Sunday, August 31, 2008

Wreck and Deep dive Specialties in Pattaya completed

Wreck and Deep dive Specialties in Pattaya completed

Today we completed another two dives, one on the Hardeep aka The Suddhadib during which Massi and Volker completed their Wreck Specialty Instructor training. The second dive of the day was done at Koh Rong Nong where Volker completed his Deep dive Instructor Specialty and Massi completed his first dive of this specialty, since he had to skip yesterday's deep dive.

The Hardeep dive was very enjoyable and we covered all of the 70 meter long wreck at the lee side during a 35 minute dive on Nitrox. There was no current to speak during our descent and ascent which was a nice change compared to yesterday.

Here Volker can be seen preparing the penetration line.

Inside the Hardeep.

Massi at Koh Rong Nong after his timed task at depth.

During our ascent we spotted this beautiful cleaner shrimp.

A scorpion fish at Koh Rong Nong, hard to spot due to it's great camouflage abilities.

It was a great weekend of diving with two complete different experiences at the Hardeep, both of which I wouldn't wanted to have missed.

I'm already looking forward to the next trip.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Wreck dive instructors in the making in Pattaya.

Wreck dive instructors in the making in Pattaya.

Today we completed day # 1 of two diving days with Massi and Volker so they can become Wreck- and Deep dive Specialty Instructors.

Just as in earlier this year in February we dived the Suthahip or better known locally as the Hardeep wreck and we went with the same company in Pattaya, SEAduction who still run their Reel Hooker boat!

Volker and Massi at the pier near Sattahip, before we took off for our days diving.

We started out with a deep dive, which Massi had to pass on since he couldn't equalize.

The second dive of the day was on the Hardeep and by the time we went down, there was a roaring current on top of the wreck. We had a drop off and drifted in to the buoy and the descent onto the wreck was something I never experienced before. The current was so hard that all three of us hung like flags on a flag pole in the wind, just that we hung on the descent line!

Usually the current stops, being blocked by the actual wreck at 16 meters depth, today it stopped at 19 meters. A very interesting experience. Another buddy team had to abort the descent!

The picture shows Volker whilst working with the reel and tying it off to the wreck, as practice for tomorrow's penetration dive.

Underwater live on the Suthahip. Once we were on the wreck the current was gone and we had a nice dive on Nitrox.

An impression from inside the cargo part of the Suthahip, looking upwards.

More news tomorrow!


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Various Instructor Specialties and EFR Instructor under way in August 2008

Various Instructor Specialties and EFR Instructor under way in August 2008

The last week Rob and me have been really busy with Instructor Specialty training.

We started out with the Underwater Navigation and Search & Recovery Specialties on Chaweng Beach to be followed by another Beach dive for the Night Dive Instructor Specialty.

The above picture shows Rob walking Chaweng Beach with a compass in his hand, doing 'dry runs' for the Underwater Navigation and Search & Recovery patterns he will need to complete underwater.

During our dives on Chaweng Beach, we saw this lovely Sea Horse and watched it for a few minutes. Real graceful creatures!

Once more I also encountered an unidentified shell, at least for me. The strange thing was the melodion look alike strand that came out from underneath the actual shell. Anybody any idea what this can be?

This shell on the other hand, on a picture taken during the Digital Underwater Photography dive could be for a toothpaste commercial; Did you brush your teeth well enough?

For the Deep dive specialty we went to Sail Rock yesterday and it was a fantastic dive with up to 25 meters visibility, lots of different fish all over the place and in general a fantastic reminder of why we become divers!

Today we completed the EFRI course, Bill from the July IDC joined us and we had a interesting day at the local recompression chamber in Bang Rak where the course was held. Each EFRI course includes a Chamber orientation which is highly interesting and usually well received by my students.

Tomorrow it's one more day off on the boat, starting the Deep dive Specialty with Bill and finishing it off with Steve from the June IDC. They both will come on a 35 to 40 meter dive at Chumpon Pinnacle near Koh Tao.

This coming weekend it's off to Pattaya for another round of Wreck diving Instructor Specialties with Volker and Massi, so stay tuned for updates on that.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

The PADI August IE has been successfully completed

The PADI August IE has been successfully completed

Today the big day ended successfully, Massi, Steve, Rob and Volker are no longer PADI Divemasters but have entered the ranks of PADI Onderwater Scuba Instructors.

Two days ago they started with the PADI IE Orientation immediately by the 5 theory exams and the General Standards exam.

An overview of the classroom used for the IE orientation. Massi gives himself and us a bit of a scare by failing his RDP exam which he however passed the next day during his remake.

The second day saw them action in the classroom and the Open Water. Another two disciplines they passed perfectly.

Tomorrow they ended the IE by passing the Confined Water, here's from left to right, a proud Course Director, Massi, Steve, Volker and Rob after their pool work, all looking very happy.

There were 25 candidates from various PADI Course Directors participating in this IE and here's a group picture.

The piece the resistance is however our group picture, from left to right, myself, Rob, Steve, Massi, Rob the PADI Examiner and Volker.

Tonight we're off for a little party and than we continue with some Instructor Specialty training.

Stay tuned.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

PADI IDC for August 2008 is completed

PADI IDC for August 2008 is completed

Tomorrow morning we will have the official closing of this IDC and on Tuesday we're off to Koh Tao for two nights and three days of a PADI IE.

We spend a lot of time in the classroom listening to presentations by me but luckily enough we also got time to spend again in the pool. Here is Massi giving a Confined Water briefing.

Rob is the 'instructor', controlling Massi's removal and replacement of the scuba unit underwater.

They also practiced skills from the Rescue diver course, here's Volker surfacing Steve, Texas style!

Today we spent a lovely afternoon under the burning sun at Chaweng Beach doing some Open Water diving, see my Samui weather blog for daily weather updates!

Steve's bringing home the sand screw.

Volker is guarding the Diver below buoy, Rob and Massi are in the background, showering off the salt water!

As I already mentioned, Tuesday we're off to Koh Tao for the PADI IE and that's were they need to perform again and show that they can control their nerves.

Well done guys, so far!


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The AI course for August 2008 is completed

The AI course for August 2008 is completed

Yesterday we finished the AI course of this current IDC on Chaweng Beach with an Open Water
dive enjoying some great weather and today we're all enjoying a well deserved day off.

Part of the IDC is a skill circuit and Volker and Steve can be seen demonstrating an excellent Alternate Air Source use skill.

Hovering is also on the menu for the skill circuit, Rob is giving a demo here.

Rescue diver course exercise # 7, Unconscious diver at the surface is also part of the training, here's Volker attempting to rescue Rob, with Massi and Steve looking on.

Yesterday on the beach, Massi is showing us how big the fish is he saw!

As usual we enjoyed some wonderful food at World Resort each day during the IDC. From left to right, myself, Massi, Steve, Volker and Rob.

Stay tuned for more updates, we'll kick off the OWSI program on Thursday! Next Tuesday we'll go to Koh Tao for the PADI IE.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

The August 2008 IDC is about to start.

The August 2008 IDC is about to start.

Today we kicked off with the Prep IDC course and during the morning we spend time in the classroom, getting the red tape out of the way, completing the Course Orientation presentation and the 4 candidates completed their Physics exam.
In the afternoon it was Confined Water time, practicing a skill circuit and the rescue exercise # 7 from the Rescue diver course.

Massi in front, Volker on the left side, Rob in the middle and Steve behind Massi sweating it out during their Physics exam.

Group picture at the pool, just before they geared up, Rob, Volker, Steve and Massi. It was nice and warm in the pool. Check my Samui weather blog for daily updates on Samui's weather situation.
More to follow soon.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

First certs for Steve

First certs for Steve

Steve who completed last month IDC and PADI IE issued his first two Open Water diver certifications as a PADI Instructor over last weekend. His students were a father and son.

Pictured here is Steve in the middle with his first students. Great job Steve! Congrats to all three of you on my behalf!


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Whale shark at Chumporn Pinnacle today!

Whale shark at Chumporn Pinnacle today!

Today was the last day that I could complete the second Deep dive of Richard's Deep dive Instructor Specialty, before he leaves for the Netherlands again and I start another IDC in a couple of days.

Off we went to Chumporn Pinnacle, near Koh Tao. A site well known for Bull Shark sightings, even with a blog dedicated to Bull Sharks a this site and also well know for Whale Shark sightings.

After the deep dive, during our deco stops, sure enough, there it was, a Whale Shark. The first sighting we had was at 15 meters and it was swimming above us.
During a staged 8 minute deco stop at 5 meters, the Whale Shark returned and swam around us for a while and at some stage it came directly at us!

This baby was not camera shy at all! Here it is literally in front of my camera.

Here's the Whale Shark swimming underneath me.

This picture shows the Shark moving away from us again. It was Richard's first Whale Shark and he got some good shots in. he was pretty happy about this dive!

This picture shows the Whale Shark swimming away with Richard's camera at the side.

When we were back on the boat, the Shark surfaced and bumped almost into some students that still were in the water.

As the second dive of the day we completed a AWARE Fish ID dive, which happens to be the PADI Specialty of the month for this August! During this dive we both shot some very good pix again, but the Whale Shark was the talk of the day!

Usefull Whale shark websites;

Ecocean - Whale Shark photo identification library

Project AWARE Whale Shark Project


Saturday, August 2, 2008

PADI Specialty of the month August 2008; Aware Fish ID

PADI Specialty of the month August 2008; Aware Fish ID

Have you ever asked yourself during or after a dive, "What was that?”

That yellow fish with the black dots and you can't come up with anything better than; "That was a black dotted yellow fish", whilst keeping a straight face?

The AWARE - Fish Identification Diver Specialty course will introduce you to the most common fish families and species found in temperate and tropical waters. You'll also learn basic fish identification and scientific survey techniques as well as how important personal involvement is in aquatic conservation.

The prerequisites are fairly simple, you need to be a (PADI) Open Water diver or Junior Open Water diver.

During your AWARE - Fish Identification Diver Specialty course, you'll practice basic fish identification techniques then collect fish identification data for submission to the REEF Fish Survey Project (if appropriate).

This PADI Specialty is also under the umbrella of Project AWARE to emphasise how important your personal involvement is in aquatic conservation.
Sign up for this Specialty at a dive shop near you!