was shocked to find that the amount of coral reefs had decreased to only 20 percent of what it was before, and fishes inhabiting the coral colonies had been reduced to only around 20 species. “The rest were seaweeds,” he lamented.

The deputy dean said that from an overall perspective, damage to coral reef around Samui was caused by many factors. For example, he said, some coral reefs were covered by dregs, apparently from island wastes. He said that besides the effect of raceway ditching around the island, the effect from global warming has increased the frequency of storms, high temperature of land surface and coral bleaching, which destroyed parts of Samui’s coral colonies in 1998-99.

Thorn observed that nothing was being done by concerned agencies to rehabilitate Koh Samui’s coral colonies. “There is lack concern and care for the coral colonies surrounding Koh Samui. That is why the coral reefs around Samui lack sufficient recovery,” he said. Tourists who want to go snorkeling now go to Koh Taen, north of Samui, where coral reefs are relatively healthy.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The July PADI IE has been successfully completed

The July PADI IE has been successfully completed

After three sunny and hot days on Koh Tao during this PADI IE, we can welcome another 3 PADI Open Water Scuba Instructors!




It all kicked off two days ago with an orientation by the PADI examiner, Rob Scammell and on this picture we can see Steve, Richard and Bill trying to keep their nerves under control.



With the best wishes, they got underway and with flying colours they took the first hurdle, the 5 theory exams and the General Standards & Procedures exam. This was and is a relief for most IE candidates to have passed.

One down, three to go!


Yesterday morning started out with their Knowledge Development presentations, which they again passed convincingly. Examiner Rob is giving them a briefing here.


Yesterday afternoon was reserved for Open Water and once more, they walked away from that one with great passing scores. Here they pose in Mae Haad harbour feeling relieved, three down by now and one more to go!



This morning they the Confined Water Presentation scheduled and they got pretty much straight fives for that. Well done guys and the last official thing they had to do was pose for the official picture, as in above! From left to right, Bill, Rob the PADI Examiner, Camille, Steve and Richard.

Camille

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

An Introduction to the new eRDPml

An Introduction to the new eRDPml

For all of you PADI members who haven't read the new 3rd Quarter 2008 Training Bulletin, there's some interesting and in my book excellent news out there. At last, the Wheel will be replaced by an electronic version. Well done PADI;

Introducing eRDPML; Electronic Recreational Dive Planner for Multilevel Dive Planning

Features

The eRDPML is the next generation electronic dive planner. Like its predecessor the eRDP, the new eRDPML is not a dive computer but an electronic dive table that allows the user to plan single level and multilevel dives. While the fi rst generation eRDP provided the same information as the Recreational Dive Planner (RDP) table, the eRDPML provides the same information as The Wheel, in an electronic format. The eRDPML helps maximize bottom time by allowing dive planning in two-metre/five-foot increments.

The eRDPML has a robust design that includes a fl ip cover to protect the unit when not in use. The general rules and dive planning abbreviations (NDL, ANDL, ML, etc.) are printed on the inside of the fl ip cover, which provides easy access to information. Like the previous eRDP, the
eRDPML is designed solely for use on the surface — it’s water resistant, not waterproof.

The eRDPML allows you to select either metric or imperial for dive planning and offers the same three modes as before:
• Dive Planning – allows you to plan up to fi ve consecutive singledepth
dives or two- to three-level multilevel dives (similar to The
Wheel).
• Surface Interval – for fi nding minimum surface interval between
dives
• Maximum Depth – for calculating the maximum allowable depth
for a given time

The same general rules and guidelines that apply when using The Wheel also apply when using the eRDPML. Like the eRDP, the eRDPML will prompt you to use some of these rules. For example:
• Reminding you when a safety stop is required
• Warning you when your planned dive is beyond the RDP limits
• Reminding you when Special Rules for Multiple Dives (WX and YZ
rules) apply
• Warning you when your next planned level in a multilevel dive
exceeds the multilevel ascent limit (Exceeds ML Ascent Limit)

Incorporating eRDPML in diver courses

Because the eRDPML replaces the original eRDP and The Wheel, you can use it in any PADI course to plan either single level or multilevel dives. Though your PADI Offi ce will no longer distribute The Wheel or the original eRDP, you may continue to use them in your diver-level courses until your stock is used up.

Beginning 1 January 2009, PADI Divemaster candidates will be required to have and be competent in the use of the eRDPML in addition to the RDP table version. Starting immediately, divemaster candidates may use the eRDPML in place of the RDP table and The Wheel during the Decompression Theory and the Recreational Dive Planner Divemaster exam.

The eRDPML and eRDPML Desktop Version (developed in Flash format for teaching purposes) start shipping in August through all PADI Offi ces. (eRDPML product number – 70031; eRDPML Desktop Version product number – 70903)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

PADI IDC for July 2008 is completed

PADI IDC for July 2008 is completed

Although the official closing isn't until tomorrow morning, they all completed the 'performance requirements' for this IDC and are growing stronger by the day.
Time to move on and go to Koh Tao on Tuesday to participate in the PADI IE, held there from Tuesday the 15th July through to Thursday 17th July.




During the OWSI Course they worked more in the pool or Confined Water, as Richard can be seen here, demonstrating a buoyancy control skill called Fin Pivot.



There was a lot more of quality classroom time, with lots of presentations done by me, with topics ranging from explaining the ins and outs of all PADI courses to Risk Management or Diver Retention.

There was work to be done by the candidates as well though and in this picture Steve is in action during one of his Knowledge Development or classroom presentations.


Today we completed the current IDC with the second Open Water dive on Chaweng Beach under beautiful conditions and even the visibility on the beach was helping out today.


On their way back to the beach, after the dive and skills they controlled and performed, they saw various star fish, some snake eels and a rather big sea horse.



As I mentioned before in this post, tomorrow we'll officially close this IDC and on Tuesday morning we're all off to Koh Tao for the PADI IE. Keep posted for more updates on their IE adventures.

I hope that you enjoy reading my dive blog entries and I appreciate it if you subscribe to this blog.

Camille

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The AI June 2008 is completed

The AI June 2008 is completed

Yesterday we completed the AI part of the current PADI IDC.




After finding their way slowly around into the PADI system, they are on the way now to get good scores and we are having a good time. Here's Bill during one of his knowledge development or classroom presentations.



Part of the Confined Water dives includes setting up the equipment. Bill and Richard are even using a 5 mm wetsuit!

Here's Bill controlling Steve and Richard during a Confined Water presentation and telling them what not to do!

A recurring part of the training is practicing the Rescue Scenario # 7 from the PADI Rescue Diver course.



As usual we also were enjoying some excellent lunches during the lunch breaks at World Resort, where the IDC facilities are located. From left to right myself, Richard, Bill and Steve, just before we dig in.

Today we're enjoying a well deserved day off, not as sunny as we hoped for, see my Samui weather blog for more info, so we can continue tomorrow with the OWSI Program.

Camille

Thursday, July 3, 2008

July 2008 Prep IDC started

July 2008 Prep IDC started today

Today we kicked off the prep course of the current July 2008 IDC.



From left to right are Bill, Steve and Richard enjoying a relaxed moment after their first Theory exam.
This photo was taken shortly before the lunch break and after lunch we practised the PADI skill circuit. More skill circuit and exams tomorrow, so stay tuned for more updates!
Towards the 15th we will make our way over to Koh Tao for the PADI IE.
Camille

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Specialty of the month July 2008

Specialty of the month July 2008

Is Deep diving. This seems to be one for the guys, they always want to go deeper and longer!

Kidding aside though, during this course you will go beyond 30 meters of depth with a max depth of 40 meters. Any deeper and within the PADI system you end up in the DSAT Tech diving courses.

This is a very popular Specialty and one that I teach a lot on Instructor level. In my opinion it's not too difficult to go deep, however, making it a safe dive and realising what you're doing and how to get safely back to the topside, that is where the knowledge learned in this Specialty pays off.

Topics like Decompression Sickness and Nitrogen Narcosis are being discussed and the Specialty consists of 4 dives between 18 and 40 meters.

Hope you enjoy this Deep Diver Specialty and if you book during July 2008, you get 10% off the course price for this Specialty.

Camille